Somaliland CyberSpace


- Capital: Hargeisa
- Location: 9°33?N, 44°03?E
- Official languages: Somali and Arabic
- Government: Representative democracy
- President Dahir Riyale Kahin
- Vice-President Ahmed Yusuf Yasin
- Independence from Somalia
- Proclaimed 18 May 1991
- Recognition Unrecognized
- Area: Total 134,000 km² - 51,738 sq mi
- Population:
- 2005 estimate 3.5 million [citation needed]
- Density 26/km² 67.3/sq mi
- Currency: Somaliland shilling (SLSH)
- Time zone EAT (UTC+3)
- - Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+3)
- nternet TLD: none
- Calling code: +252

Rankings may not be available because of its unrecognized de facto state.

Developments in the eastern half of the country have made area and population estimates unreliable until the situation settles.

Somaliland is situated on the eastern horn of Africa and lies between the 08°00' - 11°30' parallel north of the equator and between 42°30' - 49°00' meridian east of Greenwich. It shares borders with the Republic of Djibouti to the west, the Federal Republic of Ethiopia to the south, the Puntland region to the northeast and Somalia to the southeast. Somaliland has 460 miles (740 km) of coast with the majority along the Red Sea. Somaliland is slightly larger than England with an area of 137 600 km² (53 100 sq miles).

Somaliland (Somali: Soomaaliland) is a de facto independent republic located in the Horn of Africa within the internationally recognized borders of Somalia. On May 18, 1991, the people of Somaliland declared independence from Somalia. However, it was not recognized by any other country or international organization.

The Republic of Somaliland considers itself to be the successor state of the former British Somaliland protectorate, which had an area of about 137,600 km² (53,128 sq mi), briefly an independent country for five days in 1960. It is bordered by Ethiopia in the south and west, Djibouti in the northwest, the Gulf of Aden in the north, and the autonomous regions of Maakhir and Puntland in the east.


Somaliland's climate is a mixture of wet and dry. The northern part of the country is hilly and in many places the altitude ranges between 900 and 2,100 metres (3,000-7,000 ft) above sea level. The Awdal, Saaxil and Maroodi Jeex regions are fertile and mountainous, while the Togdheer is rather semi-desert with a few fertile greenery around. The Awdal region is known for its offshore islands, coral reefs and mangroves.

Control over eastern borders of Somaliland is unclear, due to disputes with Puntland[1] and separatist movements.[2]


The History of Somaliland encompasses a wide range of historical Somali issues and archaeological sources which date back to Prehistoric times. It is widely regarded in Somaliland as an important factor and a key significance in the Culture of Somaliland. Many scholars and historians viewed that Somaliland's history dated back to colonial times but with the recent discoverey of cave paintings outside Hargeisa, there is now a chance that Somaliland is a succesor state to a once great and mysterious civilisation.

Prehistoric Somaliland

The Laas Geel cave paintings outside HargeisaThe region that today encompasses Somaliland was home to the earliest civilization that roamed this modern day country. Unlike Somaliland, these people weren't Muslims because Islam was first brought to the region in the 7th century therefore making it a Prehistoric era in which these people prospered.

The only great masterpiece that these ancient civilization produced is thought to be the most significant Neolithic cave paintings in the Horn of Africa and the African continent in general - The Laas Geel rock paintings. These cave paintings are located in a site outside the capital Hargeisa. These paintings were untouched and intact for nearly 10,000 years until it was discovered recently. The paintings show these indigenous people worshiping cattle. There are also paintings of giraffes, domesticated canines and wild antelopes. The paintings show the cows wearing ceremonial robes while next to them are some of these people prostrating in front of the cattle. The caves were discovered by a French archaeological team during November and December 2002. Hence, the Laas Geel cave paintings have become a major tourist attraction and a national treasure.

The Land of Punt

the Somalis in general were known to the Ancient Egyptians as the Land of Punt. The earliest definite record of contact between Ancient Egypt and Punt comes from an entry on the Palermo stone during the reign of Sahura of the Fifth Dynasty around 2250 BCE. It says that, in one year, 80,000 units of myrrh and frankincense was brought to Egypt from Punt as well as other quantities of goods that were highly valued in Ancient Egypt. From the Thirteenth to the Seventeenth Dynasty, the contact between Egypt and Punt was broken. This was due to the fact that Egypt was invaded by the Hyksos. The fifth ruler in the Eighteen Dynasty of Egyptian Pharaohs was Queen Hatshepsut, daughter of Tutmose III. She became Queen in the year 1493 BCE and made a landmark expedition to the land of Punt which is recorded on the walls of the Deir ci-Bahari temple located in Alexandria. Her eight ships sailed to Puntland and came back with cargoes of fine woods, ebony, myrrh, cinnamon and incense trees to plant in the temple garden.

The Roman emperor Augustus sent an expedition to conquer actual Yemen. During that military expedition the roman fleet of Gaius Gallus destroyed the port of Aden in order to open a safe sea route to India and to the Punt for the roman merchants.

Somaliland Sultanates

Early Islamic States in Western Somaliland

With the introduction of Islam in the 10th century in what are now the Afar-inhabited parts of Eritrea and Djibouti, the region began to assume a political character independent of Ethiopia. Three Islamic sultanates were founded in and around the area named Shewa (a Semitic-speaking sultanate in eastern Ethiopia, modern Shewa province and ruled by the Mahzumi dynasty, related to Muslim Amharas and Argobbas), Ifat (another Semitic-speaking[1] sultanate located in eastern Ethiopia in what is now eastern Shewa) and Adal and Mora (an Afar, Somali, and Harari vassal sultanate of Ifat by 1288, centered around Dakkar and later Harar, with Zeila as its main port and second city, in eastern Ethiopia and in Somaliland's Saaxil and Woqooyi Galbeed regions; Mora was located in what is now the southern Afar Region of Ethiopia and was subservient to Adal).

At least by the reign of Emperor Amda Seyon I (r. 1314-1344) (and possibly as early as during the reign of Yekuno Amlak or Yagbe'u Seyon), these regions came under Ethiopian suzerainty. During the two centuries that it was under Ethiopian control, intermittent warfare broke out between Ifat (which the other sultantes were under, excepting Shewa, which had been incorporated into Ethiopia) and Ethiopia. In 1403 or 1415[2] (under Emperor Dawit I or Emperor Yeshaq I, respectively), a revolt of Ifat was put down during which the Walashma ruler, Sa'ad ad-Din II, was captured and executed in Zeila, which was sacked. After the war, the reigning king had his minstrels compose a song praising his victory, which contains the first written record of the word "Somali". Upon the return of Sa'ad ad-Din II's sons a few years later, the dynasty took the new title of "king of Adal," instead of the formerly dominant region, Ifat.

Ahmed Gurey monument in Mogadishu.The area remained under Ethiopian control for another century or so. However, starting around 1527 under the charismatic leadership of Imam Ahmed Gragn (Gurey in Somali, Gragn in Amharic, both meaning "left-handed), Adal revolted and invaded Ethiopia. Regrouped Muslim armies with Ottoman support and arms marched into Ethiopia employing scorched earth tactics and slaughtered any Ethiopian that refused to convert from Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity to Islam.[3] Moreover, hundreds of churches were destroyed during the invasion, and an estimated 80% of the manuscripts in the country were destroyed in the process. Adal's use of firearms, still only rarely used in Ethiopia, allowed the conquest of well over half of Ethiopia, reaching as far north as Tigray. The complete conquest of Ethiopia was averted by the timely arrival of a Portuguese expedition led by Cristovão da Gama, son of the famed navigator Vasco da Gama. The Portuguese had been in the area earlier in early 16th centuries (in search of the legendary priest-king Prester John), and although a diplomatic mission from Portugal, led by Rodrigo de Lima, had failed to improve relations between the countries, they responded to the Ethiopian pleas for help and sent a military expedition to their fellow Christians. a Portuguese fleet under the command of Estêvão da Gama was sent from India and arrived at Massawa in February 1541. Here he received an ambassador from the Emperor beseeching him to send help against the Muslims, and in July following a force of 400 musketeers, under the command of Christovão da Gama, younger brother of the admiral, marched into the interior, and being joined by Ethiopian troops they were at first successful against the muslims but they were subsequently defeated at the Battle of Wofla (28 August 1542), and their commander captured and executed. On February 21, 1543, however,a joint Portuguese-Ethiopian force defeated the Muslim army at the Battle of Wayna Daga, in which Ahmed Gragn was killed and the war won.

Ahmed Gragn's widow married Nur ibn Mujahid in return for his promise to avenge Ahmed's death, who succeeded Ahmed Gragn, and continued hostilities against his northern adversaries until he killed the Ethiopian Emperor in his second invasion of Ethiopia, Emir Nur died in 1567; the Ethiopians sacked Zeila in 1660.[citation needed] The Portuguese, meanwhile, tried to conquer Mogadishu but according to Duarta Barbosa never succeeded in taking it. The sultanate of Adal disintegrated into small independent states, many of which were ruled by Somali chiefs.

Eastern Somaliland under the Garad

In the east, a completely different political dynamic existed. The Warsangeli and Dhulbahante Sultanates under the Garad dynasty emerged a few centuries after the Three Sultanates of the west, and rose to prominence in Somaliland's Sool, Sanaag and Togdheer by the 13th century. Unlike Adel, which was a direct successor of Axumite civilization with a wildly diverse ethnic makeup and a political system entirely based on Islam, the Garad Sultanates were very much Somali clan-based states who happened to be Muslim. This is not to say the Warsangeli and Dhulbahante were not as pious as the Adel, as records show that their warriors formed a significant percentage of the army that invaded Ethiopia under Ahmed Gragn. After the Majerteen Sultanate formed and Adel collapsed in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Garad state became much more of an eastern-oriented state.

One interesting factor in the collapse of Adel is the flow of cultural influence reversed, flowing from the rest of Somalia into Adel, and the areas occupied by the Ottoman Empire became heavily Somali-ized, while the previous, strongly Afar and Axumite identity faded away. This created the current cultural makeup of the region.

Colonial period

Ottoman Somaliland

On 1548 CE,the port city of Zeila was annexed and became part of the vast Ottoman Empire. The reason for this was that Zeila is situated in a stragetic location on the Red Sea because it is near the Bab el Mandeb strait; a key area for trade with the East. For 300 years, Zeila enjoyed trade with other countries and was home to Arab, Persian and even Indian merchants. On 1884, when the empire was on the brink of collapse; Egypt occupied western parts of Somaliland, the other regions being controlled by Somali tribesmen. Then, During the Scramble for Africa era, the region now claimed by Somaliland was the British Somaliland Protectorate.

British Somaliland

The British Somaliland protectorate was initially ruled from British India (though later on by the Foreign Office and Colonial Office, and was to play the role of increasing the British Empire's control of the vital Bab-el-Mandeb strait which provided security to the Suez Canal and safety for the Empire's vital naval routes through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Resentment against the British authorities grew: Britain was seen as excessively profiting from the thriving coastal trading and farming occurring in the territory. A full-blown guerrilla war had begun by 1899 under the leadership of religious scholar Mohammed Abdullah Hassan. By 1920, with the help of aerial support from the British Royal Air Force, the situation in Somaliland had stabilised and the British had re-established their dominance over the territory. Sporadic uprisings were to occur for decades afterwards, however on a much reduced scale with improved British infrastructural spending and a more benign, less paternalistic set of public policy.

The Italian invasion of British Somaliland in august 1940During the East African Campaign of WWII, the protectorate was occupied by Italy in August 1940, but recaptured by the British in summer 1941. Some Italian guerrilla fightings (Amedeo Guillett) lasted until summer 1942.

The conquest of the British Somaliland was the only victory of Italy - without German troops cooperation - in WWII against the Allies.

Independence and unification with Somalia

Shortly after gaining independence from Great Britain as the State of Somaliland on 26 June 1960, Somaliland merged with Italian Somaliland on July 1, 1960 to form the Somali Republic. The Prime Minister of the State of Somaliland, Ibrahim Egal, became a minister in the new Somalia. He became Prime Minister in 1967 but a coup deposed him in 1969. The coup elevated General Muhammed Siad Barre to power. Siad Barre instituted a Marxist regime, and became a close ally of the Soviet Union.

Although initially enthusiastic about forming a union with Italian Somaliland, the euphoria quickly changed to disenchantment as many in the north-west of Somalia felt increasingly marginalized in government and other sectors of society. While the authoritarian government of Siad Barre was becoming increasingly unpopular with Somalis, no where was the regime more resented than in the north-west.

Following an unsuccessful attempt by Somalia to capture the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia in 1977, Somalis from the north-west (primarily the Issaq clan) living in the United Kingdom formed the Somali National Movement in 1981. The SNM was one of a growing number of groups which aimed to topple Siad Barre.

As the 1980s unfolded, the Siad Barre regime became increasingly unsteady, and the SNM expanded its control in the north-west region. Mogadishu responded by instituting draconian measures in the north-west to suppress the SNM. When these failed, the government indiscriminately used raids and bombing campaigns to assert control. Nonetheless, by the end of the 1980s, the SNM controlled virtually all of the north-west, including the major towns of Hargeisa and Burao. The Siad Barre regime was on the verge of collapse.

The region, like the rest of Somalia, was marred by political instability and differences in culture, both due to regional feuds and the markedly different societies created by the British and Italian colonial authorities.

Second Independence

In 1991, after the collapse of the central government in Somalia in the Somali Civil War, the territory asserted its independence as the Republic of Somaliland, although it has received no international diplomatic recognition.

The economic infrastructure left behind by British, Soviet Union, and American funding and military assistance programs has been largely destroyed by war. The people of Somaliland had rebelled against Siad Barre dictatorship in Mogadishu which prompted a massive reaction by the government. Tony Worthington wrote of his first visit to Hargeysa, in 1992, at the time of Somalia's great famine, saying that he had never seen such devastation, after bombing by the ousted Siad Barre dictatorship had left 50,000 dead in the city alone. However, the country was re-built during the years that followed.

Abdurahman Ahmed Ali Tur was sworn as the first president of Somaliland, although he died just a year later. Egal was elected president in 1993, re-elected in 1998 and remained in power until his death on May 3, 2002. The vice president Dahir Riyale Kahin was declared the new president shortly afterwards.

Since independence Somaliland has been trying to extend its domination to Sanaag and Sool regions. Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf's Puntlander forces have led several invasions to defend these areas considered to be a part of Puntland State.

Somaliland is trying to declare independence but without Sanaag and Sool it lacks the land needed to make the state economically viable. Politics and government

The Politics and Government of Somaliland take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, with the President as head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in two chambers of parliament, the House of Representatives and the House of Elders.

The three major clans of Somaliland come from the Isaaq, the Dir (Gadabuursi and Ciise) and Harti/Darood (Warsangeli and Dulbahante) clan. Although comprised of multiple clans, Somaliland has managed to transcend clan differences by uniting through its independent and self-determining political culture, as well as collective fear of domination by the south. Lack of international recognition has meant that Somaliland has not had access to forms of government support for peace-building and reconstruction, although international aid organizations have done much to help restore essential services and infrastructure, clear land mines, reintegrate displaced populations, promote indigenous welfare organizations, and, more recently, to strengthen government bodies. As a result, Somaliland has performed much of its political reconstruction indigenously.


Somaliland has formed a hybrid system of governance combining traditional and western institutions. In a series of inter-clan conferences, culminating in the Borama Conference in 1993, a qabil (clan or community) system of government was constructed, which consisted of an Executive, with a President, Vice President, and Council of Ministers; a bicameral Legislature; and an independent judiciary. The traditional Somali council of elders (guurti) was incorporated into the governance structure and formed the upper house, responsible for selecting a President as well as managing internal conflicts. Government became in essence a "power-sharing coalition of Somaliland's main clans," with seats in the Upper and Lower houses proportionally allocated to clans according to a pre-determined formula. In 2002, after several extensions of this interim government, Somaliland finally made the transition to multi-party democracy, with district council elections contested by six parties, considered the "most peaceful in Africa for twenty years."

The district elections also determined which parties were allowed to contest the parliamentary and presidential elections, where a party was required to demonstrate at least twenty percent of the popular vote from four out of the six regions. This important caveat insured that parties would focus on consensus building and would not organize around ethnic lines. Subsequently, three parties were selected to submit presidential candidates: the United Democratic Peoples’ Party (UDUB), Kulmiye, and the Party for Justice and Welfare (UCID). On April 14, 2003, 488,543 voters participated the presidential elections, which ran more or less smoothly. The result was a slim eighty vote controversial victory for UDUB over the Kulmiye, complicated by allegations of ballot stuffing against the incumbent UDUB. Despite calls for the Kulmiye to form a rival government, the party’s leadership did not do so, instead choosing to abide by the Supreme Court ruling that declared UDUB’s victory. Despite minor demonstrations, the transition to the presidency of Daahir Rayaale Kaahin proceeded peacefully. This transition, combined with the fact that Kaahin was not a member of the dominant Isaaq clan, speaks volumes about the inter-clan commitment to peace-building and the rule of law. It could be, according to Steve Kibble, "the first indigenous modern African form of government." Without a doubt, the Somaliland government holds legitimacy in the eyes of its own people.

