Both states and their people reiterated their commitment to the Somali unity in the face of mounting pressure from the secessionists, whose mission for separation appeared seamless until recently, at least in their deluded minds. Ahmed Abdi Xaabsade, loaded with inducement money from Ahmed Silanyo’s office, arrived in Las Anod to bribe people into staging fake demonstrations in support of his paymasters. Xaabsade’s false deception that the people of Las Anod want to be part of “Somaliland” is ridiculously akin to Gadhafi’s last gasp and desperate “my people love me” interview with Jeremy Bowen of the BBC. On the contrary, the people of Las Anod want to see the back of secessionists camping outside their city.
As widely expected people turned out in droves against Xaabsade and rejected his separatist SNM project by staging counter demonstrations that was deliberately turned into violence after the occupying army of SNM sprayed live bullets into crowds consisting mainly of women and children. Scores of people have suffered bullet wounds while at least two people are believed to have lost their lives. In this demonstration, the Las Anod people have clearly shown the secessionists that their true allegiance is with Khaatumo state of Somalia and not with the separatist clan-state of “Somaliland”.
The Las Anod failure was followed by Awdal rejection when several ministers from Awdal, again loaded with bait money from the separatists in Hargeisa, tried their luck in Borama. According to reliable sources in the scene supported by video footages, the turnout was pathetically dismal; only a few dozen supporters believed to belong to the ministers’ camp turned up. Even those who bothered to show up in favor of the secessionists’ fake demonstrations were outnumbered by Awdalstate loyalists, who were clearly spotted waving the blue and white flag of Awdalstate in the streets of Borama city.
In spite of using kickbacks in the form of bribery money, the secessionist government has spectacularly failed to garner any meaningful support for their fake public outings from the citizenry of SSC and Awdalstate. Nevertheless, there were orchestrated turnouts in support of Ahmed Silanyo’s government in Hargeisa, Burco and Berbera, but there were no elements of surprises in this endeavor as these cities are already known to form the backbone of the separatists. In democracy, public demonstrations are hardly orchestrated by governments; they are spontaneous.
Ahmed Silanyo’sphantom government can no longer ignore the will of the people in Las Anod, Buholdle, Erigavo, Borama, Dilla, Lugahaye and elsewhere in northern Somalia. No amount of bribery or intimidation in the form of massing armed clan militia in the cities and towns will bring back people of Awdal and SSC to the secession camp. In the past few weeks, Borama city was teeming with SNM clan militia marauding in the streets and dispersing crowds. No amount of press gagging and arbitrary incarceration of journalists will conceal the culpability of Silanyo’s reign of terror and the atrocities committed by his clan militia against innocent civilians in SSC and Awdal. Borama News Network office in Borama was raided two days ago by separatists’ militia and two journalists were taken away. Cabdicasiis Cabdillaahi is still in jail for the second day running.
Without any shadow of a doubt the tide is turning against the head of the secessionist camp and, no matter how hard he and his entourage try to convince people that “Somaliland” is for all, there will be no change of heart and no turning back the clock for the people of aforementioned cities and towns. They have had enough of secession; of alienation and separatism; of misrule and intimidation; of lies and innuendo, and more importantly, they have had enough of living under the whim and brutality of one-clan state, particularly a clan state that has no name and place in the international community.
Somaliland’s main claim for being a separate and legal state hinges entirely and exclusively on the concocted so-called Burco convention in 1991, where a number of hand-picked elders from several parts of northern regions of Somalia were asked to toe the line and accept the SNM dictate or face the consequences of their actions by a well-armed clan militia. Such gun-ho policies, intimidation and arm-twisting tactics have no place in the international community. You cannot create a whole new country on this simplistic and flimsy basis.
Ahmed Silanyo’s clan militia has taken a significant part of the destruction of the last Somali government on the false pretense that their clan members were deliberately singled out and murdered en masses, a claim many historians dispute. Unfortunately people die in civil wars and that was the case in northern Somalia. More people have perished in south and central Somalia.
The crying shame, however, is that the separatists want to hang up to a doomed state whose time is over; a state that the international community has shunned ages ago and large part of its perceived territory is slipping away from its fingers. The nightmare scenario dreaded by separatists has begun with the declaration of Awdalstate and the ultimate creation of Khaatumo state of Somalia. More importantly, Somalia is on the mend while the secessionists are on the wane. It is all over for separatists. However, it is not too late to change policy. Somalis are prepared to welcome back their long lost child.
Mohamed F. Yabarag