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After a four-day conference between Somalia’s self-declared government of Somaliland and the Sool Sanaag Cayn (SSC) militia, including local elders from Dhulabahante clan in Widwid district of Sool region, both sides agreed to a ceasefire and signed a peace treaty in a power sharing agreement in Sool and Sanaag regions on Sunday.
In the treaty, known as the Widwid Agreement, Somaliland also agreed to release SSC prisoners of war, to stop digging for water, to work together to promote Sool and Sanaag regions, and to hold a regional meeting for absentees of this conference.
The deal was signed by Somaliland’s Livestock Minister Dr. Abdi Aw Dahir Ali, Abdirisak Hassan Ismail, an officer from SSC, and Kayse Abdi Yusuf representing local elders.
Keyse Abdi Yusuf told Somalia Report that the deal will be put into place as soon as it’s ratified and he requested both sides to respect the points of the meeting.
“The community is tired from civil war. It’s the time to conclude the fighting. You know that after years of war we lost our children, our brothers and important individuals for the people,” said Keyse. “We decided to end the war and solve everything by dialogue. I’m sending a message to absentees from this conference to take peace.”
SSC Militia Dismisses Treaty
Despite the peace treaty, a local militia attacked the bases of Somaliland troops in Sool region early on Monday. At least two people were confirmed dead and five others were injured during the heavy clashes.
The group that attacked the Somaliland forces is opposed to the Widwid agreement and are demanding that Somaliland withdraw all their troops from Sool and Sanaag regions, according to local residents.
“SSC has separated in two groups; one group signed a deal with Somaliland while the other is completely refusing Somaliland interference,” said Mohamed Amiin, a resident of Lasanod district.
“There is no meaning for Somaliland to sign a treaty with the SSC. The rift is between Puntland and Somaliland so I’m sure the fight will not stop until Somaliland stops interfering these regions. This community doesn’t want Somaliland,” said Amiin.
SSC is a pro-Puntland militia from Dhulbahante clan.
Puntland chairman in Cayn region, Hirir Mohamud Ahmed, general secretary of SSC militia Saleebaan Ise Ahmed and local elders in Buuhoodle district all opposed the Widwid agreement.
“We are the leaders of this community, we are Somalia not Somaliland, Somaliland is anti-Somalis, they told us and the world that they are not Somalis,” said Moalim Mustafa, an elder in Buuhoodle.
“It was a political conference, with which Somaliland wanted to capture these regions, but it’s impossible to force a community, we will do everything which can save our people,” said Puntland's chairman in Cayn region. “No elder or politician from these regions attended that meeting, maybe one or two misled persons but not more."
SSC militia leader Saleebaan Ise Ahmed told local media vowed the fight against Somaliland would continue until they re-liberated Sool, Sanaag and Cayn regions from Somaliland.
Somaliland and Puntland been fighting over the region for ten years.