The future of ongoing reconciliation talks between the government of Somaliland and Khatumo state secessionists is uncertain.
This follows a big divide within the secession movement that saw its leader Prof Ali Khalif Galaydh not only held hostage for a number of days in his stronghold of Buhoodle but denied to board a plane as well
Prof Galaydh and a small clique of senior aides who were supposed to have flown to Djibouti for talks with Somaliland negotiators ended up traveling by road to Hargeisa via Burao town.
This turn of events that saw Prof Galaydh traverse government control areas in Somaliland is as a result of factional infighting within his Khatumo state movement that has splintered into two, with one opposed to the reconciliation talks while the other is pro dealing with authorities in Hargeisa.
The Khatumo entourage was given an official welcome at the outskirts of Hargeisa by a delegation of Somaliland officials led by the Maroodi-jeeh regional governor as well as a multitude of the professor’s clansmen and supporters resident in the Somaliland capital
According to reports Prof Galaydh who has for a couple of days been tightly guarded by members of his militia group, managed to evade them and depart Buhoodle on Sunday Night and subsequently arriving in Hargeisa in the morning from where he flew out to Djibouti.
Acknowledging the presence of Prof Galaydh in Hargeisa and his subsequent departure for Djibouti, interior minister Yasin Mahmud Hiir said that “Just like any other Somalilamd citizen Prof Galayd has right to visit and stay anywhere he wishes within the country”
The secession movement the Prof leads aspires to a Khatumo state of Somalia, presumably to be hived off parts of eastern Somaliland especially Sool and east Sanaag regions where the Darold clans of Dhulbahante and Warsengeli predominate.
Created in February of 2012, the Movement entered into Reconciliation talks with Somaliland under Ethiopian mediation late last year in which initial talks ensued with the 11 points Addis Ababa accord.
It is not yet clear which Somaliland officials are meeting Prof Galaydh in Djibouti nor have any reasons been given on why the reconciliation not are being held on that country and not in Addis Ababa and under the mediation of the Ethiopian Federal Government which brokered them.
Though the talks have received wide support in the country, the factional infighting within the Khatumo secession movement is worrisome because Prof Galaydh might end up not have sufficient clout to implement any agreements reached.