Two Somalia states clash over border

Tuesday January 9 2018

The Somalia flag and states. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The Somalia flag and states. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

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Military forces of two semiautonomous regions in Somalia clashed on Monday over a disputed border town.

Local media reported that fierce fighting erupted in Tukaraq town in Sool region between Somaliland and Puntland armies in which the former took control of the town.

The two warring sides did not report any casualties.

Puntland accused Somaliland of “aggression” and claimed that the move was intended to jeopardise the visit by Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. President Farmajo began his visit in Puntland on Sunday, the first since he took office in February last year.

“Because of the blatant aggression, we are stopping the passage of vehicles from Puntland to Somaliland,” the regional commissioner of Nugal region in Puntland, Mr Omar Abdullahi Faraweyne, told journalists.

In a statement, Somaliland authorities accused the Somali federal government of “incitement” saying its action could trigger hostilities.

Somaliland's Minister of Information, Abdirahman Abdillahi Guri-Barwaqo, pointed to a recent visit to Sanaag, another disputed region along the border, by Somalia’s minister of Planning and Puntland’s Security minister, accusing them of “inciting speeches”.

"Somaliland and its people declare that they will not tolerate such situations and they are ready to defend their security and their country," Mr Gur-Barwaqo told the BBC.

Somaliland and Puntland both claim ownership of Sool and Sanaag regions that lie between them.

Somaliland declared independence from the rest of Somalia in May 1991 and does not have any relations with the Somali federal government. But it has yet to achieve any formal international recognition as a sovereign state.