Somalilandsun – There are two Somalias, like two brothers in an allegory, contradictory temperaments springing from the same parentage, the Jacob and Esau of the Horn of Africa. Everyone is aware of war-torn Somalia, where gangs of young men ride round in 4x4s eagerly machine-gunning one another. Few are aware of its good twin, Somaliland, peaceful, law-abiding, a country with taxes, traffic lights and even tourists.
Both are former protectorates — British Somaliland and Italian Somalia — which gained their independence within days of each other in the summer of 1960. In a rush of idealism about a Greater Somalia, Somaliland immediately opted to join its larger neighbour, the new Republic of Somalia. Things did not go well. As the country degenerated into civil war in the late 1980s, tens of thousands died in the former provinces of British Somaliland and many more fled to refugee camps in Ethiopia. In May 1991, Somaliland finally escaped the bloody clutches of its war-torn brother as it issued a unilateral declaration of independence and reverted to the sovereignty it had enjoyed for only five days 30 years before.
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