Hundreds of Somalis gathered on Wednesday in central Mogadishu to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the independence of Somalia.
MOGADISHU, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of Somalis gathered on Wednesday in central Mogadishu to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the independence of Somalia.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who briefly appeared at the event which coincided with the holy of Ramadhan, congratulated Somali people for being strong despite challenges.
"I congratulate the Somali people because of this great day, and it's one of the most significant moments in Somalia's history, " Mohamud told participants.
He also commended the role of women, saying they sacrifices for the country's progress.
Faizo Mumin, one of the participants, told Xinhua that she was very happy to participate in the Independence Day celebrations. "I came here to celebrate and express my joy, this is a great day for Somalis," she said.
Southern regions of Somalia got its independence from Italian colonialism on July 1, 1960.
Meanwhile, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary- General for Somalia (SRSG) Nicholas Kay lauded efforts the Somali people are making to overcome over two decades of instability as well as the progress achieved in the ongoing peace building and state-building processes.
"We applaud the people of Somalia in their efforts to rebuild a more stable Somalia," Kay said in a statement issued to coincide with the celebrations.
He lauded strides taken in the state formation process, constitutional reforms and the establishment of the essential legislative framework with a view to achieving Somalia's Vision 2016.
Kay welcomed the progress in the state formation process throughout the regions, including the establishment of the Interim Jubba Administration (IJA), the Interim South West Administration (ISWA) and the Galmudug Regional Administration, in addition to institution-building in Puntland.
While noting the progress made on enacting key legislation to advance Vision 2016, the UN envoy urged urgency on completion of the remaining key laws and institutions to be formed, such as the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) and Boundaries and Federation Commission (BFC).
He also praised the bravery and sacrifices of the Somali National Army (SNA), Somali Police Force (SPF) and the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) in combating violent extremism to restore safety and security in the country.
In his message, the AU special envoy, Maman Sidikou noted that this was a definitive year for Somalia, because it was on the homestretch to Vision 2016 and lauded the people of Somalia for charting a new course for the country.
"Somalia is on the edge of a new dawn and all the progress made would not have been possible without the resilience of the Somali people," Sidikou said.
"As the country commemorates Independence Day, I urge all Somalis to take stock of how far they have come and celebrate what unifies them as a country," the AU envoy added.