Somaliland boasts a constitution, a functional parliament and government ministries, an army, a police force, judiciary, and many of the signs of statehood, including a flag, currency, and passports. Nonetheless, it faces some significant problems to its continued survival. Like other Somali governments, it lacks a consistent taxation base and receives most of its support from private actors. Corruption remains a problem, women are virtually unrepresented in government, and there are growing concerns about voting patterns based on ethnic lines as well as the majority that UDUB has gained over both the regional councils and presidency as well as the parliament. Moreover, the large part of Somalilanders still harbor vivid memories of a predatory and extractive central state and are therefore wary of the construction of any strong central authority; this is evident in the importance placed on the role of the regional councils in dealing with local problems.

Somaliland was a British Protectorate for over 80 years during the colonial period. In 1960, it gained independence but formed a hasty union with former Italian Somaliland to create the Somali Republic. In 1969 Mohamed Siad Barre’s military coup brought Somalia’s flirtation with democracy to an end and planted the seeds of a secessionist struggle in Somaliland. This struggle culminated in a brutal three-year civil war in which 50,000 people were killed and half a million refugees fled. Between 1988 and 1991, Barre’s forces massacred civilians, laid over two million mines and reduced cities to rubble.

In 1991, the overthrow of Barre’s regime plunged Somalia into a state of chaos from which it is yet to emerge. On the other hand Somaliland, despite setbacks in 1994 and 1996, since its declaration as an independent state has managed to prosper and, as I.M. Lewis observes, assisted in no small part by its trade in livestock with Saudia Arabia "normal social life was returning to a capital widely reported to be the safest in Africa,"[1] Lewis reports the opening of a successful weddings bureau, that Hargeisa enjoys functioning traffic lights, the creation of two universities "of approximately the same standard as the old university institute founded by the Italians in Mogadishu" and the impressive Edna Adan maternity hospital. This state of affairs led Lewis to comment on:

"The ironic paradox in the summer of 2002 was that, while a government did not actually exist in Mogadishu, it was recognized and disingenuously promoted by the U.N.; in contrast, the functioning and democratically elected Somaliland government, that owed virtually everything to its own efforts remained unrecognized.[2]

What is most remarkable about this progress is that it has been achieved with virtually no external help. Whilst economic development has been heavily supported by Somalilanders in the Diaspora, lack of international recognition has meant that Somaliland does not qualify for bilateral aid or support from international financial institutions. This international isolation has not, however, resulted in isolationism. Lack of access to external aid has forced this country of 3.5-million people to become more self-reliant than many other African states. This self-reliance is reflected in what is perhaps the most significant of Somaliland’s achievements: its system of government.

Rather than having a Western democratic model of governance imposed on them from outside, Somaliland has managed to fuse Western-style institutions of government with its own traditional forms of social and political organization. Its bicameral parliament reflects this fusion of traditional and modern, with the senate consisting of traditional elders, and the House of Representatives consisting of elected representatives.

However, with its history of ‘tribalism’ and internecine fighting, the key challenge for Somaliland’s new parliament is to try and replace clan-based politics with party politics. For its first twelve years, Somaliland had no political parties but instead followed more traditional clan-based forms of political organization. Political parties were introduced during the presidential elections and it was hoped that the recent parliamentary elections would help to usher in a representative system without allowing representation to be overtly clan-based. Clearly, if clan loyalties were to take precedence over party loyalties, parliament would be seriously weakened. The traditional clan-based political system had resulted in an under representation of some clans and it was hoped that having just three parties (all non-clan-based) would reduce the extent to which clan allegiance affected the selection of candidates and the way in which people voted. A limited number of political parties would force alliances between clans to develop thereby increasing integration and pluralism between the various clans inhabiting the country.

In the traditional clan system it is the male elders who make decisions, and during the nomination process, many candidates were indeed selected by elders along clan lines. The male dominated nature of the selection process was reflected in the fact that only seven of the 246 candidates were female. There was also evidence that political parties often chose candidates based on their perceived popularity and support base. Whilst the absence of voter registration makes it hard to analyse voter patterns, it would seem from the results that there is some evidence that regional voting patterns reflect clan preferences. There is also evidence however, that alliances were sought between subgroups of different major clans across regions under the different party umbrellas. This would indicate that, although tribalism inevitably played some part in the election, it has been weakened. It will nevertheless be interesting to see how party loyalties will be negotiated against clan interests in the new parliament.

In 2005 Somaliland joined the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO), an international organization dedicated to the promotion of the right to self-determination. The UN still says there are some boundaries Somalialand will have to cross before it is recognized.

On March 1, 2006, the Welsh Assembly invited Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi, the speaker of the Somaliland parliament to the opening of a new Assembly building. Mr. Abdillahi said that Somaliland sees his invitation "as a mark of recognition by the National Assembly for Wales that [Somaliland has] legitimacy." The Somali community in Wales numbers 8-10,000, most of whom come from Somaliland.

In December 2006 representatives of the Somaliland Parliament again attended the Welsh Assembly receiving a standing ovation from its members. Two months earlier the Assembly approved the establishment of an aid budget for Africa. These moves were approved by the UK Foreign Office and Department for International Development and are seen as an attempt by the UK to encourage and reward the authorities in its former colony while avoiding the issue of formal recognition. [3]

Executive Branch

Main office holders Office Name Party Since President Dahir Riyale Kahin UDUB 2002

Legislative Branch

The Parliament (Baarlamaanka) has two chambers. The House of Representatives (Golaha Wakiilada) has 82 members, elected for a five year term . The House of Elders (Golaha Guurtida) has 82 members, representing traditional leaders.

Political parties and elections

For other political parties see List of political parties in Somaliland. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Somaliland.

Somaliland elects on national level a head of state (the president) and a legislature. The president is elected by the people for a five year term.

2005 Parliamentary election

Somaliland elects on national level a head of state (the president) and a legislature. The president is elected by the people for a five year term. The Parliament (Baarlamaanka) has two chambers. The House of Representatives (Golaha Wakiilada) will have 82 members, elected for a five year term . The House of Elders (Golaha Guurtida) will have 82 members, representing traditional leaders. Somaliland has a multi-party system, with numerous parties in which no one party often has a chance of gaining power alone, and parties must work with each other to form coalition governments.

Summary of the 28 September 2005 House of Representatives of Somaliland election results Parties Votes % Seats
For Unity, Democracy, and Independence (Ururka dimuqraadiga ummadda bahawday) 261,449 39.0 33
Peace, Unity, and Development Party (KULMIYE Nabad, Midnimo iyo horumar) 228,328 34.1 28
For Justice and Development (Ururka Caddaalada iyo Daryeelka) 180,545 26.9 21
Total 680,322 100.0 82
Invalid votes 4,585
Total votes cast 674,907
Source: IRI

House of Representatives of Somaliland

The House of Representatives of Somaliland (Golaha Wakiilada) is the self-declared, breakaway republic's legislative body.

The current House of Representatives, formed following elections held on 29 September 2005, has a total of 82 members including the Speaker of the House, Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi. They are elected in six multi-member constituencies using the party-list proportional representation system for a five year term.

Summary of the 28 September 2005 House of Representatives of Somaliland election results Parties Votes % Seats

For Unity, Democracy, and Independence (Ururka dimuqraadiga ummadda bahawday) 261,449 39.0 33
Peace, Unity, and Development Party (KULMIYE Nabad, Midnimo iyo horumar) 228,328 34.1 28
For Justice and Development (Ururka Caddaalada iyo Daryeelka) 180,545 26.9 21
Total 680,322 100.0 82
Invalid votes 4,585
Total votes cast 674,907
Source: IRI

Politics and government of Somaliland

Somaliland held elections to an 82-member House of Representatives on 29 September 2005. It was the first multiparty parliamentary election conducted in the unrecognized breakaway republic since 1991, when Somalia descended into civil war and Somaliland declared its independence.

Political parties

The Somaliland Constitution limits the number of political parties to three, all of which will compete in the election. Various sources provide different translations of political party names. They are:

Peace, Unity, and Development Party (Kulmiye Nabad, Midnimo iyo horumar, also known as Solidarity / The Gathering / Union and Development), The party chairman is Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud Silanyo For Justice and Development (Ururka Caddaalada iyo Daryeelka, also known as the Justice and Welfare Party). The party chairman is Faysal Ali Warabe

For Unity, Democracy, and Independence (Ururka dimuqraadiga ummadda bahawday, also known as Allied People's Democratic Party / United Democratic People's Party / National Alliance Democratic Party / Pillar). The party chairman is Dahir Riyale Kahin, who is the current President of Somaliland.

There are a total of 246 candidates - including 5 women contesting the election.

Electoral system

According to Somaliland's House of Representatives Election Law, every party that contests the election is required to submit a list of its candidates to the National Electoral Commission. The names of the candidates shall be set out in a sequential order, and shall relate to each region on the basis of the number of seats allocated to each region. The seats allocated to each electoral region shall be won by the parties on the basis of proportional representation system as reflected by the votes cast for each party in the region

Seat allocation by region

Region Number of seats (82) 
Awdal           13 
Wooqoyi Galbeed 20 
Saaxil          10 
Togdheer        15 
Sanaag          12 
Sool            12 

Final results

Summary of the 28 September 2005 House of Representatives of Somaliland election results Parties Votes % Seats
For Unity, Democracy, and Independence (Ururka dimuqraadiga ummadda bahawday) 261,449 39.0 33
Peace, Unity, and Development Party (KULMIYE Nabad, Midnimo iyo horumar) 228,328 34.1 28
For Justice and Development (Ururka Caddaalada iyo Daryeelka) 180,545 26.9 21
Total 680,322 100.0 82
Invalid votes 4,585
Total votes cast 674,907
Source: IRI

A team of 76 observers from Canada, Finland, Kenya, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and Zimbabwe monitored the polls. They described that the elections were conducted in a peaceful condition and were generally free and fair, nonetheless, the vote had fallen short of meeting several international standards.

Dahir Riyale Kahin's Cabinet

President: Dahir Riyale Kahin 
Minister of foreign affairs: Abdillahi Mohamed Dualeh 
Minister of state for foreign affairs: Said Mohamed Nuur 
Minister of planing: Ali Ibrahim Mohamed 
Minister of resettlement and rehabilitation: Abshir Ahmed Hussein 
Minister of defence: Adan Mire Mohamed 
Minister of water and mineral resources: Qasim Sheekh Yusuf 
Minister of sports: Mohamoud Said Mohamed 
Minister of justice: Ahmed Hasan Ali 
Minister of agriculture: Adan Ahmed Elmi 
Minister of interior: Abdillahi Ismail Ali 
Minister of finance: Huseen Ali Duale 
Minister of information: Ahmed Haji Dahir Elmi 
Minister of education: Hassan Haji Mohamoud 
Minister of commerce and industry: Osman Qassim Qodax 
Minister of religion: Sh. Mohamed Sh Mohamoud 
Minister of fisheries: Mohamoud Oday 
Minister of livestock: Dr. Idiris 
Minister of range and rural development: Fuad Adan Adde 
Minister of tourism and culture: Osman Bile Ali 
Minister of health and labour: Abdillahi Hussein Iman 
Minister of civil aviation: Ali Mohamed 
Minister of presidency: Nuh Mohamed Osman 
Minister for public works: Siciid Sulub 
Minister of state for reconstruction, resettlement and rehabilitation: Yasin Fardoon 
Minister of state for interior: Aw Adan Ali Saeed 
Minister of relations with houses of parliament: Abdi Hassan Buuni 
Minister of post and telecommunications: Liban Ducaleh 
Minister for family affairs and social development: Fadumo Hassan Sudi 
Minister of state for public work: Adan Ahmed Mohamoud 


1. Lewis, A Modern history, p. 306
2. Lewis, A Modern history, p. 307
3. "Somaliland: Wales Strikes Out On Its Own In Its Recognition of Somaliland", Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, 6 Mar 2005.

Foreign relations of Somaliland

Due to its unrecognized status, The Republic of Somaliland has no official contacts with any other nation. The current foreign policy of Somaliland is to try to secure international recognition as a sovereign, stable country, so that international aid can be more readilly secured.

Somaliland was independent for a few days in 1960, between the end of British colonial rule and its union with the former Italian colony of Somalia, remaining so until the unilateral declaration of reestablishing its independence in 1991. Somaliland's claims to sovereignty rests on this former status. In addition to this, the fact that the rest of Somalia is in a state of anarchy while Somaliland is under stable government also lends credence to its claim.

The attitude of the United Nations and the African Union on the preservation of existing national borders has so far prevented recognition of Somaliland, despite the examples of the former status of British Somaliland, and the fact that Eritrea successfully broke away from Ethiopia and became a recognized country.

An African Union fact-finding mission which visited Somaliland early 2005 recently published a report that recommended favorable consideration for recognizing Somaliland's independence. [1]

Foreign Minister

Abdillahi Mohamed Dualeh is the current Foreign Minister of Somaliland, the Foreign Minister has held this office since 2006.

Diplomatic Representative Offices

As Somaliland is so far not recognized as sovereign by any other country, no embassies are located in Somaliland. Somaliland does have representative offices in several countries, but these missions do not have formal diplomatic status under the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.


Somaliland is in dispute with the neighbouring autonomous Somali region of Puntland over the Sanaag and Sool areas, some of whose inhabitants owe their allegiance to Puntland.

Somaliland's leaders have distanced themselves from Somalia's central transitional government, set up in 2004 following long-running talks in Kenya, which they see as a threat to Somaliland's autonomy.

Organizational Membership

Somaliland is a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO).


1. "Somaliland: AU Mission to Somaliland Says Recognition Overdue", UNPO, 1 Mar 2006.
2. "AU supports Somali split", Mail & Guardian, 10 Feb 2006.

Somaliland border dispute with Puntland. As of July 1, 2007, part of the disputed territory declared the state of Maakhir.Somaliland has political contacts with the United Kingdom,[6][7] Ethiopia,[7] Belgium,[7] Ghana,[7] South Africa,[7] Sweden[7] and Djibouti (until 2006).[8] On January 17, 2007, the European Union sent a delegation for foreign affairs to discuss future cooperation.[9] The African Union has also sent a foreign minister to discuss the future of international acknowledgment, and on January 29 and 30, 2007, the minsters said that they would discuss acknowledgement with other member states [10] In June 2007, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi held a conference with President Kahin during which he was referred to in an official communique by the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry as the President of Somaliland, the first time that Somaliland has been officially acknowledged as a sovereign state by another government. While this is not claimed as a move to official recognition by Ethiopia, it is seen as a possible step towards a unilateral declaration by Ethiopia in the event of the African Union failing to move its recognition of Somaliland forward. [7]

Border disputes

The Republic of Somaliland continues to claim the entire area of the former British Somaliland. Somaliland is currently in control of the western half of the former British Somaliland, with northeastern Maakhir having declared a separate, unrecognized autonomous state within Somalia on July 1, 2007[2] and southeastern Sool disputed with Puntland, who has been in de facto control over it since 2003.[1] A separatist movement exists also in the westernmost Awdal province.[11]

Further complicating the situation may be the probable future declaration of the autonomous region of Darwiishland in Sool.[12]

Tensions heightened to a violent clash between Puntland and Somaliland in October, 2007, when Somaliland forces captured Las Anod, the capital of the disputed region of Sool.[13]

Military of Somaliland

Military manpower

Military age Officially 18 years of age
Availability males age 18-49: ~595,000 (2005)[citation needed]
Fit for military service males age 18-49: ~340,000 (2005)[citation needed]
Reaching military age annually males: n/a
Active troops Est. 64,000 [citation needed]
Military expenditures
Dollar figure $10 million (extrapolation--see below)
Percent of GDP 0.9% (2005)[citation needed]

Operational BM-21 used by the Somaliland armed forces

The Somaliland Armed Forces are the main military system in the unrecognised Republic of Somaliland. They consist of three main military services: the Army, the Navy and Air Defence Forces. Also, the Somaliland Police Force are part of the internal security forces and are subordinate to the military. Currently around 20 000 personnel are active in Somaliland. The Somaliland Armed Forces takes the biggest share of the government's budget with the police and security forces. The current person in charge of Somaliland's Armed Forces is the Minister of Defence Mudane Adan Mire Mohammed MP.

Some military facilities were bought during Egal's administration to assist the military's usual duties and the necessary movements. The army is organised into 12 divisions which comprise of 4 tank brigades, 45 mechanized and infantry brigades, 4 commando brigades, surface-to-air missile brigade, 3 artillery brigades, 300 field battalions, and an air defense battalion.

Regions of Somaliland

The regions of Somaliland are (capitals in parentheses):

Awdal (Borama)
Saaxil (Berbera)
Sanaag (Erigavo)
Sool (Laascaanood)
Togdheer (Burao)
Woqooyi Galbeed (Hargeisa)


Awdal (Somali: Awdal) is an administrative region in Somalia. Its capital is Borame. It is bordered by Ethiopia, Djibouti, the Somaliland region of Woqooyi Galbeed and the Gulf of Aden. Awdal is one of the six regions of the self-proclaimed de facto Republic of Somaliland (former British Somaliland). Awdal (also spelled Adal or Adel) takes its name from of the ancient empire the Adal Sultanate whose power rose in the 16th Century.

