By: Robleh Mohamud Lafcanbe
The Ministry of Petroleum & Mineral Resources of Somalia recently issued a warning to ARC, a Chinese Mining Company in the Awdal region of the Republic of Somaliland, ordering the company to leave the area immediately for illegal mining and causing political difficulties. The press release, blasting ARC for causing clan conflict and looting resources, came after a recent co-operation agreement signed by the Governments of Somaliland and Somalia in Djibouti.
The Minister of Mining & Energy of the Republic of Somaliland, Hon. Hussein Abdi Dualeh, responded to the press release, warning the Government of Somalia to stay within its boundaries and to not interfere with the business dealings of the Government of Somaliland. The Minister also pointed out that the Government of Somalia violated the recent agreement signed in Djibouti on Dec 21st, 2014. Section 2 A) of the agreement states: both parties should refrain from any provocative statements or actions that may harm the talks.
It has now come to light that the Government of Somalia has intentionally violated the agreement for certain reasons.
The ARC mining company did not just recently arrive from China – they have been working in the Republic of Somaliland for about a year.
Many argue that the Government of Somalia is merely protecting their “national resources”. If so, what prompted the Government of Somalia to issue a warning right after the Djibouti Agreement, and not within the past year?
This warning is widely presumed to be spearheaded by the controversial outgoing-Foreign Minister of Somalia, Abdirahman Duale Beyle, who originally hails from Awdal Region, Somaliland. It is clear that his government is keen on taking advantage of the latest news surrounding an Awdal clan Chief-turned terrorist by the name of Abubakar Elmi Wabar – and are possibly financially supporting his revolt against the Republic of Somaliland. Abubakar Elmi Wabar, who is also a Canadian citizen from Ottawa, has taken up arms against the Republic of Somaliland and has promised to carry out violent attacks in Awdal.
The Government of Somalia has previously been investigated for suspicious links with terrorist groups like Al-Shabaab and has been called out by the International Community on numerous occasions.
Over the years, UN Monitoring Reports have stated that members and associates of the Government of Somalia have ties to Al-Shabaab. If the Government of Somalia is linked to terrorists in their own country, they are more than likely to support terrorists like Abubakar Elmi Wabar in neighbouring Somaliland.
The warning also serves as proof that the Government of Somalia willfully intended to violate the agreement and to provoke the collapse of talks with the Government of Somaliland. It seems that the Government of Somalia believes that if the talks collapse, there would be no solution to the Somaliland-Somalia issue and they would forever be able to claim de-jure control over Somaliland.
After numerous violations of agreements on Somalia’s part, and their meddling in the political affairs of Somaliland, the right thing to do at this given time is to put a complete end to the talks with the Government of Somalia.
Two and a half years ago, the Government of Somaliland entered the talks with hopes of clarifying relations with their neighbour and earning the international recognition it deserves. But as the talks progressed on, the Government of Somalia has shown blatant disregard of respecting the process and have now went as far as to supporting terrorist movements in Somaliland.
In my previous article four months ago, I mentioned the possibility of solving matters through holding another referendum. A simple referendum asking Somaliland citizens whether they would like to re-unite with Somalia or remain independent , would display the massive support of an independent Republic of Somaliland.
I also called on the Government of Turkey – who brokered the talks over the last two years – and neighboring regional countries to recognize the failure of the talks and to put forward a tangible solution for both governments. The Turkish might be good-hearted gentlemen and great friends of both Somalia and Somaliland, but now it is abundantly clear that their goal is a United Federal Republic of Somalia. This explains why they have remained silent every time the Government of Somalia violated co-operation agreements with the Government of Somaliland.
The Government of Djibouti, led by President Ismail Omar Guelleh, was also given the chance to take a lead in hosting the talks between their Somali brothers. The Government of Djibouti has yet to show leadership and any regard for the agreement that was signed under their watch. If they still want to showcase Djibouti as a neutral broker in East African Affairs, now is the time to speak up.
The warning from the Government of Somalia has indeed led to the final breakdown of the talks but it will certainly have no effect on the current oil & mineral explorations going on in the Republic of Somaliland.
The Republic of Somaliland is a de-facto state and is the sole authority of the territory it claims. Numerous companies from ARC, Genel Energy, DNO, Jacka Resources, Sterling Energy, Ophir Energy and RAK GAS all regard the Republic of Somaliland as the government in control and have ignored, and will continue to ignore threats from the Government of Somalia.
The failure of these talks won’t harm our chances of International recognition. In fact, the two and a half year process has showed the International Community our commitment to solving matters through dialogue and our numerous attempts of finding a lasting solution with our neighbours of Somalia. I’m confident that as long as we remain patient, and focus on building an economically strong and democratic Republic of Somaliland, justice will prevail.