Somaliland247's Blog

June 23, 2012

UK Foreign Secretary welcomes historic talks between Somaliland and Transitional Federal Government of Somalia

Filed under: NEWS — somaliland247 @ 8:34 pm
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UK Foreign Secretary welcomes historic talks between Somaliland and Transitional Federal Government of Somalia

22 June 2012

Foreign Secretary William Hague: “I congratulate the Somali Transitional Federal Government and Somaliland representatives on agreeing the Chevening House Declaration yesterday.”

Representatives of Somaliland and the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia met at Chevening House on 20-21 June. The purpose of the talks, the first of their kind, was to establish a framework for future substantive talks. At the request of both parties the meeting was facilitated by the UK government, along with the EU and Norway.

Following the meeting the Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

“I congratulate the Somali Transitional Federal Government and Somaliland representatives on agreeing the Chevening House Declaration yesterday. We hope this will be a landmark in the process of clarifying their future relations and achieving peace, security and stability in the region. I congratulate both sides on their willingness to continue the talks and to cooperate on areas of common interest. I am pleased that the UK, along with Norway and the EU, was able to build on commitments at the London and Istanbul Conferences on Somalia to support dialogue by facilitating these talks. Britain will work with  international partners to support their efforts as they continue this important and historic dialogue.”

Foreign & Commonwealth Office:


March 16, 2012

Somaliland Did Not Surrender Sovereignty By Attending the London Conference

Somaliland Did Not Surrender Sovereignty By Attending the London Conference

By Mohamed A. Omar, 16 March 2012

Mohamed A. Omar Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in the Republic of Somaliland.


Somaliland is re-engaging with international diplomacy related to its neighbour, Somalia. Our country has received widespread praise for its contribution to the recent London Conference. This event represented an important milestone in Somaliland’s diplomacy.

We participated in the conference as an equal, and we laid out our views about how Somaliland can help build peace and stability in Somalia. We are very grateful to the British Government for convening the conference and for inviting us.

It was the first time that Somaliland had ever taken part in an international conference dealing with the future of Somalia. Prior to the conference, some of our people had expressed reservations about Somaliland’s participation, because they were afraid that our Government’s presence in London could be misinterpreted by our international partners as endorsing an eventual return to unity with Somalia.

I believe that our government decisively addressed this issue in our statement to the conference, in which we underlined our view that our declaration of independence in 1991 is definitive. Had we not attended, we would have missed an opportunity to share this view with 55 delegations, represented at very high level.

Given these sensitivities, President Silanyo consulted widely with Somaliland’s political and civil society leaders before deciding to accept the invitation to the Conference. It was important that there be a strong mandate from Somaliland’s two legislative bodies, the Council of Elders and the House of Representatives. In fact, these two bodies had to change our law in order for President Silanyo to attend. This process illustrates Somaliland’s democratic credentials and our culture of consultation. The overwhelming backing for participation in the conference is a mark of our people’s political maturity.

The conference also provided us an opportunity to lay out our ideas about how to bring peace and stability to Somalia. We believe that attempts to find a solution to the problem of Somalia based on the de jure boundaries of the state risk undermining the very stability which the international community is seeking. Furthermore, focusing energy on the re-creation of a centralized state through a top-down approach ignores the realities on the ground, and the decentralized nature of Somali politics.

Somaliland offers a useful example in this regard, as several countries noted at the Conference. Somaliland built peace and democracy through an indigenous bottom-up approach, drawing on traditional conflict resolution methods. We believe that a similar approach is needed in Somalia, and we have offered to share our experience with our brothers and sisters in that country. We would of course be in an even stronger position to contribute to a stable and peaceful Somalia if we were recognised internationally.

The Final Communiqué issued from the Conference also recognised the need for the international community “to support any dialogue that Somaliland and the TFG or its replacement may agree to establish in order to clarify their future relations.” We believe that this clearly supports our vision of a dialogue between two separate entities, which treat each other as equals. It will, I hope, mark a starting point for constructive discussions about our relationship with Somalia, including an acceptance by the authorities in Mogadishu that our voluntary union failed long ago, and that the future stability of the region is best served by accepting Somaliland’s independence.

