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Somalia Civil War - Jubaland

Founded most recently on April 3, 2011, Jubaland is the newest self-declared state within Somalia. It is led by a former Somali defense minister, Mohamed Abdi Gandhi. Supported by Kenya, Jubaland is intended to serve as a buffer state between war-torn central Somalia, al-Shabaab, and the Kenyan border. Kenya provided military assistance to Jubaland, but the military offensive did not prove effective. Kenya has been one of the region’s largest proponents of establishing an autonomous state and buffer zone in the Juba Valley. Reports suggest that 2,500 Somali youth from the Juba Valley and Dadaab Refugee Camp have been trained by the Kenyan government.

The old area called Jubaland or Trans-Juba, was entirely west of the Juba river. In 1895 Dr. Donaldson Smith explored the volcanic regions east of Lake Rudolf, which were crossed by Count Eduard Wickenburg in 1901, and again described by Captain Stigand in his book, To Abyssinia through an Unknown Land. In 1909 Mr. G. F. Archer carried out the first scientific exploration of this part of British East Africa.

It was in May 1909 that the British Government decided to occupy effectively the country lying between the Juba River and Lake Rudolf, south of the Abyssinian frontier. An effective administration of this territory was deemed advisable in order to check intertribal warfare and to protect the Borana, who were living in the Protectorate, and were friendly, from the lawless raiding parties from Abyssinia. Jubaland is bounded on the east by the Juba River, beyond which is Italian Somaliland, on the south-east by the Indian Ocean, and on the south by an imaginary line drawn from the Lorian Swamp to the Bajun settlement of Kiunga on the coast. To the south of this line is the province of Tanaland.

Jubaland was a part of British East Africa until 1925 when it was ceded to Italy as a compensation for its help in the Great War. After being ceded by Kenya, it was called Oltre Giuba by the Italians and soon became part of Italian Somaliland. The northern portion of this ceded strip, together with an area east of the Juba river, eventually became known as Upper Juba province. On 29 June 1925, at a solemn ceremony at Kismayu, the English colonial authorities transferred the territory to Italy to be known as Oltre Giuba (Trans-Juba). At the end of the first year of Italian occupation, on 01 July 1926, the territory of Oltre Giuba was formally annexed to the colony of Italian Somalia as the Juba region.

In 1998, one of the Somali warlords, Mohamed Said Hersi Morgan, gained control over Jubaland and proclaimed an independent republic This was not recognized by anybody. In 1999, the Juba Valley Alliance, led by Ahmed Warsame, overthrew Morgan and in the 2001 the Jubaland republic ceased to exist following a treaty with the Somali provisional government. The JVA chose to join the Transitional National Government (TNG) on 18 June 2001, but in January 2006 they changed their minds and formed their own autonomous state of Jubaland. This state lasted less than a year as the Union of Islamic Courts brought over to their side numerous factions of the JVA and took over Kismayo without firing a shot on 24 September 2006.

As of 2008 authorities from the three Regions of Southern Somalia, namely the Gedo Region, Lower Jubba Region, and the Middle Jubba Region were working towards the unification of these Regions to make one unified Provincial Regional Authority, named Jubaland. This Jubaland Initiative was created to bring about local stability, in the model of the autonomous Puntland and Somaliland regions in the northern part of the country. Ethiopia is reportedly unhappy about the Jubaland Initiative and Kenya's involvement in it, as it fears that the project will have an effect on its own military struggle against rebels in the Somali-inhabited Ogaden region, who seek independence.

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Page last modified: 09-05-2013 17:36:01 ZULU