According to Puntland media outlets, both the Minister for Interior, Abdullahi Ali Hersi, and the official government Spokesperson, Abdullahi Quranjecel, today, ordered students and residents originally hailing from the Somalia Federal State but currently living in Somaliland to immediately go back to Puntland.
The Puntland officials, heating up an already simmering situation between the Somalia federal state and the Republic of Somaliland told their subjects that their lives was in danger – a fact that mosr Somalilanders were not aware of.
“Intelligence reaching us reveal that the Somaliland authorities planned retaliatory steps against Puntland-born residents and students,” Mr. Quranjecel asserted.
The call, it is said, follows a reference Somaliland opposition leader, Faisal Ali Warabe, made on the hundreds of students currently studying in Somaliland to highlight that ethnic affinities do not work in real life. The leader was criticizing Puntland leaders for basing their territorial claims on large regions of Somaliland on a purely ethnic affiliation basis.
The two sides engaged in military confrontation on several occasions in the Sool, Somaliland, area from January 2018 following a rumored visit of the Somalia Federal President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, on Tukkaraq – some 70-plus kilometres on the Somaliland side of the borders both Somalia and Somaliland inherited from, respectively, the Italian and British colonial masters at time of independence in 1960.
The United Nations and the United States have, of recent, been on shuttle diplomacy in an attempt to douse down the escalating hostilities between the two sides.
The President of the Republic of Somaliland, Musa Bihi Abdi, has repeatedly called for dialogue the absence of which he said Puntland leaves them no option but to defend Somaliland from what he called “naked, blind aggression”.
Women driving speaker-mounted vehicles have been openly driving around GRowe, the capital seat of Puntland, shouting war, drumming up ethnic-based support for what they called “colonized regions”.
In contrast, responding to the diplomatic shuttle of the UN and the US, Abdihakim Ammey, the Vice President of the Puntland State, vowed that neither he nor his troops will rest until they reached Oog district near Burao of Togdheer. His point was that he recognized only tribal boundaries and nothing more.
The VP was just back from a blitz tour he made to his clan areas inside Somaliland to exhort clansmen of fighters to bolster his militias and for vehicles and material support.
“Where is Sanaag? Where is Sool? Where is Las Anod?” They kept shouting from the blaring speakers.
On the contrary, Somaliland stands behind its state army and does not encourage the kind of clan-based hue and cry taking momentum in Puntland. Neither is there any animosity against non-Somalilanders in Somaliland cities.
If not checked, only more bloodshed and a protracted hostility between the de facto Republic of Somaliland and Somalia cannot be ruled out.