Update to SML25523.E of 27 November 1996 on the situation in Zeila, including who is controlling it, whether there is fighting in the area, and whether refugees are returning [SML26165.E]

A historian at Savannah State College in Savannah, Georgia, who specializes in Somali history and politics stated that the Zeila is inhabited by Issaks, Issas and Gadabursi (12 Feb. 1997). He stated that the issue of control of Zeila is contentious because each of the clans would want to claim control. However, it is the Gadabursi who are the majority in the area (ibid.). This source was not aware of any conflict in the area and whether refugees have returned (ibid.).

A researcher at the U.S. Institute for Peace in Washington, who also specializes in Somali politics, corroborated the above information but added that the there is a "struggle" between the Gadabursi and the Issaks because the latter are collecting taxes (ibid.). He stated that there was fighting between the Gadabursi and the Isaaks in Zeila in 1994 ( 12 Feb. 1997). This source stated that he was not aware of refugees returning to Zeila. However, he explained that Zeila separates Djibouti from Somaliland and refugees returning to Hargeisa from Djibouti use Zeila as an entry point to and from Somalia (ibid.). This information could not be corroborated by sources currently available to the DIRB.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find attached a list of sources consulted in Researching this Information Request.


Hsitorian specializing in Somali hstory and politics, Savannah State College, Savannah, Georgia. 12 February 1997. Telephone interview.

Unites States Institute for Peace, Washington, DC. 12 February 1997. Telephone interview with researcher.

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Confidential [London]. Weekly.

Africa Research Bulletin: Political, Social and Cultural Series [London]. Monthly.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1995. 1996.

Horn of Africa Bulletin [Uppsala]. Bimonthly.

New African [London]. Monthly.

West Africa [London]. Weekly.

On-line search on NEXIS database.