The self-declared republic of Somaliland celebrates 30 years of independence from Somalia on Tuesday, as officials make preparations for festivities in Hargeisa and other cities.
Hargeisa residents began celebrating as early as 2 AM in the city centre.
Thousands of people are expected to gather at Independence Square on Tuesday afternoon to commemorate the milestone with live music and other events.
While not formally recognized as a sovereign state, Somaliland has been lobbying for international support. It hosts at least a half dozen diplomatic offices in Hargeisa. Somaliland also maintains liaison offices worldwide, although they do not have formal diplomatic status under the Vienna Convention.
International observers have noted that Somaliland contains all the trappings of a contemporary nation-state, with its own parliament, currency, defence and national identity. Most of Somaliland’s residents were born post-independence.
Somaliland was a former British protectorate and briefly gained independence on June 26, 1960, before merging with Italian Somaliland to form the Somali Republic on July 1, 1960.
Its five days of independence were recognized by 35 countries and the international community, including the US and UN.
Following the overthrow of Somalia’s military ruler Siad Barre in 1991, Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from Somalia on May 18 of the same year within the borders of the former British Somaliland.