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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Somalia: Puntland bans TFG officials, dispute escalates

A political dispute between Somalia's weak Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the state government of Puntland in northern Somalia escalated Saturday after Puntland banned TFG officials from visiting the peaceful state, Radio Garowe reports.
Puntland's deputy interior minister, Mr. Ali "Gaab" Yusuf, told reporters in the Puntland capital of Garowe that the Council of Ministers has voted in favor of banning TFG officials from Puntland.
"We have informed all government departments including airports that TFG officials cannot set foot inside Puntland," Minister Ali Gaab said.
The press statement comes a week after Puntland's government declared that it had stopped cooperation with the TFG, which is battling an insurgency in Mogadishu with the support of African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM).
Puntland, located in northeastern Somalia, has been the TFG's main domestic backer since the latter was established in 2004 at the conclusion of a two-year peace process in Kenya.
TFG officials have not responded to Puntland's latest move. But Prime Minister Mohamed Ali Farmajo said during an interview that the people of Puntland "do not share" the Puntland government's views on the TFG.
Prime Minster Farmajo's comments sparked protests across Puntland's major towns, including Bossaso, Qardo, Garowe and Galkayo. Protestors condemned the TFG Prime Minister's comments and supported the Puntland government’s position.
Puntland President Abdirahman Farole returned home Friday from a two-day working trip to Djibouti, where he held meetings with international community representatives, including the UN Special Envoy to Somalia, Amb. Augustine Mahiga.

Source: Garowe Online
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