The history of Djibouti is recorded in poetry, songs, and folklore of its nomadic people and goes back thousands of years to a time when Djiboutians traded hides and skins for the perfumes and spices of ancient Egypt, India, and China. Through close contacts with the Arabian peninsula for more than 1,000 years, the Somali and Afar ethnic groups in this region became among the first on the African continent to adopt Islam.
The Djibouti Francolin, Francolinus ochropectus, is one of over forty species of francolins, a group of birds in the Phasianidae family. It is critically endangered and found only in Djibouti. This species is grayish-brown overall with white stripes and streaks on its underparts which become finer towards the upperparts. It has black markings on the head and a gray crown and has a short tail. It is 35 cm (1.14 ft) in length, and weighs 940 g (33.5 oz).
Its natural habitat is high altitude subtropical or tropical dry forests composed primarily of African juniper. However, the juniper forests preferred by the francolin are dying, so it may be found in other habitats, such as box-tree forests. This bird is only known from two locations in Djibouti, one of which is largely unsurveyed. It can be found in small groups and is extremely shy. It is known to feed on berries, seeds, and termites, and it breeds between December and February. It is considered a critically endangered species because it underwent a 90% population decline in twenty years. The degrading of its juniper habitat through man-made disturbances, such as overgrazing, is a major threat to the francolin's survival. Ongoing conservation work includes the restoration of some juniper forest, and surveys to obtain accurate population counts and to raise awareness. (Read more...)
Daoud is a member of the Afar ethnic group. FRUD, fighting on behalf of Afar interests, began a rebellion against the Issa-dominated government in 1991. Daoud led the moderate faction of FRUD in signing a peace agreement with the government in December 1994. As a result of the agreement, he joined the government (together with one other FRUD member, Secretary-General Ougouré Kiflé Ahmed) as Minister of Public Health and Social Affairs on 8 June 1995. Daoud's faction of FRUD also allied with the governing People's Rally for Progress (RPP). On 15–16 April 1997, FRUD held its First Congress; Daoud, who was already FRUD President, remained in that position at the congress. Daoud was elected to the National Assembly in the December 1997 parliamentary election as the first candidate on the joint candidate list of the RPP and FRUD for Tadjourah Region.