Puntland accuses Djibouti of arming Somaliland
NAIROBI, 22 January
(IRIN) – The authorities in the self-declared autonomous
region of Puntland have accused the Republic of Djibouti of arming the
neighbouring self-declared republic of Somaliland to enable the latter to
attack and destabilise Puntland.
Abdullahi Yusuf, the president
of Puntland, told a news conference in the
Kenyan capital, Nairobi, that Djibouti was not only arming Somaliland but
also encouraging it to attack Puntland to create instability in the region.
Djibouti, along with Ethiopia
and Kenya, is a member of the regional
Inter-Governmental Authority on Development facilitation committee, which
steering the Somali peace talks being held in Nairobi.
The Djibouti government,
however, dismissed the charges "as baseless and
Foreign Minister Ali Abdi
Farah, who is also in Nairobi for the peace talks,
told IRIN: "Djibouti has always supported efforts to resolve Somali disputes
peacefully. We will never be involved in any action that will lead to the
shedding of Somali blood, and to accuse it of instigating conflict is
nonsense." Farah instead urged Yusuf to withdraw his forces from Las
the capital of Sool Region. "We want him to return to the status quo
Before last month’s occupation
of the town by Puntland forces,
representatives of both Somaliland and Puntland were present in Las Anod.
Tension between the two sides has risen ever since.
Officials from Somaliland
have denied receiving support from Djibouti.
Abdillahi Muhammad Du’ale, the information minister, told IRIN that it was
"regrettable and unfair to involve our neighbours in this. Djibouti has
always supported the stability of the region," he said.
Sool and Sanaag regions
fall within the borders of pre-independence British
Somaliland, but most of the clans there are associated with Puntland. These
include the Warsangeli and the Dhulbahante, which, along with the
Majerteen – the main clan in Puntland – form the Harti sub-clan of the
Meanwhile, a local journalist
in Hargeysa, the Somaliland capital, told IRIN
that heavily armed Somaliland troops had been moving towards the disputed
area of Las Anod to reinforce forces already there.
"Unless an outside
force intervenes, it is just a matter of time before the
two forces [Somaliland/Puntland] clash," he said.
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