Somaliland marks independence day with military parade

HARGEISA (Somaliguardian) – Somaliland held an ostentatious military parade on Wednesday, celebrating the 31st anniversary of the day it broke away from Somalia in 1991 as the region’s ruling party and opposition tussle over the schedule of an upcoming presidential vote.

Units of the Somaliland army, tanks and armored personnel carriers marched along the central street of Hargeisa where thousands of residents and government officials, including the President were watching the ceremony. Other parades of the army, police and navy units also took place in all other major cities in the break-away state.

Speaking at the ceremony, Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi elaborated on the decision by local officials to declare secession three decades ago and said the state would continue to pursue an international recognition.

Speaking on Somalia’s recent election that had handed victory to ex-President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Bihi welcomed the power shift and urged the new administration to drop longstanding claims by Somali authorities that Somaliland was still part of Somalia.

Celebrations for May 18, the day Somaliland proclaimed independence, have also been held by diasporas across the world, some having in attendance of senior government officials.

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