update on Somali-land an illegal entity being created by a particular clan (Isaaq) in order to serve personal interests, and as a proxy being used by foreign powers (mainly Ethiopia) in order to keep Somalia divided and weak.
War Criminal Ahmed Siilaanyo is Elected Leader of Somaliland One-Clan Enclave
Ragow kibirka waa lagu kufaa kaa ha la ogaado– Arrogance destroys men
Ismaail Mire, a Somali poet and commander of the dervish contingent that defeated the British commander Richard Corfield in 1913.
Somalis say “Dagaal wiil kuma dhashee, wiilbaa ku dhinta” which means that in war, young boys perish instead of pro-generating: an allegory for death and destruction.
As if the bloodshed in the South of Somalia for the last 20 years were not enough, the more peaceful North seems to be heading towards the abyss it has fought so hard to avoid. This is all because of bad leadership. Thanks to Mr. Jama Falaag who has given us a very clear picture about the mediocre leadership style of the current president of Somaliland, Silanyo, whose main achievement over the last 7 months in office is the appointment of a number of committees to tackle thorny issues such as the one that has led to the current bloodletting in a relatively peaceful area of Somalia.
From the outset, the man looks qualified to lead, given his long career in the defunct Somali Regime of Siyad Barre and his term as chairman of the rebel movement that contributed to the destruction of the Somali State. Such destruction should have served as a deterrent to avoid any conflict that could tarnish the image of Somaliland as an oasis of peace in the middle of war zones.
Silanyo inherited a difficult problem from his predecessor Dahir Rayale Kahin who used force to invade and occupy the capital city of SSC, three regions that are vehemently opposed to the unilateral secession of Somaliland from the Somali Republic. The three regions are technically part of Somaliland which used to be a British colony before uniting with the South to form the Somali Republic in 1960. However, the three regions never signed any treaty with the British and remained opposed to British rule and sacrificed thousands of people in their struggle against colonization.
In his acceptance speech, Silanyo promised to hold a peace gathering akin to the Loya Jirga of Afghanistan which Somalis call “Gogol Nabadeed” or peace carpet, to resolve the SSC conflict. However, he failed to follow up on his promise and instead appointed a mediocre committee formed mostly of individuals from the SSC regions. These individuals lack any credibility among their constituencies and are regarded as traitors to the cause of Somali Unity by the SSC population. Like all thorny issues, Silanyo failed to tackle the SSC problem directly and elected to push it under the rug expecting that it would go away quietly.
The issue of SSC did not go away quietly as Silanyo hoped for but became worse with the dispute over Kalshaale, a barren piece of land that the Nomads in the area use in the rainy season for grazing their livestock. In Somalia, there is an unwritten code of conduct for utilizing grazing areas. All clans share the land in times of adequate rainfall but respect the rights of the traditional owners of the land. In the absence of a credible government that regulates land ownership, the Nomads are overly protective of the unwritten code and may resort to violence if they feel that their right over the land has been compromised. One of the clans tried to break the code and started digging wells in the area. Such wells are normally precursors to long-term dwellings. Given the already tense situation in the SSC regions, skirmishes broke out that resulted in the death of around 10 people. To avert the incident from escalating, the traditional leaders in the area assembled in Kalshaale to resolve the dispute peacefully. Their ruling did not please one of the sides which appealed the ruling.
Instead of giving the traditional leaders enough time to diffuse the situation, Silanyo somehow saw an opportunity to extend Somaliland rule to the area and started assembling his forces in kalshaale on the pretext of keeping the peace. He declared the area as a military zone. The already tense situation in the SSC regions escalated when the SSC Nomads felt that Silanyo took sides in the conflict and was trying to use Kalshaale as a launching pad for invading and occupying Buhodleh, the second capital of the SSC regions which has so far resisted the secessionist agenda of Somaliland.
The Somaliland forces that get a lot of funding from European donors such as Britain started moving south towards Buhodleh on the 7th of February. The Nomads resisted the advance and an all-out war broke out at 6 am and lasted until late into the night. The death toll on both sides is estimated to be around 100 and the wounded more than 200.
Silanyo again illustrated his lack of judgment by calling on the Somaliland people to defend their country against what he termed as “Somaliland diid”, those who refuse to be part of Somaliland. The use of a well-equipped military force that inherited a lot of military hardware from the collapsed Somali government, and the call upon the Somaliland people to wipe out the enemy is a call for committing genocide against unarmed Nomads who are trying to eke a living from a harsh environment. The Western donors should realize that their donations can be used to subjugate these fiercely independent Nomads and uproot them from their traditional grazing areas.
Somalia does not need any more bloodshed and the International Community needs to intervene to stop the madness unfolding in this remote area that is not in the focus of the Western media. The world cannot afford another Rwanda and the United Nations needs to be pro-active to avert such madness from continuing. It is also incumbent upon the Somali intellectuals, Religious Scholars, Businessmen and the traditional leaders to demand an end to Silanyo’s aggression and expansionist policy.
Somaliland is not a recognized government that has the right to force others to join its secessionist agenda. Its unilateral secession from the Somali Republic is illegal and is based on misleading arguments. The SSC regions, which used to be part of the 18 regions of Somalia before the collapse of the Somali government, desire to remain within the fold of the Somali Republic and will resist any attempts to force them to do otherwise. Such resistance is legitimate under International Law. Since the weak Federal government of Somalia cannot intervene to protect these regions, it is incumbent upon the United Nations to act on its behalf and protect the SSC regions from the destructive military campaigns planned by Silanyo and his British funded army. Britain massacred thousands of dervishes from the SSC regions in the 19th century in cold blood by using fighter planes, cannons and machine guns against lightly armed resistance fighters. It seems that history is repeating itself again in the form of British financial support for Silanyo’s army after Britain lately increased its funding for Somaliland by more than 60%. A large portion of these funds will find its way to the military apparatus of Silanyo instead of being used for development. These are not mere allegations. Independent observers can verify the facts for themselves.
Silanyo has chosen a dangerous path for Somaliland. This path can only lead to bloodshed, clan hostilities and the displacement of thousands of Nomads from their grazing lands. This will only make the current severe drought in Somalia worse. Thousands are already suffering from lack of rain this year. Increasing the agony and suffering of the Somali people in these areas is a criminal act that the world cannot ignore.
Ali H. Abdulla serve as political analysts Terror Free Somalia Foundation E-Mail:
Ali H. Abdulla
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