Somaliland shelters war-displaced

Local politics blocking relief efforts from benefiting Somalis.

Thousands of people displaced by fighting in Somalia are ending up in the relatively peaceful neighbouring territory, Somaliland.

In depth

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 Somaliland: Africa’s isolated state

Once part of Somalia, it is now a self-declared republic in the troubled Horn of Africa region, and has been seeking international recognition of its independence since 1991.

Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow, in Burao, the main city of Togdheer province, says the complicated nature of local politics is blocking relief efforts.

Somaliland is a former British protectorate in north western Somalia.

In 1960, it gained its independence and united with what was then Italian Somaliland to form the Somalia republic.

In 1991, it declared independence after Mohamed Siad Barre, the Somali military leader, was overthrown.

Political unrest

Tension over the Somaliland presidential election, which was due to have been held on September 27, has given rise to fears that the self-declared territory could become a failed state like its neighbour Somalia.

The polls have been postponed indefinitely due to serious differences between the political parties since 2008.

The complicated nature of local politics is blocking relief efforts in Burao

This uncertainty has led to increased concern about Somaliland in the international community, and a flare-up of political animosity within the territory.

Recent violence, particularly in the capital Hargeysa, has shown that the crisis in Somaliland has changed from being political to one of security and stability.

Despite the unrest in September, Somaliland has a relatively stable democracy.

It has a population of 3.5 million people, according to government estimates, and is a relatively stable democracy even though it has not been internationally recognised.

This is partly because it has developed a unique hybrid system of government.

The row over elections – largely seen as a test for this fledgling nation – threatens to divide it.

Source: Al Jazeera


Street vendors in Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland have reported huge sales of the narcotic leaf qat and newspapers, as campaigning wraps up for legislative polls this week amid hopes for long-denied international recognition.

27 Sep 2005
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