Friday, January 20, 2012

Somalia's Mini-State Madness--Meet West Puntland State

Somalia’s mini-state madness — meet West Puntland State

LAS ANOD — Somalia’s largely disputed province of Mudug last week witnessed the declaration of a new semi-autonomous region within the Somali state after locals claimed they lost confidence with Puntland.

During a colorful ceremony held in the central town of Galkayo, in Mudug, Suldan Jama Shire Gesod, a prominent clan leader, said their new federal state will be named West Puntland State. He claimed that communities in western parts of Puntland have became dissatisfied with the Garowe regime of Abdirahman Farole and decided to go their own separate way. The ceremony was guarded by security forces loyal to Yusuf Mohamed Abdulrahman who was declared the president of the new region. Furthermore they said they will soon hoist a new flag, name ministers and MPs.

Leaders from Galmudug State, another semi-autonomous region which claims Galkayo as its administrative capital, were also present for the occasion. Tribal Chief Hassan Sheekh Ahmed said as Galmudug State they welcome the new semi-autonomous region which represents tribes in western parts of Puntland region. Other attendees included business leaders, religious figures, prominent clan leaders, former government officials and civilians.

The idea to create West Puntland State was proposed by the Leelkase clan who felt marginalized under Garowe which is dominated by Majerteen clan. It is not the first time a region within the Majerteen dominated Puntland declared independence from Garowe. In April of 2011 members of Somalia’s Bari region consisting of civil servants and clan elders announced the formation of Rasa-Asayr State — it comprises of towns and villages near the old historical-coastal town of Bargal in the mountainous eastern Bari region.

Puntland’s Police Commissioner, General Warsame Jama, said the intention of the new state was not clear but admitted Puntland state has disintegrated into three mini states after 13 years. He said Puntland was formed in 1998 by three communities but today they all went their own separate ways referring to Garowe or Majerteen clan, Galkayo (West Puntland State or Leelkase clan) and a new state declared in the disputed Sool region by Dhulbahante clan elders in Taleeh. Sool is disputed by Puntland region of Somalia and Somaliland and recently a new group calling itself G6 claimed it wants nothing to do with Puntland or Somaliland.

Somaliland responded by saying it will not allow separatist groups such as G6 and SSC to destabilize its eastern states namely Sool and parts of Sanaag.

Meanwhile Galmudug State has accused the weak transitional federal government (TFG) of interference in its internal affairs. Galmudug leader Mohamed Ahmed Alin claimed that President Sheikh Sharif was hosting a conference in Villa Somalia in Mogadishu designed to form a new semi-autonomous state within Galmudug. He said the interim leader wanted to break the historical port town of Hobyo from his administration. Hobyo is already a disputed town between Mareeg State, Himan and Heeb and Galmudug State.

Since Somaliland withdraw a union with Somalia, the east African nation has been disintegrating into mini-tribal states which evidently today further disintegrating into even smaller administrations. This proofs that there is too much disharmony and trust among all Somali clans and each wants to rule his tiny town.

Classified as a failed state, Somalia has not had a functioning central government for more than 20 years and has been wracked by fighting between various militias and mini-states.

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