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Somali (Ethiopia)

Somali Regional State

Last modified: 2021-04-24 by bruce berry
Keywords: somali | ethiopia | somalia | somaliland | ogaden |
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  Image by Jason Saber, 20 Feb 2021

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The state is often called simply Somalia, not to be confused with the neighbouring country of same name.

According to the Ethiopian Parliament website, "the State of Somalia has a very large area size ranking second to Oromiya.  At present the state comprises 9 administrative zones and 49 woredas.  Being very large means it has an estimated area of about 250,000 square kilometers. ... the State of Somali [sic!] is located in the eastern and south eastern part of Ethiopia. The State has common boundaries with Afar and the Republic of Djibouti in the north, Kenya in the south, the State of Oromiya in the west, and Somalia in the east and in the South.  The capital is Jijiga" .

This means that Somali State includes the whole of Eastern Ethiopia, including partially or completely the old provinces of Harerge, Bale, Sidamo and eventually portions of neighboring provinces such as Welo, Shewa or Arsi. Again, the new capital is a relatively small center (this seems to be a pattern), this time quite off-centered. Jijiga is located in the north of the old state, half-way between the old capital of Harerge and the Somalia border (50-60 km from both).

Ethnically, this is another state with large homogeneity.  It's population of 3,439,860 (September 1997) comprises Somalis (95.6%), Oromo (2.25%), Amhara (0.69%), Somalians (0.63%) and Guragie (0.14%)".
Jorge Candeias, 19 Dec 1999

Flag of Somali State

Lawmakers in Ethiopia’s eastern Somali regional state have voted to restore a flag that was changed by the erstwhile president Abdi Mohamoud Omar a.k.a. Abdi Illey.

Harun Maruf, a Somali journalist with the Voice of America (VOA) reports that the parliament in the regional capital Jijiga restored a flag that contains the symbolic blue triangle with a white star.

Before now, the Abdi Illey regime had replaced the blue triangle and white star with a yellow triangle with a camel. Legislators also voted to officially refer to the region as Somali Regional State (SRS) as
against the Ethiopia – Somali regional state.

The regional president Mustafa Omer wrote on Twitter: “There is no contradiction between our Somali nationality and Ethiopian citizenship.

We proudly uphold symbols of Somalinimo without abnegating our national responsibility. We are Somali Regional State (SRS): no
prefix, no suffix. The original flag returns.”

Plans to return to the original flag and the name with the “Ethiopia” prefix was reported in August 2018 but today’s parliamentary ratification (07 September 2018) makes it official.
Jason Saber and Jaume Ollé, 20 Feb 2021

Previous Flags of Somali State

Image by Sorin Cosoveanu, 19 Jan 2011

Image by Jens Pattke, 18 Oct 2009

The former flag of Somali National Regional State (Dowlada Deegaanka Somalida) of Ethiopia is shown here.  You can also see it on a photo here and further down on the same page here.
Valentin Poposki, 01 Mar 2009

I don't know the date of adoption of the new flag but it was probably after October 2008 when the previous president of the State, Abdulahi Hassan, was dismissed and the new administration of Daud Mohammed Ali (Daa'uud Maxamed Cali) was installed.  You can see the new president with the new flag on YouTube.   Somali Regional State is beset with the insurgency of Ogaden National Liberation Front and scores of economic problems.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 02 Mar 2009

There is also a version with a brown camel from this source.
Jens Pattke, 18 Oct 2009

Wikipedia shows a flag with a yellow triangle defaced with a white camel in the centre, instead of the blue triangle with white star, as being the flag for the Somali Region in Ethiopia. Does anyone have any information to confirm this and when the flag may have changed?    
Sorin Cosoveanu, 19 Jan 2011

Image by Jason Saber, 20 Feb 2021

The previous flag was a green-white-dark red horizontal tricolour with a light blue triangle at the hoist charged by a white star. Jaume posted a very close image, but it isn't quite as the image at the Ethiopian parliament site because apparently the star is supposed to be rotated so that it points to the fly. Jaume also says that "[the flag of the] Somali state seems to be based in the Western Somalia Liberation Front flag adopted when were merged WSLF and SALF (flag is a mixture of both)". FOTW is all but clear as to what movement predated what, but to me it seems pretty clear that this flag is an evolution of the *Somalia-Abo Liberation Front*, not the Western Somalia Liberation Front. Also, I can't help noticing the great similarities between this flag and the flag of Somaliland, as we all know a self-proclaimed state in the old British Somalia (just a green-white-red tricolour with star and shahada). It could even be a sort of "conciliation flag" between the two Somalias, due to the white star on blue at the hoist.
Jorge Candeias, 19 December 1999

Image by Jaume Ollé 14 Jan 1997.

Image by Jaume Ollé 14 Jan 1997.

Green and red vertically divided flag with white star was reported in use by Somali movements in 1975. In 1982 a variation of black in place of green was reported.
Jaume Ollé, 14 Jan 1997

Ogaden Region

Image by Chrystian Kretowicz, 04 Dec 2010

The Ogaden is the name of a territory comprising the south-eastern portion of Somali Regional State.  The region borders Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia.  An insurgency has been waged by the separatist Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) which seeks to establish greater autonomy for the Ogaden region.  The insurgency began in 1995 and ended in 2010.  According to Ogaden Forum there is a new flag for the Ogaden Region since 03 January 2010, as well as for the ONLF.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 04 Dec 2010

Concerning the Ethiopian regional state of Somali, it's worth mentioning (although no special flags were used for it) that the Ogaden was administered, following the defeat of Italian forces in East Africa, as part of the British occupation of Somali territories, separate from Ethiopia.  Although the postal administration differentiated between the Somaliland Protectorate and the rest of the region (Ethiopian Ogaden and former Italian Somalia), the entire Somali region was under a single administration until Somalia was handed back to Italian control.  In the 1960s, newly independent Somalia tried to take the Ogaden, but was repulsed by Ethiopian forces.
Mike Oettle, 02 January 2002