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Issue 394

Front Page

News Headlines

Weapons Supplied To Somalia Government By The US Are Sold In Mogadishu Markets

The Shortest Man In Somaliland Leaves For Norway

Somaliland Parliament Says Suspension Of Voter Registration Illegal

Tostan Holds Conference On Women’s Genital Mutilation

UN Agencies Launch Next Round Of Child Health Initiative In Somaliland

An Interview With Ambassador Marika Fahlen, Sweden’s Special Envoy For The Horn Of Africa

Somalia Tells All Visitors To Seek Government Approval

Somaliland Government Controlled Media Used To Incite Extremism

Local and Regional Affairs

A CALL FOR DIALOGUE: To Hold A Free, Fair And Peaceful Presidential Election

East Africa: Ethiopia Takes Part in First East African Independent Producers Forum

Somalia Mosque Victims Belonged To Southern Punjab

Kenyan Court Drops Charges, Clears Way For Canadian Woman To Return Home

Al Shabaab Reportedly Beheads 4 Christians, Rips Gold Teeth From Locals' Mouths

2 Somali Women, Children Die In Fire

3rd Man Pleads Guilty In Missing Somalis Case

Man Gets 23 Years In Killing Of Somali Restaurant Cook

Athens Police Attack Somali Protesters

Libyans Kill 20 Somali Prisoners

Somalia: The Trouble with Puntland

Somali Insurgents Reject Government’s Olive Branch

Amnesty International Calls For Accountability And Safeguards On Arms Transfers To Somalia’s TFG

Eastern Africa Standby Force To Be Ready Next Year

Somali Islamists Pull Teeth From "Sinners": Residents

Communiqué: Conference With Former Senior Somali Military And Police Officers

Clinton And South African Discuss Somalia

Tribute To Ali Marshal


Western Countries Encourage Piracy By Paying Ransom

Features & Commentary

Somalia: The Center Cannot Hold

Incredible Journey of Somali Human Right Activist Waris Dirie – The Movie

Escape From Somaliland

Without Free Movement, East Africa Will Keep Marking Time

Clinton's Africa Trip Highlights Importance US Attaches To The Continent

What Was Siyad Barre's Relation To A Fundamentalist Christian Group?

Legal Brief On The Suspension Of The Voter Registration List

Mandela – Poem

AT THE MERCY OF SOMALI PIRATES: Hansa Stavanger Crew Describe Hostage Ordeal

Where Camels Once Trod, A Train Crosses Australia

Update: Independent Diplomat Responds

US Misguided In Moving To Arm Somalia, Say Analysts

President Isaias's Encounter With The Financial Times

Somalia: The Trouble With Puntland – Report

International News


Woman Who Tried To Kill Ford Released From Prison

A Short Guide To Tools For Citizen Journalists

Australian Camels Facing Slaughter

UN Human Rights Expert Sounds Alarm On Draft Media Laws In Venezuela

Poll Shows Afghan Vote Headed For Second Round

Bristol's World Cup Bid Brings Communities Together . . . On The Football Field


A Crucial Week For Somaliland: A Time For Action

Building Bridges For Somaliland University Student Outside And Inside The Country

Why I Fear For Somalia

Africa’s Best-Kept Secret “Somaliland” Is In Need For A Change!

Lost Faith In The System

Somalilanders Around The Globe: Vote For Change

Where There Is No Donor

Al-Shabaab: “The” Number One Enemy Of Islam And Somali People

President Riyale And The Election Commission Are The Reason Of The Election’s Bone Of Contention

Escape From Somaliland

By Hodan Yusuf

Xorriyo Airways, which ran flights from Dubai to Berbera in Somaliland, has collapsed. I found this out the hard way. I soon became one of more than 600 people stranded in Somaliland. At 7.40 pm one night the airline office phoned to say the flight had been 'delayed until further notice' and if someone did not bring the ticket to the office by 8pm it would become void and there would be no entitlement to a refund. This is Hargeysa where taxis in the suburbs are hard to come by and buses certainly can't get you from near Mansoor Hotel in Jigjigayar to the downtown city center in less than 20 minutes. My only chance was to get someone who lived near the office to go and negotiate in the meantime. 

An official source at Xorriyyo confirmed the next day the airline had collapsed and the priority was to get passengers transferred onto other airlines. The trouble with that useful information was that very few people had been told. Most passengers including those who had already booked their holidays from around the world are still none the wiser. The source alleged that Xorriyo was owned by two cousins who split the company assets causing the airline to go bust. At the peak of the holiday season hundreds of people are stranded in Somaliland. They will probably have to ask relatives and friends to wire them money via Dahabshiil in order to buy new tickets. Dahabshiil money transfer is the unofficial banking system amongst Somalis. 

In Somaliland I learned people have to fight for everything. Being obsolete and insisting I had a connecting flight to Doha which I could not miss under any circumstances - seemed to do the trick. This was true, I did have another flight to catch, but if I had not insisted, I may still be there now. I was fortunate to been transferred to Osob Airline but this meant another hot bumpy bus ride to Berbera. 

When I got there I heard my flight to Dubai was still stuck in Mogadishu. When it arrived it was carrying several hundred desperate refugees. The airport officials said that they often have injured people with bullets still lodged in them, arriving from Mogadishu. 

Although it sounds rough it is a great way to see Somali landscapes and mountains. Several small villages line the way as well as the routine police checkpoints. In one small village we were hailed to stop by a man who was allowed to board the bus and asking for money. He said his name was 'Ali- Gaabe' (Ali the Dwarf) and that we should give him money so he could pray for our safe journey. He was a dwarf and people laughed at his audacity and his sense of humor so they paid him and I watched him hailed the second bus in our convoy to make his quick buck. 

Xorriyo airline is registered UK company but has not yet officially gone into administration or declared bankruptcy. The travel agent I booked with in London also confirmed its collapse and said I was very lucky to get out as several hundred people are literally stranded there. My thoughts are with them but desperate looks on the faces of the refugees from Mogadishu will haunt me for a long time. Despite waiting three hours for the plane to arrive, I wish I stayed at the airport for just a bit longer. Long enough to hear the stories those families had tell and what horrors they had escaped.

Photograph of Mogadishu refugees at Berbera airport by me

Hodan Yusuf-Pankhurst is a freelance journalist based in the UK. Originally from Somaliland, she has lived and worked in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. She can be contacted at hyfreelancejournalist.blogspot.com or email her on hodan@holdthefrontpage.co.uk

Source: frontlineclub.com - Hodan Yusuf-Pankhurst, August 11, 2009





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