BUHODLE, Somalia Feb 8, 2012 (Garowe Online) – The President of Somalia’s Puntland government has sent a strong warning to Somaliland forces after an attack on Buhodle city left dozens dead, Radio Garowe reports.
Local sources and witnesses report that Somaliland forces launched an attack on Buhodle on Tuesday, after a week of quietness in the front line between Somaliland forces and clan militia based in Buhodle.
At least 18 wounded persons mostly fighters and 3 dead persons were brought to Buhodle health centers, locals added.
There was no casualty figures on the Somaliland side, but locals stated that Buhodle clan militia seized 3 armed trucks from Somaliland troops, who retreated from the front line. Around midday Tuesday, Somaliland forces had gained reinforcement from nearby military camps and the fighting had subsided by early afternoon hours.
It was Somaliland’s second attack on Buhodle since January 2012, when over 80 Somaliland soldiers were killed in day-long battles.
Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole, addressing the launching of Puntland’s constitution in the state capital Garowe, told the crowd that Somaliland’s continued aggressions in Buhodle area will not be tolerated.
|President of Puntland Dr.Abdirahman Farole|
“We condemn Somaliland’s aggression on Buhodle and we demand Somaliland immediately withdraw from Las Anod town,” said President Farole, adding: “We warn that if Somaliland continues its violent aggressions against Buhodle, that a new civil war might erupt in northern Somalia.”
President Farole continued, saying: “It is unfortunate that an administration which claims to support peace [Somaliland] is now attacking peaceful areas.
Speaking about Khatumo political group, Puntland’s leader said that “politicians who failed in Somali politics should not seek positions with the blood of civilians.”
Continuing, he said: “No one should listen to failed politicians who want to create instability. Those politicians who were there when fighting erupted in Buhodle in January and then those same failed politicians fled to Ethiopia.”
Khatumo is a self-declared “state” in Somalia, following the conclusion of the Taleh conference attended by politicians and elders from the Dhulbahante clan that resides in Las Anod and Buhodle areas. Somaliland and Puntland claim ownership over Sool and Sanaag regions, home to Harti communities who share kinship with Puntland clans.
Somaliland and Puntland regions have enjoyed relative stability since the 1990s, but the threat of instability has lingered over the region since Somaliland forces militarily seized control of Las Anod in October 2007.