Somaliland Administration to “deploy troops at Boocame”

Garowe (PP News Desk) — Four years after the Tukaraq conflict forced Puntland to withdraw from Sool, Somaliland is planning to deploy local militias at Boocame and Saaxmaygaag, according to a senior Puntland politician.

Writing for Puntland Post anonymously, the politician argues politicians and traditional leaders from Sool have lobbied Somaliland Administration to deploy troops at Boocame and Saaxmaygaag. Last year, militias clashed over Saaxmeygaag communal land, a serious incident “over which Somaliland President Muuse Bihi commented”. He accused Puntland of sending militias to attack South Sool.

“It will prove difficult for Puntland to fight militias deployed at areas they traditionally live, and this underscores the failure of the [Somali] federal system. If clans that formed Puntland [in 1998] cannot coexist peacefully, Puntland should not be claiming that the federal system is far better than a centralized system in Mogadishu. The fate of the federal system will be decided in the disputed territories” writes the politician, whose view that Puntland government has allowed Somaliland Administration to have the trump card on the federal system is shared by many people in Puntland.

“Puntland has been dependent on clan militias predominantly from an incumbent President’s subclan. That is why President Abdiweli mobilized clan militias when Somaliland Administration forces captured Tukaraq” argues the politician to highlight the tendency of Puntland to rely on competing clan militias. The politician faulted Puntland for creating the first clan-based intelligence force when there had not been terrorists or extremist forces in the Northeast. “In 2006 Mogadishu warlords followed in the footsteps Puntland intelligence service and formed the alliance for counterterrorism” the politician writes.

“The International Community views the territorial dispute as one triggered by power struggles within Puntland. That is why Puntland accusations against Somaliland does not often hold water. The Federal Government is biased towards Somaliland because it takes the view of the International Community. Puntland complacency is partly to blame for the dire political situation” said a political analyst in Garowe.