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Somaliland elections on track for November



Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission has released the total number of registered Voters with Identification Cards to vote in the upcoming November election.

The data which was released at a news conference Tuesday put the total number of registered and eligible voters in Somaliland at 704,089.

Speaking to VOA Somali, NEC spokesman, Sa’id Ali Muse said the commission has completed the distribution and the cleaning up of voter registration identification cards and released the list to Somaland’s three political parties and the minister of interior.

“Now, 704,089 took their voter registration cards and 169,242 who earlier registered to vote were not able to show up to take the voter registration cards because of the recent drought that hit the region, which created population movement,” said Muse.

This election has suffered several delays, Somaliland’s presidential election was scheduled at one stage to happen last March, but drought, coupled with political disagreement among the political parties, caused that date to be rescheduled.

Muse said all preparations have been made and political parties will began their campaigns soon.

“We have made all preparations for the election to take place on time. From our side as the Electoral Commission, nothing remains,” he said,

On November 13, voters will cast their ballots at 1,642 polling stations in 21 constituencies across Somaliland.

Candidates from the only three political parties vying for the election are, Muse Bihi of the incumbent Peace, Unity and Development party (Kulmiye), Faisal Ali Waraabe of the For Justice and Development party (UCID) and Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi “Irro” of the Wadani party.

A breakaway, semi-desert territory on the coast of the Gulf of Aden, Somaliland declared its independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, but is not recognized by the international community, leaving it in a legal limbo.

Unlike, Southern Somalia, it has been enjoying a relative peace in which it has set up its own government institutions, written its own laws and constitution, and held credible elections.

Since April 2003, two presidential elections, a parliamentary election and two local government elections have been held in Somaliland. In those elections, international observers praised Somaliland for bringing more democracy with less money and no international recognition.

Last week, a high-level delegation of international partners visited Hargeisa to encourage all stake-holders to work together towards peaceful, inclusive and transparent elections.

Barkhad Kaariye contributed to this report.

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Anglo-Turkish Genel Energy might starting drilling in Somaliland in 2019 -CEO



LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) – Kurdistan-focused Genel Energy might start drilling in Somaliland next year, Chief Executive Murat Ozgul said on Thursday, as the group reported 2017 results broadly in line with expectations.

“For the long term, I really like (our) Somaliland exploration assets. It’s giving me a sense of Kurdistan 15 years ago,” Ozgul said in a phone interview. “In 2019 we may be (starting) the drilling activities.”

Chief Financial Officer Esa Ikaheimonen said Genel will focus spending money from its $162 million cash pile on its existing assets in Kurdistan but added: “You might see us finding opportunities… somewhere outside Kurdistan.”

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UAE to train Somaliland forces under military base deal: Somaliland president



ABU DHABI (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will train Somaliland security forces as part of a deal to establish a military base in the semi-autonomous region, Somaliland’s president said on Thursday.

UAE government officials could not immediately be reached for comment – but the UAE has committed to invest hundreds of million dollars in recent years in the territory on a strategically important stretch of coastline on the Gulf of Aden.

The UAE began construction last year of a base on a site at the airport of the Somaliland port city Berbera, and will be allowed to maintain a presence for 30 years. Berbera is less than 300 km (190 miles) south of war-torn Yemen, where UAE troops are fighting rebels as part of a Saudi-backed coalition.

President Muse Bihi Abdi said the UAE would train police and military in Somaliland, which wants independence from war-torn Somalia but is not recognized internationally. He said he expected the agreement to be finalised within two months.

“They have the resources and the knowledge,” Abdi told Reuters in an interview in Abu Dhabi.

UAE has become more assertive in its foreign policy in recent years. The UAE Armed Forces have been fighting in the Yemen conflict since 2015 and in the past deployed in international operations including Kosovo and Afghanistan.

Abdi said the military base, which he expects will be completed this year, will guarantee economic development and security for Somaliland and act as a deterrent to extremist groups in the region.

Somaliland’s Foreign Minister, Saad Ali Shire, who was present during the interview, declined to disclose how many UAE soldiers would be stationed at the base.


Several regional powers have set up military bases along the Horn of Africa coastline, including Turkey in Somalia’s capital. The United States, China, Japan and France all have bases in neighboring Djibouti.

“It’s safer to have a lot of military in the area,” Abdi said.

Abdi said he hoped UAE investments, including a new civilian airport and a road connecting Berbera to landlocked Ethiopia, will lead to a “huge creation of employment” in Somaliland where unemployment is rampant.

“The biggest threat to Somaliland is poverty,” he said.

Dubai’s DP World is also developing Berbera port and building a free trade zone nearby.

This week, Somalia’s parliament voted to ban DP World from the country, an act that it said had nullified the agreement.

Abdi said the vote was a “joke” and a “political mistake” that would have no impact on the DP World agreement that includes the government of Ethiopia.

Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 and has acted as a de-facto state since then..

Abdi also said he expected the UAE would make a hard currency deposit into Somaliland’s central bank but added that there had been no agreement between the two sides.

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Somalia bans Dubai ports World from operating in Somaliland



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