The government of the newly proclaimed Somaliland said in a radio broadcast Sunday it would be the interim structure and free elections would be held in 2 years time.

Ceremonies have taken place at Burao, Northwest Somalia, to proclaim a new state in the area which formed British Somaliland before it was merged with adjoining Italian-administered area to form Somali in 1960.

The broadcast from Hargeisa, Northern Somalia, was monitored in Nairobi. Thousands attended celebrations at Burao where the flag of the new state was hoisted, the radio said.


Abdirahman Ahmed Ali, leader of the SNM, has been named head of the interim government.

Election In 2 Years, Says Somaliland Head
From left: The first president of Somaliland Abdirahman Ahmed Ali (Tuur), the first Vice President Hassan Esse Jama, and the Former Chairman of the House of Elders Sh. Ibrahim Sh. Yusuf Sh. Madar. The location is Burao. Photo Courtesy: Ahmed Hawsi

He said it was a historic day for Northern Somalia. “The just-formed government will be the interim one for a period of two years, after which there will be free elections.”

The state had not been formed by hatred for the South, he added. It wanted “brotherly and cooperative relations.”

The SNM announced its secession after disputes with the United Somali Congress (USC) which set up a provisional government after capturing the Somali capital, Mogadishu, last January. The SNM refused to support the USC government.

Reports from Mogadishu said the USC would not recognize the secession of Northern Somalia.

Election In 2 Years, Says Somaliland Head
Picture taken on January 29 or 30, 1991 at Mogadishu showing rebels of Somali United Congress (USC) exhibit on a street of the capital. The rebels took over the town on January 26. (Photo by Alexander JOE / AFP) (Photo by ALEXANDER JOE/AFP via Getty Images)

SNM central committee chairman Ibrahim Meygag Samatar, who spoke at Burao, said 30 years of independence had done nothing for the people of North. Many had been killed and their property pillaged and destroyed.

“The Northern people should have their own government with the aim of emerging from problems they are facing,” he said, according to Hargeisa broadcast.

Earlier, SNM representatives in London said the decision to declare independence was taken at a meeting between leaders of Northern Somali clans. The region has been devastated by the 10-year war between SNM guerrillas and the Somali army. Hargeisa, the regional capital, is in ruins.

Former Somali President Siyad Barre fled Mogadishu in January after fierce fighting between his forces and a number of rebel groups. He is believed to be still in Somalia, protected by remnants of his army.

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