Somalilandsun: From a ragtag unit composed from ex-SNM rebel combatants the Somaliland Armed Forces is commemorating its 27th Anniversary as a fully fledged entity with sufficient military might to protect and secure territorial boundaries.
This was unanimously concurred during festivities held nationwide to mark the 27th anniversary since creation of the first army unit on the 2nd February 1994.
While the day was Commemorated in all regional capitals the main activities were held in the capital Hargeisa where the President Musa Bihi Abdi was chief guest.
In addition to the multitude of ordinary citizens participating in the celebrations were leaders of political parties, cabinet misters, members of Parliament, traditional and religious leaders who after witnessing the military march past in the streets converged at army headquarters.
The president who is also commander in chief jumpstarted activities by inspection the defence forces hospital where he was briefed on status by both staffers and patients.
After the hospital visit president Bihi flanked by all Somaliland service Commanders, the minster of defence and members of his cabinet among them the internal affairs, information and livestock ministers inspected a guard if honour mounted by various units.
“In commemoration of your 27th anniversary I extend congratulations to all Soldiers and your families” said the president adding that Somaliland remains secure due to their diligence
Addressing the function the chief of staff Major General Nuh Ismail Tani, said that it was obvious to all that the Somaliland Armed forces have and continue to safeguard the nation from external threats while supporting other security agencies to do the same internally.
“I congratulate all service men and women as well the officers corps of our armed forces as we commemorate 27 years of service to the nation” said Maj General Tani who also thanked his commander in chief, President Musa Bihi for his support to development of the military.
The minster of defence Abdigani Mahmud Ateye said the military remains the central pole that binds the Republic of together as he pledged a continuation of his office’s open door policy for all ranks that avails him avenues to secure relevant information during briefings to his boss, President Bihi.
About the Somaliland Armed Forces
The Somaliland National Armed Forces are the military services of Somaliland. They are composed of two active military branches: the army and the navy. There is no air force but there exists a very active air defence unit.
The Army came to being officially in 1994 while the navy which falls under the ministry of internal affairs was created in 2009.
The Somaliland Police Force is also a part of the internal security forces and subordinate to the military. The Armed Forces is under the command of President Muse Bihi Abdi, who is the Commander-in-chief. Minister of Defence Abdiqani Mohamoud Aateye is the designated minister that oversees the armed forces with Major General Nuh Tani as the chief of staff.
Currently the two branches of the Somaliland Armed forces have a combined active force of over 100,000 , and 8,000 reserve officers.
Enlistment is voluntary for ages 18-30 while the country has over 500,000 citizens fit for active duty in addition to the 259,000 who attain recruitment age annually.
The navy which is supported by the United Kingdom and EUCAP has its headquarters in the port city of Berbera in addition to western and eastern bases situated in Sayla and Sanaag respectively.
The army is headquartered in the capital Hargeisa where bulk of its top brass operate from with bases in Awdal, Toghdeeer, Sanaag and Sool regions.
Among the divisions within the Somaliland military include the artillery brigade, infantry and mechanized brigade as well as the tanks brigades.
Somaliland which is considered internationally as part of Somalia cannot purchase any military hardware due to the arms embargo.
So most of its ordinance is that captured from the Somalia army during the protracted civil war of the 1980’s and early nineties thence Russian made.
This includes BM-21 mobile rocket launchers, BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles, BTR-50 armoured cars, T-34 medium battle tanks and few T-55 main battle tanks.
Somaliland spends a third of its $350 million budget on its armed forces, its largest government expenditure