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Monday, February 12, 2018

Somaliland soldiers defect to Puntland - BBC reports

Farah Yussuf - BBC Monitoring Nairobi
More than 160 soldiers have defected from the self-declared republic of Somaliland to Puntland, a semi-autonomous region in north-east Somalia, a local radio station has reported.

Puntland officials paraded the soldiers who claimed they defected because of constant mistreatment by Somaliland authorities, privately-owned Somali station Radio Risala said.
“The forces you see here today are the same forces that were paraded to the media in Arraweyn in June 2007 as they joined the Somaliland army. Today, February 2018, we are joining the Puntland state of Somalia. We have withdrawn our allegiance from Somaliland. We have now joined Puntland,” the station quoted one of the soldiers’ as saying.

There has been no independent or official confirmation of the defections.

A Somali security officer, pictured in 2016, stands guard on Somaliland's coast
Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 but has not received international recognition as a sovereign state.
It is locked in a territorial dispute with Puntland over the border regions of Sool and Sanaag which are claimed by both sides.

Last month, Somaliland’s military took control of Tukaraq village in Sool region following heavy fighting with Puntland forces. The fighting took place as Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” visited Puntland.

BBC Live 
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