Awdal region is relatively affluent, contrasting the perception of the Horn of Africa as being war-torn and famine-stricken. The chaos of the Somali Civil War and its aftermath has not ravaged this area quite so much as the rest of the country. For example, the residents of Awdal enjoy the region's most advanced telecommunications network, with fairly reliable cell phone service and internet access.[citation needed] Additionally, agriculture, mining and industry in the area are all profitable enough to allow a comfortable standard of living for the majority of residents, by Sub-Saharan standards.[citation needed] Awdal is also the home of Amoud University.

A modern separatist movement, known as the Awdal Republic[1], sought independence in 1995 when Somalia began to dissolve after the downfall of Mohamed Siad Barre. A Dir-clan dominated movement in Awdal province threatens to push for independence if the Republic of Somaliland is officially recognized.[2]

References 1. Awdal "Republic": Declaration of Independence, [Somalia]. University of Pennsylvania - African Studies Center. Retrieved on 2007-01-29.
2. Somaliland: The Myth of Clan-Based Statehood. Somalia Watch (2002-12-07).

Awdal region consists of four districts:

Baki (Baki is the former capital of the Awdal region, Somaliland. It has around 100,000 inhabitants. It is also the capital of the district of Baki, which is a mountainous region in the centre of Awdal region. The people of Baki district belong to the Gadabursi sub clans Reer Nuur and Mahad Case.)


(Borama (Somali: Boorama) is a city in the Awdal region of Somaliland, near the border with Ethiopia. Borama are located 120 km on the westside of the capital of Somaliland, Hargeisa.

Borama has a population between 150,000 till 200,000 residents. Borama is the commercial center of the Awdal region.

Borama is an important education center and is the home of the historic Amoud University. The first postwar institution of higher learning throughout Somaliland.

Borama has six secondary schools, four of them are newly built: Al Aqsa Secondary School, Ubaya - Ibnuka'ab Secondary School, Al Nuur Secondary School and New Amoud Secondary School.

The other two secondary schools in the town are the famous Sh. Ali Jowhar Secondary and Hassan Arbile Secondary school.

Borama is also the home of the first Deaf school in Somaliland. Borama Deaf School trains and provides the deaf children with education that extends up to high school. Since the school is the first and the only one of its type, it has attracted a great number of deaf pupils from across Somaliland and even beyond.

Borama is a mountainous and hilly city and has one of the wonderful and beautiful landscapes in the country. It has green meadows and fields and a key wildlife area in the country. The fertility and greenery of Borama has attracted many animals into the region: gazelles, birds, camels and other animals as well.

Borama has three major hotels. Rays Hotel are located on the west coner of the town, next the old Sheera Boorama. Cape Town hotel and Nasimo Hotel both are located in downtown Boorama, in the area of the EELO AMERICAN UNIVERSITY.

Borama International Airport is the only one airport in the Awdal Region. It's Has the name of the first minister of Education of Somalia Aden Isaaq.

Airlines: Djibouti airlines, Daallo Airlines and Star African Airlines.

Destionations: Djibouti, Dubai, Hargeisa and Mogadishu

Annalena Tonelli, winner of the 2003 Nansen Refugee Award from the UNHCR, was murdered in October 2003 at the Tuberculosis hospital she founded in Borama.


Lughaya is a hot and dry coastal town in the Guban Coast. The Lughaya district is part of the Awdal region in Somaliland.

Lughaya is a small coastal town about 200 km to the north of the main port of Berbera. It has a population of around 20,000. It is the biggest town in the Lughaya district. Most of the government buildings in the town were destroyed in the Somali Civil War. The Lughaya was a battle zone of the SNM militias, Gadabursi local militias, Issa militias and the Siad Barre's army that was based in Lughaya.

The people of the Lughaya district are nomads and farmers that are mostly dependent on the sea for their income and money of the diaspora family members. The whole district has a population of around 75,000. The people of Lughaya belong the Mahad Case sub clan of the Gadabursi clan and the Mamansen sub clan of Issa.

Saylac (Zeila)

Zeila (Somali: Saylac) is a port city on the Gulf of Aden coast in the Awdal Region of northern Somalia, and as of 2006 is part of the self-proclaimed but internationally unrecognized Republic of Somaliland.

It is located at 11.2105° N 43.2857° E, surrounded on three sides by the sea; landward the country is unbroken desert for some fifty miles. Berbera is 170 miles southeast of Zeila, while the Ethiopian city of Harar is 200 miles to the west.

The town is known for its offshore islands, coral reef and mangroves. Its lack of a sufficient supply of good drinking water has historically hobbled its commercial value, pointed out as late as 1698, (in this instance in a Dutch East India Company report).[1]


Zeila has been identified with what was called in Classical Antiquity the city of the Avalitae. According to Richard Pankhurst, the city first appears under its own name at least as early as 891, when the geographer al-Ya'qubi mentions Zeila in his Kitab al-Balden ("Book of the countries").[2] Zeila is described by successive geographers who include al-Mas'udi, who wrote his Murugal al-Dahab wa-Ma'adin al-Guwahir ("Meadows of Gold and Mines of Precious Stones") c. 935; and Ibn Hawqal who described it as the port of embarkation from Ethiopia for Hijaz and Yemen in his Kitab Surat al-'Ard ("Configuration of the Earth"), which he completed in 988.

Its importance as a trading port is further confirmed by al-Idrisi and ibn Said, who describe Zeila as a considerable town, a center of the slave trade, and under Ethiopian control. Pankhurst, amongst other writers, thought Marco Polo was referring to Zeila (then the capital of Adal) when he recounts how the "sultan of Aden" seized a bishop of Ethiopia travelling through his realm, attempted to convert the man by force, then had him circumcised according to Islamic practice. This outrage provoked the Emperor into raising an army and capturing the Sultan's capital.[3]

The traveller Ibn Battuta visited Zeila in 1329, but was not impressed at the city, writing that it was "the dirtiest, most disagreeable, and most stinking town in the world", which he blamed on the fish and the blood from the camels that they slaughtered in the streets. He claimed to have found the town so revolting that he spent the night aboard ship, despite the rough seas.[4]

By this time, Zeila was subject to the Walashma dynasty, who also ruled over Ifat. Although later in the 14th century Zeila came under the sway of the rulers of Yemen, by the reign of Sultan Sa'ad ad-Din II the Walashma family had sufficient control of the town for that sultan to take refuge there in 1403 (other sources say 1415) from Emperor Dawit I. The Ethiopian Emperor besieged the sultan there for several days, depriving sultan Sa'ad ad-Din of water, until at last the Ethiopians entered the city and killed the unfortunate ruler. Following his death, the sultan came to be considered a saint, and his tomb was venerated for the next several centuries.[5]

Travellers' reports in the 16th century show that Zeila had become an important marketplace, despite being ravaged by the Portuguese in 1517 and 1528. Later that century, destructive raids by nearby Somali nomads caused the ruler of the port, Garad Lado, to have a strong wall built around Zeila.

Although, with Tadjoura, Zeila was one of the principal ports for the city of Harar and the regions of Aussa and Shewa, the town fell in importance over the next centuries. At the beginning of the 19th century, according to Pankhurst, this port city had become a dependency of the ruler of Mocha, who "farmed out the governorship of the African port to one of his courtiers who in return took a toll on its trade."[6] Zeila briefly became a province of Egypt, but in 1885 Zeila and its eastern neighbor Berbera were annexed into British Somaliland.

The construction of a railway from Djibouti to Addis Ababa in the late 19th century led to a further decline in status for Zeila. At the beginning of the next century Zeila was described in the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica as having a "good sheltered anchorage much frequented by Arab sailing craft." However, heavy draught steamers are obliged to anchor a mile and a half from the shore. Small coasting boats lie off the pier and there is no difficulty in loading or discharging cargo. The water supply of the town is drawn from the wells of Takosha, about three miles distant; every morning camels, in charge of old Somali women and bearing goatskins filled with water, come into the town in picturesque procession. ... [Zeila's] imports, which reach Zaila chiefly via Aden, are mainly cotton goods, rice, jowaree, dates and silk; the exports, 90% of which are from Abyssinia, are principally coffee, skins, ivory, cattle, ghee and mother-of-pearl.

Modern times

Since the war, Zeila has been bombed frequently and nearly all the buildings were either demolished or semi-demolished. Residents fled the town and emigrated to neighbouring countries such as Djibouti. However when Somaliland was declared a separate country from Somalia residents went back to Zeila and rebuilt their town. Remittance money sent from overseas relatives contributed tremendously in the reconstruction of the town as well as the trade and fishing industry.


1. Richard Pankhurst, History of Ethiopian Towns (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1982), p. 64.
2. Pankhurst, p. 54.
3. Pankhurst, p. 55.
4. Ross E. Dunn, The adventures of Ibn Battuta (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), pp. 122f.
5. Pankhurst, p. 57.
6. Pankhurst, p. 305.


Dilla is a town located in northern Somalia (current Somaliland) in the Awdal region. Dilla is inhabited by the reer-nuur clan (samaroon or gadabuursi as known). Dilla is the home town of many Somali actors and brave men such as Bashir Shiekh Omar Goth,Abdi Kamil Awale, Hibo Mahamed Hudoon, Abdi Sinimoo, Omar Shabeel, Ubah Daahir (Fahmo), Rooda Ahmed, Nuh Aw Modaboobe, Hasan Elmi, Daa'uud Amir,Fadxiya Ali,Fariid Cayra, Faduun Duacaale and many others. It is also the home of many national heroes such as Shiekh Omar Goth Nour,Haji Hirsi and Haji Ibrahim Nur. Economically, Dilla is dependent on agriculture since it is the best agricultural area of northern Somalia. Dilla is first school in Somali coeducation history.


Jaarahoroto is a village near Dilla. Jaarahoroto is where the king of the Samaroon was recrowned after civil wars in 1882. That civil conflict only lasted for a few days, but it was finished by the british authorities. Jaarahoroto is part of the territory of reer-nuur clan of the samaroon tribe.Jaarahoroto was first farm cultivited in British Somaliland.The great Leaders of that city was Shiekh Muse Adde,Haji Obsiye Gedi,Elmi warfa,Shiekh Omar Goth Nour Sheikh Ibrahim Sheikh Raage (Indhacase), Aqli X. Xirsi (Aqli Wanjal), Suldaan Indhamood (maxaadhiye).


Saaxil (Sahel) is a region (gobolka) in Somalia, and one of the six regions of the self-proclaimed but not internationally recognized, Republic of Somaliland (former British Somaliland). Its capital is Berbera. It is bordered by Gulf of Aden and the Somaliland regions of Woqooyi Galbeed, Sanaag, Togdheer and Awdal.

Cities in Saaxil (Sahel) Region


Berbera (Somali: Berbera) is a city in northwestern Somalia and part of the newly established Saaxil region of Somaliland. It was for centuries the capital of the Somaliland region and also the colonial capital of British Somaliland from 1870 to 1941 when it was moved to Hargeisa. Located strategically on the oil route, Berbera has a deep-sea port, completed in 1969 and it is still the main commercial seaport for Somaliland.


The city was first described in the eighth chapter of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea written by a Greek merchant in the first century CE. Here it is referred to as "Malao."

After Avalites there is another market-town, better than this, called Malao, distant a sail of about eight hundred stadia. The anchorage is an open roadstead, sheltered by a spit running out from the east. Here the natives are more peaceable. There are imported into this place the things already mentioned, and many tunics, cloaks from Arsinoe, dressed and dyed; drinking-cups, sheets of soft copper in small quantity, iron, and gold and silver coin, not much. There are exported from these places myrrh, a little frankincense, (that known as far-side), the harder cinnamon, duaca, Indian copal and macir, which are imported into Arabia; and slaves, but rarely.[1]

The city was also described in the 13th century by Arab geographers and travellers.

However, as I.M. Lewis notes, "beyond the fact that during the period of Portuguese domination in the Red Sea the town was sacked in 1518 by Saldanha, little of its history is known before the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries."[2] In 1546, the Ottoman Empire occupied the western regions of Somaliland including Berbera and made Zeila the regional capital due to their strategic location on the Red Sea.

The British explorer Richard Burton made two visits to this port, and his second visit was marred by an attack on his camp by several hundred Somali spearmen the night of 19 April 1855, and although Burton was able to escape to Aden, one of his companions was killed.[3] Burton, recognizing the importance of the port city wrote:

"In the first place, Berberah is the true key of the Red Sea, the centre of East African traffic, and the only safe place for shipping upon the western Erythraean shore, from Suez to Guardafui. Backed by lands capable of cultivation, and by hills covered with pine and other valuable trees, enjoying a comparatively temperate climate, with a regular although thin monsoon, this harbour has been coveted by many a foreign conqueror. Circumstances have thrown it as it were into our arms, and, if we refuse the chance, another and a rival nation will not be so blind."[4]

It was not long before these words proved prescient. In 1875 the rulers of Ottoman Egypt re-established their direct rule; they then withdrew their garrison in 1884 to concentrate their forces against the Mahdi in Sudan. Despite this, Britain took Berbera and it served until 1941 as the winter capital of British Somaliland and the main seaport.

Berbera later was the site of a Soviet naval and missile base in the 1970s. Before the self-declaration of the establishment of Somaliland, it was part of the Woqooyi Galbeed region. However, the Government of Somaliland separated the region in two - Berbera being in the newly-established Saaxil region.


Berbera is a seaport, with the only sheltered harbour on the south side of the Gulf of Aden; its population in 2000 was approximately 200,000. The weather of Berbera is very dry, hot and wet during the rainy season. The landscape around Berbera, along with Somaliland's coastal lowlands, is desert or semi-desert where the temperatures in the summertime can approach upwards of 50°C. Most of the city residents are forced to seasonally migrate to the cooler inland cities during these hot times.


Berbera is the terminus of roads from Hargeisa and Burco, and an airport now adds to its accessibility. Berbera exports sheep, gum arabic, frankincense, and myrrh.

Ship Docked at Berbera portIts seaborne trade is chiefly with Aden in Yemen 240 km/150 mi to the north. Prior to the Somali civil war, Berbera was home to a small naval port that was built by the Soviets, then later used by the Americans. This is now part of the commercial port. Due to Somaliland's unrecognition, the seaport cannot trade with other ports


Since the Eritrean-Ethiopian War, it has grown as a major export port for Ethiopia, and is now the main source of foreign currency for Somaliland. The city is also home to a runway, built by the Soviet Union in the mid-1970s and from the 1980s onward was designated by NASA as an emergency landing strip for the U.S. Space Shuttle. The Berbera runway is known to be the longest runway in Africa.

Berbera has a number of Ottoman buildings scattered around the city, mementos of the Ottoman occupation. Many of the buildings have never been entered and they have survived the bombings during the Siad Barre regime.


1. The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, ch. 8 [1]
2. I.M. Lewis, A Modern History of the Somali, fourth edition (Oxford: James Currey, 2002),p. 21
3. Lewis, A Modern History, p. 36
4. Richard Burton, First Footsteps in East Africa, Preface


Sheikh Mountain are part of the Golis Chain that stretches along the length of Somaliland. Sheikh is a small town atop the Sheikh Mountains, and to get there you take the Sheikh Pass. The view from the Sheikh Pass is spectular, as the mountains cascade into the horizon. Sheikh is also home to the Sheikh Secondary School, the Eaton of Somaliland.

Sheikh mountain (about 2,000 metres above sea level) is also a natural wonder by its vegetation; as it receives more rainful than the surrounding the areas, the mountain is well wooded, and many of the plants may be unique. Unluckily there it is not nature reserve, which it should be.


Sanaag (Somali: Sanaag) is a region (gobol) in northern Somalia. Sanaag is claimed by the two self-proclaimed but internationally-unrecognized states of Somaliland, Puntland, and the self-declared autonomous state Maakhir. It was the largest region of formerly British Somaliland protectorate. Its capital city is Ceerigaabo (Erigavo).

Sanaag has a long coastline facing the Gulf of Aden to the north and is bordered by the Somalian regions of Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sool and Bari.

The most important towns are Ceerigaabo, Badhan, Las Khorey, Dhahar, Ceel Afweyn, Hadaaftimo, Xingalool,Yubbe City, Buraan, Damala Xagare, Maydh, Ceelbuh, Gar Adag, Hadaaftimo, Kaladhacda, and Awrboogays.


A severe drought in the region in the early part of the 21st century caused an 80% or greater loss of livestock, though two good rainy seasons in 2004–2005 helped restore the area. Over a 15-year period of analysis, from 1988–2003, there was a 52% loss of forest and a 40% loss of grassland, and a 370% increase in bare land. Soil erosion due to weather and human activities and clearing of wood and brush for such uses as charcoal and fuel are issues leading to a degradation of the environment.[1]

Territorial dispute

Somaliland border dispute with Puntland. As of July 1, 2007, part of the disputed territory declared the state of Maakhir.Sanaag is a disputed region, claimed as sovereign territory by the two self-proclaimed but internationally-unrecognized states of Somaliland and Puntland, as well as defined as part of the Somali Republic according to the 2004 Transitional Federal Charter of the Somali Republic of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

The dispute between Somaliland and Puntland stems from 1998, when Puntland formed and declared the region as part of its territory.[2] Prior to that, it had been claimed by Somaliland since the 1991 events of the Somali Civil War.

