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Somaliland makes case for sovereignty, 31 years after declaring independence

By Fred Harter

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Posted on August 4, 2022 08:42

Somaliland Autonomous Region
Women march in a procession to celebrate the 25th anniversary of proclaimed independence in the capital Hargeisa, Somaliland on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Barkhad Dahir)

Not much happens in Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital, but that’s how most residents prefer it.

The main attraction is a memorial with a Somali Air Force jet that bombed the city during the territory’s independence war in the 1980s. There is another featuring the replica of a tank, beneath which goats sometimes lounge as traffic passes by.

“Nearly all the buildings you see in Hargeisa today are new,” says Ayan Mahmoud, Somaliland’s former diplomatic representative to London. “The city was bombarded so heavily there was barely anything left.”

This year marks 31 years since Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991. Many Somalilanders relish pointing out that this is longer than the period of time – just over three decades – that Somaliland was part of Somalia, following independence from Britain in 1960.

I don’t like to talk about it because, every time I remember it, it makes me feel sad.

The union only ended after a bitter conflict that left tens of thousands dead and ripped

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