Britons urged to leave Somaliland!
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Feb 11, 2013 10:55 AM Last Post By: qualitywork1
Jan 28, 2013 6:31 AM
Jan 28, 2013 8:12 AM
1hmm...I'm curious to see how this plays out. In the past when such warnings have been issued by the UK or US, they haven't amounted to anything in Somaliland. The place is actually really safe and the police presence is strong. We did meet a lot of dual citizens (Somali - UK) when we were there, and everyone was thrilled that we were there and wanted us to have a good, fun, and safe time. We did.
Feb 2, 2013 8:40 AM
I arrived on the 30th, and though so far I have only been in the capital, everything seems as usual and that means safety and security.
Not saying I am definitely right, but I feel this specific threat might have been some islamist group saying "brits aren't safe in somaliland."
Mind you, I am Canadian, so maybe that is why I have had no problems ;)
Feb 4, 2013 8:16 AM
3I found no one had any clue what nationality we were, when we were in Africa...Somaliland included. They would always start with what they felt was the most likely. The top 7 in no particular order were British, French, Spanish, Australian, German, Dutch, South African. WHen we would say "American," they were surprised as a lot of them had never met an American...despite there being 300 + million of us....although 299 million of us dig bunkers in our back yard, horde guns, and hide there for fear that "socialism" will take over. So perhaps that's why they haven't met any Americans :D
Feb 5, 2013 2:03 AM
4I'm always amazed when British tourists think it's ok to go to a place where there are very few Westerners, and where the British embassy warned that Britons may be a target for assassination.
"I found no one had any clue what nationality we were"
Believe me, if an Islamist cell is looking for Britons, they will know you're one. Different people you don't know have access to your passport: people working for the plane company (your name and nationality are included in the flight manifesto), people working at the immigration office, security officials... How can you be sure none of these people is going to sell this information?
You're not going to a country teeming with Western expatriates and tourists, you're going to a place where there are very few Westerners, which means that you're easy to spot. Moreover, you're going to a place where the overwhelming majority of Westerners work for organizations which have security systems to mitigate risks, meaning that you'll be a "soft target" - easy to abduct. Of an Islamist cell is looking for a Brit, they'll go for an unprotected tourist as a priority.
Yes, Somaliland is much safer than Somalia. It does not mean it's safe.
Feb 5, 2013 8:36 AM
5Safe is a totally relative term though...as an American, we have 9/11 stuff shoved down our throats..and threats of mass transit bombings, or bombings at popular events, parades, etc. When I do go to countries like Egypt or places with potentially increased risk, I am usually not staying at western hotels and my time at sites is limited.
Generally, my personal view is that if a terror cell wants to kill westerners, they will plot and scheme on how to kill westerners...generally in a major city in the west, or in a western hotel or major site in a major city somewhere around the world. What you generally don't find or hear about is the terrorists waiting on the side of the road in the middle of the desert in Sudan for the next American to pass by.
Terrorists go for shock value and headlines. More people would have been killed and more damage done had that Turkish suicide bomber blown up say... a market. However, the "sexy" target is the US Embassy. It has a higher profile and that is what they are looking for.
Again, just my thoughts on the whole thing.
Anywhere someone travels and at any time, something could happen. It is best to understand the culture, the risks and make a decision with which YOU are comfortable.
For me, having been to Somaliland recently, I would not hesitate to go again right now if I could.
Feb 5, 2013 9:15 AM
6Jyp, terror cells in Somalia don't have the means to target Americans in the USA. That's the reason why they will try and sneak into smaller, nearby countries and target them there. The kind of big terror operation you describe is (thank God) very difficult and costly to implement, especially since 9-11.
It's much easier to try and target someone next door. In Somaliland, you will be one of the very few Westerners who are there = easy to know where you stay and where you're likely to go. You will also be a "soft target", because you don't have the protection afforded to Westerners working for aid organizations who receive information on potential attacks, hire trusted security guards, benefit from the protection of local clans, and can be evacuated in a couple of hours if things go awry.
I'm not saying that one should not set foot in Somaliland. It's relatively stable, and Somaliland authorities are doing their best to prevent terror cells from operating in their country, most of the time, with remarkable efficiency.
I'm just saying that if the UK embassy warns Britons to stay away from Somaliland for now, it's that they have reliable intel and that it should be taken seriously.
Feb 8, 2013 4:13 PM
Feb 9, 2013 1:34 PM
8I was in Hargeisa last month and i met a Somali/dutch girl who had spent a month in mogadishu with some relatives. She said the people of mogadishu were much nicer than those from hargeisa. She also said there were lots of white westerners walking around so i guess things have improved.
Feb 11, 2013 4:27 AM
9"She also said there were lots of white westerners walking around (Mogadishu) so i guess things have improved."
... yep, there are more white westerners (journalists, aid workers) in Mogadishu these days as the security situation did improve, but don't be fooled: when they're walking around, there's an armored vehicle and/or a military escort following close behind.
As a Somali/Dutch national she 1 - looks Somali and can blend, 2 - she enjoys the protection of her Somali clan. White Westerners don't.
Feb 11, 2013 10:55 AM
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