Beginning in 2003, the forces of Puntland entered and occupied the region based on irredentist desires, due to the large Darod clan population in the area. Somaliland claimed the territory as part of the original bounds of British Somaliland. Fighting between the two forces led to casualties and captured prisoners, who were later exchanged. As a related contention, in 2005 Puntland tried to sell off mineral rights to foreign investors, including the disputed territories of Sool and Sanaag.[3][4]

The dispute with the TFG stems from the passage of the new Charter in November 2004. However, this was not a pragmatic issue until the military successes of the government in the 2006–2007 war in Somalia. Assertions of sovereignty in January 2007 by the TFG leadership sparked riots in Somaliland, both for and against a reunification with the south.[5][6]

In July 1, 2007, the state of Maakhir was declared on the area. It claims independence from both Puntland and Somaliland.[7]

Districts of Sanaag Region

According to the Republic of Somali, before 1991 Sanaag was Divided into 5 Districts which are as follows:[8]

Badhan - Warsengeli (Badhan (also known as Barran, Baran) is a district in the Sanaag region, a territory disputed by the Republic of Somalia, the Republic of Somaliland and the autonomous state of Puntland.

In July 2007 the district became the capital city of Maakhir State of Somalia. The city has grown since the civil war in Somalia and there is a Hospital, 3 secondary schools and a planned university, thought the Maakhir Authority plan to open another University in Buran, another city towards the East of Sanaag.

Badhan consists of 4 main neighbourhoods - Horseed, Iftin, Furqan and Nour.)

Ceel Afwayn

Ceerigaabo - Isaaq, Warsengeli and Dhulbahante (Erigabo or Erigavo (Somali: Ceerigaabo) is the administrative capital of Sanaag, a region disputed by the two autonomous Puntland and Somaliland states in Somalia, which has an estimated population of just over 33,853.[1] The city, at an altitude of 1,788 m (5,866 ft)[2] above sea level, is the mildest in Somaliland.

Erigavo is also the seat for many international and local non-governmental organizations (NGO). Many of Somaliland government offices operate from Erigavo and provide key services including banking which is provided by the Bank of Somaliland. Other services include a regional hospital, and Ceerigaabo Airport to the east of the town.

Ten kilometres to the north of Ceerigaabo are the remains of a juniper forest, running along the edge of the escarpment which looks down to the Gulf of Aden. The escarpment is approximately 2,000 metres above sea level, where the road from Ceerigaabo drops down to the coast. Two kilometres to the west it rises to the highest point in Somaliland and Somalia alike; At 2,416 metres high, it is known variously as (Somali Shimbiris or Shimbir Beris) meaning in English the abode of the birds. Shimbir Beris was one of the locations where Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan built a fort, which was subsequently attacked and destroyed by British colonial forces in 1914.

A road was constructed in a form suitable for trucks by the British during World War II, using the labour of Italian prisoners of war. Before then there was a long established camel track down the escarpment. The road leads to a small port town known as Mayd, or Mait, which is thought to have existed since Roman times. Frankincense grows throughout the area north of the escarpment, and is a source of income for the people of this area.

In the Government area of the town of Erigavo (the Shaab) a simple masonry monument holds the wrecked engine block of a British biplane that crashed in the area in 1920 while carrying out bombing operations against Mohammed Abdullah Hassan. This operation, based out of Aden, is thought to be one of the first uses of aircraft in war, on the continent of Africa.

Approximately 1 km (0.6 mi) west of Mait, on the coast, is the tomb of Sheik Isaaq, the founder of the Isaaq clan.

Scattered throughout the coastal ranges and some distance inland from the escarpment, are large graves, in the shape of cairns of large stones loosely piled on top on each other, up to three meters high and from six to ten metres wide. These are know as Galla graves (Taalla Galla), and thought to predate the occupation of the area by Somali people. Some have been opened up, showing a small burial chamber covered by a flat rock. The cairns near the coast at Mait seem to be more complex in design, with two distinct levels, the use of different colored stone for different sections, and sometimes an outer boundary ring of stones some metres away from the cairn itself

The main source of livelihood for people in the region is the herding of goats, sheep and camels, over ranges of open country defined on a clan rather than household basis. In the town remittances of money from family members outside Somalia are important.


Las Khorey (Somali: Laasqorey) is an ancient coastal town in what was the Sanaag region, that is disputed by Somalia and Somaliland. The self-proclaimed autonomous state of Maakhir, currently unrecognized by the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, also includes the town. It has archaeological sites as well as ancient historic buildings. Most of the archaeological sites are still unexplored to the fullest.

The city is famous for its fish factory, the first and only factory of its kind in Somalia. There are some other factories there as well. This city is also surrounded by beautiful mountains known locally as Cal Madow, which has internationally valuable un-exploited mineral deposits and unique natural habitats, which are part of Somalias heritage. Cal Madow is considered a world-class exploration area with a petroleum system identical to and formerly contiguous with those within the Republic of Yemen.

Horn Relief is re-developing the port in Las Khorey, which aims to create immediate employment and longer-term livelihood by redeveloping the former Las Khorey Port, which some people says is 400 years old. The intention is that import and export opportunities can be restored to the North coastal region for the rebuilding of communities and livelihoods. This project is being undertaken with strong and ongoing support from all stakeholders and will involve partnerships with government and social/cultural authorities jointly. This infrastructure and governance Project involves collaboration between the communities in and around Laasqoray and the private sector, including traders in the Northern hinterland to simulate new trade and infrastructural investments in the Las Khorey area.

Las Khorey is peaceful city and once again is famous for its distinctive songs and dance known as Laasqoria and heeladu waa hanaan Laasqoray.

Las Khorey used to be the capital city of the Sultanate of Mohamoud Ali Shire (Warsangeli Sultanates), which also have known as the Makhir Coast Sultanate.

According to the Republic of Puntland, the Sanaag region consists of 10 districts with Badhan being the Capital of the region. The Transitional Federal government also recognizes Puntland as an official state so as as its regions and districts. The Districts of Sanaag are:

Erigabo - Warsengeli and Dhulbahante 
Hadaaftimo - Warsengeli 
Xingalol - Warsengeli 
Dhahar - Warsengeli 
Buraan - Warsengeli 
Xabasha Wacle - Warsengeli 
Badhan - Warsengeli 
Las Khorey - Warsengeli 
Kaladhacda - Warsengeli 
Ceelbuh - Warsengeli 
According to the Republic of Somaliland, as of July 2002, Sanaag was formally divided into 10 districts, rated "A" through "D" in terms; districts graded "D" were limited, because "their district councils shall not be elected at first local government elections as their borders have not yet been delineated."[9] Thusly, under the 2005 elections for the lower house of Parliament, Sanaag was described as only having six districts.[10] Here is the list of districts of Sanaag and their "Grade":
ErigaVo (A) -   Isaaq, Warsengeli and Dhulbahante 
El-Afweyn (A) - Isaaq 
Badhan (A) -    Warsengeli 
Lasqoray (A) -  Warsengeli 
Dhahar (A) -    Warsengeli 
Gar-adag (D) -  Isaaq 
Xingalool (B) -  Warsengeli 
Ceelbuh (D) -    Warsengeli 
Buraan (C) -     Warsengeli 
Hadaaftimo (C) - Warsengeli 


1. Environmental Study of Degradation in the Sool Plateau and Gebi Valley: Sanaag Region of Northern Somalia. Horn Relief (February 2006). Retrieved on 2007-02-06.
2. Remarks on the 1998 Charter of Puntland State of Somalia. Somalia Watch (2000-08-12).
3. "Somalia's Puntland Sold Exploration Rights In ?Somaliland", Somaliland Times, 2006-02-01.
4. "Somaliland, Puntland Exchange Detainees", Somaliland Times, 2005-12-07. Retrieved on 2007-01-18.
5. "Anti Somalia government protest rages in Somaliland", SomaliNet, 2007-01-16. Retrieved on 2007-01-16.
6. "Pro-government rally take place in northwest Somalia", Shabelle Media Network, 2007-01-17. Retrieved on 2007-01-19.
7. The Formation of The Maakhir State of Somalia
8. Gwillim Law, "Districts of Somalia ", Statoids, December 31, 1990


Location of Sool in Puntland/Somalia

For other places with the same name, see Sool (disambiguation).

Sool (Somali: Sool) is a province located in the northeastern interior of the Horn of Africa. The regional capital of Sool is Las Anod (Laascaanood) and the region is historically known for the anti-colonial movement called Darwiish.

Territorial dispute

Sool is a disputed region, claimed as sovereign territory by the two self-proclaimed but internationally-unrecognized states of Somaliland and Puntland, as well as defined as part of the Somali Republic according to the 2004 Transitional Federal Charter of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). During 2006, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) also incorporated sharia courts in Sool region into their loose alliance, though their military forces never occupied the region.

Under the government of Siad Barre, Sool was not a separate region, but part of the larger Nugaal province, with the capital city of Garowe. It was separated from Nugaal in the 1980s.[1]

Since 2003 and until October 2007, Sool has been under control of Puntland.[2] After the conflict of 2007, Sool has been under control of Somaliland.[citation needed]


Lasanod (A) (also Laascaanood, Lasanood or Las Anod)

Las Anod

Las Anod[1] (Somali: Laascaanood) is the administrative capital of Sool region of Somalia. The city was part of the former British Somaliland Protectorate, which gained independence from the United Kingdom on 26 June 1960.

Laascaanood is one of the largest cities in Somalia, and has a population of around 100,000.[2]

On October 15, 2007 Somaliland forces took the town in a battle. The city is one of many which are claimed by the international unrecognized Somaliland state and autonomous Puntland state which is part of Somalia

Ainabo (C) (Caynaba or Aynabo) 
Taleh (C) (Taleex) 
Hudun (C) (Xudun) 
Boane (D) (also Boocame or Bo'ame)[3] 
Yagori (D) 


1. Somalia (1988). CIA (December 1988). Retrieved on 2007-02-21.
2. Puntland's control over parts of Somaliland. The Somaliland Times. February 1, 2006 (afrol News).
3. Bo`ame Community Organization for Relief and Development. Retrieved on 2007-02-21.


Location of Togdheer in Somaliland/SomaliaTogdheer (Somali: Togdheer) is an administrative region of the de facto independent republic Somaliland. Its capital is Burco (Burao). It is bordered by Ethiopia and the Somaliland regions of Woqooyi Galbeed, Sanaag and Sool. Togdheer is one of the 6 regions of the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland (the territory of the former British Somaliland). The region's name is derived from the Togdheer River. Currently the Regional Chairman is Abdi Hussen Dheere and the Vice Chairman is Guled Dahir Samatar.


Burao (Somali: Burco) is the capital city of the Togdheer region of Somalia, in the nominally independent, but unrecognized, state of Somaliland and second largest city of that state after Hargeisa, in terms of population.


Like Hargeisa, it was heavily bombed in the 1980s by the south Somali dictator Siad Barre. It was also the site of the declaration of an independent Somaliland in June 1991 [1]. Also like the other cities in the northern part of the country, Burao has been rebuilt with limited outside aid. The city has boomed economically with the money coming in and people from rural areas moving to the city.


Burao's population has more than tripled since 1991, to around 100,000. Today the city has a population more than 400,000.[citation needed] Although information on the number of people voting in the city in 2006 parliamentary elections is available, no census was conducted for more than 20 years.

The city also full-time electricity and a reliable water supply from groundwater. Burao's central location has also contributed to the economic revival of the city. Goods travelling to the south, central and eastern Somalia all depart from the outerskirts of the city. Rural merchants also sell their produce in a daily basis which brings the city business,culture and nomadic spirit.


Weather in Burao, much like other inland towns in Somaliland, is warm and dry year round. The average daytime temperatures during the summer months of June-August can rise to 35°C (95°F), with low of 25°C (77°F) at night. The weather is cooler the rest of the year and is 27°C (80°F) during the day and 14°C (57°F) at night time. The city's limited rainfall usually comes in December and May.

The Togdheer River runs through the town. The river is often dry but subject to flooding, when it divides the city in half and can be crossed by a newly built bridge at the city centre.


Burao has a working bus system and there is the Burao airport nearby which has flights with Daallo Airlines to Hargeisa, Addis Ababa, San'a and other cities in Somalia. An all weather road connects Burco to the port of Berbera via the escarpment town of Sheikh.


1. Somaliland History (HTML). World66. Internet Brands. Retrieved on 2007-07-17. “In 1991, after the collapse of the government in Somalia, the territory asserted its independence as the Republic of Somaliland, at a meeting of clan elders in the town of Burao.” Retrieved from ""

Woqooyi Galbeed

Location of Woqooyi Galbeed in Somaliland/SomaliaWoqooyi Galbeed (Somali: Woqooyi Galbeed) is a region in Somaliland. Its capital is Hargeisa. It is bordered by Ethiopia, the Somaliland regions of Awdal, Sanaag, and Togdheer, and the Gulf of Aden. Woqooyi Galbeed is one of the six regions of the self-proclaimed and de-facto internationally recognised Republic of Somaliland (former British Somaliland).

When Somaliland declared independence, Woqooyi Galbeed separated into two regions: one being Woqooyi Galbeed itself and the other being Saaxil.

This region consists of the following districts:

Bali Gubadle 


Location: Coordinates 9°30?N, 44°0?E
Mayor Mudane Hussain Mohammoud Jiciir

Hargeisa (Somali: Hargeysa) is a city in Somalia and the capital of the de-facto Republic of Somaliland which was formed in 1991. It was also the colonial capital of British Somaliland from 1941 to 1960 when it united with the south to form the Somali Republic. Hargeisa is the largest city in Somaliland and Somali's second largest city after Mogadishu.


Hargeisa is located in a valley in the western section of the country. It is in a mountainous area because Hargeisa is located in an enclosed valley of the Galgodon (Ogo) highlands, at an elevation of 1334 meters (4,377 feet) above sea level. This altitude gives Hargeisa and the surrounding area a milder climate than the Gulf of Aden coastal area (one of the hottest areas on earth) and the Hargeisa region has a fairly equable climate. The temperature ranges between 13 and 32 degrees Celsius (55 and 89 degrees Fahrenheit).

Hargeisa also receives larger amounts of rain, and used to be surrounded by forest when the city was smaller but the countryside around the city has small juniper forests. Moreover, near Hargeisa are the fertile Sheikh and Daallo mountains, which receive large amount of rain. Also, south of Hargeisa is the Sahaley Savannah which attracts many different animals to graze in the area

Hargeisa is also close to another Somaliland town called Arabsiyo. It is a major farming and agricultural area and it falls into the main boundaries of Hargeisa.


Due to the fertility and greenery of the Hargeisa region, wild animals (e.g. zebras) come to the area; to either breed or graze on the grassland savannah. There are many animals which can be found in Hargeisa. The prominent animals found are the Kudu, wild boar, Somali Wild Ass, warthogs, antelopes, the Somali sheep, wild goats, camels and many different types of birds. Due south of Hargeisa is a grassland savannah which attracts many types of wildlife to the area including lions and leopards.


Prehistoric inhabitants The city is home to Neolithic cave paintings recently discovered named Laas Geel. The cave paintings are situated on the outskirts of the city, located around a plethora of granite alcoves and rocky mountains. The paintings show ancient inhabitants of the area worshipping cattle. It also shows animals which are commonly seen in the region primarily antelopes, camels and early dogs. The Laas Geel cave paintings were discovered in November 2002 by a French archaeological team. They contain some of the earliest known art in the Horn of Africa and the African continent in general, dating back to somewhere between 8,000 and 9,000 BCE.

Ottoman conquest

Along with the cities of Zeila and Berbera, the Ottoman Empire captured and colonised western Somaliland for almost 3 centuries. Hargeisa was also part of the area captured by the Ottoman Turks. There are many Ottoman colonial buildings across the three cities. Western Somaliland and Hargeisa were part of the Habesh region of the Ottoman Empire. The region was colonised due to its strategic location on the Red Sea.

British rule

Hargeisa and the whole Somaliland region was annexed by the British from Aden and they established a protectorate naming the region British Somaliland. Berbera, a major trading harbour on the Red Sea was the protectorate's first capital due to its stragetic importance. However, the capital was moved from Berbera to Hargeisa, and the city was granted capital status in 1941. During the East African Campaign, the protectorate was occupied by Italy in August 1940, but recaptured by the British in March 1941. The protecorate gained independence as the State of Somaliland on 26 June 1960. Days later, as the country was unified with Italian Somaliland to form a new Somali Republic (Somalia) on 1 July 1960.

1980s events

Due to the Barre regime's violent repression, Somalilanders, particulary Ishaq tribe, encouraged by Ethiopia in opposition to Somalia, took up arms and formed the Somaliland National Movement (S.N.M.) in 1981 to resist Barre. In the late 1980s, Barre virtually lost control of the province and ordered the air force to bomb Hargeisa, today's capital of Somaliland. The bombing and subsequent raids of government troops claimed tens of thousands of casualties. [1]

A war memorial in the form of a MiG fighter jet was erected in Hargeisa to mark this event.


Small section of HargeisaAs the power of authority in Mogadishu had changed hand to the control of the United Somali Congress (USC) in 1991, a power struggle between the leaders would led to the beginning of the destruction of Mogadishu. As Mogadishu and southern Somalia was being destroyed, the opposite was happening in Hargeisa and the rest of Somaliland. The independence of Somaliland was declared and reconstruction started in 18th May 1991.

