The Somaliland question

CORD Leader Raila Odinga

Somalia has criticised Cord leader Raila Odinga for urging the international community to recognise Somaliland’s secession.

Ambassador Gamal Hassan termed Raila’s comment irresponsible. He said it damages his country’s territorial integrity. “That comment was in bad taste,” he said. “Somali politics should be left to Somalis.”

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Speaking on the Importance of Democracy in Africa on Friday at Chatham House, London, Raila said he supports the full recognition of the semi-autonomous state.

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“I think there is a very strong case,” he said during a question-and-answer session.

In a different Twitter response, the Somali embassy in Kenya said the “unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia is inviolable”.

Somaliland, whose capital is Hargeisa, is not internationally recognized as an independent state.

It declared its independence from the larger Somalia in 1991, following the collapse of the Siad Bare-led government.