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Somalia - The Crisis Continues

For over a decade, Somalia has faced instability, violence and death. Find out how this African nation came to be such a volatile place.

Somalia - Where Is It?

Somalia is a small country located on the Horn of Africa. This is a region of Africa that is comprised of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. Bordering Somalia on the west is Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya, the Gulf Of Aden is to the north and the Indian Ocean lies to the east.

Somalia - A Brief History

The nation of Somalia has existed in some form or another for more than 2,000 years. It wasn't until the late 1880s that foreigners arrived, looking to colonize the country. Britain, Italy and France each claimed their own chunk of Somalia, struggling for the next 50 years over who got a bigger piece. Finally, in 1960, Somalia gained its independence, but it was still a very unstable place. In 1969, a coup d'etat took place, which means a group of people overthrew the government. Mohamed Siad Barre, the general of the group who lead the coup became the president of Somalia and remained in that position until 1991.

Throughout his time as president, Mohamed Siad Barre attempted to reclaim Somali territory from neighboring Ethiopia. Somalia's pleas for help from other countries went unanswered and they eventually lost their fight. The people of Somalia became restless and in 1991 the government was overthrown again - the only difference is that the fighting continued without any one person stepping up to the plate to lead the country.

Somalia - Civil War

Fighting has continued in Somalia for more than a decade now: between various warlord-led groups, against Ethiopia, and most recently against the United States. While different groups such as the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT) and the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) fight for control of Somalia, Ethiopia has declared war on the country to protect itself. The United States has said it is staging targeted attacks on what it believes to be terrorist cells operating out of Somalia. Since civil war broke out in the early '90s, approximately 500,000 people have died in Somalia.

Somalia - Did U Know?

  • Somalia was one of many countries that felt the effects of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. An estimated 300 people died in the aftermath.
  • Somalia has one of the lowest HIV infection rates in Africa, but close to 35% of all children born in Somalia die before they are five years old due to disease and dehydration.
  • Nearly all Somalis are practicing Sunni Muslims.
  • The capital of Somalia is Mogadishu.
  • Related Stories:

  • Adventures in Africa
  • The Republic of Namibia
  • The Straight Goods On Islam
  • More Exciting Places Around the World!
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