By: Yusuf M Hasan
ERIGAVO (Somalilandsun) – The territorial expansion sickness permeating from Puntland has taken a politicized dimension that has seen several attempts by the Garowe administration to have Puntland elections held in parts of eastern Sanaag region.
According to Colonel Yasin Osman Salah ‘Gurei’ six ballot boxes from the Somalia administrative region of Puntland have been confiscated in two eastern districts of Sanaag region.
“The Somaliland army has taken possession of six ballot boxes brought secretly to Badan and Las qoray towns by agents of Garowe based election body” informed Col Gurei who is the commander of the army’s 3rd Brigade based in Badan town.
At a press conference in Erigavo, the Sanaag regional capital Colonel Gurei said that the fast action by combined units from army and police was as a result of extra vigilance by both regional security forces and area residents.
“Thanks to the vigilance of our citizens and security forces at were able to intercept at Eelbu village six ballot boxes and election officials from Puntland” Said Col Gurei
The army commander revealed that subsequent intelligence indicate that the boxes were meant for Badan and Las qoray towns where Puntland authorities are intent on holding, clandestinely, their 15th July local council elections.
While thanking area residents and security forces based in the east of Sanaag the army commander warn Puntland authorities against further clandestine or overt attempts to involve areas under the jurisdiction of Somaliland in the Garowe organized elections.
Said he, “Somaliland has conducted several elections without ever having tried to involve areas in Puntland because of respect for territorial boundaries”
As he asked Puntland authorities to reciprocate the Somaliland gesture of respect for international boundaries Col Gurei also warned that further infringements from Garowe might result in dire consequences.
On the last week of June a group of political agitators from Garowe intent on holding a political rally in Badan were from the town by an army unit under the personal command of Colonel Yasin Osman Salah ‘Gurei’.
The Puntland team that arrived late on the evening of 24th June were forcefully evicted from the hotel they had booked for lodgings and rally venue by the Somaliland Army unit whose headquarter is in Badan town of Sanaag region.
The Somalia administrative region of Puntland which is holding its first ever elections on the 15th of this month has over the years claimed jurisdictional authority over a number of eastern Sanaag region districts among them Badan and Lasqorey.
Although the small pockets of support to the Puntland designs within local communities was ended mid last year following broad based area leaders and citizens meetings the Puntland authorities have not given up thus remain determined to make a political presence during the elections as a sign of jurisdictional authority.
While these territorial claims from Puntland Residents of East Sanaag have decried continued insecurity in the area precipitated by Garowe based authorities.
A declaration that ensued from a clan meeting, informed Puntland that East Sanaag residents is not only geographically situated within the boundaries of Somaliland but owe their allegiance to the government in Hargeisa.
“The Garowe administration should stop laying claim to our clan whose allegiance and geographical location is in the Republic of Somaliland- Chief Mohamed Said Abdi following a clan meeting in February.
At the clan meeting held in the Hagaftimo town the residents of Badan District in february 2012 asked Puntland to keep away thus cease arming and sending militias to destabilize security in East Sanaag region districts.
According to Chief Mohamed Said Abdi the territorial claims of East Sanaag and Sool Regions by the Somalia regional administration of Puntland has resulted in untold sufferings for residents who miss out on public services and development projects from Somaliland.
In the same month of February this year 3 people were left dead and scores injured after Clashes with Farole political Supporters turned gruesome in the East Sanaag where a party led by the president of the Somalia administrative region of Puntland Abdirahman Farole were denied entry into Badan town where they were intent on opening offices for the Horseed party of Farole.
After being asked to leave in peace the Farole supporters who upon being denied permission by district officials turned violent thu8s ba confrontation with area residents that resulted in the escape of the Puntland group minus three of their dead.
While similar incidences reported are many it is suffice here to say that area residents are committed to the pact which is glued tight entered between President Silanyo and Clan elders in Hargeisa is thus Puntland should read the signals and desist from unnecessary, never to be successful incursions.