Laasqoray – the Maakhir Harbour in Northern Somalia The harbour development and the promotion of Laasqoray as trade and navigation center in Northern Somalia has become a major preoccupation of the Maakhiri administration that launched a series of ambitious projects in this regard.

The following text is a fascinating insightful into the Laasqoray sightseeing and the burgeoning activities of the local people who all seem to have been engaged in the reconstruction and rehabilitation work that the Maakhiri leaders evangelized ever since they proclaimed the autonomous state in Sanaag, part of Northern Somalia between Somaliland and Puntland.

The text is written by an enthusiastic Maakhiri Somali who is convinced that Unity, Peace, Reconstruction and Development in Maakhir can only herald the same for the entire Somalia.As I find the ambition realistic and noble at the same time, I publish the text integrally, hoping to come up soon with more insightful into Maakhir.

Laasqoray

Laasqoray (also known as Las Khorey, Laasqorey) is an ancient coastal city in self-proclaimed autonomous state of Maakhir, currently unrecognized by the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia. The city has archaeological sites, as well as ancient historic buildings. Most of the archaeological sites are still unexplored to the fullest. and require international organisation to come and explore them.

The historic city of Laasqoray is about 500 years old; it used to be the capital city of the Sultanate of Mohamud Ali Shire (that belongs to the Warsangeli Sultanates – which are also known as the Maakhir Coast Sultanates) and of many Sultans before him.

There is a castle in the city, and it is called Sha’a; it was the main seat of many Sultans. However, due to lack of interest from many successive central governments, the castle aged and became too dangerous to be used. Many old houses in the city are also left in the same condition as the castle.

Laasqoray is a booming city; over the past few months, new small factories have opened and by now all major economic interests in Maakhir converge to this city. Similarly with any other city or district in Sanaag, Laasqoray was neglected by many successive central governments in Somalia, and this was reflected in the gradual depopulation of the area. However, this trend is currently being reversed as many people come here to work in the newly established factories.

Currently, the estimated population is around 55000 people. Another reason for the population growth is that, when the Somali civil war broke out, Warsangelis who had been victimized in other parts in Somalia started migrating back to their “ancestral” homeland. Laasqoray is actually considered by most Warsangelis as their “ancestral” place par excellence.

When it comes to alimentary industry, the city is famous for its fish factory; there is a newly built tuna processing factory, which is the first and only factory of its kind in Somalia since the beginning of the civil war. As a matter of fact, Laasqoray used to have a Soviet-built tuna processing factory, but it was pillaged during the civil war, and more specifically in 1995 when the city experienced a heavy shelling by various fractions and groups. In Laasqoray, there are some other factories as well.

On the east side, the city is surrounded by beautiful green mountains that are locally known as Cal Madow; the area is known for its valuable unexploited mineral deposits (Oil, etc.) and unique natural habitats that are part of Somalia’s National Heritage. Many travellers would find it worthy visiting Laasqoray.

The sea is famous for its white beaches and the crystal clear sea water; magnificent sea reefs are to be found in many parts of the Maakhiri coast.

In Laasqoray city, travellers will find several attractions and will have the opportunity to spend their time greatly. There are many coffee shops where khat is consumed, and connectivity with the rest of the world through several Internet cafés minimizes the distance. There are many hotels and guest houses in Laasqoray and the most famous hotel is Sha’a Hotel, named after the old castle.

Port development in Laasqoray

Horn Relief is re-developing the port in Laasqoray, and this is expected to create immediately many new job positions, offering employment and longer-term livelihood to local Somalis. Redeveloping the former Laasqoray Port, which some people say is 400 years old, is an effort of national dimensions.

The intention is to make of the new Laasqoray harbour a local centre for import and export opportunities, one of the most important in Somalia’s Northern coast; this would contribute to community and livelihood rebuilding throughout Sanaag.

This project is being undertaken with strong commitment from all stakeholders, involving partnerships with government and social/cultural authorities.

This infrastructure and governance project involves collaboration between the communities in and around Laasqoray and the private sector, including traders in the Northern hinterland; it is geared to stimulate trade development and infrastructural investment in the Laasqoray area.

Note
Picture: The North Somali coast at Laasqoray, Maakhir


By Prof. Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
Published: 1/6/2008