By ABDULKADIR KHALIF
The East African
The duel between Somaliland and Puntland seems to be far from ending, with each asserting their ownership of the disputed Sool in the latest altercation.
Somaliland Information minister Abdurahman Abdullahi Guri-Barwaqo has reacted strongly to Puntland's claim to the disputed region.
Briefing the Press in Hargeisa, about 1,600km northwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu, Mr Guri-Barwaqo stated that Puntland's claim was a breach of Somaliland’s sovereignty.
The president of Puntland, Dr Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gas, on Saturday stated that Sool was part of his territory.
Somaliland, which unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, claims the former British Somaliland Protectorate, which joined with the former Italian Somalia to form the Republic of Somalia on July 1, 1960.
President Gas, while addressing the semi-autonomous authority’s parliament in Garowe town, 1,000km northeast of Mogadishu, reiterated that Sool and Sanag were part and parcel of Puntland.
He justified his statement insisting that the clans in the two regions were closely related to the others the in Puntland.
“There is no such a thing as Somaliland borders. The inhabitants of Sool and Sanag regions belong to Puntland,” said President Gas.
He said further that the British left the region a long time ago and their administrative units could not be allowed to divide the local clans.
The Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi, Dr Gas asserted, should wake up to the reality on the ground.
“I want to tell Muse Bihi that his claims that Las Anod, Hudun and Taleh (in Sool and Sanag regions) were inherited from the British colonialists were wrong,” President Gas stated.
“I tell him that Las Anod is not London, Hudun is not Birmingham and Taleh is not Cardiff.”
However Mr Guri-Barwaqo retorted that in this age and time, people respected borders, not clan affiliations.
Somaliland in the northwest, declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, but has since failed to win international recognition.
Puntland was established as a semi-autonomous authority in 1998, but remains a member state of the Mogadishu-based federal government of Somalia.
The two authorities bitterly dispute the ownership of Sool and Sanag in northern Somalia and their two armies have used all sorts of weapons since early May in repeated confrontations at Tukaraq District, about 1,100km northwest of Mogadishu.
Hundreds of people are assumed to have died from both sides, while thousands of the local inhabitants have fled the area fearing for their lives.