Many people had thought that, viewed comparably with the chaotic and bellicose Somali South, Somaliland and Puntland in the Northwest and the Northeast would be idyllic spots of calmness and peace in the Horn of Africa area.
Somaliland escaped the Civil War that ravaged the South, becoming independent in 1991; due to various reasons, it remained unrecognized by all the states of the world, cooperating only with Abyssinia. Somaliland announced that it is not concerned with the affairs of the Somali South, and that the country’s only preoccupation would be peace, international recognition, and socioeconomic progress.
Puntland seceded in 1998 but tried only to stay apart during the period of civil strife in the South; it never expressed a willingness to seek international recognition, as for the Puntland rulers the ideal perspective would be first a peace in the Somali South, and second a merge between them and the South into a re-united Somalia.
Nine years later, the South has not been pacified, but there are some sperms of hope for a National Unity under a new, moderate leader and the ARS alliance during a National Liberation Struggle aimed at kicking the barbaric, cruel and inhuman Abyssinian invader out of Somalia.
Abyssinia mined Somaliland’s chances for international recognition
Quite unfortunately, at the same time, many developments in the North bear witness to a dramatic deterioration of the situation. The fact itself that the country did not achieve international recognition is not necessarily a problem, and its cooperation with Abyssinia could be understood to some extent. Landlocked because of Eritrea’s secession, Abyssinia needed one harbour in replacement of Massawa and Assab (that both became part of Eritrean territory), and instead of Djibouti, Berbera could accommodate the Abyssinian trade needs.
In the case of Somaliland the problems evolve around the following points:
1. The cooperation with Abyssinia ended up as total dependence on and alignment with Africa’s most tyrannical country.
2. The Nation-building process did not advance at all; even compared to Eritrea, as both countries became independent at the same time, Somaliland did not even try to develop an independent national character and identity. This may either be due to ignorance of the ruling elite or simply highlight the fact that there cannot be or effectively there are no separate national character and identity for Somaliland to assert.
3. Even worse, the democratic process did not advance much and it was soon eclipsed by scandals and evident corruption. Incredible stories about the way President Dahir Riyale Kahin’s wife got an apartment in Cairo’s posh district of Mohandessin in exchange of an agreement enabling Egyptian fishermen boats to exploit the seas of Somaliland are among the most innocent narratives of various circles in Hargeysa and Berbera.
4. More recently, Somaliland demonstrated an incomprehensible inclination and even urgency for war; Somaliland’s armed aggression on Las Anod, the capital of Puntland’s Sool region dilutes 16 years of nebulous political discourses about peace and calmness. It clearly indicates that instead of relief, Somaliland turned out to be a trouble. As the ongoing war risks pulling the entire Horn of Africa region into a maelstrom of Islamist extremism, Somaliland demonstrated further symptoms of political decomposition.
5. Despite the common origin, national and cultural identity, language, socio-behavioural system, and religion between the populations of Somaliland and the tyrannized people of the occupied province of Ogaden, the supposedly democratic government of Somaliland acted inimically, treacherously and even malignantly against Ogadeni refugees in Somaliland, mistreating and/or extraditing them. This is an incredibly barbaric expression of high treason perpetrated by governmental authorities that should have shown a minimal respect for the tragic times the Ogadenis are currently crossing.
We will discuss the issue in a forthcoming article, but here we want to herald some positive developments in the Somali North as well; many Somalis from Berbera, Hargeysa and other cities and villages of Somaliland’s territory, rejecting the disreputable alliance with Abyssinia, formed a political group and grassroots organization that has gradually got momentum.
The Northern Somalis for Peace & Unity (NSPU) have been known in the past for the Conferences they organized, functioning also as think tank. With the deterioration of the situation in the North, more and more people among the 3.5 million Somalis of Somaliland find in the NSPU the correct institution to launch a reunification initiative for all the Somalis, Ogadenis included. Here we publish integrally a Press Release issued before a few days by the NSPU in which Somaliland’s aggression against Puntland is criticized and denounced.
