By Liban Ahmed—In 2005 when Somaliland and Puntland governments exchanged prisoners in the then Adhicaddeeye frontline, General Abdullahi Arays said both administration were wrongheaded ” to fight over a piece of barren land”. This shows that Puntland never considered the conflict as one based on a territory. It is Somaliland government that views a territory as the source of the conflict. What Somaliland political leaders have failed to understand is that territories now designated as “disputed territories” lie within the ex-British Somaliland, the territory Somaliland claims to have a legally binding jurisdiction based on sovereignty. Somaliand’s understanding of the sovereignty runs counter to the UN Security Council Resolutions that reiterate the territorial and political unity of Somalia. In essence, Somaliland government’s stance is more self-defeating than the position of successive post-independence former civilian Somali governments that never claimed jurisdiction over territories in Ethiopia and Kenya in which Somalis live.
Somaliland government has never explored ways to mitigate the impact the disputed territories status has on people in Sool, parts of Togdheer and Sanaag. Hargeisa chose to exploit poor leadership of political entrepreneurs from disputed territories. The former Somaliland President, Ahmed M. Silanyo, signed a “unity agreement with Khatumo “administration” almosy a year ago but President Muse Bihi has been reluctant to implement it for fear of angering militias that constitute the bulk of Somaliland forces in Sool. Mr Bihi realised that there is no way to implement the agreement without destroying his alliance with Sool militias represented in the cabinet by the Somaliland Minister of Education Yasin H. M. Hiir. Other political entrepreneurs – Bashi Mohamed Farah (the Somaliland Parliamentary Speaker) and Saleban Y. Ali Kore (Minister of Water) do not have armed militias paid by Somaliland; they have little political influence beyond reiterating Somaliland government ” sovereignty” position.