Somaliland: It is High Time to Resolve the Western Coastline Dispute


Lughaya Is Zaila as Bulahar Is Berbera And In Between Is Hargeisa

Map of Somaliland British Protectorate in 1960

By: Hassan Abdi Yousuf

Somalilandsun – As we are all aware, The Somaliland Electoral LAW No 14 stipulates that the Somaliland Local and parliamentary elections should be based on the District Administrative Boundaries that existed on 26 June 1960, prior to the Independence from Great Britain. In other words, political districts of Somaliland should be based on those inherited from Great Britain in 1960. This ruling in quite clear and brings any potential disputes to a dead-end. Even the goats could accurately interpret the Text and spirit of this ruling – if intensions are sincere.

However, over the past 14 or so years and precisely since the first municipality elections in 2001, the Western coastal villages of Hargeisa District were the subject of unjustified and unnecessary dispute with Zaila Region (nowadays, incorrectly and misleadingly called SALAL???) and particularly the District of Lughaya. Consequently, both Hargeisa and Zaila Regions have suffered in terms of socioeconomic development and this we are of the opinion issue should be resolved without further delay. It is also very interesting to notice that the dispute is not being waged by Zaila community, as the case should be, but from Borame community, who obviously inherited the western coastline after the Exodus of large number of the population of Zaila Region to the neighboring Djibouti following the latter’s independence in 1977. A more close scrutiny of the details of the argument made by the two communities, illustrates that there is confusion in the minds of the people of the region regarding the timing of the demarcation boundary of coastline. They tend to confuse (intentionally and/or unintentionally) the boundaries drawn by each of British Administration up to 1960, the Democratic Administrations between 1960 and 1969 and the Siyad Barreh Dictatorship up to 1991.

In an attempt to contribute to the resolution of this thorny issue and to the benefit of the brotherly communities residing in these territories, I have extracted the Map of Somaliland British Protectorate in 1960 and also the Map of the Northwest Region Administrative under Siyad Barreh Regime.

In the following few lines and with the assistance of supporting documents, I would like to shed some light on the disputed coastline to the North of Hargeisa, which was the subject of unfruitful and unjustified dispute between Maroodi-Jeex Region (Hargeisa District) and Zaila Region (Lughaya District) and, at times, even Berbera Region(Bulahar District).

THE BRITISH ADMINISTATION UP TO 1960 1). According to the attached Map of British Protectorate of 1960, Longitude Line 44 East divides the Districts of Hargeisa and Zaila at about 2 kilos to the east of Lughaya. Accordingly, Lughaya is part of present day Lughaya District; whereas any territory to the east of Lughaya belongs to the present day Hargeisa District.

2. To the East, the following Somaliland Protectorate Map shows that the Boundary line between Berbera and Hargeisa Districts lies at about 2km to the west of the town of Bulahar. Consequently, Bulahar is part of Berbera District, but any territory to the west of Bulahar is Hargeisa District.

Somaliland Republic Regions of 1964

Between 1960 and 1964 the political map of Somaliland had remained the same as inherited from the British (i.e. the 6 districts of Hargeisa, Berbera Borame, Burao, Erigavo and Las-Anod). However, in 1964 and following the integration of the ex-British Somaliland and Ex-Italian Somalia, the 6 districts were re-distributed and North was divided into two Region of Northwest ( with Hargeisa as its capital ) and Northeast( with Burao as the capital). In 1964, the Map the boundaries of the coastal line were tampered with but this is outside the scope of our discussion. Nonetheless, it is worth noting here that some people confuse the administrative boundary of 1964 with that of 1960, which Somaliland Electoral LAW 14 considers as the basis of the new Somaliland District boundary line. Consequently, in order to come up with fruitful conclusions, people should distinguish between the two and concentrate on the 1960 District Boundaries.

The Siyad Barreh Dictatorship Map

In 197teeth the government of the Siyad Barreh dictatorship had increased the number of regions of the then Somali Democratic Republic from 8 to 18. In the process, it has also drawn a new map for the territories in question as part of creation of new regions. Under this map, Hargeisa district and also Gabilay district were deprived of any coastal line. The territory between Bulahar and Lughaya which was part of Hargeisa District under the British Administration was divided between Zaila and Berber as illustrates in the following maps. Nowadays some ill-informed elements argue that this 1972 Faqash map is the genuine map of the territories and this is indeed disgusting and sickening.

To sum it up, and in accordance with above-mentioned historical background and also as enshrined in the Somaliland Electoral LAW No 14, the following are undisputed facts as far as the boundaries of the western.

coastal line of the present day Republic of Somaliland are concerned. Anyone who can prove otherwise should come up with concrete facts, and demonstrate his or her credentials – not empty rhetoric.

1) The Town of Lughaya is part of Salal Region (Lughaya District)

2) The Town of Bulahar is part of Saaxil Region (Bulahar District).

3) The Territory between Lughaya and Bulahar is part of Maroodi-Jeex Region. These are Sabawanaag, Ceella-Helay Cabdi Geeddi, Ceel sheekh and others.

Hassan Abdi Yousuf

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia