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Introduction

Visitors should strongly avoid travel to Somalia due to a very dangerous security situation. See the United States State Department warning in the health and safety section.

The Italians, British and Ethiopians were all involved in Somalia prior to independence in 1960. A coup nine years later ushered in Mohamed Siad Barre, who remained the country's authoritarian ruler until he was overthrown in 1991. Factional fighting, anarchy and famine followed, prompting intervention by United Nations peacekeepers and American troops. They later withdrew and the country was run by warlords. Peace talks in Kenya led to the establishment of the Transitional Federal Government. It is backed by Ethiopia and struggles to main control of the capital, Mogadishu, to prevent warlords from regaining control.

Somalia has a population of nine million. Islam is the predominant religion. Somali is the main language, although Arabic, English and Italian are all also spoken. Because Somalia was so heavily influenced by Muslims as early as the 7th century, Islamic culture pervades the nation with religious practices and lifestyles.

No commercial airlines are flying into Somalia at this time, as the international airport in Mogadishu was bombed by the Ethiopians in December 2006.

Vistors can stay at Ambassador Hotel Hargeisa Somalia, which has satellite television and villas.


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