n African Renaissance - The Horn of Africa : a reflection on the Christmas War on Somalia and its aftermath

Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1744-2532
  • E-ISSN: 2516-5305


The Horn of Africa is awash with various types of deadly weapons, fuelled through endless conflicts rooted in the period of the European Scramble for Africa (indeed if not earlier!) to the period of de-colonisation in the 60s and throughout the post-colonial period. The region has been a victim of the arms race sponsored largely, if not exclusively, and distributed by the ex-colonial powers and the Cold War super powers, who did a classic swap for Ethiopia and Somalia during the 1977-78 War! The region does have the capability to use modern deadly weapons that could cost millions of lives. In certain occasions rulers in the region received these weapons as an integrated part of the development aid from major powers. Warlords, for instance those in Somalia, used to purchase the weapons from the numerous open capitalist markets in and around some Western and Eastern European countries. To the surprise of many, some of the notorious warlords in Mogadishu, as late as last year terrorised innocent civilians with new weapons imported from the UK, a western country that officially supports the UN weapons embargo against Somalia. Thus, the flow of weaponry and easy accessibility appears to constitute one of the main challenges to peace and stability in the Horn of Africa. Other serious obstacles include the prevailing divisive political culture and the colonial legacy.

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