Since 1991, the city has undergone a massive facelift and over 99% of devastated commercial and residential homes have now been rebuilt and in better condition than before the war. Remittance money sent from overseas relatives contributed tremendously in the reconstruction of the city as well as entrepreneurial sprit of local residences and citizens throughout Somaliland.

Thomas Bose, an Indian national was the first visa holder of the new country and came as an engineer to help start the first off-set newspaper 'Jamhuriya' for the National Printing Press of the country. His wife Dilshi Bose, also was with him and thus they encouraged the return of refugee Somalilanders back to their home-land.

Aid from foreign governments was non-existent, making it unusual in Africa for its low level of dependence in foreign aid. While Somaliland is de-facto as an independent country it is not de-jure (legally) recognized internationally. Hence, the government of Somaliland can not access IMF and World Bank assistance.

Hargeisa has working traffic lights and traffic laws are respected. All residents entitled to drive must hold a photo driving licence. All cars bear Somaliland licence plates.


In Hargeisa, there are two universities and several state-run and privately owned secondary and high schools. Also, there are colleges, primary schools and nurseries dotted all around the city. Students are educated by teachers who have studied from abroad or by teachers who were educated prior to the Somali Civil War. Hargeisa has been built from ruins and is now a thriving metropolitan city in the heart of East Africa.


Hargeisa is the financial hub to many entrepreneurial companies ranging from food processing, gem stonecutters, construction, retail, import and export, Internet cafes, to even companies that process remittances from relative’s abroad who send money. Some families have moved back to the city, living in mansions in the hills during the summer. The city has seen considerable development of this sort in recent years. There are three major hotels in Hargeisa, they are the Ambassador, the Al-Maan Soor,the Oreintal hotels,and Hargeisa hotel,locating in central of hargaisa . The Ambassador (an award-winning hotel and the first modern hotel in the city since the war) is just a few minutes' travel to or from the airport, while Maan Soor hotel is located on the outskirts of the city. And the Oriental Hotel is in the center of the city. Hargeisa also has a private and public menageries, it houses animals from the region including lions, leopards, antelopes, birds and reptiles.


The city is home to Hargeisa International Airport, with flights to Addis Ababa, Djibouti City, Dubai and many other cities across Africa and Somalia. All foreigners are required to exchange 50 USA Dollars to local currency (which is the Somaliland Shilling. (1 USD=6250 Somaliland Shillings as of Dec. 2006). Also there is a bus service in Hargeisa.


Hargeisa has a modern telephone system and nearly everyone in the city enjoys a telephone and some with access to the internet. Internet cafes are dotted all around Hargeisa and many youngsters and adults benefit from this. Mobile communication services are available in Hargeisa. The main mobile communication services in Hargeisa are operated by Telesom, Sitalink Soltelco and Telcom.


Simon Reeve visited the city and stayed at the Ambassador Hotel as part of his television series, Places That Don't Exist. Bob Geldof also stayed at the Ambassador Hotel and visited Hargeisa. [1]


Gabiley is the second main city after Hargeisa in the Woqooyi Galbeed region of Somaliland. It is renowned for its agricultural and farming industry and it is where most of the crops are produced in the whole of the country.

The cities and towns fall in this region are:

Arabsiyo - it is famous for its farming and other attractions.
Tog Wajaale - A large percentage of the national revenue come from this city.
Kalabaydh - has large farming industry.
Ceelbardaale - agricultural town
Agabar - agricultural town
Laasdhuure - agricultural town
Cali Xaydh - routes to Djibouti and Hargeisa and many other villages.

Officially, Gabiley is a district region with the highest population and revenue among all other district areas and that is why its inhabitants are becoming increasingly frustrated for not being given a full regional status. Now, in the forthcoming elections of Somaliland, this has become one of the political agendas for some of the parties such as Kulmiye and Ucid.

Historically the Afraad Movement or (Jabhad) from Gabiley became the first and the most successful military wing of the SNM struggle against Siad Barre's regime.

Due to the fertility and greenery of some of the regions of Somaliland, wild animals (e.g. zebras) come to the area; to either breed or graze on the grassland savanna. There are many animals which are native to Somaliland. The prominent animals found are the Kudu, wild boar, Somali Wild Ass, warthogs, antelopes, the Somali sheep, wild goats and camels. Moreover, many birds and different types of fish are also found in and around Somaliland.


The obverse and reverse of the 100 Somaliland shilling noteSomaliland's economy is in its developing stages, as is the country itself.

The Somaliland shilling, while stable, is not an internationally recognized currency and currently has no official exchange rate. It is regulated by the Bank of Somaliland, the central bank, which was established constitutionally in 1994.

The bulk of Somaliland's exports are of livestock, which has been estimated to be at 24 million. In 1996, 3 million heads of livestock were exported to the Middle East. In February 1998, this export was negatively impacted by a Saudi Arabian ban on imports of beef. The ban was eventually lifted on December, 2006, and thus, allowed the industry to recover. Other exports include hides, skins, myrrh, and frankincense.

Agriculture is generally considered to be a potentially successful industry, especially in the production of cereals and horticulture. Mining also has potentials, although currently it consists solely of quarrying. Deposits of hugely diverse quantities of minerals are present.[14]

A recent research around Somaliland shows that the country has large offshore and onshore oil and natural gas reserves. There are several wells that have been excavated during the last few years but due to the country's unrecognised status, foreign oil companies cannot benefit from it.

Since the Eritrean-Ethiopian War, Somaliland has grown as a major export port for Ethiopia. The two countries signed a deal that the port city of Berbera will export and import goods for Ethiopia, while the latter will pay for it.


When Somaliland broke away from Somalia, the tourism industry began to re-build itself. Somaliland is often considered to be home to one of the most interesting attractions in the Horn of Africa, the Laas Gaal cave paintings. It is believed that a small number of tourists travel to the country to witness this sight. The paintings are situated near Hargeisa and were discovered by a French archaeological team in 2002. The government and locals keep the cave paintings safe and only a restricted number of tourists are allowed. Other notable sights include the Freedom Arch in Hargeisa and the war memorial in the city center. Natural attractions are very common around the country. The Naasa Hablood hills are twin hills located on the outskirts of Hargeisa that Somalilanders consider to be a majestic natural landmark.

The Burao countryside en route to BerberaThe Ministry of Tourism has also encouraged travellers to visit historic towns and cities in Somaliland. The historic town of Sheikh is near Berbera and it is home to old British colonial buildings that have been untouched for over forty years. Berbera also houses historic and impressive Ottoman architectural buildings. Another equally famous historic city is Zeila. Zeila was once part of the Ottoman Empire, a dependency of Yemen and Egypt and a major trade city during the 19th century. The city has been visited for its old colonial landmarks, offshore mangroves and coral reefs and its towering cliffs and beach. The nomadic culture of Somaliland has also attracted tourists. Most nomads live in the countryside.



Most people in Somaliland speak the country's two official languages: the Somali language and the Arabic language, with Article 6 of the Constitution of 2001 designating the official language of Somaliland to be Somali. It is mandatory that Arabic be taught to school students and in mosques around the country. English is spoken and taught in schools.

Somali belongs to a set of languages called lowland East Cushitic languages spoken by peoples living in Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, and Kenya. Eastern Cushitic is one section of the Cushitic languages, which in turn is part of the great Afro-Asiatic stock. Arabic is the most spoken language of the Afro-Asiatic language branches.

The main Somali dialect which is the most widely used is Common Somali, a term applied to several sub dialects, the speakers of which can understand each other easily. Common Somali is spoken in most of Somaliland and Somalia and in adjacent territories (Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti), and is used by broadcasting stations in Somaliland.

Facility with language is highly valued in Somali society; the capability of a suitor, a warrior, or a political or religious leader is judged in part by his verbal adroitness. In such a society, oral poetry becomes an art, and one's ability to compose verse in one or more of its several forms enhances one's status. Speakers in political or religious assemblies and litigants in courts traditionally were expected to use poetry or poetic proverbs. Even everyday talk tended to have a terse, vivid, poetic style, characterized by carefully chosen words, condensed meaning, and alliteration.

In the prerevolutionary era, English became dominant in the school system and in government. However, the overarching issue was the development of a socioeconomic stratum based on mastery of a foreign language. The relatively small proportion of Somalis (less than 10 percent) with a grasp of such a language--preferably English--had access to government positions and the few managerial or technical jobs in modern private enterprises. Such persons became increasingly isolated from their nonliterate Somali-speaking brethren, but because the secondary schools and most government posts were in urban areas the socioeconomic and linguistic distinction was in large part a rural-urban one.

Even before the 1969 revolution, Somalis had become aware of social stratification and the growing distance, based on language and literacy differences, between ordinary Somalis and those in government. The 1972 decision to designate an official Somali Latin script and require its use in government demolished the language barrier and an important obstacle to rapid literacy growth.

In the years following the institution of the Somali Latin script, Somali officials were required to learn the orthography and attempts were made to inculcate mass literacy--in 1973 among urban and rural sedentary Somalis, and in 1974-75 among nomads. Although a few texts existed in the new script before 1973, in most cases new books were prepared presenting the government's perspective on Somali history and development. Somali scholars also succeeded in developing a vocabulary to deal with a range of subjects from mathematics and physics to administration and ideology.


Almost all Somalis are Sunni Muslims; Islam is the principal faith and state religion. Though traces of pre-Islamic traditional religion exist in Somaliland, Islam is extremely important to the Somali sense of national identity. Many of the Somali social norms come from their religion. For example, men shake hands only with men, and women shake hands with women. Many Somali women wear a hijab when they are in public. In addition, Somalis abstain from pork, gambling, and alcohol, and receiving or paying any form of interest. Muslims generally congregate on Friday afternoons for a sermon and group prayer. Accordance with these prohibitions depends on each individual's level of orthodoxy.

Nevertheless there has been Catholic missionary activity. In colonial days, British Somaliland was under the care of the Roman Catholic Vicariate Apostolic of Arabia, like the Vicariate Apostolic of the Gallas (including French Somaliland (Djibouti) as well as its Ethiopian main territory) confided to the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.

Culture of Somaliland

Culture of Somaliland encompasses a wide range of Somali activity and Islamic structures that give Somaliland a rich cultural and historical heritage. Nomadic and Arab Islamic cultural significance have also played a key role in Somaliland's cultural history.

Clan system and marriage

There are approximately 3.5 million people in Somaliland. The Somali society is organized into clan families, which range from 5,000 to over 50,000 in size. The major clan family in Somaliland are the Isaaq. There are also a number of other prominent clan families. They are the Gudarbirsi sub-group of the Dir clan and the other clan family is the Dulbahante - a sub-group of the Darod clan system. The Gadabuursi mostly reside in the Awdal region of Somaliland, the Isaaqs live in four regions: the Wooqoyi Galbeed, Saaxil, Togdheer and parts of the Sanaag regions. While the Darod prominently reside in the Sool regions. The clan families is divided into lineage units, typically ranging from 2,500 to 10,000 members. It is possible for Somalis to know how they are related simply by giving their name and clan membership.

Arranged marriages are common. However, most Somalis choose to marry whoever they desire as long as they are Muslims. In the case of arranged marriages, brides are usually much younger than the grooms. Marriage to a cousin from the mother's side of the family (of a different lineage) is traditionally favored to strengthen family alliance, but this practice is now less common. Virginity is valued in women prior to marriage. Divorce is legal in Somaliland. Romantic marriages are becoming more common and now represent the majority of marriages in Somaliland. Such choices of partner are, however often the partner's clan.


The tomb of Sheikh Isaq, the father of the Isaq tribeThe Isaaq (also Isaq, Ishaak) (Somali language: Reer Sheik Isaxaaq); is one of the main Somali clans. The Isaaq mainly live in Somaliland and the Somali Region of Ethiopia. The populations of the four major cities of Somaliland; Hargeisa, Burco, Berbera, and Ceerigaabo – are predominantly Isaaq.

Tradition states that the Isaaq clan was founded by the arrival of Sheikh Isaq from Arabia in the 12th or 13th century. He settled at the coastal town of Maydh in modern day Somaliland, where he married into the local Dir clan. His tomb is in Maydh.

Partial listing of Isaq sub-clans

Habar Awal 
Ayoup (Ayuub) 
Partial breakdown of the Isaaq Clan structure

Habar Yoonis 
Habar Jeclo 

Habar Awal

Habar Awal (Somali: Habarawal) is one of the major subclans of the Somali Isaaq family. Its members inhabit the western and northern portions of Woqooyi Galbeed, Saaxil, and northern Togdheer regions of Somaliland. They also inhabit Ethiopia's eastern Haud area and Djibouti. The Habar Awal is named for the youngest son of Sheikh Ishaaq. Most of the successful businessmen and tycoons of Somali origin are from this tribe, particularly the Sub-clan of Sacad Muuse.[citation needed]

Awal had six sons:

Ciise Muuse 
Sacad Muuse 
Afgaab Muuse 
Egale Muuse 
Cabadala Muuse 
Celi Muuse 
Cumer muuse 
Cabdi muuse 
The Sacad Muuse spilts into Isaaq Sacad (Xuseen Abokor, Jibriil Abokor, Abdalah Abokor, Ugaadh Abokor, Makaahil & Reer Yaasuf.) Cabdala sacad and C/rahman sacad The main clans of Ciise Muuse Are Maxamed Ciise And Aaadan Ciise, and Afgaab-Muuse Spilits into two Daahir Afgaab And Nageeye Afgaab. celi muuse spilits maxamed celi and xuseen celi.

Habr Awal reside in at least three of the six regions of Somaliland, namely Woqooyi Galbeed, Saaxil and Togdheer. Also, in Woqooyi Galbeed, there is a prominent district region called Gabiley where most of the farms of Somaliland are located.

The two main sources of revenue for the Somaliland comes from Saaxil (Berbera port) and Woqooyi Galbeed (Gabiley customs) and this makes the Habr Awal as the most influential tribe in the Somali politics and certainly in Somaliland.


1. Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal, president of the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland
2. Abdillahi Suldaan Mohammed Timacade, prominent Somali poet
3. Umar Arteh Ghalib, Prime Minister of Somalia
4. Muhammad Hawadle Madar, Prime Minister of Somalia


Ayoup or Ayuub is one of the subclans of the Somali Isaaq family. In Somaliland they inhabit the western and northern areas of the Woqooyi Galbeed region, along with the city of Burco in the Togdheer region. They also inhabit Ethiopia's eastern Haud area and some parts of Mogadishu (Muqdisho). Ayuub was the eldest son of Sheikh Isaaq Ahmed and its subclans are as follows:

Ibrahim Ayuub 
         Ahmed Mahamed 
         Yonis saeed 
         Reer Younis (kalamagooste) 

Habar Siciid Ayuub 
       Cabdille Siciid ( Gadiid Ugadh) 
       Cumar Siciid 
       Yusuf Siciid 

Notable Ayoup people

Prof. Habiiba Ahmed Haaji, vice-manager of the African Educational Trust


Arap (Somali: Arab) is one of the major subclans of the Somali Isaaq family. They live in both the western and eastern regions of Somaliland and occupy eastern regions in Ethiopia. They also occupy the south and west of Hargeisa and are regarded by many sources as the original settlers of the city. Particular in the neighbourhood of what is modern day Dumbuluq.

The Arap played a vital role in the Somali National Movement (SNM) and liberation of Somaliland. The city of Balligubadle which is exclusively inhabited by Arap, was the capital of the SNM during their efforts to capture northern Somalia from the Siad Barre regime.

Notable figures

Edna Adan Ismail, former Foreign Minister of the unrecognized Republic of Somaliland


Garhajis (Somali: Garxajis) is a sub-clan of the Somali Isaaq family. The Garhajis sub-clan live in all regions of Somaliland. The clan consists of two main sub-clans, the Eidagale (Daud Garhejis) and Habar Yoonis (Saciid Garhejis). Garhajis have very large populations throughout the Ethiopian Hawd, area and in the main cities of Somaliland. Habar Yoonis is larger of the two sub-clans of Garhajiis.


Daud, Garxajis, Sheekh Isaxaaq Bin Ahmed (also known as Eidagale Ciidagale or Ciidangale) is one of the major subclans of the Isaaq clan.

This clan is part of Garhajis (Garxajis) which is the confederation or union of the Habar Yoonis and Eidagale.

The Eidagale inhabit half of Hargeisa, southern Woqooyi Galbeed region of the unrecognized state of Somaliland. They also inhabit Ethiopia's eastern regions in the Haud. They inhabit the town of Salaxley exclusively and live in the towns of Aware, Daroor, Jijiga and Degehabur.

Habar Yoonis

The Habar Yoonis (Somali: Habaryoonis) is a Somali clan, part of the larger Isaaq group. Habar is the maternal grouping in the Somali tribal segmentations. Said Garxajis married, from the Daarood sub-clan, Geri Koombe (Aba-Yoonis). The most numerous Said Garxajis are from his Daarood (Aba-Yoonis) wife and hence the maternal segment's name. The clan includes Eidegalla, Yibir, Arap and Ayoup of the Isaaq clan. Also included in Habar Yoonis is the Eliye of the Issa clan, and finally the Harti sub-clan of the Abgaal and Sacad sub-clan of the Habar Gedir, both of which comprise of the larger Hawiye clan. As well, the Sheikhal, Saleebaan, and Ceyr of the Hawiye, the Ashraaf clan of the Rahanweyn are also included. The The Reer Isaaq sub-clan of the Ogaden and the Reer Abokor sub-clan of Garhajis are both included, in the Habar Yoonis.

