As of 2008, Somalia has been without an effective central government since President Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991. Years of fighting between rival warlords and an inability to deal with famine and disease have led to the deaths of up to one million people.
Comprised of a former British protectorate and an Italian colony, Somalia was created in 1960 when the two territories merged. Since then, its development has been hindered by territorial claims on Somali-inhabited areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. In 1970 Mr Barre proclaimed a socialist state, paving the way for close relations with the USSR. In 1977, with the help of Soviet arms, Somalia attempted to seize the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, but was defeated thanks to Soviet and Cuban backing for Ethiopia, which had turned Marxist.
It is the country of the unnoticed martyrs. A number of Somali believers and foreign workers have given their life for the sake of the Kingdom. There are several hundred secret believers in the country living under a lot of pressure. In spite of the constant conflict there is hope for the return of security and stability to Somalia.
Scene of arguably Africa's worst humanitarian crisis. Lawlessness has been rife since a military government collapsed in 1991. UN estimates 1 million people have become refugees. Government forces, backed by Ethiopian troops, defeated Islamic militia who, for the second half of 2006, controlled much of the country. A transitional government emerged in 2004, backed by the UN. The self-proclaimed state of Somaliland and the region of Puntland run their own affairs. This territory, whose independence is not recognised by international bodies, has enjoyed relative stability.
Population: 10.7 million (UN, 2005)
Area: 637,657sq km (246,201 sq miles)
Major languages: Somali, Arabic, Italian, English
Major religion: Islam
Life expectancy: 45 years (men), 47 years (women)
Monetary unit: 1 Somali shilling = 100 cents
Main exports: Livestock, bananas, hides, fish
GNI per capita: n/a
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Thank You, Father, for Somalia, a country of beautiful landscapes and people. Thank You for Your church that has stayed strong in faith although that could mean persecution, torture and even death. We pray for this nation shaken by tribal and independent wars full of unspeakable horrors. We pray that Your love and mercy will cover the hopeless, the persecutors and the victims alike, and heal physical, emotional and spiritual wounds by Your incredible grace.
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