400 Puntland soldiers change allegiance to Somaliland

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Only 15 kilometers outside the Qardho, the third largest town in the  Somalia Federal State of Puntland, Qardho, the largest number of soldiers laid down their Puntland insignia, saying they have decided to move over to the Somaliland side.

The soldiers, belonging to the largely ill-paid, loosely governed federal state ‘army’ of Puntland revealed they had not been paid even the pittance that goes for monthly salaries in the last 4 months or so.

Speaking of the circumstances that led them to take this critical decision, Major Kamal Abdul Aziz ‘Afgudud’, commander, told the media that “they were neither properly looked after as they should or been paid their salaries making their situation untenable’.

Major Afgudud stated that their patience has thinned out, and that, from then on, they were to be counted as Somaliland army officers.

“If these areas were mapped in as Puntland locations, Dhahamo and Misir where we are stationed should from now on be chalked in as part of the Republic of Somaliland,” he said.

Dhahamo – or Dhahan – straddles the Somaliland-Somalia border at a strategic point a stone’s throw from Dhahar of Somaliland, as it is to Qardho, Puntland.

Major Kamal further stated that elders and local residents of the area were of the same opinion, fully supporting their move.

The army unit goes over the Somaliland side fully armed supported by a number of battlewagons, locally known as ‘technico’, and an ambulance.

What was unexpected and totally surprising in the event was Major Kamal revealing that most – if not all – of the soldiers hailed from a branch of a clan that lives in and around the ancient harbor town of Heis (Mundus in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea) – making the situation that much more profoundly interesting to both Somaliland and Puntland.

Barely a week ago, 50 armed fighters, in a similar move, abandoned Puntland front lines to cross over to the Somaliland side.

READ: 50 Armed Fighters Cross Over From Puntland Lines to Somaliland

 

Poor living conditions, missing salaries, lack of discipline, uncertain principles and a shrouded future make a change of allegiance among armed militias the Federal State of Puntland amassed to fight Somaliland so much easier.

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