SOMALIA: Puntland is Deeply Concerned About Somaliland’s Growing Ties to Al Shabaab

Hon. Abdi Jamal Osman Mohamed, the Deputy Minister for Security, read the press release to local and international media
PRESS RELEASE (Puntland State of Somalia)
The Somaliland Administration has repeatedly issued hostile public statements regarding Puntland’s efforts to ensure its own security. We want to clarify that Puntland Government security forces have duties to defend the State by fighting terrorists, pirates, human traffickers and all forms of organized crime. Puntland government forces are obligated to ensure internal security and stability. Therefore, it is a big surprise that the Somaliland Administration sees this security effort as a threat.
It is noteworthy to mention that the Puntland Government has conducted a number of anti-piracy operations to free vessels carrying goods for Somaliland, and Puntland security forces incurred casualties during these operations. The series of public statements made by Somaliland officials in Hargeisa, culminating with the chairman of KULMIYE ruling party’s BBC interview on 30 Dec 2010, once again underlines the incitement, the beating of war drums, and the speaking of minerals in language that is identical to Al Shabaab spokesman Mohamed Said Atom, that Somaliland still provides a safe haven and is organizing support for the fleeing remnants of Al Shabaab terrorist group, which was recently defeated in Galgala hills area (Al Medo mountain range).
Puntland is always ready to help Somalia, to maintain good neighborly relations, to promote cooperation, and is not an enemy to anyone. Furthermore, Puntland is busy advancing grassroots reconciliation among all Somalis, as Puntland has already brought together Islamic scholars, Somali women’s conference, and most recently, the 18th Somali National Football Tournament that was held for the first time since 1987 (23 years) and concluded in Garowe on 31 December 2010. The Puntland Government is committed to improving its own security to ensure social and economic development, which is a precondition to creating an environment that permits Somali and foreign investment. Puntland encourages and indeed supports any Somali region that does the same.
It is Somaliland that attacked regions and people that do not support its separatism policy and is currently in those regions by aggression. Likewise, Somaliland is currently engaged in organizing conflict based on rebel militia culture and reviving remnants of Al Shabaab terrorist group who fled to safe havens in western part of Sanaag region. We suggest to the Somaliland Administration to concentrate on its own internal challenges and to value good neighborly relations, rather than beating war drums and creating illusions.
We call upon the international community to carefully note Somaliland’s baseless allegations and militant aggression. Once again, we emphasize that Puntland Government security forces stand for and are an integral component of the Horn of Africa regional security paradigm.
Finally, Puntland is always ready to resolve all Somali disputes and crises through peace and dialogue.
Communications Office
Puntland Presidency