The Habar Yoonis is a sub-clan of the Sheik Isaaq clan. They are famous for being the only sub-clan in Somaliland that has a sizable population in all the cities of Somaliland and Ethopia's Somali region. One of the ancestral cities of the Habar Yoonis is Burco and the Aroori plain, which they still inhabit and control to a great degree.

The Burco countryside where the Habar Yoonis dominate to this date.

1 An aristocratic clan 
2 Clan structure 
  2.1 Cali Saciid 
  2.2 Carre Siciid 
  2.3 Isaxaaq care Siciid 
  2.4 Ismaciil Carre Siciid 
  2.5 Cabdalle Ismaaciil 
  2.6 Muuse Cabdalle 
  2.7 Abokor Looge 
  2.8 Faarax Maxamed 
3 Adan Cumar 
4 Mohamed Adan 
5 Xildiid Maxamed 
6 Cismaan Xildiid 
7 Xirsi Cismaan 
  7.1 Ceynaashe Xirsi 
  7.2 Sugulla Ceynaashe 
  7.3 Muuse Ismaaiil 
  7.4 Yoonis Ismaaciil 
8 Muuse Care 
9 Has Three Sons 
9.1 Habar Yoonis Sultans 
  9.2 Idaares Abdalle 
10 References 
11 External links 

An aristocratic clan

This aristocratic clan's privileged position in society is evidenced by the fact that the first President of the Republic of Somaliland and her Territories was Abdurahman (Tuur) Ahmed, who hailed from the aforementioned clan. Additionally the largest sub-clan make-up of the Somaliland Parliament after the 2005 parliamentary elections was the Habar Yoonis.

 Clan structure

Saciid Ismaaciil (Garxajis) Is Nick name and Has two sons
Cali Saciid
Carre Siciid Carre Saciid (larger group) 
Carre had seven sons:

Ismaaciil Carre (Cabdale, Muuse and Yoonis) 
Muuse Carre(Ibraahim, Hassan and Damal) 
Isxaaq Carre(Cabdale, Qasim and Kaliil) 
Dandaan Carre 
Kuul Carre 
Gambo Carre 
Makaahiil Carre 

Isaxaaq care Siciid

1. Abdalle Isaxaaq (Saalah, Cali, Ahmed [Rer Ugaadh iyo Ahmed Liig,botol jeclo, reer Yuusuf,reer Bahdoon,cali maca)

   1. Salaah Abdalle 

   1. Hassan Salaah 
   2. Ahmed Salaah 
         1. Hussien Ahmed 
         2.  Geeda Saluug 
         3. Salaah Geel 
         4. Mohamed Salaah 
   3. Ahmed Abdalle 
   4. Cali Abdalle 

2. Qaasim Isaxaaq 
3. Kaliil Isaxaaq 

Ismaciil Carre Siciid

Ismaciil Carre, a branch of the Habar Yoonis, is considered to be the largest family branch of all branches within Somali clans. He is the only 4th generation descendant of Isxaaq who is buried along him in his tomb.

His lineage was: Ismaciil, son of Carre, son of Said, son of Ismaiil, son of Sheikh Isaaq bin Ahmed. Ismaciil had three sons: Musse Ismaciil (Gadhweyne and Reer Cawl), Abdalle Ismaciil (Cumar Abdalle, Idarees Abdalle and Muuse Abdale) and Yonis Ismaciil (Sacad Yonis). Ismaciil Carre members are recognized to be the backbone of the SNM struggle against the rule of Somali dictator Siad Barre. Ismaciil Carre members live mostly in the Hawd Ethiopia, Burco, Erigabo, Nugaal, Sanaag and Togdheer regions of Somaliland.

1. Muuse Ismaacil (reer Awl + Gadhweyn) 
2. Yoonis Ismaaciil (Sacad Yoonis) 
3. Cabdalle Ismaaciil (majority of this section) 

Cabdalle Ismaaciil

Cabdalle Ismaacil had three sons, the largest of his descendant are among the Cumar Cabdalle (Omar Abdalla).

1- Idrays Cabdalle 
2- Muuse Cabdalle 
3- Cumar Cabdalle

Muuse Cabdalle
1- Looge 2- Maxamed

Abokor Looge

A- Cigaal Abokor 
B-Muuse Abokor (divisions of Muuse also missing) 
C- Cali Abokor (division of Cali also missing)

Cigaal Abokor (the most resourceful) Has four sub-divisions 1)Maxamed Cigaal (reer Maxamed Casse) 2)Xassan Cigaal (reer Diiriye 3) Beyle Cigaal (the largest sub division of Cgaal Abokor) 4) Maax Cigaal (reer maax).

Beyle Cigaal i subdivided into 1) Bagaalo (Muuse cabdi + Maxamed cabdi) 2) Farax cabdi and 3)Ismaaciil cabdi

Faarax Maxamed
A- Xasan Faarax B-Cali Faarax ( Bah Warsangali) C-Jibriil Faarax(Ba-Gumaroon)

A- Xasan Faarax: 1- Cabdi Xasan 2-Cali Xasan

== Cumar Cabdalle == had three sons:

A- Ugaadh Cumar (a sub clan by itself) B- Kaliil Cumar C- Adan Cumar (which is the most numerous at this junction).

Adan Cumar
3 sections:

1. Cigaal Adan (grouped into Gumbuur) 
2. Maxamed Adan (the most numerous) 
3. Cilmi Adan 

Mohamed Adan
2 sections:

1. Xildiid Maxamed (the most numerous) 
2. Rooble Maxamed (Carabala). 

A- Baho Rooble B- Reer Samatar (the most numerous) 
Rooble/carabala, are the providers of Akils (Caaqil) for their alliane Baho ismail (Rooble Maxamed+Idarays cabdalle+Abokor xildiid)

Xildiid Maxamed
4 sections:

1- Xasan Xildiid (grouped within Gumbuur alliance) 
2- Xuseen Xildiid (reer Xuseen): 
A- Ismaaciil Xuseen 
B- Samtar Xuseen 
C- Galab Xuseen.

3- Abokor Xildiid (reer Abokor): A- Cali Abokor (most numerous) B- Ibraahin Abokor

4- Cismaan Xildiid (the most numerous)

Cismaan Xildiid

1. Mumin Cismaan (Ba-Dhulbahnate 
2.Cali Cismaan (Ba-Dhulbahante) 
3. Cabdi Cismaan (Ba-Dhulbahnate) 
4. Maxamed Cismaan (Ba-Dhulbahnate) 
5. Xirsi Cismaan. 

Xirsi Cismaan
8 sections:

1. Ceynaashe Xirsi (17 sections) 
2. Siciid Xirsi (reer Weyd + reer Waraabe and Cigaal) 
3. Cabdi Xirsi (Cawd and Diiriye) 
4. Warsame Xirsi 
5. Faahiye Xirsi 
6. yuusuf Xirsi 
7. Cali Xirsi 
8. Xildiid Xirsi. 

Ceynaashe Xirsi 17 sections

1. Axmed Ceynaashe 
2. Liibaan Ceynaashe 
3. Sugulla Ceynaashe ( 18 sections) 
4. Guutaale Caynaashe 
5. Guuleed Caynaashe 
6. Sugulla Ceynaashe
    1. Diiriye Sugulla 
    2. Axmed Sugulla 
Muuse Ismaaiil

The Muuse Ismaaciil sub-clan of the Habar Yoonis is the second in population after the Cabdalle Ismaaciil. They inhabit the Sanaag region in Somalia, and some parts of Sool around the district of Xudun. The Muuse Ismaaciil are the traditional inhabitants of the city of Maydh. Some sections of the Muuse Ismaaciil (reer Cawl) settle in Burco and parts of Ethopia around Gorgor and Qalocan area of Wardheer district. They traditionally had their own sultan who governed the eastern sections of the Habar Yoonis.

Sultaan Ducaale Muuse(1890-1955)was the first M.Ismaaciil sultan
Sultaan Cali Suldaan Ducaale (1920-1977)
Sultaan Rashid Sultan Cali the present sultan (b.1955).

Muuse Ismaaciil tribal divisions are:

1. Salax Muuse 
2. Maxamed Muuse (urursuge) 
3. Saalax Muuse ( Tuurwaa) 
4. Yoonis Muuse. 

The Tuurwaa are the most numerous and they are three sections:

1. Muuse Tuurwaa 
2. Jibriil Tuurwaa (Xasan and Yoonis) (Qori Jarato) 
3. Cismaan Tuurwaa 

The Cismaan and the Muuse Tuurwaa are the main divisions in terms of population in this stage of segmentation and they spilt as the following:

Cismaan Tuurwaaa:

1. Xaamud Cismaan 
2. Cawl Cismaan (reer Cawl) 
3. Xaamud Cismaan, 3 sections:

     1. Maxamud Xaamud 
     2. Cabdale Xaamud 
     3. Cabdi Xaamud 
     4. Cawl Cismaan, Ugaadhyahan Cawl (1 son) 
          1. Beyle Ugaadhyahan Cawl 
          2. Faarax Ugaadhyahan Cawl 
The Beyle Ugaahyahan are the largest and are the traditional enemy of the Daarood (Dhulbahante) sub-clan, this is the only major H.Y sub-clan that shares land with the Dhulbahante in the Hawd region. From this section of the clan hails the famous Guba poet Yawle.

Beyle Ugaadhyahan

1. Maax Beyle 
2. Gadiid Beyle 
3. Cismaan Beyle (Yawle's sub-clan) 
4. Adan Beyle. 

Notice some sub-clan division are missing, specially the Muuse Tuurwaa the second largest in Muuse Ismaaciil.

Yoonis Ismaaciil

Yoonis Ismaaciil is better known as the Sacad Yoonis subclan. Sacad Yoonis members live mostly in the eastern part of Somaliland, more specifically in Burco city, Sanaag, Sool, and western Nugaal Regions of Somaliland. Two of the 82 Somaliland parliament seats are held by Sacad Yoonis clan members. The link below is a visual breakdown of the Sacad Yoonis clan structure.

'Sacad's sons':

1. Hasan Sacad (largest branch) 
2.Maxamed Sacad (Iidarays) 
3. Maxamuud Sacad (Reer Maxamuud) 

Hasan Sacad had son called Jibriil Hasan

Jibriil's sons, Barkad Jibriil, Rooble Jibriil, Adan Jibriil,

Barkad Jibriil had four sons:

1. Cali Barkad 
2. Hasan Barkad 
3.Camaar Barkad 
4. Jaamac Barkad 
5. Cali Barkad had three sons

     1. Faahiye Cali (reer Faahiye Cali) 
     2.Ahmed Cali (reer Axmed Cali) 
     3. Naaleye Cali (reer Naaleeye) 
     4. Faahiye Cali had three sons:

            1. Bayle Faahiye 
            2. Caweer Faahiye (reer Caweer) 
            3. Xildiid Faahiye (reer Xildiid) 
            4. Bayle faahiye had son Cumaar Bayle:

Cumaar Bayle had eight sons:

Nuux Cumaar (Reer Nuux; First Sacad Yoonis Caaqil was reer Nuux, and still all Sacad Yoonis chief Caaqil is reer nuux; ch, Caaqil Saciid Xasan Cali) 

1. Maxamed Cumaar (reer Xuseen) 
2. Cabdale Cumaar (reer Cabdale) 
3. Cali Cumaar 
4. Xasan Cumaar 
5. Xuseen Cumaar 
6. jibriil Cumaar 
7. Guuled Cumaar 
8. Nuux Cumaar

Nuux Cumaar had six sons "Reer Nuux"

1. Cali Nuux (reer Cali nuux) 
2. Diiriye Nuux 
3. Liibaan nuux 
4. Guuled Nuux 
5. Dibjir Nuux 
6. Daahiir Nuux 
7. Cali Nuux had eight sons

     1. Abokor cali (reer Abokor) 
     2. Wade Cali (reer Wade) 
     3. Rable Cali (reer Rable) 
     4. Magan Cali (reer Magan) 
     5. Ducaale Cali (reer Ducaale Cali) 
     6. Maxamuud Cali (reer Maxamuud Cali) 
     7. Axmed Cali (reer Axmed Cali) 
     8. Ibraahim (reer Ibraahim) 

Maxamed Sacad - Iidarays

1. Muse Samatar (largest group of the IIdarays) 
2. Cabdi Samatar (split into Ba' Arab and Fiqi Egaal) 
3. Reer Wacays 
Iidarays are the original inhabitants of Ceelafweyn (Ceelafween), a town between Burco and Ceerigabo in Sanaag province of Somaliland. Mahammed Nuur (Fiqi Egaal) was the first man to build a home near the famous water basin in the town. The town now has a sizable popualtion of habar-jeclo clan members who originally lived in the mountains in the vicinity of ceelafweyn. Iidarays also live in Ceerigabo, Burco, Dararweyne, and Xudun Area. There is a large diaspora population of Sacad Yoonis branches in the UK.

Muuse Care

Has Three Sons: Ibrahim Muse, Hasan Muse and Damal Muse

Habar Yoonis Sultans

The royal sub-clan (the one that provides the Sultans) of the Habar Yoonis are the Reer Sugule, who hail from the Caynanshe branch of the Habar Yoonis.

1- The first H.Y Sultan was Sultan Diiriye Suguule (1760-1840) 2- Sultaan Amaan Sultan Diiriye (1790-1854). 3- Sultaan Xirsi Sultan Amaan (1824-1879) 4- Sultaan Cawd sultan Diiriye (1830-1899)

In 1899 Sultan Cawd (Awd) was killed during a battle with the rival Daarood (Ogaden) tribe in western Ethiopia. There were 2 first cousins sultans each supported by different segments of the Habar Yoonis clan some Pro-Devrish and others opposed to it, the Pro-Devrish sultan Nuur A. Amaan eventually defeated his opponent Madar X. Amaan and for a period of 15 years him and his son held the sultantes, only after their death did the H.Y proclaimed him a sultan.

5- Sultaan Nuur Axmed Sultan Amaan (1844-1910)killed during the Devrish struggle. 6- Sultan Doolaal Sultan Nuur(1856-1917)also killed during the Devrish years. 7- Sultaan Madar Sultan Xirsi Amaan (1876-1938) 8- Sultaan Cali Sultan Madar (1900-1979) 9- Sultan Xirsi Qani (1916-1987) 10- Sultaan Yuusuf Sultan Xirsi Qani (1925-1991) 11- Sultaan Ciise sultan Xirsi Qani (1929-1999) 12- Sultan Cismaan Sultan Cali sultan Madar (b 1957) 13- Sultaan Maxamed Sultan Xirsi Qani (born 1967)

Idaares Abdalle

The oldest of the Abdalle Ismaciil sub-clan, who were also Sultans of the Habar Yoonis. Together with Reer Sugule (Current Emirs) they are known as "Reer Odweyne" after their town and where the Sultans reside.

Before 1960.

1-Shermaarke Saalax Baasha (1790-1861) the conqueror of Zaylac and the man who for the first time in Somali history brought Zaylac under the rule of Somalis, the first Somali Qadiif who in 1825 with 5 cannons and 60 H.Y musketeers took Zaylac and forced its Arab ruler Maxamed Al Baari out. He was accorded the title of Qadiif Al Soomaal by Cabdixamiid Baasha and was presented with two Arab and one Turkish slave women. The founder of what was referred to as the Government of Zaylac.

2- Sultaan Diiriye Suguule (1760-1844) the first H.Y sultan and the originator of over 30 Somali idioms and sayings.

3- Boqor Xirsi Amaan the warrior king (1823-1879) the first founder of centralized northern Somali state, the first sultan who ever imposed regulated tax on both the coast of Berbera and Bulaxaar, coining the Somali term of "sed boqortooyo" before 'cashuur' was even known. The only power the Persian recognized in Somalia in their bid to counter Siiciid Baraqash and the first Somali man to be referred to King Amaan by the Qajar Shaah of Iraan in 1857. Every year via his connection to Suur sultanates of Oman he received his Royal Presents from Persia. His wars against the Kuumbo in furthering his borders south west to Somali Galbeed and his legendary death in the battle with his cousin Guuleed Xaaji is a legend even among his enemies the Kuumubs:

Keysahaa aduun ina Amaan Koos Dhan Buu Heleye
Isba kii bani Israel ma hadin kamana yaabayne
Ragbuu keeno gali yidhi weysa soo kabiye
Ragow Kibirka waa lagu kufaa taana hala ogaado.

4- Sultaan Nuur Amaan (1844-1910) the first sultan who declared war against the British and gave shelter to the Dervish when all Kuumbu sultanates including Garaad Cali Garaad Maxamud (who sent a letter to the Brits crying for their help against what he called new religious fanatics, and who was killed as result), Sultaan Cali Shire, Boqor Osman mahamoud sided with the colonials. The first battle of the Devrish took place in Burco in 1899 when Sultan Nuur Amaan led the new devrish to Burco and later was forced to withdrew. Sultaan Nuur Amaan abondened his Sultanate for the cause and later was killed some say by the Devrish some say by some Kuumbu's.