A number of bilateral meetings between President Silanyo and Ministers from other countries took place in the margins of the conference, all of which were conducted in a spirit of mutual respect and equality. These bilateral talks provided us with the opportunity to discuss concrete ways in which Somaliland can cooperate with other governments to our mutual advantage.

While in London, President Silanyo also attended the launch of the Somaliland Development Corporation at the British Houses of Parliament. The Corporation will facilitate international investment in Somaliland for the benefit of the Somaliland people, circumventing the present problem of non-recognition by providing a transparent, accountable and enforceable means by which international investors can participate in Somaliland ventures. Somaliland was honoured that Minister Henry Bellingham attended the event. The launch was also well-attended by members of Parliament from all major political parties in the UK.

All of this demonstrates that we did not surrender our sovereignty by attending the London Conference. On the contrary, we asserted and reaffirmed our status as a sovereign and responsible regional partner, and in the process garnered significant diplomatic, economic and political support. We will build on this so as to promote further the interests of our people.

Mohamed A. Omar is Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in the Republic of Somaliland.


March 12, 2012

Video: Wasiirka Arrimaha Debedda Somaliland-“Puntland waxba kama khuseeyaan wadahadalka Somaliland iyo Somalia”

Video: Wasiirka Arrimaha Debedda Somaliland Maxamed Cabdillaahi Cumar-“Puntland waxba kama khuseeyaan wadahadalka Somaliland iyo Somalia”

February 13, 2012

Video:Maxkamadeynta Dhagarqabe Jen. Maxamed Cali Samatar Oo 21ka Bishan Ka Furmaysa Dalka Mareykanka

CJA :The Center For Justice & Accountability Letter on General Ali Samantar case

Dear Friends,

I am writing to share some exciting news. After over seven years of litigation, which has featured two appeals, including one that went all the way to the Supreme Court, and travel to six countries ranging from the U.S. to Djibouti to Somaliland, with stops in Italy, England, and Switzerland – our case against General Mohamed Samantar is finally going to trial.

As you may know, this is the first case to go to trial that will seek to hold any member of the former Siad Barre regime responsible for the countless atrocities that were inflicted on innocent civilians in Somalia in the 1980s. During the 1980s, General Samantar served as the highest ranking military official in the country and held the positions of Defense Minister, First Vice President, and Prime Minister. He was Siad Barre’s right-hand and the commander of the armed forces that unleashed the campaign of terror.
For more on the case, click here.

Along with pro bono co-counsel Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, we are very honored to represent our four clients who have persevered in their effort to seek justice.

The trial is set to start on February 21. We anticipate that the trial will last approximately two weeks. We would be delighted if you are able to attend some of the proceedings. If not, be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter. The trial will take place at  Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse, 401 Courthouse Square, Alexandria, VA. If you have any questions please e-mail

Pamela Merchant
Executive Director–21st.html?soid=1101292569561&aid=WBsQE1LdTlM#fblike

Video:Maxkamadeynta Dhagarqabe Jen. Maxamed Cali Samatar Oo 21ka Bishan Ka Furmaysa Dalka Mareykanka

November 8, 2011

Ohio judge won’t dismiss Somali torture claim suit

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Ohio judge won’t dismiss Somali torture claim suit

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit alleging torture claims against a former Somali military colonel who lives in Ohio.

Defendant Abdi Aden Magan (AHB’-dee AH’-den MAH’-gen) argues the lawsuit was filed in the wrong country and too long after when his accuser says the abuse occurred.

Former human rights advocate in Somalia Abukar Hassan Ahmed (ah-BOO’-kar HAHS’-sahn AK’-med) sued Magan in April 2010, alleging the colonel oversaw his detention and torture there in 1988.

U.S. District Court Judge George Smith on Monday ruled Ahmed had standing to sue in the United States and the time limit for filing such a lawsuit hadn’t expired.

The judge relied in part on a motion from the U.S. Department of State saying Magan shouldn’t be allowed to claim immunity from the allegations.

