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Just What Is Happening With UKIP And Somaliland?

MEP James Carver told BuzzFeed News: "I love the continent. I found it spiritually moving. I got the vibe of Africa."

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Last month, a video clip from 2015 of UKIP Commonwealth spokesperson James Carver speaking about Somaliland started getting reshared online.

Does Somaliland deserve re-recognition?

In the video, the MEP talks about the re-recognition of Somaliland. The area, which is situated in northern Somalia, was a British protectorate and used to be referred to as British Somaliland.

While it isn't internationally recognised, Somaliland has a political system, its own currency, and marked its own self-declared independence 25 years ago.

In Hargeisa, the capital city, there are Commonwealth burials from the first and second world wars.

The video's re-emergence led to some confusion.

But it also generated support for UKIP from Somalis.

It turns out a lot of people in the region are big UKIP fans because of this.

UKIP Leader @Nigel_Farage Resigns. Farage was a big supporter of the Somaliland Case. It was my hope that one day he would become UK PM.

Carver's support for an area of Africa also stirred up negative comments on white power forums, while some Somalis are sceptical of UKIP.

UKIP appears to have been courting Somalis for some time. In 2015, Carver told the Somaliland Mission that it was extraordinary the UK had not been lobbying for Somaliland's admittance to the Commonwealth.

He added: "In recent years we have supported the admission of countries such as Mozambique which have no historic links to Britain, but Somaliland, a former protectorate, is left in the cold. This must change."
REUTERS/Olivia Harris

He added: "In recent years we have supported the admission of countries such as Mozambique which have no historic links to Britain, but Somaliland, a former protectorate, is left in the cold. This must change."

And on Somaliland's 24th independence day, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage also voiced his support.

Somaliland has been beacon of peace in the Horn of Africa for past 24 years. About time UK and international community recognised Somaliland

Carver told BuzzFeed News his support for Somaliland was not cynical: "I’m not supporting Somaliland to get votes. Not for people to say 'James Carver is a nice bloke.'"

Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

He said he had a lot of support from the Somali diaspora in the UK: "I get some lovely letters from all over the country – [they are] delighted and grateful.

"I really, really believe [Somaliland's independence] will make the Horn of Africa a better place," he continued, saying that it would only require the support of one UN member to recognise the area.

Carver said he visited the area for the first time last October, and planned on returning in the future.

My heartfelt thanks for the warm welcome that I received in beautiful #Somaliland, during my five day visit. #re-re… https://t.co/WBpwoNWTjX

Interesting to hear that @UKIP MEP @JamesJimCarver visits Somaliland raising the profile of #AfricaBestKeptSecret🎉 https://t.co/IiitdfOMOK

During his stay in Somaliland Carver said he also met politicians from different parties.

@JamesJimCarver a UKIP mmbr of @Europarl_EN &strong supporter f Somaliland. I ask our diaspora in UK to #SupportUKIP

Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Carver said: "I love the continent. I found it spiritually moving. I got the vibe of Africa."

"I will be speaking about Somaliland at the general election," Carver said, calling on all British parties to do the same.

Ikran is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Ikran Dahir at ikran.dahir@buzzfeed.com.

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