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Somali Independence Week
Roobdoon Forum
June 21, 2009

 Introduction

The idea of possible merger of the British and Italian Somalilands surfaced as early as 1959. In February of that year, British Colonial Secretary, Alan Lennox-Boyd, proposed while he was in Hargeysa that British Somalilanders have the option to choose between early self-Government and an early association with Italian Somaliland, which at that time was scheduled to gain independence in December of 1960.

By May of 1960, British Colonial Secretary, Ian Maclead officially stated that Britain was about to grant independence to Somaliland protectorate so that it can unite with Italian Somaliland (Somalia), which was scheduled to become a sovereign state on July 1, 1960. The Secretary made his announcement while Somaliland leaders were in London for talks on a constitution. He underlined that the merge between the two Somalilands was in accord with the wishes of the British Somaliland leaders who want to join Italian Somaliland.

Somalia National Days Celebrations

On April, 1960, the Legislative Council (in British Somaliland) passed a resolution, asking not only for independence but also to unite with Somalia. And after having one-week conference in Mogadishu, the two sides jointly announced that the two Somalilands will unite as a Somali Republic, and the two Legislative Councils will be merging into one National Assembly.

Again, on June 27, 1960, the Somaliland Legislative Council unanimously passed a bill that unites Somaliland with Somalia.

The Joyous Friday – Independence and Union Day

On July 1, 1960, the 5-pointed white star flag was hoisted; and the next day, the union of the two Somalilands (British and Italian) was formally ratified by the National Assembly. Margery Perham of The Times has described the birth of the new Republic as Siamese twins whose god-parents were: the United Nations, Britain, and Italy. [See The Times, July 4, 1960].

Still, Many Somalis seem to have plenty of reasons to be celebrating, this coming July 1st, for the Unification of the two Somalilands. For that reason, the Roobdoon Forum presents to its readership excerpts of news coverage that relate to the independence and unification week of 1960.

East Africa Marks Two New Nations
The New York Times
Monday, June 27, 1960

Premier Abdullahi Issa of the United Nations Trusteeship (Italian Somaliland) welcoming Moahmed H. Ibrahim Egal in Mogadishu in April 15, 1960
Mohamed H. Ibrahim Egal, the leader of the political leadership of British Somaliland welcomed in Mogadishu by the Premier of UN Trusteeship of Somalia Mr. Abdullahi Issa on April 16, 1960. The officer seen in the middle is Mohamed Siyad Barre who later lead the revolution that toppled the goverment of Prime minister Egal on October 21st 1969.

HARGEISA, Somaliland, June 26 (Reuters) – A blue and White starred flag was hoisted here today after all-night celebrations ending seventy-three years of British rule in this East African Territory at the south end Red Sea.

Mohammed Haji Ibrahim Egal took an Oath on the Quran as Premier of the new nation of Somaliland.

Nearly 1,000 British-trained Somali troops were handed over to him by the retiring commandant; Brig. Gen. O. G. Brooks.

Mr. Egal welcomed a delegation from a neighboring Italian Somalia, scheduled to unite with Somaliland to form a republic of 2, 000, 000 population when Italy gives up her United Nations trusteeship Friday.

British Rule In Somaliland IS Ended
The Times
Monday, June 27, 1960

HARGEISA, Somaliland, June 26, 1960 (Reuter): British rule ended here at midnight last night as fireworks and singing crowds heralded the Independence of Somaliland. Celebrations continued throughout the night. A big electric sign on a hillside carried the message: “Long Live independence.”

Celebrations in the capital were repeated in settlements and outposts throughout the territory. The rejoicing will continue tomorrow, which has been proclaimed a public holiday.

Early this morning crowds thronged the polo ground for the final act of independence. Mohammed Haji Ibrahim Egal, the Prime Minister of independent Somaliland, took an oath on the Quran to the new state and hoisted the blue and white, starred flag.

Nearly 1,000 British-trained Somaliland Scouts were then handed over to the Prime Minister by Brigadier O. G. Brooks, the Colonel Commandant. After the ceremony, the crowds swarmed into the town, cheering and shouting freedom slogans.

At dusk last night the band of the 1st Battalion, the Royal Highland Fusiliers, beat retreat and the Union Jack was lowered.

The last toast to the Queen was proposed by Mr. P. Carrel, who was acting Governor until midnight, at a reception. He said: “This is the last occasion on which we British can offer best wishes for the future of the people of Somaliland and Somalia (the Adjacent Italian trust territory). May they have a happy life and prosperity for the rest of their days.”

