Despite the declaration, Somaliland is still considered an autonomous region of Somalia by the United Nations. But President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Sillanyo is pushing hard for recognition of full sovereignty.
Photos: New member in family of nations? Woman waves flag during celebrations of the 25th anniversary of Somaliland’s declaration of independence in the capital, Hargeisa on May 18, 2016.
Photos: New member in family of nations? Somaliland military personnel march on independence day. The region spends heavily on its army and navy but is operating under a UN arms embargo.
Hargeisa War Memorial in Freedom Square features a representation of a Russian fighter jet used to bomb the city by former dictator Mohamed Siyad Barre, who was overthrown in 1991.
Photos: New member in family of nations? Downtown Hargeisa in the week before the independence day celebrations. The fast-growing city is home to almost a million residents. Somaliland is considered a relatively safe haven as the rest of Somalia remains plagued by conflict.
Loading cargo ship at the Port of Berbera on December 5, 2015. The main exports from Somaliland are livestock to the Gulf countries Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Qatar.
Photos: New member in family of nations? Traders preparing to load goats and sheep ready for export into a truck, at the biggest livestock market in Somaliland. Livestock farming is the backbone of the Somaliland economy. Every year, an estimated 4.2 million sheep, goats, cattle and camel are sold to neighboring Arab States via the port of Berbera.
Photos: New member in family of nations? Somali money changer next to piles of banknotes on a busy street in Hargeisa.
Photos: New member in family of nations? Ayan Hussein, a London stylist originally from Somaliland, shows dresses she sells to local Muslim women, inside her clothing store in Hargeisa. Hussein is one of many immigrants who have found their way back to the relative calm of Somaliland.
Photos: New member in family of nations? A man purchases a bundle of the narcotic plant khat, which is hugely popular in Hargeisa.
Photos: New member in family of nations? A primitive rock painting, one of a galaxy of colorful animal and human sketches to adorn the caves in the rocky hills near Hargeisa, home to Africa’s earliest known and most pristine rock art. In ten caves in Laas Geel, Somali for ‘camel watering hole’, outside Hargeisa, vivid depictions afford a peek at a pastoralist history dating back some 5,000 years or more. The paintings were discovered in 2002 by a French archeology team and have since been protected to stem looting after their value became apparent to locals who previously feared they were the work of evil spirits. The paintings have also become a leading attraction of Somaliland’s fledgling tourism industry.
Photos: New member in family of nations? Toyota importers for Somaliland at the Hargeisa International Trade Fair
Photos: New member in family of nations? A woman casts her ballot during the 2010 elections that saw President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Sillanyo elected.