Members of the Somaliland diaspora celebrated the anniversary of their homeland’s 1991 declaration of independence from Somalia by dancing down Whitehall, the thoroughfare at the heart of British government.
By Oliver Jj Lane
Bedecked with flags and celebrated with dancing, the demonstration is part of an ongoing campaign by Somalilander activists to encourage international recognition of their breakaway state, which declared itself independent of greater Somalia — the failed state recognised and propagated by the United Nations — in 1991.
The borders of Somaliland conform to the historical borders to the colony of British Somaliland, which existed from 1884. In 1960, the colony was granted independence but was forced to merge with the neighbouring Italian Somaliland, forming the nation of Somalia as it appears on world atlases today.
Infamous for the brutal civil war, the eastern, formerly Italian Somalia has lately become synonymous with modern-day piracy, operating out of the national capital of Mogadishu.
To the north and bordering the gulf of Aden, Somaliland declared independence from the rest of the nation in 1991 but has yet to be recognised by any major world government or international organisation. Working out of the regional capital of Hargesia, the geographically large but sparsely populated Somaliland boasts a university, coastguard, and democratic elections.
Many Somalilanders have moved abroad, with large numbers moving to the United Kingdom, the former colonial holder of Somaliland.