The Radical I’tisam Group in Somaliland opposes the colonial borders in Africa without having a peaceful substitute solution that would not lead to endless violent, continental clan wars that would return Africa to Stone Age. It would be great if each African country has population of the same ethnicity but it is impossible to have that in the Third World (Africa, Arab World, Asia and South America). In Africa, subclans of the same clan inhabit different African countries due to colonial demarcations without considering clan lineage or ethnicity. That is why the Declaration of African Conference in 1964 of Reaffirming Colonial Borders of Africa was issued to recognize and protect African colonial borders as they are in order to prevent tribal secession wars seeking postcolonial reunifications that would plunge the whole continent of Africa into endless violence, anarchy and chaos that could bring down African states.
If African colonial borders are challenged to have postcolonial tribal reunifications based on lineage or ethnicity, the consequences in the continent would be dire and devastating because endless, violent wars would erupt between states defending their territorial integrity defined by colonial borders and clans or tribes seeking reunifications with their own lineage or ethnicity. Las Anod, a semi city in Somaliland transforming and flourishing peacefully before the current conflict, is a good example of what would happen if colonial borders are challenged. Traditional leaders of Las Anod challenged the colonial borders of Somaliland then turned the city into a place of chaos, anarchy and lawlessness.
Colonial borders of Africa, Arab World, Asia and South America were all drawn by European colonial powers and are based on land, not on ethnicity or clan lineage. Existence, peace and stability of these continents depend on respecting, recognizing and implementing colonial borders which are unchangeable. Tribal armed factions driven by tribal emotions or tribalism, as it is happening now in Las Anod city of Somaliland, tried before to change African colonial borders by force to unite their clan or tribe after independence but all ended in failure like Biafra in Nigeria in 1967 and Katanga in Congo in 1960 because no country accepts to divide its territory and people as colonial borders are recognized and internationally legitimate. Colonial borders define the territorial integrity, people, independence and recognition of each African country.
Trying to change African colonial borders is like opening a can of worms that would return Africa, Asia, Arab World and South America to Stone Age as subsequent results would lead to endless clan wars seeking postcolonial reunifications at gun point and as no country accepts to lose part of its country and population. It is easy to oppose colonial borders but it is difficult to replace them peacefully. There is no single African, Asian, Arab World or South American country that made its own borders. Respecting and recognizing colonial borders of Africa as well as of Asia, Arab World and South America make their nations live in peace and stability from destructive clan and territorial endless wars.
FEW EXAMPLES OF CLAN DISTRIBUTION IN AFRICA
To mention few, Afar Clan inhabits Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djabouti. Tuareg Clan inhabits Senegal, Nigeria, Mali and Niger. Fulani Clan inhabitis Mali, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon. Lunda Clan inhabits Congo, Zambia and Angola. Yoruba Clan inhabits Nigeria, Benin and Togo, Somali Clan inhabit Djabouti, Somalia, Somaliland, Ethiopia and Kenya etc. It is rare to see an African country whose population is based on single ethnicity. So, no country or region in Africa has the right to claim the land of a subclan inhabiting another African country for reasons of tribal lineage or ethnicity.
WHY IT IS DIFFICULT TO REPLACE COLONIAL BORDERS
If the politicians and traditional leaders of Fulani Clan decide to unite their clan in Mali, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon after the independence of these countries, the governments of those countries would simultaneously attack and crush Fulani people in all the four countries to protect their territorial integrity and national unity each. Recognizing and protecting African colonial borders prevent such frightening massacre of Fulani people. That is why it is difficult to try to change colonial borders.
As colonial borders of Africa are unchangeable and all borders are based on land, not on clan or tribal lineage, so are Somaliland Republic borders. As any other African country did, Somaliland inherited its colonial borders from Somaliland British Protectorate. Somaliland colonial borders cannot be challenged, its territory and people cannot be divided, and tribal borders cannot be drawn in Somaliland in order to destroy its territorial integrity and national unity. Every government has the right to defend and protect its colonial borders with its army. It is not about a tribe attacking another tribe as some members of Radical I’tisam group in Somaliland falsely described the conflict in Las Anod.
Somaliland achieved independence before Somalia on June 26, 1960 and received International Recognition from 35 countries that included China, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Israel, Libya, the Soviet Union etc. Somaliland achieved independence and recognition before Somalia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Chad, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Benin, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Kenya, Algeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia etc.
Without having Islamic State consisting of all Muslim countries in the World with defined borders, opposing colonial borders is absolutely wrong and dangerous for leading to destructive consequences of violence and endless bloodshed to nations. Radical I’tisam Group in Somaliland and Somalia oppose colonial borders to replace them with tribal violence, anarchy and chaos. The deadly Khawarij Group (Known as Al-Shabaab) also hold the same view with Radical I’tisam Group on colonial borders without having peaceful replacement but chaos, violence and lawlessness.
Somaliland government must send stern warning to I’tisam Group and other religious groups in the country of taking tough legal measures against them if they are caught involved in subversive activities against Somaliland independence and territorial integrity. Somaliland government and Somaliland people should jointly surveil the movements of Radical I’tisam Group or any other radical religious group in the country and take legal steps against them those who support the terrorists and tribal coalition in Las Anod and those who speak against Somaliland independence and the legitimacy of Somaliland borders and territorial integrity during Friday sermons in Mosques or in public places. Many African elites are not in favor of colonial borders but, at the same time, they support them because there is no other peaceful solution to replace them. They support colonial borders because the peace and stability of every country in Africa, Asia, Arab World and South America depend on recognizing and respecting colonial borders.
Author: Ibrahim Hassan Gagale
September 15, 2023