Fire rips through large Somaliland market, injuring 28

Huge flames consumed the market in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, a region that declared its separation from Somalia in 1991 and is not recognized internationally.

A large fire destroyed the main market of Hargeisa, capital of Somaliland, on Saturday night (04.02.2022), causing 28 injuries although there were no deaths, the president of that self-declared independent Somali region, Muse Bihi Abdi, reported today.

The fire, whose cause is unknown, swept through the central Waaheen market and burned thousands of shops, causing millions of dollars in losses, in the worst fire in the city in recent years.

The incident began around 8:00 p.m. local time (5:00 p.m. GMT) on Friday and lasted until Saturday, despite the efforts of firefighters to put out the fire, which was already fully controlled.

Speaking to journalists in the capital of Somaliland, President Abdi announced this Saturday a million dollar aid to support the victims.

In a statement, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo said he shared his “sadness with the Hargeisa market traders whose property has been destroyed by fire.”

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From neighboring Ethiopia, its prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, sent from his account on the social network Twitter a message of support for Somaliland “at this very difficult time”, and declared himself “shocked and saddened” by the fire.

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss also lamented on Twitter the “terrible news about the devastating fire in Hargeisa”.

Somaliland, which was a British protectorate until 1960, is not recognized internationally, although it has its own constitution, currency and government, and even better economic development and political stability than Somalia.

The region declared its separation from Somalia, a former Italian colony, in 1991, the year in which the dictator Mohamed Siad Barré was overthrown. His fall ushered in a period of conflict without an effective government in Somalia that continues to the present day.

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