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Puntland contains five of Somalia's 18 regions, which are occupied by the Majeerteen, Warsangali, Dhulbahante, Laikase and Dishiishe (a sub clan of Darood ). Elders of these clans converged in Garowe in 1998 and approved the creation of a new administration in the region in which all clans share political power and income.
Most of the clans and subclans which reside in Puntland were pleased and warmly welcomed the new state. Recently both success and failure have caused strains, according to Puntland elders, local residents and scholars.
Since the creation of the new state of Puntland, there have been numerous disputes between nomadic clans in rural and urban areas over natural resources, political power and other seemingly minor issues. The disputes occur in remote areas and villages where there are no police officers or security forces. Famine, drought, hardship and even the promise of potential oil riches have all created flare ups. Many of these confrontations have led to the deaths and injuries with little publicity or resolution.
Vendetta's and Disputes
The land dispute between Ali Jibrahil and Ali Saleban, both sub-clans of the Majeerten, claimed the lives of more then 50 people since 2008. Igadhays is the disputed grassland near the Dharor Valley in Bari region, which is the site of the new Africa Oil drilling operation. Both sub-clans claim the right to herd their livestock and elders have made innumerable efforts to reconcile these claims without success. There exists an ongoing dispute between the Dubays (Sub-clan of Warsangali) and Osman Mohamud (sub-clan of Majeerteen). Each sub-clan seeks impossible redress for past killings and an unforgiving and vicious cycle of bloodshed is well established. Their disputes have led to the deaths of at least 22 people but both parties remain unwilling to mediate and reconcile. In 2010, fighting erupted between the Bahararsame (sub-clan of Dulbahante) and Omar Mohamud (sub-clan of Majeerteen) in Mudug’s remote areas which left at least 25 dead from both sides. The dispute was over water-wells. Later that year, both warring sides agreed on a peaceful resolution.
The Hayaag and Reer Hagar, both Dulhabante sub-clans fought in area near Buhodle district killing dozens from each side.
The deadly battles over water and land occurred between two armed clans in Rako Raho, occurred in a rural location near Rako District of Karkaar Region. The conflict involved two sub-clans of the Majeerteen clan, Ali Saleeban and Ugaad Saleebaan. This was the most serious clan fighting to occur in the history of Puntland. The dispute was also inflamed by pirates causing tension. The fighting ultimately claimed 60 lives and left hundreds injured.
Due to a dispute over the ownership of water wells in Nugaal's remote area, fighting erupted between Issa Mohamud (a sub-clan of Majerten) and the Laile Kase clan. The Laile Kase clan suspects that the Puntland authority was arming the Issa Mohamud, the clan of President's Faroole’s clan.
New States Break away from Puntland.
In light of these seemingly politically induced ethnic conflicts in the region, including wars fought by the state in Galkayo, Galgala, Sanaag, Sool and Ayn (now the newly declared Khatuma state), there are more declarations of ethnically laced regional autonomy in Puntland.
The Ras-Asayr State in the far east of Somalia is led by Farah Mahmoud (DOHA Joog), who held several ministerial positions in Puntland.
In July 2007, Warsangali clans in Sanaag and West Bari regions announced a new state coined Makhir. The concept of Makhir State was proposed by the sub-clans who felt marginalized under the Majeerteen who take the lion's share of Puntland’s resources. But this declaration occurred after Majihan fighting which Warsangali clan regarding mining natural resources.
This was the third state to be announced after Puntland and Somaliland, however, it was not successfully established upon declaration. Maakhir State lost most of their supporters soon after Puntland’s Internal Minister Abdullahi Ahmed Jama arrived in Puntland to contest the presidential seat. The Warsangali clan deduced that if General Ilka Jiir Won the elections, they would get the coveted lion's share of Puntland resources, but that remained a dream when for the fourth time running, President Faroole a Majeerten clan leader was re-elected .
"Yes, we are still Maakhir State. It is true that our state is not fully operational compared to others, it means that our people have not made any effort to work on it. We are doing our best to be self sufficient and independent," Jibril Ali Salaad, the Maakhir state president told Somalia Report. Now a Warsangali campaign targeting diaspora wants to re-establish Makhir state again, according to the local people in Sanaag region. In April of 2011, clan elders of the Siwaqron tribe announced the formation of Ras-Asayr State which comprises districts and villages near Bargal in the mountainous eastern Bari region. Ras-Asayr officials banned Puntland representative from their land after its citizens lost confidence over lack of services and protection. It claims to have registered police forces to serve Alula and Ras-Asayr.
"We have a right to break away from Puntland. We are not going separate from the rest of Somalia but want to be a federal state. No one can force us to remain in Puntland. We have enough forces to defend our territory," Farah Doha Joog, the Ras-Asayr president told Somalia Report.
In Jan 2011 Laikase clans who occupy Somalia’s largely disputed zone of Mudug and Galkayo, declared a new semi-autonomous state called West Puntland State, after locals claimed they lost confidence in the Puntland government. This also comes after Garsoor fighting which left several dead and more injured after President Faroole's quick accusation that they are nothing more than terrorists. This greatly angered the Lailkase clan (sub-clan of Darood).
"The newborn states want to break away from Puntland. This shows us the failure of Puntland’s current government which has failed to win the hearts of its people. Also, Puntland's President Mohamud Faroole’s accusations of terrorism among some clans is dangerous and could ultimately destabilize the solidity of the country," Abdullahi Ali, a Puntland scholar in Kenya told Somalia Report.
On January 12, 2012, the disputed regions of Sanaag, Sool and Ayn was declared autonomous and baptized Khatumo State, after several conferences held in Taleh District, a historical town in Sool Region. The Dhulbahate clan converged and agreed to establish a new state independent from Puntland and Somaliland. These areas have been heatedly disputed over by Somaliland and Puntland.
Consequently both Puntland and Somaliland are concerned by the Dhulbahante’s declaration leading to Somaliland using force to halt the establishment of Khatumo. Dhulbahante casualties in need of medical assistance after continuing battles with Somaliland officials seek treatment in the distant city of Galkayo. They dare not head to Garowe where they fear arrest by Puntland officials.
"We are not against any state or administration, but if we want to work with our people why should others get angry about that? Today Dhulbahante is one we don't need others, we are part of Somalia but we are not part of Puntand or Somaliland," said Ahmed Hassan, traditional elder in Buhodle who spoke to Somalia Report.
Meanwhile there are signs of discontent and opposing activities in the Bari region after and oil drilling exercise began there. Locals describe the process as one that has failed to achieve the required degree of transparency and equity.