Enterprising ‘Somalilander’ dreams of returning home

JEDDAH (Somalilandpress) — Mohamed T. Gino has been residing and working in the Kingdom for the past 24 years. He calls himself a Somalilander and dreams of returning to Somaliland, the country of his birth, someday.

“It is a personal struggle to be away from home, but I am happy and thankful to this country, Saudi Arabia, and its leaders for extending the benevolent arms to us Somalilanders to stay and work in this place we now call our home,” Gino said.

Gino is one of the approximately 3,000 Somalilanders residing in the Eastern Province. The Somalilanders in the Kingdom work in government agencies and private business sectors. Gino works independently as a businessman and business development officer.
For over two decades, Gino has built strong ties with business communities in Saudi Arabia, leading him to a number of successes. “I plan to return home someday; I am saving enough money to start a fishing business because my country is endowed with rich fishing resources,” he said.

Gino, like his compatriots, is waiting for international recognition of Somaliland and the establishment of a strong and transparent government. “When all these issues are settled, then it will be time for me and my family to return home,” he said.

Somaliland was the first of the five Somali territories to achieve independence from the British Empire on June 26, 1960 based on its existing borders and, before the merger with Somalia on July 1, 1960, the first Somali country to be recognized by the United Nations and 35 member nations immediately after independence like the rest of the African States.
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Independent Somaliland tried to strengthen its unification with Somalia in its quest for Greater Somalia in the Horn of Africa, but Somalia hijacked the governments of the union for the thirty years of its existence, from1960 to1990, and treated Somaliland as one of its own provinces. The Somalilanders rebelled against the injustices perpetrated by Somalia in the twenty years between 1960-1980. In those 20 years, Somaliland had three consecutive elected presidents and two parliaments in addition to a municipal council.

Somalilanders held a national congress on May 18, 1991 and unanimously proclaimed the withdrawal of Somaliland from the union with Somalia and reclaimed the country’s independence on June 26, 1960 renaming it the Somaliland Republic.

Somaliland Republic’s fledgling democracy, however, encountered many serious obstacles since the first municipal elections that were held in 2002, resulting in the delay of the presidential election.
According to Gino, many of his compatriots who arrived and settled in Saudi Arabia in the early 1960s have become Saudi citizens. Like many Saudis, they continue to support Somaliland by investing and doing business in there. “We Somalilanders have strong links and ties of friendship with Saudi Arabia,” he added.

“Our country is rich in natural and mineral resources, and I plan, with the cooperation of my fellow expatriate Somalilanders, to harness this wealth for the benefit of our people,” Gino said.

– Sournce: Saudi Gazette, 20th March 2010

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