By Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Somalilandsun – Whenever we think of poverty, war and lawlessness in the world; one country comes to our mind often: Somalia. We have an assumption that the nation is populated by bloodthirsty warlords and pirates.
Its neighbour Ethiopia portrays a better image, by no means. Thus, we come to a conclusion that this part of the world is nearly impossible to live in. Here comes a wonderful exception: Somaliland.
Somaliland is yet to be officially recognized as a country. However, it is often considered as an island which has relative stability and peace. The most shocking aspect about Somaliland is that the global community is yet to consider it as an official country. Things may not be heavenly here but Somaliland has a government which has been democratically elected. Not every official country in this world has that kind of a government.
Somaliland has also got working military and police force. For the last 20 years, it has hospitals and schools. Right now, it is an autonomous region in Somalia. This is the place where civilization took place for the first time in Somalia. There have been cave paintings which are about 10,000 years old. These were left behind by the ancient citizens here. These paintings are among the oldest available in Africa.
Somaliland was ruled by the British and the Egyptian in recent times. Somaliland had its brief independence from the British rule in 1960 before being merged with Somalia. It was only in 1991 that Somaliland has been considered as an autonomous region.
Ali Tuur became the first president of Somaliland. On the other hand, Ali Tuur decided to step down soon after while he advocated that Somaliland should get back to be a part of Somalia. Muhammad Haji Ibrahim was his successor until his death in 2002. The first democratic elections were held in 2003 when Dahir Riyale Kahin became the first president of Somaliland, who was democratically elected.
Nevertheless, Somaliland is still a difficult country for the tourists. The local bureaucracy may end up being frustrating. This is especially true about the airport security and the police. Still, when anyone comes to this part of the world, it can really be an extremely rewarding experience.
Follow the link to see the entire collection of beautiful photos attached to the article: The ‘Not Yet’ Country in East Africa