Union With Somalia

Somali national days celebrations
Celebrations of Somalia's National Days

The Prime Minister responded with a tribute to the British association, saying: “We have not always seen eye to eye, but we share a Common ideal in the simple things of life. This is not the end of British-Somali relations. These relations are simply taking another shape for the better.”

Somaliland plans to unite with Somalia on Friday when Italy gives up her United Nations trusteeship there.

A delegation from Mogadishu, including Adan Abdullah, who is likely to be the first President of the new republic of Somalia and Somaliland, has been greeted warmly by the crowds here.

Adan Abdullah was met by the Prime minister on his arrival at the airport. Police and Somaliland Scouts lined up to give a general salute and he was greeted by a fanfare of trumpets.

Adan Abdullah told the crowds that the people in Somalia eagerly awaited their independence on Friday. He said that there was no major obstacle in the way of union of both countries. There were difficulties in detail, “but there is no doubt that these will be resolved”.

The Queens Message

A message form the Queen was delivered in Hargeisa yesterday by Mr. T. E. Bromley. British Consul-General in Mogadishu, on the occasion on Somaliland independence day. The Message said: “I, my Government and my people in the United Kingdom, wish you well on this day of independence. The connection between our people goes back some 130 years and British administration of the Protectorate for 60 years. I look forward to a continuing and enduring friendship between our two countries.”

Somaliland Marks Independence After 73 Years of British Rule
The New York Times
Sunday, June 26, 1960

HARGEISA, Somaliland, Sunday, June 26, 1960 (Reuters): Crowds danced in the streets here, bonfires blazed from the hills and fireworks burst in the sky as last midnight spelled the end of Britain`s rule in Somaliland.

The country became independent after seventy-three years as a British protectorate. Political parties gave receptions to guests from all communities. The rejoicing was to continue tomorrow, a public holiday.

Newly independent Somaliland plans to unite with neighboring Somalia Friday when Italy gives up her United Nations trusteeship there.

The five-day hiatus between independence and merger was seen as a period of potential danger. There was fear of possible clashes with Ethiopian tribes along Somaliland`s ill-defined borders. [Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia said Friday he hoped for peaceful border adjustment with free Somalis soon.]

Thousands of Somalis turned out to say farewell to the British Governor, Sir Douglas Hall, and his wife. They flew to Aden.

A delegation arrived from Mogadishu, the Somali capital, led by the President of Somalia Legislative Assembly, Adan Abdullah. He said the people of Somalia were eagerly awaiting independence.

Somaliland`s Vote for Union
The Times
Tuesday, June 28, 1960

independence day celebrations

Hargeisa, June 27, 1960 (Reuter): The Somaliland Legislative Assembly today unanimously approved a Bill endorsing plans to unite the country with Somalia. The Assembly met a day earlier than originally arranged, because Ministers are anxious to go to Somalia to settle a number of details in connection with the union.

Ibrahim Egal, the Prime Minister, paid tribute
to the retiring British Speaker, Mr. W. F. Stubbs, to whom he said: “We have all been novices in the art of parliamentary government, and your assistance and guidance have been very highly appreciated.”

Agreements between Somaliland Ministers and the British Ambassador-designate, Mr. Thomas Bromley, cover interim arrangements for the Somaliland Scout Force, which was handed over to the independent Government yesterday. The agreements also provide safeguards for pension rights of expatriate civil servants and for a British aid mission to assist the public services for six months.

French Security Bar

Somalia Flag

All movement between French Somaliland and the newly independent state of Somaliland has been banned by the French authorities, but is expected to be resumed in a few days. The ban is regarded as a precaution against possible incidents during the Somaliland independence celebrations which began yesterday.

One of the first pronouncements by the Government of independent Somaliland was a broadcast warning against the illegal carrying of firearms, after reports that tribesmen had been seen in a number of towns with rifles. There has been a general ban on firearms and only a few have been issued in special cases – such as for shooting game. The warning said the law had not been changed with independence, and would be rigidly enforced.

Rome Votes Somalia Act
The New York Times
Saturday, June 25, 1960


ROME, June 24 (Reuters) – Parliament adopted today a bill ending Italy`s rule in Italian Somaliland. The Chamber of Deputies approved the measure by 403 to 33. It has already been passed by the Senate. 

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This is part of the Zoming into the Past articles that the Forum regularly publishes at Biyokulule.com. The Roobdoon forum can be reached at: roobdoon2000@yahoo.ca
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