“Puntland fully well knows that Somaliland is united in every way and that none can encroach on its territory without suffering the consequences,” said Minister Suleiman Yusuf Ali Koore, Somaliland minister for water resources.
The Minister was responding to, first, a number of Puntland presidential candidates who had been drumming the Sool war drums lately, vowing that if any of them was elected they would ‘turn Sool and Sanaag into battlefields’. Secondly, Puntland President, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali ‘Gass’, fulfilling a call which a leading Puntland tradition leader Boqor Burhan, recently made asking the President to designate Teleh, capital of Haysimo region, Somaliland, a region coming directly under the Puntland ministry of interior.
“Spouting out empty promises rhetorically is one thing Meeting commitments is a totally different proposition. Puntland politicians must cease misleading a hapless public,” he said.
Minister Koore stated that Somaliland was sufficiently ready to meet any contingency including the kind of military engagements the candidates were promoting.
“Neither Sool nor Taleh – or any other place – belongs to Puntland,” he said. “These areas are of Somaliland by land and by people. Puntland must keep its dreams to itself and not introduce its war drums to areas that can do without them”.
In Puntland, unlike the one-man, one-vote elections of Somaliland, Presidential ‘elections’ are decided by a 66-member parliament seated in Garowe. Even though, one may understandably wonder why all the fuss about said elections, the candidates, including the incumbent president, have for the first time in over 27 years violated the status quo on observing boundaries by campaigning in places like Badhan and Dhahar of Eastern Sanaag actively accompanied by contingents of armed militias they supported.
Puntland is a federal state of Somalia. Somaliland is an independent nation which has, in 1991, restored the independence it sacrificed for a ‘Greater Somalia’ in 1960, uniting with Italian Somalia in order to welcome Djibouti, NFD (Kenya) and Haud/Reserve Area and Ogadenia to the fold when each, respectively, claimed its freedom. The unity did not work ending in a prolonged, bloody conflict that claimed tens of thousands of lives culminating in the May 1991 proclamation following the successful deposal of the military dictator. Nor did the rest of the ‘Somali territories’ follow the Somaliland/Somalia lead into the prophesied ‘Greater Somalia’ grand plan.