Somaliland Independence: Somalis Quit Britain; Queen Salutes Them

Join Neighbor to Form Republic This Week

LONDON, June 26 – Another African colony stepped out of the British Empire Sunday and Queen Elizabeth sent her greetings to the 600,000 newly freed Somalis.

“I, my government, and my people wish you well on this day of independence,” the British Queen said. “I look forward to continuing and enduring friendship between our two countries.”

Only 5,000 Could Read It

The words could be read by only 5,000 of the Somalis living on the desert-like coast of East Africa where the hot Indian Ocean joins the even hotter Red Sea. Another 10,000 or so could read Arabic translations but the rest can never read the queen’s greetings, for the Somali language unwritten.

The Somalis are mostly nomads, wandering with their camels, goats, and sheep thru the dry, riverless coastline or the black mountains leading up to high, cool Ethiopia. The dark of skin, the Somalis say they are Arabs. They are intensely Muslim. Mats laid over sticks form their easily moved igloo shaped homes.

Freedom came quickly for the Somalis. Negotiations began only three months ago.

Independent 5 Days

The Somalis will be independent for just five days. On July 1, their 33-man colonial legislature, named in the first-ever elections 18 months ago, goes to neighboring Mogadishu to help create a greater Somalia, joining 2 million more Somalis being freed by the United Nations on that day.

These 2 million were under Italian rule from 1885 until captured by the British in 1942. After eight years of British military rule, the 2 million were handed over to the United Nations, which handed them back to the Italians.

Italy spent millions trying to build a permanent colony on the east coast of Africa but decided after seven years the project was doomed. So administration was handed back to the U.N. in 1957.

Sworn in on Polo Field

Hargeisa, Somaliland, June 26 [Reuters]-A blue and white starred flag was hoisted for the first time here Sunday after all-night celebrations ending 80 years of British rule in this East African territory, at the south end of the Red Sea.

The new premier of independent Somaliland, Mohammed Haji Ibrahim Egal, took an oath on the Koran in a polo-ground ceremony amid cheers and shouts of freedom slogans.

Gets 1,000 Troops

A thousand British-trained Somaliland troops were handed over to the premier by Brig. O. G. Brooks, the retiring commandant.

Egal earlier welcomed a delegation from Italian Somalia, which is to unite with Somaliland to form a republic of 2 million population when Italy gives up its United Nations trusteeship next Friday.

Adan Abdullah, the delegation’s leader, who is expected to become president of the new republic, was cheered by women and children during a noisy motor car procession from the airport.

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