World Country Somalia

About the world country Somalia, its location, size, population, and who is in power.



Location: Eastern horn of Africa, between Ethiopia and Kenya. Size: 246,200 sq. mi. (637,657 sq. km.). Population: 3,680,000 (plus as many as 1.5 million refugees from Ethiopia).

Who Really Rules: The president, Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Siad Barre, siezed power from a divided civilian government in 1969. Now Siad Barre's Somali Revolutionary Socialist party governs. Siad Barre has attempted to carry out a socialist transformation from above but has accomplished little more than a few nationalizations in this primarily agricultural and nomadic society. The government has carried out numerous reforms, including the creation of a Somali script so that it could launch a major literacy campaign.

The internationally recognized borders of Somalia are those of two former colonies, British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland. Somalia, however, claims territories inhabited by Somali people in Djibouti (formerly French Somaliland), northeastern Kenya, and the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. Somali armed forces and a local guerrilla army have been fighting Ethiopian troops for control of the Ogaden.

For several years a close friend of the Soviet Union, Somalia threw out the Soviet military and Soviet advisers in 1977, when the U.S.S.R. befriended Ethiopia's revolutionary government. In 1980 Somalia concluded an agreement with the U.S., offering military bases in exchange for economic aid and military hardware. The U.S., however, recognizes the Ethiopian claim to the Ogaden and insists that Somalia not use these arms in that war.

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