15 April 2007

Somalia: Somaliland And Puntland Still Challenge in Harad, Northwest Somalia.

Mogadishu — The secessionist government of Somaliland and the semiautonomous regional administration of Puntland in northeast and northwest of Somalia claimed victory over each other in their latest gun battle in the controversial settlement of Dahar in Sanag province, northwest Somalia.

Ahmed Haji Dahir, Somaliland information minister, told Shabelle by phone from Hargeysa, the capital city of Somaliland, that the skirmishes which took place between the troops of Somaliland and those of Puntland occurred somewhere 10 km north of Dahar where both sides were challenging over the ownership of the settlement in the past years.

The minister claimed that his government troops crashed those of Puntalnd. "Our troops seized several pickup trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns and prisoners. Somaliland troops have also killed number of the enemy soldiers," he said.

Shabelle has also interviewed Abdriahman Bangah, Puntalnd information minister who said that Puntalnd troops were attacked while they defended themselves. "Our troops captured five military vehicles from the invaders and they burned three others," he said.

Despite the standoff and gun battles in the area, heavy rains have been reported in Dahar. The rain caused both rival soldiers to discontinue fighting as hundreds of civilians reportedly fled to the war zone.

There are no independent sources that can confirm the claims of both sides.

Somaliland announced it broke away from the rest of Somalia in 1991 but failed to gain the UN and international recognition.

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