MOGADISHU, Somalia July 1 (Garowe Online) - Some major
towns in Somalia celebrated Somali Independence Day marking
the 49th anniversary since the East African nation gained
independence from European colonialism, Radio Garowe reports.
Events featuring public
speeches, poetry and
dance were held in
different regions of the
country. But in many
major towns, there
were no celebrations at
In Mogadishu, the national capital, an event marking Independence Day
was attended by government officials.
Mogadishu Mayor Mohamed Osman "Dhagahtur" spoke briefly about
the importance of Independence Day, followed by brief remarks from
Somali police chief Gen. Abdi Qeybdiid who soon welcomed Yusuf
Mohamed Siad "Indho Ade" to the microphone.
Attendees said Mr. Indho Ade, a notorious former warlord, was
introduced by Gen. Qeybdiid as the "State Minister for Defense."
Indho Ade gave a long speech where he verbally attacked armed
opposition groups Al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam, who are fighting to
topple Somalia's interim government.
He accused the groups of links to Al Qaeda, while condemning Osama
Bin Laden for "encouraging" Somali opposition factions to fight against
the U.N.-recognized Somali government.
"Somalia needs peace and order and the government is ready, but there
are groups who want to keep the country in war and this is
unacceptable," said Indho Ade, who spent years fighting other warlords
in major clan battles southern Somalia since the early 2000s.
In Puntland, a peaceful region in northeastern Somalia, Vice President
Gen. Abdisamad Ali Shire attended an event at the State House in
Garowe, the capital of Puntland.
The event was attended by Puntland government officials, civil servants,
women's and youth groups, traditional elders and community leaders.
Vice President Shire told the attendees that July 1 marks a historic
moment when the first national flag of Somalia was raised in Hargeisa,
the country's second-largest city which is now the capital of the
separatist republic of Somaliland.
Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed "Farole," the president of Puntland who is
currently in the U.S., spoke at the event via telephone and encouraged
Somalis to proudly celebrate Independence Day.
Meanwhile, major towns in Somalia including Hargeisa, Baidoa and
Kismayo did not celebrate Somali Independence Day for political
Somaliland politicians are opposed to July 1, as that day marks the
official merger of the British Protectorate of Somaliland in the north and
the Italian colony to the south, forming the Somali Republic on July 1,
Somaliland separatists say the Act of Union was a mistake and
unilaterally declared independence on May 18, 1991, as Mogadishu
descended into violence.
But in towns such as Baidoa and Kismayo, which are controlled by Al
Shabaab, there were no celebrations as the Islamist hardliners do not
recognize Independence Day altogether.