A ragtag militia, organized, equipped and encouraged by the Somalia Federal State of Puntland, carjacked it from Erigavo where it was brought for repairs.
To take the conflict between it and the Republic of Somaliland, which does not belong to the federal fold of Somalia, to new dimensions, Puntland granted a ‘military base’ to an armed militia opposing the unrecognized, but de facto, government near Qardho over 330 kms from Erigavo.
The militia is led by Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Arre and his deputy Lt. Col. Jamal Bahad, both belonging to the same clan that supported Waddani political party in the recent presidential elections out of which Kulmiye and its candidate Musa Bihi emerged winners, taking over the reins on 14 December 2017.
Colonel Arre, before being drafted to the army, was a petty thief during Siyad Barre’s era. In the early ’90s he became notorious for stripping roofs from abandoned houses of corrugated iron sheets for onward sale to the west of the country which started reconstruction before the east. He has some serious issues with Sool region clans, too, who accuse him of wantons killings during a duty stint there.
Jamal was a driver.
Both lieutenant colonels are suspected of implementing a far-reaching destabilization agenda implicating not only prominent ex-Waddani supporters and leaders but a Somalia financed by Qatar and brokered by Puntland.
Neither Puntland nor Somalia, observers say, cannot possibly sustain the high cost of a renegade army, equip it and keep it supplied of every whim (which most times include booze). This latest move, it is believed, is designed to re-ignite clan hostilities in the Sanaag areas a version of which has been contained and resolved to an extent only recently.