Djibouti. At least 30 people in the capital Djibouti were killed when the Ambouli River flooded its boards after heavy rains in mid-April. According to CountryAAH, the total population in Djibouti is 988,011 people in 2020. Around 4,000 people were forced to flee their homes in connection with the floods.
In 1862, the Tadjoura Sultanate on the Somali coast sold the port of Obock to the French for 52,000 francs. Thirty-six years later, the Tadjoura Sultanate no longer existed, and Djibouti, by the bay of the same name, became the capital of a French colony, called the Somali Coast, later Afar and Issa.
The French tightened security measures and the enclave was transformed into a veritable concentration camp, surrounded by electric fences and in the presence of more than 20,000 soldiers.
The reunification of Somalia, and its independence, inspired the flourishing of anti-colonialist movements, such as the Somali Liberation Movement or the African Independence League, which at the same time waged armed struggles and pursued legal politics.
The escalation of the resistance struggle in the 1970s forced Governor Ali Aref to resign. France held a referendum on May 8, 1977, with 85% of the population voting for independence. The supreme leader of the Independence League, Hassan Gouled Aptidon, became the first president of the new republic.
Gouled made great efforts to overcome the traditional ethnic divisions and formed a multi-ethnic government with several Afar ministers. Although French was retained as the official language, Djibouti was admitted as a member of the Arab League, which had made major contributions to the country’s economic reconstruction.
The new nation, originally an artificial invention created for strategic reasons, relied heavily on its port, which was the primary source of revenue as Ethiopia channeled most of its foreign trade.
Djibouti’s two neighbors, Somalia and Ethiopia, had territorial claims in the area. Ethiopia’s interest was first and foremost geopolitical: if the Eritrean nationalists achieved independence, Ethiopia would lose its access to the sea. If it was not possible to reach an agreement with Eritrea to use their ports, Djibouti would be the only alternative. For Somalia, it was about maintaining a historic claim that was in line with the desire for a reunited Somalia.