Somali kidnappers release two journalists

British reporter Colin Freeman of The Sunday Telegraph (R) and Spanish freelance photographer Jose Cendon Somali abductors have released two foreign...

Ethiopia begins withdrawal from Somalia

Ethiopia has started pulling its troops out of Somalia, where they have been helping the Western-backed government fight an Islamist insurgency for...

Reporter killed in Somali shootout

A reporter for Somalia's Shabelle Radio was shot and killed Thursday during a gun battle south of Mogadishu, the network reported.Hassan Mayow Hassan...

An innovative approach to prevent child malnutrition in Somalia

UNICEF has introduced an emergency food supplement to prevent malnutrition in over 100,000 of the most vulnerable children in Somalia. ‘Plumpy’Doz’,...

SOMALIA: Women in Puntland demand greater role in government

NAIROBI Wednesday, December 03, 2008 (IRIN) - Women in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland, north-eastern Somalia, are calling for...

SOMALIA: “Highest levels of malnutrition in the world”

NAIROBI Friday, December 05, 2008 (IRIN) - “Somalia has the highest levels of malnutrition in the world”, with up to 300,000 children acutely...

National name: Soomaaliya


Capital: Mogadishu
Major Towns: Mogadishu, Baidoa, Beledweyne, Garoowe, Berbera
Location (geographical coordinates/latitude and longitude): Mogadishu: 2°02'N, 45°21'E
Time Zone: EAT (UTC+3)
Size (Land and Sea): 637,661 km²; Water: 1.6%
Borders with Djibouti, Kenya, the Gulf of Aden with Yemen, the Indian Ocean and Ethiopia
Elevation extremes: Lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m, highest point: Shimbiris 2,450 m 

Head of State: President: Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed (2004); Prime Minister: Nur Hassan Hussein (2007)
Form of Government: Transitional Federal Government
Independancy (from the UK and Italy): July 1, 1960
Currency: Somali Shilling

Main Industries: a few light industries, including sugar refining, textiles, wireless communication.
Natural resources: uranium and largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt, natural gas, likely oil reserves
Agriculture: bananas, sorghum, corn, coconuts, rice, sugarcane, mangoes, sesame seeds, beans; cattle, sheep, goats; fish
Population and People  

Population:  9,118,773 (2007 est.); 10,700,000 (2003); 7,114,431 (1987)
Population density per sq mi: 38
Growth rate: 2.8% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 44.6 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 6.68 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 113.1/1000
Religion: almost entirely Sunni Muslims; Christianity's influence was abolished in the 1970s
Languages: Somali (majority), others (Arab, Af-Maay, Swahili)
Ethnic groups / Tribes: Somali 85%, Bantu and other non-Somali 15% (including Arabs 30,000)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 44.4% (male 2,031,682/female 2,019,629); 15-64 years: 53% (male 2,423,602/female 2,410,126); 65 years and over: 2.6% (male 97,932/female 135,802) (2007 est.) 
Life expectancy: 48.8
Literacy: Total population: 37.8%; male: 49.7%, female: 25.8% (2001 est.)