January 19, 2015

Shorts at the Frontline Club

By Olivia Acland On Friday 16 January, the Frontline Club was at full capacity for an evening that showcased the diverse faces of documentary filmmaking, both journalistic and poetic. The documentaries screened offered snapshots into five very different worlds, allowing the audience to glimpse the lives of remarkable individuals in addition to illuminating pressing issues, […]

December 21, 2010

Somalis, Saracens and their Secret Donor

What do six Russians, two South Africans, the Ugandan President’s brother, a private security firm, a former CIA officer, and a senior ex-US diplomat all have in common?  Somalia and its semi-autonomous regions of course! The British registered private security firm Saracen International is currently training over 1000 militia men in Somalia’s Puntland region as […]

June 26, 2010

Somaliland standing in line

The un-recognized but de facto independent Republic of Somaliland goes to the polls today in what should be – for all its flaws and uncertainties – the most fair and well-administered election that this nation in the north of the Horn of Africa has ever seen. This election could bring about the peaceful transfer of […]

June 15, 2010

The bumpy road to the presidency – campaigning in Somaliland

With the date for Somaliland‘s Presidential election set for June 26th the campaign for the polls is now in full swing. These three authorized parties – the incumbent president Rayaale’s UDUB, the KULMIYE (Unity) and UCID (Justice and Welfare party) – are mobilising their supporters and the country is awash with the colours and symbols […]

May 9, 2010

A date with democracy? Somaliland’s presidential election is set (for now)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything from Hargeisa. Life in the de facto (but unrecognized) independent Republic of Somaliland has been very quiet and the democratic deadlock affecting overdue presidential elections has continued. Is no news good news here? An absence of the oft-reported (if little fully-understood) blights of southern Somalia – piracy, […]

April 18, 2010

Livestock and Too Many Smoking Barrels.

As predicted in the post on Somali Victory in the World Cup, K’naan did indeed wave a couple of Juno awards.  He won both Artist Songwriter of the year 2010, his manager Sol Guy breaking the news on his Twitter page. While K’naan fans in the diasporas will no doubt be celebrating, no one in the […]

March 6, 2010

Somali Victory at the SA World Cup

In recent years Somalia has often made the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Piracy, poverty and lawlessness have cast a long shadow over the Horn of Africa.  Two generations of Somalis have been scattered forming a diasporas across the world. Many still live in refugee camps in Ethiopia, Yemen, Kenya and as far away […]

October 4, 2009

A state in limbo

   In the last week an internationally-sponsored agreement pertaining to Somaliland’s electoral process has been signed by the President and major opposition parties. Is delayed democracy in the de facto independent northern Somali State at last getting back on track?  The six-point agreement signed on Wednesday by President Daahir Rayaale Kaahin of the UDUB party, […]

September 28, 2009

Neighbours in the Horn

Pictured on the map the road that runs east between the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, and Hargeisa in Somaliland looks pretty straightforward. In an area of roughly 500km, Amharic-dominated, Christian, highland Ethiopia descends towards the Gulf Aden into dry scrubland and the traditionally pastoral territory of the Somalis. Pretty simple really.  Maps, however, can be […]

August 18, 2009

Saying the ‘S’ word in Somaliland

Having returned from a trip to Somaliland, I spent the last few days editing video footage and pictures.I went there as a nostalgic ethnic Somali who hadn’t seen the land I left twenty years ago. Although my family come from Hargeisa I spent many of my formative years living in Mogadishu. This experience has left […]

August 11, 2009

Escape from Somaliland

  Xorriyo Airways, which ran flights from Dubai to Berbera in Somaliland, has collapsed. I found this out the hard way. I soon became one of more than 600 people stranded in Somaliland. At 7.40 pm one night the airline office phoned to say the flight had been ‘delayed until further notice’ and if someone […]

August 3, 2009

Stranded in Somaliland

Alarmed by the recent infringements on press freedom in Somaliland I decided to find and join the union for journalists in the country.  I applied to SOLJA… No that’s not slang for an armed group but the actual acronym of the Somaliland Journalists Association. When I picked up the letter confirming my membership I was […]

July 25, 2009

Settling into Hargeisa

After a long journey via Dubai I landed in Berbera airport and made the 3 hour bus journey to Hargeisa. It was a hot, bumpy but a scenic ride. My arrival here seems to have coincided with the high profile and deeply concerning case of two journalists who were arrested on the 13th July. The […]

July 21, 2009

Heading to Hargeisa

For the first time in 20 years I am packing my bags to make the journey back to Somalia, a country I called home. To be precise, I am going to Somaliland, the autonomous northern region which established its own local government in 1991 though it remains internationally unrecognized. There is so much historical context […]

October 29, 2008

Five car bombs hit Hargeisa and Bosasso

A total of five “VERY VERY BIG” car bombs have reportedly hit Somaliland. Three targetted the Puntland Intelligence Service in Bossasso, another at the UNDP office and one at the Elections Commission. The two other bombs reportedly targetted the Ethiopian embassy in Hargeisa’ Somaliland. There are unconfirmed reports that 3 people were killed and 8 […]