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by Ismail Akwei, at 09:00 am, May 15, 2018, News

Self-declared independent state of Somaliland celebrates its 27th anniversary

Somaliland independence parade

The self-declared state of Somaliland celebrated its 27th independence anniversary from Somalia on Tuesday in the capital, Hargeisa.

The event was led by the president Muse Bihi Abdi who was flanked by government officials and citizens of the breakaway Somali region.

Somaliland is the only self-declared independent state that has survived years of diplomatic isolation by international bodies. The country is internationally recognised as an autonomous region of Somalia.

Somaliland, with a population of about 4 million, can boast of an army, its own currency and legal system and is appreciated for holding credible elections. They made history in 2017 as the first country to use the iris biometric voting system.

The Somali National Movement (SNM) declared Somaliland independent of Somalia on May 18, 1991, after they fought against the government of the Somali Democratic Republic’s military ruler Siad Barre who ruled from 1969 to 1991 after a coup.

Four militia groups including SNM led a rebellion that ousted the Barre regime. The SNM declared the northwestern Somali regions independent and established the Republic of Somaliland after disagreements with the other rebel groups.

The territory has been under pressure to hold unity talks with Somalia but to no avail

Russia is reported to be in talks with Somaliland to set up a naval base of at least 1500 men outside Zeila, a city near the border with Djibouti to offer support to warships and submarines patrolling the strategic stretch of coastline.

In return, Russia is expected to assist Somaliland to gain international recognition as a sovereign state through a United Nations resolution.

President Muse Bihi Abdi also said in March that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will train Somaliland security forces as part of a deal to establish a military base in the Somaliland port city of Berbera.

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