Somaliland, Puntland clash in northern Somalia.

Halkaan ka akhri

The clash comes one day after anti-Somaliland protests by residents in the town of Las Anod that resulted in injuries to about a score of the demonstrators.

Heavy clashes between military forces loyal to the break away republic of Somaliland and Puntland troops broke out in a village in the Sool region that lies in northern Somalia, officials said Monday.

The confrontation, which lasted for several hours, erupted after soldiers loyal to Somalia’s semi-autonomous state of Puntland attacked the village of Ganbara about 20 kilometers from the town of Las Anod in the Sool region where Somaliland military forces are based.

“The confrontation started at 2 p.m. local time after we had come under attack from Puntland forces armed [with] heavy and light guns and flanked by more than 20 military vehicles,” said Osman Abdullahi, a spokesman for the Somaliland military, adding that they repulsed them.

He stressed that Somaliland forces captured two of the military wagons and a number of prisoners. He didn’t specify the number of the captives, but he said they inflicted irretrievable losses on Puntland troops.

The clash comes one day after anti-Somaliland protests by residents in the town of Las Anod that resulted in injuries to about a score of the demonstrators. Somaliland security forces reportedly apprehended dozens of people including women after dispersing the protestors, according to local residents.

Earlier, Ahmed Ali Askar, the Puntland minister of information, accused the breakaway administration of Hargeisa of creating new conflict between the two neighboring administrations, claiming that Somaliland is trying muzzle the residents of Sool, Sanaag and Eyn, which disputed regions between Somaliland and Puntland.

He said that live ammunition was used to disperse the demonstrators.

The Puntland official condemned a statement from the United Kingdom that it will provide more aid for Somaliland, charging that the breakaway republic will use the aid to stoke the conflict of Sool, Sanaag and Eyn.

On March 1, UK aid allocations to help build peace and stability in Somalia could rise from the current level of £26 million to £80 million per year over the next three years, depending on the results achieved by 2013/14, according to a statement from the British government.

UK Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell visited Hargeisa on Jan. 31, where he explained that 40 percent of UK’s aid to Somalia will go to Somaliland. Somaliland has shown that greater democracy and stable government are possible.

Somaliland and Puntland had been the most peaceful regions in Somalia for the last 20 years.

Source: AHN

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