Puntland clashes with Somaliland

Forces from the separatist Somali state of Somaliland and neighboring autonomous Puntland clashed April 9 over a disputed strip of land 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 pick-up trucks mounted with weapons, the Somali version of a tank. At least one fighter was reported killed.

Both Somaliland and Puntland have enjoyed relative peace, while the rest of Somalia to the south has been mired in chaos since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. Somaliland, formerly the colony of British Somaliland, claims independence. Puntland has not formally seceded, but is efectively autonomous. The two have fought for years over the Sool and Sanag regions, partially claimed by Puntland on an ethnic basis. Somaliland says they are part of its territory under the colonial border Britain left. (Reuters, April 9)

Meanwhile, military authorities in Ethiopia are denying that hundreds more Ethiopian troops have been flown to Somalia in recent days. (AlJazeera, April 6)

See our last posts on Somalia, Puntland, Somaliland and the Horn of Africa.