imagesI am writing from Hargeisa, the capital of the Republic of Somaliland. I am Somaliland citizen who is outraged by recent disrespectful and ungrateful press release issued by the government of Somalia where it condemned Sweden over diplomatic row between Sweden and Saudi Arabia.

The government of Somalia does not represent the people and the government of Somaliland. Somaliland is a sovereign country that has its own foreign ministry. Somaliland and Somalia united in 1960 to form Somali Republic. That union came into an end in 1991 when Somaliland restored its independence from Somalia. Since then Somaliland has been administering its internal and external affairs.

The disgraceful statement from Somalia does not translate the view of the Somali people. Somalis do not have gratitude to the Saudi Kingdom. The military oppression in 1970s and 1980s, and the subsequent civil war forced many Somalis to flee from their country. Saudi Arabia forcefully returns the Somali refugees back to dangerous places. The expulsion of Somalis who run away for their lives back to the war zone shows the ruthlessness and the heartlessness of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Many Somalis languish in Saudi prisons and many more are exploited. Saudi Arabia’s brutality and cruelty are also felt in Somaliland and Somalia. It imposed embargo on Somali livestock at a time of need. Livestock contributes 60% of the GDP in Somaliland.

I know and appreciate the generous hand and assistance Sweden extends to the Somalis. Sweden does not only welcome and support Somali refugees, but you also provide humanitarian assistance to both Somaliland and Somalia. Sweden cannot be compared with Saudi Arabia.

Although I may not agree with some of the remarks of Minister Margot Wallstrom, the human rights abuses of Saudi Arabia cannot be ignored. Saudi Arabia does not symbolize Islam. Hence I expect Sweden not to associate Saudi actions with Islam.

I reiterate that we, the Somalilanders, do not share Somalia with the same thought on the issue. We have our own government and foreign policy. The Somalilanders are grateful people. I hope the Kingdom of Sweden will support Somaliland’s quest of recognition. International recognition will free us from Somalia’s irresponsible behaviour. We will be able to side with the democratic countries that respect human rights.  

Guleid Ahmed Jama

Hargeisa Somaliland