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The paintings, some 50 kilometers from Hargeisa, capital of Somaliland, are considered among the oldest and best-preserved rock art sites in Africa but are protected only by a few guards who ask visitors not to touch the paintings.The "lack of recognition" of the country blocks the cave's protection, said Xavier Gutherz, the former head of the French archaeology team that discovered the site in 2002 .Amazed by the remarkable condition of the paintings as well as their previously unknown style, the archaeologist asked for the cave's listing as a UNESCO world heritage site. Musa Abdi Jama, one of the guardians of the site, sees in the ancient site of Laas Geel the hope of a new nation to be, flying the flag for the cultural identity and uniqueness of Somaliland.
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