Apr 11, 2007

Somaliland: Puntland Clash over Disputed Turf

One person killed during fights between Somaliland and Puntland at the Sanag region, after the attack in the town of Dahar.

Below is an article published by Reuters Africa:

Forces from the breakaway Somali republic of Somaliland and neighbouring semi-autonomous Puntland clashed on Monday over a disputed strip of desert that has been the source of sporadic violence for years.

One person was killed and three others wounded during fighting between Somaliland and Puntland security forces along their shared border in the Sanag region.

"Puntland forces attacked the town of Dahar around 8:00 this morning," Somaliland Information Minister Ahmed Hagi Dahir said in a statement. "The attacking forces were supported by 17 technicals and 3 big trucks."

Technicals are pickup trucks mounted with heavy weapons, the Somali version of a tank.

Both Somaliland and Puntland are in the north of the Horn of Africa nation and have enjoyed relative peace, while the south of the country has been mired in anarchy since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Somaliland, formerly the colony of British Somaliland, claims independence as a sovereign nation. Despite having held democratic elections and maintaining relative security, it has no international recognition.

Puntland remains part of greater Somalia, but generally administers its own affairs through its own military and government institutions.

The two have fought for years over the Sool and Sanag regions, part of which Puntland claim on an ethnic basis while Somaliland says they are part of its territory under the colonial border Britain left.