Northern Somalis for Peace & Unity (NSPU) – Press Release / October 17, 2007
Secessionist Somaliland’s Naked Aggression against the Peaceful Region of Sool
Somalia’s Northern regions, which until recently enjoyed a relative peace, are on the verge of entering an era of internecine clan warfare similar to, and may be worse than, what has plagued the southern part of the country for over a decade.
The Hargeisa-based clan-driven secessionists’ northern enclave of Somaliland, in the early hours of October 15, 2007, launched unprovoked armed aggression on the peaceful town of Las Anod, the capital of Sool region in the northern pro-unity State of Puntland. This naked aggression caused the death of at least 12 people and displacement of large residents of the city, as well as injuring unknown number of civilians. The local people are in arms defending their families and their properties against these invaders from their distant stronghold, Hargeisa, which is more than 900 Kilometers from Las Anod.
The secessionists embarked on this adventure in the face of last week’s decisions by the Traditional Leaders of Sool, Sanaag & Cayn regions and their Diaspora communities calling on “Somaliland” to refrain from invading their clan territory and for their citizens to defend their native soil against the military incursions by the secessionist’s militia..
The invasion of Las Anod comes only few months after a failed attempt to occupy, Dhahar, a town in Sanaag region, which like the Sool and Cayn northern regions does not subscribe to the secessionists’ agenda. In that attempt, several people were killed, the “Somaliland” Minister of Defense was sacked for not delivering the goods, and some NGOs who were brought from Hargeisa had to flee for their lives.
These latest series of unprovoked violence against fellow Somalis stems from a desperate attempt by the secessionists to gain recognition as a separate state; not by peaceful means but by naked military aggressions.
This latest aggression by the secessionists on other clans’ territories risks the loss of the peaceful co-existence that had so far prevailed among the northern Somali clans. With this pattern of aggression against their neighbours, the secessionists’ deafening mantra that “Somaliland” is an oasis of peace is laid to rest and exposed for what it is: a baseless self-serving propaganda aimed to hoodwink the international community that they are worthy of international recognition.
“Somaliland” is basically a one clan project solely aimed at achieving chauvinistic goals and establishing hegemony over other clans; to the detriment of the international community’s noble efforts to reconstruct a functioning central government which will restore law and order throughout the country.
ONE PEOPLE ONE COUNTRY
Consistent with its core mandate of promoting peace and unity among the Somali people and the establishment of a unified representative democratic governance propelled by justice and equality for all, the Northern Somalis for Peace & Unity (NSPU):
Condemns in the strongest terms the continuation of the naked aggressions and unprovoked armed incursion instigated by the Hargeisa-based secessionist administration against the hitherto peaceful Puntland’s regions of Sool, Sanaag and Cayn;
Appeals to the international community, specially the UN, AU, EU, IGAD and International NGOs to condemn this aggression of the secessionists entity, “Somaliland”, against the peaceful population of Sool, Sanaag and Cayn regions and use their influence and leverage over the secessionist administration to end their hostilities, withdraw their militias, and refrain from further violence and bloodshed.
For further information, please contact
Director, Communication & Public Relations
Northern Somalis for Peace & Unity (NSPU)
5470 Merivale Rd. Ottawa, Ontario, K2C 3M1 Canada
NORTHERN SOMALIS FOR PEACE & UNITY (NSPU) is a grassroots Somali advocacy organization with branches in Somalia, United Arab Emirates, Canada, USA, UK, Sweden, and South Africa. We are dedicated to the promotion of peace and unity among the long suffering people of Somalia. We believe the ‘Somalia
problem’ can only be dealt with within the framework of a holistic strategic approach aimed at the empowerment of a central government to rebuild national democratic governance institutions and restore law and order throughout the country. NSPU believes the balkanization of Somalia is a recipe for future conflicts and a bleak future for the Somali people, who are bonded by ethnicity, language, religion, and shared centuries-old culture and traditions.
Picture: A roundabout in Berbera. The main harbour of Somaliland seems to be practically under the control of the Abyssinians; this cannot continue as long as the Ogadenis suffer.
Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
Orientalist, Historian, Political Scientist, Dr. Megalommatis, 50, is the author of 12 books, dozens of scholarly articles, hundreds of encyclopedia entries, and thousands of articles. He speaks, reads and writes more than 15, modern and ancient, languages.