Welcome to Somalia

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  SOMALIA - Somalia Democratic Republic                                                                                                    Home

Capital: Mogadishu
Large Cities: Hargeisa, Baidoa, Burao
Languages: Somali, Arabic, English and Italian
Religion: Islam
Currency: Shilling

History: A republic in the Horn of Africa, Somali Democratic Republic was formed by the union of the former Italian Somaliland and the British Somaliland on July 1, 1960. Somalia is essentially a pastoral country, with 80% of people depending on livestock-rearing. It has 40.1 m livestock. Half the population is nomadic.

The year 1992, saw one of the worse famines in Somalia. Ravaged by civil war, the country was a state of anarchy. Starvation threatened 50% of the population. Over 800,000 fled to Kenya. Relief efforts were hampered by battles between rival clan fractions. In January 1991, President Siad Barre was toppled, ending 21 years one-man rule. Somalia has been ruled by feuding warlords since the overthrow of Siad Barre.

Ali Mahdi Muhammad (United Somali Congress) became President in August 1991. Interfactional fighting continued. A new coalition government under the chairmanship of Gen. Muhammad Farah Aidid agreed to a UN military presence to back up relief efforts to help famine victims (estimated at 1.5 to 2m). In December 92, leaders of two of the 14 warring factions, Ali Mahdi Muhammad and Muhammad Farah Aidid, agreed to a peace plan under the aegis of the UN.

In March 1994, the last of the 30,000 American troops who had landed in December 1992 left Somalia, closing a chapter in the costliest humanitarian venture in UN history. A peace accord was signed in June 94 by 19 Somali leaders, but violence continued. In July, 96, there was heavy fighting between Gen. Ali Mahdi Muhammad. Gen Aidid died in August. Armed factions controlled different parts of the country. President Abdiqasim Salat Hassan and 245 legislators were elected in August 2000 at a peace conference in Djibouti. It is estimated that the war and the famine have killed at lest 350,000 Somalis. UN said in August 99, that a "blackhole of anarchy" prevailed in Somalia.

In Somaliland, an unrecognized state, independent from Somalia since 1991, a huge majority voted in favour of independence from the rest of Somalia in 2000. Rival militias fought for the ports of Kismayo and Bossasso. After 1991, clan-based factional fighting reduced the country into battling fiefdoms ruled by heavily armed militias. Punt land unrecognized like Somaliland, declared independence from Somalia in 1998.

Crops: Sugarcane, bananas, sorghum, maize.

Mission in India:
Embassy of Somalia
A-7, Defence Colony,
New Delhi - 110 024, India
Tel: 91 - 11 - 2461 9559, 2461 7453
Telex: 31 - 65010 ESDR IN.

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