After making daily posts on this blog since my arrival in Somaliland in early March, my regular readers are probably wondering where I have disappeared to over the past two weeks. I am very sorry to have disappointed or worried you by this unexplained silence. I now want to update my friends and readers on the situation.
Two weeks ago, on the Tuesday following the death of Osama Bin Laden, we (meaning my colleagues and house mates) received a death threat from someone claiming to be Al-Shabaab, the Somali Islamist jihadi insurgent group (referred to as a terrorist organization by most western governments) with self-proclaimed links to Al-Qaeda.
While we had no way of ascertaining the veracity of the message, we treated the threat seriously and responded to it by taking measures to increase our security levels. It was a stressful and anxious week to say the least.
While the threatened attack has thankfully not materialized, given the circumstances I have taken the personal decision to leave Somaliland. This was a very difficult decision for me and I spent much time deliberating the choice. After two months, I felt I had just started to settle in to life in Hargeisa, to better understand Somaliland, and to feel happy living there. Not to mention I really enjoyed writing this blog and sharing my day-to-day experiences of life in Somaliland.
However, much as I felt sad about ending my stay prematurely, I also felt that I could not justify taking any potential risk to my life or health. What is such a shame about the whole incident is that all of my other experiences in Somaliland have shown it to be a very safe, peaceful, and welcoming place. I don’t believe that the person or people who made the threat are representative of the average Somalilander. And I still encourage people to visit Somaliland.
So, the end result is that I am no longer living in Somaliland and therefore I will no longer be updating this blog on a daily basis. But I hope readers will still benefit from reading my past posts and will continue to make comments.