Somaliland Commemorates its 27th Anniversary of Independence

The state of Somaliland celebrated its 27th independence anniversary in 2018 from Somalia on Tuesday in the capital, Hargeisa.

A massive celebration was held across the regional cities of Somaliland to mark the separation of Somaliland from Somalia 1991.

Different Somaliland Forces, Police, Custodial, Marine and other ancillary corps, civil society organizations and private businesses marched through city.

The event was led by the president Muse Bihi Abdi who was flanked by speakers of the two houses of parliament, government officials, former presidents and vice-presidents, leaders from opposition political parties, foreign delegations and citizens of Somaliland.

It is only country that deserves for an international recognition after surviving years of diplomatic isolation by international community. It has been exercising self-governance unlike Somalia in the last 27 years. With 5 million of its population, Somaliland have its own flag, currency, and legal system of a government that has been appreciated for holding credible election with a peaceful power transfer since 1991.

Photo - Military parade at Somaliland independence day, Hargeisa, May 2018
Photo – Military parade at Somaliland independence day, Hargeisa, May 2018

Somaliland has made history in 2017 as the first country to use the iris biometric voting system. The government put forward the celebrations for the national to May 15th, 2018, three days ahead of the anniversary date (May 18) before starting the holy fasting month of Ramadan. Thousands of people wrapping in Somaliland’s flags took to the streets to attend the event in Hargeisa and other regional cities.

Intended to destabilize the celebrations, Puntland waged war in three areas near Tukaraq in Sool region where heavy fighting began yesterday but stopped shortly today. Somaliland chief of armed forces, Nuh Ismail Tani has accused Puntland to have attacked Somaliland forces that were in full control of Tukaraq town in the recent months to disrupt the commemorations but Somaliland has defended its territory and people as stated by the army chief.

In his address during the Somaliland National Day, president Muse Bihi Abdi accused the federal government of being behind the incursions. “They attacked us, we defended them and took weapons stating that Somaliland had been attacked times in the past, adding that if Somalia wants war, Somaliland is ready and it will teach them the lesson that we taught Afweyne, Siyad Barre, the dictator leader” Bihi threatened.

In the meantime, the president called for self-resilience and solidarity for all Somalilanders amid the Somali aggression to Somaliland is intensifying. The president stated Somaliland is trying to keep the peace and stability in the region but underlined that Somalilanders will not hold their hands back if attacked. The recent fighting comes after the UN Special representative for Somalia met with Somaliland president Muse Bihi Abdi and Puntland leader who spoke together to protect the peace and stability in Tukaraq.

In his speech, the president addressed many successful issues including national building, periodic elections and peaceful transfer of power that Somaliland achieved in the past 27 years without recognition. Underlying that Somaliland is a national entity, the president has already stated that they have completed international requirements for recognition and called for the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union, IGAD and the Arab League to endorse Somaliland’s recognition without any preconditions.

He finally thanked all Somalilanders to come out and mark this national day. However, 27 years later, Somaliland is still not recognized by the international community – even though the country fulfills virtually all international criteria which are usually deemed essential for being regarded as a state.


Muse Jeeh is a freelance writer based in Hargeisa, Somaliland. He can be reached at [email protected]

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