5- Xaaji Warsame Bulaale a.k.a Xaaji Waraabe (1862-1931) the man who much of the Dhilos owe their freedom from the Mad Mullah to. After 1919 when the Mad Mullah and his horde of camel wrestlers fled to Qoraxay 5000 strong harassing the Ogaadeen, Xaaji Warsame Bulaale assembled his famouse "Hagoogane" raiders in Buhoodle much to the uluation of the ungreatfull Dhilos in Buhoodle leading 5000 strong H.Y and H.J warriors in pursuit, having taken over Qoraxay and capturing Ismaaciil Futo Mire and most of the Mullah's herd and harem at last he chased him to Iimi where the Mullah at last died defacting from all orifices.

6- Engineer Said Faarax (1910-1963) the first Somali civil engineer and a graduate of Edinburgh University class of 1933, the designer of Burco city roads and much of colonial infrastructures.

7- Maxamud Axmed Cali the Father of Somali education, the first modern Somali educator.

8- Xaaji Yuusuf Xaaji Aadan (1914-2005) the first founder of Somali political party in Somaliland and poineer of Somali education also the composer of the Somali national anthem.

9- Maxamed Naxar the first chairman of the SNL before Maxamed Xaaji Ibraahim Cigaal and among its founders.

10- Sayid Axmed Sheekh Muuse (1910-1979) the founder of the first religious party Xizbul Allah in 1957 and first Somali graduate of Azhar university and the author of Xizbulaah wa Xizbul Shaydaan.


Muj. Ahmed Ma'alin Haruun

Habar Jeclo

Habar Jeclo (Somali: Habarjeclo) is one of the three main Isaaq (?????) clans. They are comprised from three of Sheikh Isaaq Ahmed's sons, Muusa, Mohamed and Ibrahim binu Is-haaq. It is also one of the most prominent clans in the history of East Africa. This clan used to be known by other Somali clans as the Fox of the East. They mostly live in the eastern parts of the self-declared state of Somaliland, stretching from the outskirts of the city of Berbera all the way to Ceel Afweyn in Sanaag.

Of the three sons the majority (about 90%) of the Habar Jeclo are descended from Muse binu Is-haaq. There are many families and subclans within the Habar Jeclo clan. Some who are larger than others and others that are very prominent in overseas country but less so in Somaliland. For example the descendants of Musa make up four large groups, which in turn go down to even more and more families. The three largest Habar Jeclo subclans are believed to be the Barre Adrahman subclan of the Musa Abokor, the Noah subclan of the Mohamed Abokor and the Reer Yonis subclan of Muse Abokor. In Somaliland the Mohamed Abokor, Samane Abokor, Sanbuur and Cibraan settled in the Togdheer Region and Haud, while the Muse Abokor is more concentrated in the Sool and Sanaag Regions.

Major subclans

Abokor Abdulle 
Adan Mohamed (Adan Madoobe) 
Ahmed Faarah 
Abokor Ahmed 
Alah Magan Abdulle 
Ali Barre (Gaala Dhinac Weyn) 
Barre Cabdulle 
Bayle faarah 
Fahiye Farah 
Hassan Abdulle 
Liban Abdulle 
Omar Jibriil 
Reer Daahir 
Reer Dood 
Reer Yoonis 
Samane Abokor 

Notable Habar Jeclo people

Mohamed Ibrahim Warsame 'Hadrawi', Somali poet and songwriter


The Gadabuursi (or Gudubiirsi) tribe is a northern Somali clan, a sub-clan of the Dir. The Gadabuursi are descendants of Sheikh Samaroon, who suffered a devastating defeat in a war with the highlanders of Ethiopia over a dispute of payment of annual tribute and tax collection from international trade routes connecting the hinterland of Ethiopia with the ports of Somalia in 1432. Recent archaeological excavations suggest up to 50,000 homes were destroyed. Today they live mostly in northern Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Politically they are represented by the Somali Democratic Alliance (SDA). The current President of self-declared republic of Somaliland, Dahir Rayale Kahin, is from the Gadabuursi tribe. Also the Gadabuursi are the second largest Somali ethnic group in Djibouti where the Dir Isaa (Ciise) are the majority.

The "Gadabursi Kingdom" was established more than 400 years ago and consisted of hundred elders and the King (Ugaas). The Hundred Elders used to work in four sections consisting of 25 Elders each:

- Social committee
- Defence, the forcemen were horsemen "Fardoolay" and walkingmen
- Economy and collection of taxes
- Justice committee

The chairmen of the four sections were called "Afarta Dhadhaar" and were selected for their talent and personnel capability. A constitution, Xeer Gadabursi and Isaaq, had been developed, which divided every case as to whether it is new or experienced (ugub or curad).

The Gadabursi King and the Elders opposed the arrival of the British colonial government and signed an agreement with the British. Later as the disagreement between them had increased, the British Government had established some people against the Ugaas and organized to overthrow him which later caused the collapse of the kingdom.

As one of the Dir subclans, Gadabuursi are ethnically related to the Issa of Djibouti, the Suure (Abdalle and Qubeys central/Southern Somalia), the Biyomaal of southern Somalia, Gadsan ,Gurgure and the Isaaq. Gadabuursi are also the second largest Somali ethnic group in Ethiopia.

Partial listing of sub-clans

Mahad Ase 
Habar Afaan 

Notable Gadabursi 1. Dahir Riyale Kahin, third president of Somaliland 2. Leban Mohamed Nour, war hero of somalia Mahad Ase The Mahad Ase is a sub-clan of the Gadabursi tribe of Somalia. Maha Ase divided into seven sub clans Abrayn Reer Mahammed Bahabar Muuse Adan Bahabar Adan Bahabar Celi Bahabar Abokor Makaahiil Makaahiil is one of the three subclans of the Samaroon clan Gadabursi). Makaahiil is the son of Makadoor son of Saed son of Samaroon. Makahiil is the largest sub clan and they inhabit in the west part of Awdal in somalia, Woqooyi Galbeed and Ethiopia. Makaahiil breaks down into Reer Nuur (see below) Jibril Yoonis Aden Yoonis Ali Yoonis Makahil-Dheere Bahabar Abdalla Celi Ba-Sanayo Afguduud Bahabar Xasan. Reer Nuur The Reer Nuur is further divided into two subclans, Mahamoud Nuur and Farah Nuur. Farah Nuur Farah Nuur is part of Reer Nuur, found in the Somaliland and Ethiopian regions. Ibrahim Farah Nuur consists of further subdivisions: Reer Ibrahim Reer Waadhowr (Bare had 40 sons who died fighting in Hargeysa) Reer Gaade Reer Dadar Reer Guleed Reer Gobdoon Reer Samater Rooble Reer Saalah Reer Samakab Gabar Madow (Geedi-Faarax) Cali Geedi Hiraab Geedi Mahamed Geedi Wayteen Geedi

Mahamoud Nuur Mahamoud Nuur inhabits the Somaliland region. Mahamoud Nuur consists of further subdivisions: Abdi Mahamoud Consist Baho and Bah-Faad Baho Abdi Mahamuud Reer Cismaan (BurBur) Reer Xergeeye Reer Cali Gabal Bacaso Shirdoon Hussien Bah-Faad Samater Gabal Koohi Gabal Haad Hussien (Abdi-Bulhun) Halas Mahamoud Omar Halas Ali Halas Gullied Halas Muuse Halas Hiraab Halas Baho Xeebjiraad Bah-Nimidoor Consist Hasan Mahamoud Hufane Mahamoud Bah-Jibraacin Consist Rooble Mahamud and Mahamed Mahamoud

Politics of Mahamoud Nuur

Reer Nuur inhabits two countries, Somalia and Ethiopia, so their politics are divided. In the last Somaliland parliamentary elections, the reer nuur got 2 seats and lost 3, though the result was disputed. The clan has a minister in the government of Somaliland,one in Djibouti and one in Somali federation of Ethiopia.

Jibril Yoonis

Jibril Yoonis is the most populated sub clan in the Gadabuursi tribe. The first Gadabuursi Minister of Somalia (Aadan Isaaq) and the first Gadabuursi Vice-President of Somaliland (Abdirahman Aw Ali Faarah) and the first Gadabuursi President of Somaliland (Dahir Riyale Kahin) are all part of the Jibril Yoonis clan. (Robleh Afteeb), one of most famous Gadabursi hero is also Jibril Yoonis.

Issa (clan)

The Issa (Somali: Ciise) are a Somali clan, a sub-clan of the Dir. The Issa reside primarily in Djibouti, northern Somalia and the Somali Region of Ethiopia.

Prominent figures

1. Hassan Gouled Aptidon 1916-2006, First President of Djibouti from 1977 to 1999.
2. Ismail Omar Guelleh, Current president of Djibouti
3. Abdourahman Waberi, Novelist
4. Aden Robleh Awaleh, president of the National Democratic Party PND


The Warsangali (also Warsengeli or Warsingeli) ("Son of Mohamoud Harti") is a Somali clan of the Harti group, part of the Darod clan. In the Somali language, it means "Bringer of good news" or those who have always delivered the good news.

The Warsengeli live in Sanaag in the former British Somaliland and the western portion of Bari and some parts of Jubbada Hoose. The Warsangeli also have the oldest Sultanate amongst the Somali tribes who inhabit the former British Somaliland.[citation needed]

The citizens of Warsangeli Sultanate are well-known throughout Somalia's history, of being peace loving and politically independent citizens. In the article "Seychellois rekindle ties with Sultan of Somaliland" which was featured on one of the newspapers of the Republic of Seychelles captures a glimpse of this history. It writes, "The Warsengeli Sultanate has been in existence for the last six hundred years."[1] The country of the tribe was recognized in the Arabian Peninsula by whom they named it Makhar or Makhir Coast and the terms are quite territorial but more comparative to the clan than nominal. The country of Warsangeli was considered to be the most commercially valuable region by both the English and Arab traders.[2] The land of Cal Madow which is inside the country of the tribe, is also a chain of stunning mountains that extends to the cities of Bosaso - the capital of the Bari region and Ceerigaabo, the capital of the Sanaag region - in an east-west direction.

Captain S. B. Miles's "On the Neighbourhood of Bunder Marayah" (1872) describes the clan as people who live by the rule as a peaceable and orderly, and generally loth to shed blood while the Galbedh (Western Somali) tribes were in completely opposite state. Miles, states, "The Gulbedh tribes are much more turbulent and predatory than the 'Makhar', and are in chronic state of warfare and anarchy.[3] In fact, Cruttenden reaffirms similar observations of Miles by stating, "It is worthy of remark that in this tribe, theft is looked upon with abhorrence....To call a man a thief is a deadly insult, to be washed out by blood alone. Pity is that the Somali tribes of Edoor (Isaaq) have not the same prejudice in favour of honesty."[4] Despite the peaceful and orderly nature of Warsangeli, Cruttenden, however, characterized them as "powerful and warlike", which again stresses their portrait of being an independent and peaceful loving citizens of Somalia.

Subclans of the Warsangeli

There is no clear agreement on the clan and sub-clan structures. The divisions and subdivisions as here given are partial and simplified. Many lineages are omitted. [5]

Reer Geraad 
Aadan Siciid 
Adan Yaqub 
Ahmed Dhegaweyn 
Ahmed Waqadsiinye 
Bah Habar Cismaan 
Bah Habar Xasan 
Bah Majeerteen 
Bah Idoor 
Bah Ogayslabe 
Bah Yabare 
Bihna Guuleed 
Cabdi Cali 
Hasan Saeed 
Geraad cumar 
Geraad Liibaan 
Geraad maxamoud 
Habar Ahmed 
Jibriil Siciid 
Nuux Cumar 
Reer caamir 
Reer Carab 
Reer Faatax 
Reer Mohamed 
Reer Saalax 
Reer Samatar 
Reer Xaaji 
Reer Yuusuf 
Siciid Ciise 
Tuure(xasan liiban) 
Xusein Ciise 
Richard Francis Burton in his book "First Footsteps of East Africa" (1856) lists 18 principle subclans of Warsangeli,[6]

"This extensive branch of the Somal is divided into eighteen principal clans, viz.: 1. Rer Gerad (the royal family). 2. Rer Fatih. 3. Rer Abdullah. 4. Rer Bihidur. 5. Bohogay Salabay. 6. Adan Yakub. 7. Gerad Umar. 8. Gerad Yusuf. 9. Gerad Liban. 10. Nuh Umar. 11. Adan Said. 12. Rer Haji. 13. Dubbays. 14. Warlabah. 15. Bayabarhay. 16. Rer Yasif. 17. Hindudub. 18. Rer Garwayna."

Noted members

1. Sultan Mohamoud Ali Shire, Sultan of former British Somaliland (1897-1960)
2. Faarax Maxamed Jaamac Cawl, Garad Abdalle of Warsangali Cumar, Somali writer

Further reading

"Memoir on the Western or Edoor Tribes, Inhabiting the Somali Coast of N.-E. Africa, with the Southern Branches of the Family of Darrood, Resident on the Banks of the Webbe Shebeyli, Commonly Called the River Webbe" by C. J. Cruttenden, Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London Vol. 19 (1849), pp. 49-76


1. Seychellois rekindle ties with Sultan of Somaliland Virtual Seychelles. 10 Oct 2005.
2. Lieut, Cruttenden. "On Eastern Africa" 8th May 1848. JSTOR
3. Captain S. B. Miles's "On the Neighbourhood of Bunder Marayah"(1872) JSTOR
4. Cruttenden, C. J. "Memoir on the Western or Edoor Tribes with Southern Branches of the Family of Darrood. London: Royal Geographical Society. Vol. 19 (1849), pp. 49-76
5. (For a comparison of different views on the clan-lineage-structures see World Bank Group, Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics, January 2005, Appendix 2, Lineage Charts, [1], p.56.
6. Richard Burton; Lieutenant Speke. First footsteps in East Africa.
Retrieved on 2007-05-26. “Diary and Observations Made by Lieutenant Speke, When Attempting to Reach the Wady Nogal.”


The Dhulbahante is a Somali sub clan of the Harti part of the Koombe and of Kablalax, of the Darod tribes. The Dhulbahante have played a key role in the history of Somalia. Great Britain, Italy, France and their Abbysianian allies considered the Dhulbahante a major oppositional power to their colonisation of the Horn of Africa and interests. The Dhulbahante fought against colonisation in battles such as Afbakayle, Beerdhiga, Cagaarwayne, Daratoole, Dayuuraddii, Fardhidin, Jidbaale and Ruugga and thus viewed themselves as the sole protector of greater Somalia because of their huge loss of life and wealth and resented the signatory tribes. After the long Anglo-Dervish wars the British colonial leaders did not trust the Somalis.


Dhulbahante members are found in their traditional territories such as the northern regions of Sool, Nugaal, Sanaag, Ayn (a new province separated from Togdheer), Kismayo and the Somali Region of Ogaden.


According to tradition, the oldest son will succeed his father but the current Garaadka Guud was, in 1985, too young to assume this role. Garaad Cabdiqani became Garaadka Guud in 1985 and remained so for 20 years until his death in 2006. At that time his nephew, now old enough, became the Garaadka Guud.

Notable Dhulbahante people

1. Mohamed Abdi Hashi, interim President of Puntland, October 2004 - January 2005
2. Ali Khalif Galeyr, former Prime Minister under the Transitional National Government


The Yibir are a numerically small tribe of Somalia in East Africa. They have traditionally been kept on the lower rungs of Somali society. Some believe that the Yibir are descendants of Jews who arrived in the area many centuries ago and hold that the word "Yibir" means "Jew." Some view Yibirs with contempt yet regard them as having supernatural powers and consider it unwise to provoke members of the tribe.

Yibirs are also said to be the descendants of King Mohammed Bin Haniif of Hargeysa, also known as Boqor Bur Ba'ayr. It is said that he was a herbalist, priest, and astrologer who predicted many natural disasters. Folklore has it that newly wed women had to spend a week in his castle while he ensured they were free of sexual disease, before they were released to their husbands. Nomad Somalis resisted this practice and overthrew the king. After the death of King Muhammed Bin Haniif (Bu'ur Ba'yr). Legend has it that Bur Ba'ayr used to practise witchraft that enabled him to make people believe that he can enter a mountain from one side and emerge on the other side,(like the Houdini act) so one day Sheikh Yussuf-ul-Kownein (also known as Aw Barqadle) came to see the event and as soon as the act started, he read verses of the koran and Bur Ba'ayr was trapped in the mountain and failed to emerge thus signalling his death, this story cannot be verified but is very popular.Nomad Somalis agreed to settle the death of the king by paying money and other gifts to the yibir tribe on every occasion where a male child is born from the nomad tribes. This customary for Yibirs to visit families with newborn children to be given money to collect dues and head taxes, still continues in most of Somalia.It is believed that if the pregnant woman does not pay the tax she will give birth to a stillborn baby or a baby with deformities.A yibir uses witchcraft to know where there's a woman who is pregnant with a male foetus (and is always accurate) and goes to seek the "compensation", he (it is always a he and not a she) usually demonstrates his identity by placing a forked staff on his horizontally extended arm and without any support, the staff begins to oscillate in convoluted movements along his arm. This is his identity. So when he is given the money, he usually gives a piece of knotted string as "receipt" that the home has been visited so that if any other yibir visits the homestead he is shown that and they usually respect it once shown that the due has been collected. Modern somalis believe that this is an unjustifiable taxation placed on somalis by conspiratorial jewish yibirs under the threat of witchcraft.The yibir are also called "Aadha Qaate" a derogatory term that means "those who collect tax on female menses".

