Somaliland Ministers Meet Former Puntland Security Minister In Sool
Oog, Somaliland, October 13, 2007 – Three leading Somaliland government ministers met Wednesday the former Puntland Interior & Security minister, Ahmed Abdi Habsade in the Somaliland army garrison town Oog, in Sool region (93km N of Las Anod, the region’s capitol).
The government ministers who left Hargeysa on Tuesday night to hold talks with Habsade were the Minister of Justice, Ahmed Ali Asowe, Minister of Public Works, Saeed Sulub, and the Minister of Parliament Cooperation, Abdi H Buuni.
The meeting with Habsade took place behind closed doors and lasted just over two hours. No details were given of what was discussed in the government ministers meeting with the former Puntland minister.
Unconfirmed sources in Oog told SL Times that the ex-minister has ‘put his lot’ with Somaliland and came to seek Hargeysa’s backing and assistance to expel Puntland’s armed forces from Las Anod’. The unconfirmed source added that the “government ministers pledged to aid Habsade.”
Meanwhile, SL Times sources in Las Anod have confirmed that Habsade returned to Las Anod after Wednesday’s meeting with top Somaliland ministers in Oog and is said to be ‘busy shoring up support for pro-Somaliland clan militias’ holed up inside Las Anod, Sool region. The pro-Somaliland local clan militia captured last month sections of Las Anod from Puntland’s forces stationed in the town.
Furthermore, Somaliland Minister of Defence, Abdillahi Ali Ibrahim verified on Thursday to the media that Somaliland government ministers had held a long meeting with Habsade in Oog. The defence minister declined to elaborate on what was actually said in the meeting.
Ahmed Abdi Habsade, the former top Puntland government official lost his ministerial post in August when he was dismissed by Ade Muse, president of the regional semi-autonomous government of Puntland. Ade Muse sacked Habsade due to recent upsurge in crime, tit-for-tat clan killings and social unrest in major Puntland towns.
Since his exit from the Puntland administration, Habsade has resided in his clan’s stronghold town of Las Anod and has publicly, in the local media, lambasted the ‘Puntland administration’s marginalisation of Sool clans and keeping them from having any real power in Puntland’.
During last month’s clashes in Las Anod, between local militia allied to Somaliland and Puntland which left 15 people dead and many injured, Habsade was said to have been behind the clan militia which attacked the Puntland forces. Although Habsade has categorically denied this in the local media and said he ‘had nothing to do with the clan militia responsible for last month’s attack on Puntland forces in Las Anod’, nonetheless, Wednesday’s meeting in Oog with high ranking Somaliland government and military officials is bound to tip the balance of power among the town’s clans.
Source: Somaliland Times, Oct 13, 200