1)Former Chief of Somali NSS faces lawsuit for torture

2)US State Department: former Somali colonel living in US can’t claim immunity in torture suit

3)Somali Torture Claim: Alleged Victim Says He Still Suffers


October 13, 2011

Raised Catholic, soldier and wife convert to Islam

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Raised Catholic, soldier and wife convert to Islam

By Nancy Montgomery
Stars and Stripes
Published: October 10, 2011

The Tarantinos say converting to Islam has given them new purpose, meaning and guidance in their lives. The adults have given up music and alcohol. The children have given up the tooth fairy and Santa. In their back yard, from left are Andrew and Jayden, and their parents, Chris and Cristina.

MANNHEIM, Germany — They’d both been reared Roman Catholic, she in Mannheim, Germany, he in Kissimmee, Fla.

But when Spc. Chris Tarantino deployed to Iraq in 2006, his wife began to ask questions about life and death that led her to convert to Islam.

“I was really, really scared something was going to happen to him,” said Cristina Tarantino.

She started to wonder what happened after death, she said, and how to best live life on earth.

She was spending time with her older sister, who had converted to Islam after marrying a Palestinian, and she sought her sister’s guidance.

Her sister’s answers about Islam made sense to Cristina and gave her some serenity, she said.

She discussed her spiritual progress with her husband in frequent phone calls between Camp Taji, Iraq, and Mannheim.

Even so, “I was kind of shocked when I heard her say it — ‘I’ve accepted Islam,’” Chris, now a sergeant, said.

His first question was whether she had begun wearing a hijab. She wasn’t ready yet, she said. But he didn’t ask her a lot, he said. “I asked for guidance in my prayers.”

And by last year, the second time he deployed to Iraq, the blond, blue-eyed soldier had also become a Muslim. He decided not to hide it.

“I went to Kuwait and bought a prayer rug and started praying right there,” he said. “I saw it wasn’t the end of the world to say I was a Muslim.”

During the past decade of fighting in Muslim countries, some soldiers occasionally have to battle perceptions that Muslims are hostile to the military they serve.

Chris enlisted in the Army in 1998, before radical Islamists attacked New York and Washington, D.C., and the U.S. went to war in two Muslim nations. He said he’d never had any feelings, positive or negative, about Muslims, even when heading to Iraq.

“All I knew was we were going to combat terrorism,” he said. “As a soldier, I just did what I was told. They say ignorance is bliss. I guess I was ignorant.”

Then, as his wife grew more religious and he was drawn with her to a Sunni mosque in Mannheim, he said the whole idea of radical, violent jihad against the West seemed utterly wrong.

“I follow the teachings of the prophet Muhammad. What the prophet Muhammad teaches does not condone that,” Chris said. “I don’t associate myself with radicalism whatsoever.”

But his situation is unusual: He’s the only U.S. soldier at his German mosque, one of the few Muslims in the Army and one of even fewer Muslim soldiers who are not from a traditionally Muslim family or African-American.

“I have to say that I’ve met zero that are of my race,” he said. And although the couple’s conversion is personal, not political, his views on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and war in general, have changed.

“As Muslims, we believe that if you kill one innocent person, it’s as if you’ve killed the entire world. But if you save one person, you save the entire world,” said Chris, who is in the Signal Corps and works on communications equipment. “I want to be on the side that’s helping.”

As part of that idea, the couple helped start a non-profit group to send food and medical supplies to Somalia, a failed state undergoing the worst famine in decades.

Since 2006, the country has faced an insurgency led by al-Shabab, a militant Islamist group that controls much of southern Somalia.

See Convert on Page 5

The famine, caused by drought, war, restrictions on aid groups and continuous chaos, has pushed 4 million Somalis — more than half the population — into “crisis,” according to the United Nations. Some 750,000 are at risk of death in the next few months, the U.N. says.

“The unfortunate reality is that Somalia is the most difficult operating environment for humanitarians in the world today,” Nancy Lindborg, USAID’s assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, wrote on the U.S. State Department official blog. “Access continues to be denied by Al-Shabaab and other armed groups, creating an indefensible situation where they would rather put hundreds of thousands of Somali lives in jeopardy than allow humanitarian aid in.”

But the Tarantinos and others at Al-Faruq Omar Mosque felt they had to do something.

Cristina was one of seven people from their mosque who formed a group called IslamischerHumanitaererEntwicklungsdienst, or the Islamic Humanitarian Development Service(

In just a few weeks, the charity had collected and put onto pallets 135 tons of food and medical supplies, Cristina said. Her husband provided some of the muscle.