Yibirs are considered to be original inhabitants of Somalia.However, most Yibirs today are muslims though they are still despised and are believed to practise esoteric witchcraft which the somalis fear.The Yibir community live in Somaliland, parts of Puntland and a minority of them live among other somali clans. Somalis do not intermarry with the yibirs but the yibirs have intermarried with other despised communities (mad-dibaans, boon, Midgaans). Yibir do not practise any of the jewish traditions. They are on average people of very beautiful physical feautures and light skin complexion.The yibir practise masonry and are good blacksmiths (both trade are despised by somalis and are considered menial jobs).

Bernard Leeman,in his book "Queen of Sheba and Biblical Scholarship" Queensland Academic Press Westbrook Australia (2005) ISBN 0-9758022-0-8, suggests that the Yibir are not in origin Jews but Hebrews and appear to have been resident earlier in the area of Mekele, Ethiopia, where inscriptions on two incense-burners from the 8th century B.C.E. record them as Cushitic "blacks" living with Semitic "reds" under the joint rule of kings and queens of Sheba. The Yibir have their own dialect.



1. Somalia's 'Hebrews'

2. Schneider, R. "Deux inscriptions subaribiques du Tigre" Leiden, Netherlands: Bibliotecheca Orientalis, 30, 1973, 385-387
3. Kirk, John William Carnegie "A grammar of the Somali language with examples in prose and verse; and an account of the Yibir and Midgan dialects." Cambridge: University Press, 1905

Cuisine of Somaliland

The Cuisine of Somaliland is a mixture of Ethiopian, Middle eastern and a few Italian influences but also different in diet and lifestyle. The cuisine of Somaliland and other parts of Somalia are largely similar, although there are a few differences. Somali cuisine dates back to colonial and nomadic eras which makes it important to Somali lifestyle.


In some parts of Somaliland/Somalia, Injera is eaten as wellIn Somali culture, it is considered polite for guests to leave a little bit of food on their plate after finishing a meal provided by their host. This shows that the guest was given enough food. If a guest were to clean their plate, that would indicate that he or she is still hungry. Fortunately, most Somalis don't take this rule seriously, but it is certainly not impolite to leave a few crumbs of food on one's plate.

As virtually all Somalis are Muslims, their cuisine incorporates Islamic dietary customs. All food is required to be Halal. Muslims are prohibited from eating pork and so Somaliland cuisine uses no pork. Muslims are also prohibited from drinking alcohol in all forms. Muslims must fast throughout the Islamic month of Ramadan.

Neighboring countries' cuisines are incorporated by Somalis in their diet. For example, Injera which is eaten in border areas along Somaliland and Somalia. Some Somalis living in the Saaxil region of Somaliland/Somalia enjoy eating Yemeni cuisine.

Daily lifestyle

Samboosa with salad, eaten during Ramadan in Somaliland cuisine. Ful medames served with eggs and vegetablesPeople usually begin the day with a flat bread called laxoox, liver, and either cereal or porridge made of millet or cornmeal. The midday meal is the largest and consists of rice or noodles (pasta became very popular under Italian rule) with sauce and perhaps meat. When Italy ruled the Somaliland, they brought some of their cuisine, for example Pasta Al Forno (in Somali language, Paasto Forno} and they also planted bananas in the south of the region. During lunch, the diet may consist of a traditional soup called maraq (It is also part of Yemen cuisine) made of vegetables, meat and beans and usually eaten with flat bread or pitta bread. The evening meal is very light and might include beans, Ful medames, muffo (patties made of oats or corn) or a chapathi-like bread called Sabayad, hummus or a salad with more laxoox.

Somalis adore spiced tea. A minority of Somalis drink a tea similar to Turkish tea which they brought from Middle eastern countries to their homeland. However, the majority drink a traditional and cultural tea known as Shah Hawaash because it is made of cardamom (in Somali, Xawaash or Hayle} and cinnamon bark (in Somali, Qoronfil).

Dates are eaten as a delicacy in Somaliland. During Ramadan, Somalis are required to fast from sunrise to sunset. The women of the house make the Iftar (Somali Afuro) which may be a huge meal depending on the size of the family. The fast is broken by first eating dates and water. Afterwards, they eat pastries called Samboosa (similar to samosa) filled with either vegetables, mincemeat, chicken with spices or lamb. Afterwards they drink a fruit smoothie or again water. This is followed by soup, rice, pasta or meat.

Milk is a staple food for many rural Somalis, and men who travel with the camel herds may drink up to nine litres a day. Stored in either a covered pitcher called a haan or a wooden bucket, fresh milk will keep for days despite the hot climate. By shaking milk, Somalis make butter; cooked butter becomes ghee, which will keep for several months when stored in a leather container called a tabut or kuchey. Camel milk fermented for a month becomes jinow, a solid, yoghurt-like substance.

Turkish tea

The maraq is a Somali stew made from meat and vegetablesPeople on farms in the south eat a more varied diet that includes corn, millet, sorghum, beans, and some fruit and vegetables. Millet is made into porridge or mixed with milk to form cakes. Beans are usually served with butter or mixed with corn, while sorghum, a type of grain, is ground to make flour and bread. People frequently eat rice, which is imported.

Favourite meats are goat, chicken, Camel, sheep or lamb, and to a lesser extent, beef. Only young male animals or female animals too old to produce offspring are used for food. Camel meat also includes the fat contained in the camel’s gol (hump). A camel whose gol has grown very large (sometimes as high as one metre) may be slaughtered for this food.

Frankincense is native to Somaliland and some Somalis use it as chewing gum after a mealSomalis usually do not serve dessert at the end of a meal, however there are a few Somali desserts; sit might be served during special occasions or when hosting guests. Somali desserts include Shushumoo (Somali cookies), Buskud/Buskut (biscuits for Ramadan}, Xalwo (Somali jelly made out of sugar, honey and sometimes peanuts), Doolsho (Somali cake), Sisin (sesame bars), Loos (peanut bars), Qumbe/Qumbo (coconut bars) and Sambus (Somali pastries).

Xalwad or Xalwo is a Somali jelly-like sweet that is by far the most popular dessert. The Xalwo is made of basic ingredients: sugar, water and honey. Sometimes, Loos (which is Somali for peanuts) is added. If the flavour is still not sweet (eventhough the Xalwo is very sweet generally with those basic ingredients) Cardamom seeds and Cinnamon are added to boost the intense flavour of the dessert. This dessert is eaten during Eid, Somali weddings and/or special occasions.

Arabized Somalis generally eat Middle eastern desserts like baklava, falafels and other sweets.


DabqaadIt is traditional for Somalis to perfume their homes after meals. Frankincense (in Somali, Lubaan} or a special man-made incense called unsi (in Arab countries it is called Bukhoor, this also may be used) is placed on top of hot coal inside the Dabqaad which will burn continuously for about ten minutes until the luban or unsi is completely consumed. This will keep the house fragrant for hours. The pot is made from a white clay that is found in areas of southern and northern Somalia.


Islam and poetry have been described as the twin pillars of Somali culture. Most Somalis are Sunni Muslims and Islam is vitally important to the Somali sense of national identity. Most Somalis don't belong to specific mosque or sect and can pray in any mosque they find.

Celebrations come in the form of religious festivities, two of the most important being Eid al Adha and Eid al Fitr which marks the end of the fasting month. Families get dressed up to visit one another. Money is donated to the poor. Other holidays include June 26, which celebrates Somaliland's independce, however it is unrecognised by the international community.

In a nomadic culture, where one's possessions are frequently moved, there is little reason for the plastic arts to be highly developed. Somalis embellish and decorate their woven and wooden milk jugs (Somali Haano, the most decorative jugs are made in Erigavo) and their wooden headrests, and traditional dance is important; though mainly as a form of courtship among young people. The traditional dance known as the Ceeyar Somaali in the Somali language is Somaliland's favourite dance.

Henna art

To apply it on the hair; Henna powder is mixed with water and then applied on the hairAlso, an important form of art in Somaliland is henna painting (Somali: Xenna, Arabic: ????). The Henna plant is widely grown across the region and it was Arab merchants and settlers that first brought the art of Henna painting in early Somaliland. During special occasions, a Somali women's hands and feet are expected to be covered in decorative mendhi. Girls and women usually apply or decorate their hands and feet in henna on joyous celebrations like Eid, weddings etc. The henna designs can be very simple to highly intricate. Unlike Pakistani, Indian or Bangladeshi henna designs, the Somali and Arab designs are more modern and simple compared to the latter. Traditionally, only women apply this body art and it is absolutely strange for men to apply such art on their hands and feet.

Henna is not only applied on the hands and feet but at the same time it is used as a dye. Somali men and women alike use henna as a dye to change their hair colour. Mostly, elderly men with grey hair apply such procedure because black hair dye is forbidden in Islam. Women are free to apply henna on their hair as most of the time they are wearing a hijab.


Most persons of the state of Somaliland speak the country's two languages: the Somali language and the Arabic language, also English is spoken and taught in schools. Somali belongs to a set of languages called lowland Eastern Cushitic spoken by peoples living in Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, and Kenya. Eastern Cushitic is one section of the Cushitic language family, which in turn is part of the great Afro-Asiatic stock. Arabic is the most spoken language of the Afro-Asiatic language branches. It belongs to the Semitic languages, together with Hebrew and Amharic.

The main Somali dialect which is the most widely used is Common Somali, a term applied to several subdialects, the speakers of which can understand each other easily. Common Somali is spoken in most of Somaliland and Somalia and in adjacent territories (Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti), and is used by broadcasting stations in Somaliland.

Facility with language is highly valued in Somali society; the capability of a suitor, a warrior, or a political or religious leader is judged in part by his verbal adroitness. In such a society, oral poetry becomes an art, and one's ability to compose verse in one or more of its several forms enhances one's status. Speakers in political or religious assemblies and litigants in courts traditionally were expected to use poetry or poetic proverbs. Even everyday talk tended to have a terse, vivid, poetic style, characterized by carefully chosen words, condensed meaning, and alliteration.

In the prerevolutionary era, English became dominant in the school system and in government. However, the overarching issue was the development of a socioeconomic stratum based on mastery of a foreign language. The relatively small proportion of Somalis (less than 10 percent) with a grasp of such a language--preferably English--had access to government positions and the few managerial or technical jobs in modern private enterprises. Such persons became increasingly isolated from their nonliterate Somali-speaking brethren, but because the secondary schools and most government posts were in urban areas the socioeconomic and linguistic distinction was in large part a rural-urban one.

Even before the 1969 revolution, Somalis had become aware of social stratification and the growing distance, based on language and literacy differences, between ordinary Somalis and those in government. The 1972 decision to designate an official Somali Latin script and require its use in government demolished the language barrier and an important obstacle to rapid literacy growth.

In the years following the institution of the Somali Latin script, Somali officials were required to learn the orthography and attempts were made to inculcate mass literacy--in 1973 among urban and rural sedentary Somalis, and in 1974-75 among nomads. Although a few texts existed in the new script before 1973, in most cases new books were prepared presenting the government's perspective on Somali history and development. Somali scholars also succeeded in developing a vocabulary to deal with a range of subjects from mathematics and physics to administration and ideology.

"The official language of the Republic of Somaliland is Somali, and the second language is Arabic."(art.6 of Constitution 2001)


Almost all Somalis are Sunni Muslims; Islam is the principal faith and state religion. Though traces of pre-Islamic traditional religion exist in Somaliland, Islam is extremely important to the Somali sense of national identity. Many of the Somali social norms come from their religion. For example, men shake hands only with men, and women shake hands with women. Many Somali women cover their heads and bodies with a hijab when they are in public. In addition, Somalis abstain from pork, gambling, and alcohol, and receiving or paying any form of interest. Muslims generally congregate on Friday afternoons for a sermon and group prayer. Accordance with these prohibitions depends on each individual's level of orthodoxy.

Nevertheless there has been Catholic missionary activity. In colonial days, British Somaliland was under the care of the Vicariate Apostolic of Arabia, like the Vicariate Apostolic of the Gallas (including French Somaliland as well as its Ethiopian main territory) confided to the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.

Dress and costom of Somaliland

Dress code

The dress code in Somaliland encompasses traditional, western and Islamic dress customs. However, most Somalilanders prefer traditional Islamic dress code while a minority choose to both wear western-style clothing and cultural tradition. Men and women in Somaliland dress different, therefore they are catogrised into two sections:

Men in Somaliland wear trousers or a flowing sarong-like traditional kilt known as macawiis. Also, the majority wear shirts and embroided shawls. Due to its Islamic heritage, some Somalilanders wear long dresses known in the Arab and Islamic worlds as khameez. Somaliland's climate is mainly hot so many men wear an embroidered cap known as koofiyad. Recent years, many men in Somaliand choose to wear suits and ties to look more modern. This western dress code is dominet amongst high-classed or governmental Somalis.

Women in Somaliland mainly wear a long, billowing dress worn over petticoats which are known as direh in the Somali language. Some women wear a four-yard cloth tied over shoulder and draped around the waist, it is called coantino. All women in Somaliland must wear a headscarf (hijab) due to Somaliland being Muslim. Some women choose to wear the head-to-foot burqa known as the jalabeeb in Somali.

Customs and Courtesies

Somalilanders warmly greet each other with handshakes, but shaking hands with the opposite sex is avoided but some choose to do so. Common verbal greetings include:

- assalamu alaikum (Peace be upon you)
- subah wanaagsan (Good morning)
- galab wanaagsan (Good afternoon)
- haben wanaagsan (Good night)
- iska waran (How are you?)
- nabat (I'm fine or literally translated it means peace)

Somalilanders use sweeping hand and arm gestures to dramatize speech. Many ideas are expressed through specific hand gestures. Most of these gestures are performed by women:

1. A swift twist of the open hand means "nothing" or "no".
2. Snapping fingers may mean "long ago" or and "so on"
3. A thumb under the chin indicates "fullness".
4. It is impolite to point the sole of one's foot or shoe at another person.
5. It is impolite to use the index finger to call somebody; that gesture is used for calling dogs.
6. The American "thumbs up" is considered obscene by the majority of Somalilanders.

Communications in Somaliland

Somaliland, which declared its independence of Somalia in 1991, enjoys a relatively well-functioning civil society and peace. ICT usage is still very low, but with clear development potentials associated especially with the presence of telecommunication companies from neighboring countries, expatriates engaged in the universities and other sectors, and the presence of five telecommunications operators and several VSAT operators.

There is no telecommunication regulatory institution in Somaliland. There is consensus among actors that it would be desirable, but Somaliland is at the beginning of the institutional creation process.

The competition in the telecommunication market is “a negotiated competition”. All operators cooperate in the Somaliland Telecommunication Operators Association, where they agree on prices and give information on this to the Ministry. Prices are uniform and adjusted according to inflation and the exchange rate to the US-dollar.

Fierce competition has driven consumer costs down; international calls on mobile phones cost $1 U.S. per minute or less, five or six times lower than in most African countries. The low prices for international calls may be seen as a combined result of real “competition”; low economic level/development and no public intervention.

Satellite technology is playing an instrumental role in Somaliland. Based on 2002 prices, it has been shown that a VSAT-based asymmetrical 128/64 connection in any given location in Somaliland costs $0.058 per minute, assuming the connection is used 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Further, the connection may be shared by several PCs and the “per minute charge” can then be lowered accordingly. A tele-centre scenario in Somaliland showed the rate per PC to be $0.005 per minute.

Public holidays in Somaliland

The holidays in Somaliland: Somaliland uses two calendar systems: the Gregorian calendar primarily, but the Islamic calendar for religious holidays.

Date English name Local name Remarks 
Gregorian calendar 
1 May Labour Day   
18 May–19 May Restoration of Somaliland Sovereignty   
26 June Independence Day   
Islamic lunar calendar 
27 Rajab Muhammad's Ascension to Heaven Mi'raaj Nabi  
1 Shawwal End of Ramadan Eid Ed Fitri  
10 Dhul Hijja  Eid Al Adha  
1 Muharram Muslim New Year 


1. a b Puntland's control over parts of Somaliland. The Somaliland Times. February 1, 2006 (afrol News).
2. a b Formation of Maakhir state to eastern Somaliland.
3. I.M. Lewis, A Modern History of the Somali, fourth edition (Oxford: James Currey, 2002), p. 21
4. Lewis, A Modern History, pp. 282-286
5. Article by International Herald Tribune. March 7, 2007. 6. Somaliland. United Kingdom Parliament. Retrieved on 2007-02-23.
7. Somaliland closer to recognition by Ethiopia. afrol News. Retrieved on 2007-07-06.
8. Somaliland, Djibouti at a nitter port feud. afrol News. Retrieved on 2007-07-22.
9.EU Breaks Ice on Financing Somaliland. Global Policy Forum. Retrieved on 2007-02-23.
10. AU supports Somali split. Mail and Guardian online. Retrieved on 2007-02-23.
11. Awdal "Republic": Declaration of Independence, [Somalia]. University of Pennsylvania - African Studies Center. Retrieved on 2007-01-29.
12. [1]
13. Al-Jazeera: Rival Somali regions in armed clash.
14. Republic of Somaliland Country Profile. Somaliland Official website. Retrieved on 2005-12-02.