Somaliland is cracking down on pirates
Re: Somali pirate cash ‘coming to Ottawa,’ April 30.
The Citizen article on piracy profits in Somalia coming back to Ottawa did not mention that Somaliland recently sentenced seven pirates to 15 years in prison and has now jailed more than 70, and sentenced a terrorist to 24 years in prison.
Somaliland’s reward for trying to be a good citizen in the international community is silence and neglect. Instead, newspapers are filled with stories of the mayhem in ungovernable Somalia.
Somaliland was a British protectorate from 1884 to 1960. It gained independence and UN recognition and then agreed to join with Somalia although the union was never ratified by their parliaments.
The informal partnership did not work and Somaliland attempted to withdraw in the 1980s. The succession was brutally repressed by the dictatorship in Mogadishu and lead to many refugees coming to Canada.
In 1991, Somaliland successfully withdrew following the collapse of the government in Somalia and has operated independently ever since. It has kept its coasts clear of pirates, tried to keep extremists out of the country and held three democratic elections, all with almost no outside help or aid.
One of the reasons these efforts have not been recognized is a desire on the part of the international community to put Somalia back the way it was. This will never happen given the situation in Somalia and the strong feelings that will always exist with respect to the 1980s conflict.
I have personally visited Somaliland and it already compares very favourably to many other more “well regarded” countries in Africa. It is time to help Somaliland and reward its efforts through aid and recognition. I am personally investing in a business venture in Somaliland because recognition will happen as long as it stays on its present course.