“I help when there’s a load to be carried,” he said.

It was all collected, organized and carried during Ramadan, when Muslim adults don’t eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. “You’re talking about some guys who were completely kaput,” Chris said.

The food and supplies were picked up from a warehouse near Cologne and shipped by sea late last month. Cristina said the supplies would arrive in northern Somalia in the beginning of November, then be driven to the central region for distribution. Another charity, Human Plus, found sponsors to pay for transporting the supplies, which cost about 40,000 euros or $57,400.

At home, the Tarantinos continue to study their new faith and seek to live it as fully as they can.

Cristina wears the hijab when she leaves the house, as well as a long skirt and long sleeves. In Germany, her clothes rarely raise an eyebrow. At their mosque, for instance, “there are so many German converts,” she said, mostly women. There are also Moroccans, Bosnians, Poles and Russians.

The family lives on base, and when she goes to the commissary, people stare at her. “I feel like an astronaut,” she said. “Last time, when I went with my sister, they asked her if she was there to work,” she continued, explaining that some Turkish women wearing hijabs clean the local schools.

“I tell my husband, ‘They probably think you brought me from Iraq.’”

But her husband has never had a problem with acceptance. Soldiers in his unit, the 72nd Signal Battalion rear detachment, know he’s a Muslim. “I’d stop for prayer. I’d talk to them about Islam because it’s my chance to do a good deed,” he said.

“At first, they were – “What?” “You are?” “Really?”’ he said. After, they’d say, “Sgt. Tarantino, it’s prayer time.’ They were respectful,” he said.

Only once did he get a bad reaction. He greeted a “brother,’’ another Muslim soldier, and an African-American, by saying in Arabic, “Peace be upon you.”

“And the other soldier said, “Shhh,’” Chris said.

He plans to get out of the Army within the next year and move the family to the United States. Cristina plans to continue working toward a bachelor’s degree in communications, and her husband plans to continue his studies at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

“The same stuff I’ve been trained to do. Just without a gun,” he said.

The couple met on base in Mannheim more than a decade ago. They’ve been married three times: Once at city hall, once in church and the last time at their mosque.

One of the hardest things about their conversion had to do with their two young sons. “We were like, ‘What do we tell the kids?’’’ Cristina said. “So, gradually there was no tooth fairy, no Santa Claus. … They took it very well.”

Chris gets a little uncomfortable when the discussion gets around to the afterlife, the promise to men of multiple virgins, and the possibility of his taking more wives in the future. His wife made it clear where she stands.

“It’s an option, but it doesn’t mean it’s an option you should take,” Cristina said. “I have to say we’re very Europeanized that way.”


October 5, 2011

Somaliland sends first humanitarian mission to Somalia

Filed under: NEWS — somaliland247 @ 8:17 pm
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Somaliland sends first humanitarian mission to Somalia

A humanitarian delegation from the Republic of Somaliland donated relief aid for 9,000 drought-displaced families in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, during a recent visit. It was the first such visit since the region declared unilateral independence from the rest of the country in 1991.

“We plan to distribute food for 9,000 families and medicine for four hospitals,” Hasan Abdi Awed, chairman of Somaliland’s chamber of commerce and leader of the eight-member delegation, said on 30 September. “The food we are distributing will last the beneficiary families one month.”

Awed said the Somaliland government had announced in late August that it would participate in the international efforts to provide humanitarian aid to Somalia, which has been hit by famine and drought across most of its south-central regions.

Mohamed Shugri Jama, a spokesman for the delegation, told a news conference in Hargeisa before the visit: “We collected about $700,000 donated by the people and the government of Somaliland, and we have split into two delegations, one will be in Mogadishu distributing the food aid there, while another will go to the refugee camps [in Dadaab] in Kenya.”

Receiving the Somaliland delegation at Mogadishu’s airport, the city’s governor and mayor, Mohamed Ahmed Nur Tarsan, said: “We are glad to receive the delegation from Somaliland, which is here in response to the humanitarian crisis. It is not the amount of their contribution that matters but their empathy is more important.”

