The relatively extensive social protection system that was sought to build up in the 1970s in Somalia was severely undermined in the 1980s due to lack of funding to finally collapse in total in 1991. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of SOM and acronym for Somalia. Since then, in principle, only the healthcare offered as a disaster relief or by international NGOs exists. These organizations have also occasionally stopped their activities because of the prevailing anarchy. In the “Republic of Somaliland” (see State and politics below), the voluntary organizations’ health care provision has been more stable, and living conditions there and in Puntland are considered somewhat better than in the rest of the country.
As a result of civil war and drought disasters, the latest 2010-11, living conditions have deteriorated further. This is especially true in rural areas, where only about 10 percent of the population has access to clean water. Starvation and diseases such as diarrhea and malaria reap many sacrifices, especially among children. Other common diseases are measles, cholera and tuberculosis. In contrast, Somalia is relatively spared from HIV/AIDS; only 1 percent of the population aged 15-49 is estimated to be infected (2009).
At only about every third childbirth, qualified staff are available, with high maternal mortality as a result.
Civil war and drought have also forced millions of people to leave their homes at some point. Many have been able to return, but others are trapped in refugee camps, either in Somalia or in one of the neighboring countries.
The United States imposed partial military sanctions on Somalia for its use of child soldiers. Instead, its arbitrary aerial bombardments escalated by civilians and supposed militia groups. Due. the serious security situation and the risk to journalists, news of the carnage never or rarely came out of the country.
Despite the carnage in Somalia, 20,000 refugees arrived from Yemen during 2016. An indication that Saudi Arabia’s war on this had created a humanitarian disaster of even greater magnitude than possible in Somalia.
In October-November 2016 elections were held for Parliament’s two chambers. Due. the security situation in the country it could not be implemented as a normal direct choice. Instead, the state assemblies elected the 54 members of the House of Commons, while the 275 members of the House of Commons were elected by an Electoral College consisting of 14,025 people from across the country appointed by the country’s clan leaders.
Well-preserved rock paintings show that perhaps 10,000 years ago, livestock-eating people lived in today’s Somaliland. Otherwise, little is known about the country’s early history, but archaeologists are leaning towards the fact that for many hundreds of years there was a slow immigration of people from the southern part of the present Ethiopian highlands.
From the 6th century, Persians and Arabs brought Islam in conjunction with the establishment of trading stations along the coast, but it took several hundred years before the new religion became firmly entrenched in larger population circles.
From the 1300s, today’s Somaliland was part of the mighty Sultanate of Adal, which also included parts of today’s Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia. Via the town of Saylac (Zeila) at the northern tip of Somaliland, extensive trade in coffee, gold and slaves was made from Ethiopia to the Middle East and Asia.
In 1548, Zeila was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire and remained an important trading town for hundreds of years. Since the Suez Canal opened in 1869 and the European superpowers’ race across Africa gained momentum, French, British and Italians competed on the coastal areas along the Horn of Africa. France subjugated the northwestern part, today’s Djibouti, while Britain took Somaliland and Italy current Somalia. However, the British did not gain full control of Somaliland until 1920, after more than 20 years of resistance struggle on the part of the population.
At the time of the decolonization in 1960, the former British Somaliland was independent for five days, before the country merged with the former Italian-controlled area and formed the state of Somalia.
Ibrahim Egal, who had been prime minister in Somaliland during the five days of independence, was given a post of minister in the new Somali government. He was prime minister from 1967 until a coup in 1969 that led General Mohamed Siad Barre to power.
A failed war against Ethiopia in 1977–1978 (see Somalia: Modern History) led to severe economic problems and increased dissatisfaction with the regime. Particularly strong was the opposition to Barre in the northwest, where the issaaq clans felt politically past. Somalis in exile in London in 1981 formed the opposition group Somali National Movement (SNM) which aimed to overthrow Barre. During the 1980s, SNM carried out armed attacks on Somali targets from bases in Ethiopia. A major uprising in 1988 was brutally defeated by the Ethiopian army. The cities of Hargeisa and Burao were bombed, some 40,000 people were killed and almost 400,000 fled to Ethiopia.
An independent Somaliland is proclaimed
Opposition to Barre’s regime spread across the country and in the north, SNM gradually took control of increasingly large areas. In January 1991, Barre was ousted from power by an alliance of armed movements, but the fighting against the regime immediately turned into a clan war that led SNM and other representatives of the Issaq clans to proclaim the independent state of Somaliland on May 18, 1991.
SNM leader Abdirahman Ahmed Ali Tuur was named president, but the world’s reluctance to recognize the new state prompted him to advocate reunification with Somalia in a federal system, which isolated him from other leaders. He resigned in 1993 and was replaced by the experienced Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, who was elected by an elder council. He led the country until his death in 2002. During his time in power, Somaliland stabilized and the economy improved. Despite the diplomatic isolation, Somaliland was able to establish informal trade relations with a number of countries and receive some assistance. The country got its own currency and the citizens were able to obtain Somali passports.
Egal was succeeded by Dahir Rayale Kahin, during whose presidency general elections were held at all levels – by the president, parliament and local assemblies – in relatively orderly forms. Somaliland appeared to be the only reasonably acceptable democracy in an unstable part of Africa.
Admittedly, in the 2003 election, Kahin won by just 80 votes margin over challenger Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, but he accepted the result after first claiming that there had been irregularities.
The first parliamentary elections were held in September 2005 and won by Kahin’s party Udub, which received 33 seats. Kulmiye received 28 seats and Ucid 21 (for presentation of the parties, see Politics and Economics). After the election, the two opposition parties formed an alliance and were thus able to control the House of Representatives.
In the years that followed, tensions between President Kahin and the opposition rose, including both the local elections, which were to be held in 2007, and the presidential elections, which were scheduled for 2008, were postponed several times.
In the fall of 2008, Somaliland and the neighboring Somali region of Puntland were also shaken by several concerted suicides. In the capital, Hargeisa, attacks were carried out against the UN Development Agency’s UNDP premises, the presidential palace and the Ethiopian consulate. A total of at least 27 people were killed. In Hargeisa, the registration of voters was suspended before the municipal elections, which would instead be held at the same time as the 2009 presidential election. The process of establishing electoral length had major problems and the electoral commission was accused of cheating.
The turmoil in the country escalated in 2009 since the May Elder extended the mandate of President Kahin for another year. The opposition claimed that this violated the Constitution, and there was also uncertainty about the length of the vote. The opposition tried to get the president before the national court and threatened with an election boycott while its supporters demonstrated in Hargeisa. The Electoral Commission decided to postpone the parliamentary elections indefinitely, and the President temporarily closed the House of Representatives when the House was to discuss a judicial process against him. Violent protests erupted in Hargeisa, killing at least four people.
At the same time as the political crisis, the country was hit by severe drought and in September 2009, 400,000 people were reported to be in need of food assistance.