31/07/08 (B458) PRESS TV – Le Gouvernement de transition somalien armerait les combattants du Puntland en vue d’une attaque contre le Somaliland / Somali government arms Puntland fighters (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Somalia’s transitional government is reportedly arming the autonomous Puntland region for an all-out war with neighboring Somaliland.

Press TV’s Somali correspondent quoted informed sources as saying that President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who recently visited the region, was arming Puntland for a battle with Somaliland.

During his visit, at least nine boats of weapons, including land mines and military equipment, entered Puntland from Yemen and some of the former Soviet Union states.

Puntland and Somaliland have been fighting each other over the Sool and Sanaag regions.

The dispute between Somaliland and Puntland stems from 1998, when Puntland formed and declared the two regions as part of its territory. Prior to that, they had been claimed by Somaliland since the 1991 Somali Civil War.

Somaliland forces captured Las Anood, the capital of the disputed region of Sool in October 2007. It is now believed that the transitional government is arming Puntland forces to get the city back.

Puntlad and Somaliland declared autonomy during the civil war, but no country has recognized them so far.

Puntland is a region in northeastern Somalia, centered on Garowe (Nugaal region), whose leaders declared it to be an autonomous state in 1998.

Somalia has been without an effective central government since warlords toppled Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. In 2006, US-backed Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia to assist the transitional government and overthrew the Union of Islamic Courts.