Somaliland, in the north of the country, is a former British protectorate that joined Italian Somaliland to form the Republic of Somalia in 1960. In 1991, the north-western region declared its independence from the rest of Somalia and has enjoyed relative stability and peace unknown in Mogadishu.

April 3, 2011

US Judge ruled: Ex-Somali Prime Minister to face court

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US Judge ruled: Ex-Somali Prime Minister to face court


Former Somali PM Gen. M.Ali Samantar-War Criminal

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A judge ruled Friday that a former Somali prime minister who has been living quietly in the U.S. for the last 14 years can be questioned under oath in a federal lawsuit alleging he oversaw war crimes and other abuses against his own people more than a quarter century ago.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema denied a motion to dismiss the suit against Mohamed Ali Samantar, who was Somalia’s defense minister, and later prime minister, in the 1980s under the regime of dictator Siad Barre.


The suit against Samantar, who now lives in Fairfax, was first filed in 2004, alleging that he oversaw abuses committed as part of the government’s campaign of repression against the Isaaq clan in the northern part of the country.


The case has languished in the courts for nearly seven years. Brinkema dismissed the case in 2007, ruling that Samantar was entitled to immunity. But the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the case. And earlier this year the State Department, in a rare move, recommended to the judge that Samantar should not receive immunity, in large part because there is no longer a recognized central government in Somalia that can request immunity on Samantar’s behalf.


Following Brinkema’s ruling on Friday allowing the case to proceed, Samantar’s accusers will for the first time be able to question him in a deposition about alleged abuses, including killings and torture, against the Isaaq clan.


“This is a great day for justice,” said Natasha Fain, a lawyer with the San Francisco-based Center for Justice and Accountability, which is representing the plaintiffs. “For all this time the defendant has been saying he shouldn’t even have to answer his accusers in court.”


One of the plaintiffs, Aziz M. Deria of Bellevue, Wash., who alleges that his father and other family members were killed by forces under Samantar’s direction, flew across the country to attend Friday’s hearing. He has traveled to Somalia several times to document abuses that occurred there.


“I really want this guy to answer our questions,” said Deria, who acknowledged that efforts to hold Samantar accountable for his actions are not universally well received among the Somali community. “Back home, authority figures are considered above the law.”


Joseph Peter Drennan, Samantar’s lawyer, argued Friday that the case should be tossed out for several reasons, including an expiration of the statute of limitations. He also said the courts should not wade into what he argues is essentially a political dispute.


Samantar has denied any wrongdoing and did not attend Friday’s hearing, though many of his family members did.


The Associated Press.

March 16, 2011

US State Department: former Somali colonel living in US can’t claim immunity in torture suit

Filed under: NEWS — somaliland247 @ 1:39 am
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US State Department: former Somali colonel living in US can’t claim immunity in torture suit

By The Associated Press (CP)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The U.S. Department of State says a former Somalia military colonel who lives in the state of Ohio shouldn’t be allowed to claim immunity from allegations he ordered the torture of a human rights advocate.

A lawsuit has accused the former colonel and Columbus resident, Abdi Aden Magan, of overseeing the detention and torture of a human rights advocate in Somalia in 1988.

The State Department says in a Tuesday letter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office that Magan is a former official of a country with no government recognized by the United States.

The rights advocate and attorney suing Magan also say a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year in a related case shut the door on any immunity claim.

A message was left for Magan’s attorney.


December 30, 2010

Russians Jailed in Somaliland for Illegal Plane Landing

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Russians Jailed in Somaliland for Illegal Plane Landing


mercenary plane

A court in Republic of Somaliland has sentenced six Russians each to one year in jail for illegally entering the enclave and landing a plane carrying illegal military supplies.

An attorney for the men told VOA’s Somali Service the six have the option to buy out their prison terms. They were also fined $500 for immigration violations.

The Russians were arrested earlier this month after landing their chartered plane at Somaliland’s Hargeisa International Airport. Authorities say the plane contained military uniforms and other equipment destined for the semi-autonomous region of Puntland.

Reports say the equipment was headed to a private company conducting anti-piracy training in Puntland. But authorities expressed concern the military supplies could make their way to armed groups that could destabilize Somaliland.


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