Somaliland and Puntland are in new row following the attack on a convoy of top Somaliland government officials by suspected Puntland militia on Wednesday.
According to a statement from Somaliland government, suspected militia from Puntland attacked a convoy of Somaliland officials, including the Governor of Badhan, as it passed through the Hadaftimo District of the Sanaag Region.
“The Government of Republic of Somaliland expresses its deep alarm and regret over the flagrant and vicious attack by Puntland Militia on a convoy of Somaliland officials, including the Governor of Badhan, as it passed through the Hadaftimo District of the Sanaag region,” the statement from the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign affairs stated.
It added: “Such actions represent a dangerous and regressive step in previously improving relations between Somaliland and Somalia’s regional administration of Puntland, following several goodwill gestures, including the recent transfer of war prisoners.”
“The Somaliland Government calls on its neighbour, Somalia, along with its regional administration of Puntland, to respect the four-point agreement brokered by the United Nations and IGAD, which Somaliland continues to comply with to this day.”
In the agreements, the parties were urged to refrain from acts of provocation, immediate cessation of hostilities and the implementation of ceasefire arrangements, the establishment of communication channels between the military commanders on the ground and the allowance of full access to deliver humanitarian assistance to the affected civilian population and releasing of prisoners as a confidence building measure.
But Somaliland government now claims the attack on its officials is a clear manifestation that Somalia and its regions have dishonoured the agreements.
“With today’s actions, Somaliland’s counterpart in the agreement – the various authorities of Somalia have shown a disregard for efforts to achieve lasting peace and stability in the region.”
“The act further demonstrates the lack of respect by Somalia and its regional administrations over the sanctity of colonial borders, which forms the basis for the principles of territorial integrity and sovereignty enshrined in the OAU (now AU) Resolution of 1964,” Somaliland government stated.
“In the context of international law, Sool and Sanaag are integral parts of Somaliland, falling within the international boundaries set in 1894 through colonial treaty.”
Somaliland stated its government officials reserve the right to travel and perform their duties within such territories without being subject to interference or aggression by any foreign actor, including the Somalia Government.
Somaliland and Puntland have since 1998 vied for control of the neck of land stretching from the Gulf of Aden to Ethiopia’s border with fears the tension may escalate into open war.
The standoff over Sool and Sanaag areas, led to deadly clashes since the start of 2018 after both sides massed soldiers in the contested areas.