21 March 2013

Somalia: Somaliland and Puntland Agree to Jointly Fight Al Shabaab

Garowe — Puntland and Somaliland have engaged in a joint security cooperation meeting in Nairobi to collaborate to battle terrorism, piracy and organized crime, Garowe Online reports.

Officials from the breakaway region of Somaliland and Puntland state of Somalia had private meetings in Nairobi this week. Somaliland officials who attended the meeting included representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Security, Ministry of Interior and National Security.

Puntland officials included representatives from the Puntland Intelligence Agency, Ministry of Security and Ministry of Interior. The two delegations met with British, Swedish and American officials to discuss how the two sides can jointly tackle terrorism organizations in the region.

According to sources in Nairobi, the talking points of the meeting included intelligence sharing in terrorism, piracy and organized crime. The two sides agreed to actively share intelligence on Al Shabaab agents operating in both regions. Another agreed issue was that both respective security institutions can jointly interrogate suspected Al Shabaab agents. Also arms and confiscated supplies from Al Shabaab could be shared in investigations.

The two sides also agreed to jointly battle piracy and organized crime however the special focus was on terrorism.

Puntland has repeatedly accused Somaliland of not doing enough to stop terrorism in their jurisdiction, even turning a blind eye to Al Shabaab agents fleeing southern Somalia and entering Golis Mountain Range - where an Al Shabaab faction have gone into hiding - shared by the two regions. However, Somaliland has improved the almost non-existent security cooperation with Puntland after Britain's warning for its nationals living in Somaliland to "leave immediately".

The private security meeting in Nairobi was not publicized however sources in Nairobi say that the new joint agreement could tackle Al Shabaab's presence in northern Somalia.

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