Somalia’s autonomous state of Puntland has indirectly accused the neighboring breakaway region of Somaliland of backing al-Shabaab militants hiding in the Galgala mountain ranges, Horseed Media reports.
Speaking after Eid al-Fitr prayers in the state’s capital of Garowe to locals on Sunday, President Abdiweli Gaas hit out at the self-declared republic of using the insurgents to wage instability in Puntland.
‘’Puntland wants to live peacefully with all its neighbors, but unfortunately one of our neighbors are spending their time on supporting al-Shabaab,’’ he said. ‘’But it will backfire them.’’
Puntland President called on Somalis to unite and fight against ‘’the enemies of peace’’.
Although President Gaas did not directly refer his statement to Somaliland, Puntland has long accused the breakaway region of financing, arming and providing safe havens for al-Shabaab militants in Galgala mountain ranges, where its forces have been fighting with the insurgents since 2010. Somaliland denies such involvement with al-Shabaab.
The latest accusation comes weeks after a bloody pre-dawn attack launched by the al-Qaeda-linked militant group on one of the Puntland forces bases near the Galgala mountains, left over 40 soldiers dead. The militants also slaughtered over 20 civilians in a nearby Village.
Galgala mountains, straddling the porous border between the autonomous state of Puntland and self-declared independent Somaliland, is honeycombed with caves and difficult to access.