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Date: A.D. 2000

Obverse: Elephant - XXI CENTURY 2000 FOOD SECURITY FAO

Reverse: Crest flanked by cats - REPUBLIC OF SOMALIA 5 SHILLINGS

Because of the lack of government, money is not a luxury most have in Somalia and many simply don't use it or use the sparsely produced paper currency. Coins are not in regular circulation in Somalia. This Somali Shilling (Animal series FAO base) is not an official Somali coin and is not in circulation in Somalia. It is only minted as a low value commemorative coin. Because of such instability and no real central government Somalia has only erratically minted official coins in sparse amounts. the use of coins is rare and those who use money at all use the 500 or 1000 shilling note.

Somalia is a turbulent nation on the horn of Africa's North East coast. Previously ruled by an unstable alliance of warlords it has recently been subject to a transition in government due to an Islamic revolution.

A former protectorate of Britain it gained its independence in 1960. After its first President Abdirishid Ali Shermarke was killed by assassins, the country came under a military rule with General Mohamed Siad Barre as the new president. Surprisingly he implemented beneficial public works and literacy programs. This might have been due to Barres dispute with Russia and his subsequent pact with the US and the aid (100 million a year) this brought him.

Soon assassinations and disputes erupted fracturing the nation into sections based on tribal affiliations. After a lengthy 22 year Presidency Barre was removed from power after an attempted assassination of a rival which brought about civil war. Barre would seek protection from his enemies with his son in the south until General Aidid forced him into exile in Nigeria where he soon died of a heart attack at the age of 76.

The loss of Barre left a vacuum of power destabilizing the country and throwing it into a lengthy civil war and anarchy with no central authority. After many bloody conflicts, a populous starving and desperate, and many attempts by the UN to stabilize and bring peace, an uneasy confederation of warlords known as the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism or "ARPCT" took power in Somalia with general Aidid holding the most power. Unfortunately this meant little relief to the suffering masses and little stability.

In 2006 the capital of Mogadishu was over run by the ICU, a loose confederation of Islamic groups, who removed the warlords by force and took control of Mogadishu and the country with the warlords in defeat.

On December 24, 2006 Ethiopia launched attacks on the ICU that included air strikes and a land invasion and after days of heavy fighting they routed the Islamic fighters and took control of Mogadishu. Ethiopian and Somali warlord forces fighting for the new provisional government drove ICU fighters south eventually dispersing the force with some help from the US. Somalia is now led by a new transitional government that controls much of the country led by president Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi.