12 May, 2012

Somaliland - Birds' eye view of Hargeisa by night

Somaliland - Birds' eye view of Hargeisa by night

Hargeisa is the capital of Somaliland, a self-declared republic that is internationally not recognized. It was the colonial capital of the British Somaliland protectorate from 1941 to 1960, when it gained independence as the State of Somaliland and united with Italian Somaliland to form the Somali Republic.
The city is situated in a valley in the highlands, and sits at an elevation of 4,377 feet . Home to rock art from the Neolithic period, Hargeisa is also a commercial hub for precious stone-cutting, construction, retail services and importing/exporting, among other activities.

In 1888, after signing successive treaties with the then ruling Somali Sultans , the British established a protectorate in the region referred to as British Somaliland.The British garrisoned the protectorate from Aden in present-day Yemen, and administered it from their British India until 1898. British Somaliland was then administered by the Foreign Office until 1905 and afterwards by the Colonial Office.
Berbera, a major trading harbour on the Red Sea, was the protectorate's first capital due to its strategic 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 protectorate gained its independence on 26 June 1960 as the State of Somaliland, before uniting as planned days later with the Trust Territory of Somalia (the former Italian Somaliland) to form the Somali Republic.

Due to the Barre regime's violent repression, Somaliland in the northwestern part of the country, took up arms and formed the Somali 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.
A war memorial in the form of a MiG fighter jet was erected in Hargeisa to mark this event.


As control of Mogadishu shifted in favor of the United Somali Congress (USC) in 1991, a power struggle between the leaders had led to the city's destruction. While Mogadishu and the rest of southern Somalia were being destroyed, the opposite was happening in Hargeisa and the rest of Somaliland. By 18 May 1991, secessionists in the Somaliland region declared independence and reconstruction began.
Since 1991, the city has undergone a massive facelift and most of the devastated commercial and residential homes have been rebuilt and are in better condition than before the war, with larger use of brick and concrete instead of mud and adobe. Remittance money sent from overseas relatives contributed tremendously in the reconstruction of the city as well as entrepreneurial spirit of local residents and citizens throughout Somaliland .
References : WK
Condensed from the web and edited by M. Ali



No comments: