In pictures: Somaliland army

In 1884 the British established an agreement with local elderly leaders, this agreement became known as the British Somaliland protectorate. By 1899, they created a small military which suffered a heavy defeat by 1913 under the Mad Mullah, a religious fanatic which had more than 20, 000 horsemen and thousands more followers.

In 1914 the British created what become known as the Somaliland Camel Corps to maintain orders in Somaliland which grew to include some 700 mounted riders. In that same period, they made four major expeditions into territories controlled by the Mad Mullah but failed to capture him.

However in 1920, the Somaliland Camel Corps along with British Royal Air force’s Z force, elements from the 2nd (Nyasaland) Battalion and 6th (Somaliland) Battalion of the King’s African Rifles (KAR), Somaliland Police and an Indian battalion launched the final and fifth expedition and finally defeated the Mad Mullah. The mission was dubbed “The wave”.

In the 1930s, the Corps numbered 14 British officers, 400 African Askaris, and 150 African Reservists.

In 1940, in a hope to stop the Italian invasion, the Camel Corps received a reinforcement of one battalion of the Northern Rhodesian Regiment and numbered 1455 men.

The Corps were eventually over ran by the Italians and the British retreated to Aden (present day Yemen) however in December 1941, the British established the Somaliland Scouts, which was originally called the Somali Guard Battalion.

The force quickly grew in size and became important part of Somaliland society.

In 1960 when Somaliland gained independence, it merged with the South who were now under United Nation trusteeship after the British defeated the Italians in World War II and have successfully expelled them from the region.

Somaliland Scouts became the foundation stone for the new Somali National Army (SNA). By 1961, Somaliland Scouts were deployed in the south  in the town of Wanlaweyn, after a coup d’état, they quickly restored order and Somalia lived another day.

However to many Somalilanders, this coup was the start of the collapse of Greater Somalia and their southern brothers simply became known as ‘Wanlaweyn‘ due to their denial of the Wanlaweyn genocide.

By 1980, Somaliland officers and army officials started to desert from the Somali National Army formed their own resistance group, the Somali National Movement (SNM).

By 1991, the Somali Army collapsed and Somaliland restored it’s state and established it’s own national army “ciidaanka Qaranka”.

Today, Somaliland has a force of 16,000 men between the ages of 18 and 49.

The military of Somaliland receives the biggest share of the country’s budget.

The pictures below were provided by Sakariye Rirash.

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Somalilandpress, 20th February 2010


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