Puntland Forces in Las'anod
Puntland and Somaliland forces have today clashed in Gambara near Tukaraq district in Sool region, some 28 kilometers away from the provincial capital of Las'anod, after Somaliland forces moved towards Puntland's base in Tukaraq.
There are varied reports on killed and wounded soldiers, but both sides and witnesses said there were no civilian casualities. Local residents told Somalia Report that 2 Puntland soldiers and 3 Somaliland soldiers were killed. However, Somaliland official, Yasin Abdi Mire, denied Puntland soldiers were killed, but that 3 Puntland soliders were wounded in the fighting. Sources close to the military of Somaliland said at least of four of Somaliland’s forces were injured.
Witnesses told Somalia Report that Somaliland forces with tanks and armored vehicles were seen moving towards the direction of Gambara earlier in the morning and fierce clashes followed around 12:00 PM local time (0900 GMT)
Sources from Garowe, Puntland’s capital, told Somalia Report that Somaliland forces clashed with the Sool, Sanaag & Cool (SSC) militia, a group is opposed to the government in Hargeisa, in the outskirts of Gambara. The fighting forced the SSC militia to retreat back to the Puntland base in Tukaraq village thus prompting Puntland forces into an unexpected battle with Somaliland.
“Puntland forces were caught in the middle after SSC and Somaliland fought somewhere near Puntland military base,” the source said.
Puntland’s former Aviation and Ports Minister Ahmed Ali Osman Karash, who now leads an armed militia to fight against Somaliland’s presence in the region, exclusively talked to Somalia Report while in Tukaraq.
He said that Somaliland military forces attacked his forces and the SSC militia a few kilometers away from Tukaraq.
“They attacked our forces as well as of those SSC in the outskirts of Tukaruq, and we resisted the offensive of Somaliland," he said.
Meanwhile, Colonel Ali Sabaray, the deputy leader of SSC told the local media that his militia captured a tank from Somaliland forces and a number of other military equipment, but could not confirm the number of casualties.
"We have managed to push the enemy back to their territory. We have captured a number of their military equipment,” said the colonel.
Puntland’s Information Minister Ahmed Ali Askar held press conference in the capital of Garowe and said that three of Puntland’s defense forces were injured in the fighting but no one was killed as far as Puntland’s side is concerned.
“Three of our forces were injured and are now being treated in Garowe. That’s the only casualty so far,” he explained.
He blamed the break-away administration of Somaliland for provoking Puntland by attacking its territory.
Puntland's former Aviation and Ports Minister Ahmed Ali Osman Karash
"Somaliland attacked our territory and Puntland responded in the similar fashion,” said the information minister. “Puntland as always will defend its territory and people," vowed.
Minister Askar blamed Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) for trying to destabilize the region, but would not give details of how and why the TFG is involved in the Puntland-Somaliland conflict.
Somaliland Military Officials told local
media that Puntland troops were trying to attack Lascano district and
Somaliland military have succeeded to defend it.
Several local residents told Somalia Report that another clash might break out.
The tension is very high in the area, according to Ahmed Said Yare, a resident in Las’anod. “The situation is very high here in Las’anod, people are not sure of what may follow this,” he said.
That clashes come amid peace efforts focusing on Kalshale Village were
continuing in Lascano and Buhodle districts in disputed region of Sool Peace elders asked both sides to bury the hachet and to get along.
Earlier this year, Puntland forces established military bases near the Tukaruq village while Somaliland forces moved 20km from
Lascano district and the SSC front in a bid to take control of some districts in region.
Puntland and Somaliland both claim the Sool region as part of its territory and have previously fought for control of the region.