President Bihi concludes tour in Erigavo, Puntland’s Gass takes it from there

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His Excellency the President of the Republic of Somaliland, Musa Bihi Abdi, concluded his tour of the eastern regions in Erigavo without attempting to visit major cities and areas to the east of the regional capital.

The Somaliland public expected the president to proceed to Yubbe, Hadaftimo, Badhan, and Dhahar if possible – all of which are well within the Somaliland boundaries and part and parcel of the Republic.

President Bihi, if he did so, could have nullified the devastating political impact an aggravating visit which the President of Puntland, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gass, made to the area on the 19th and 20th of September 2018, which came a little less than a year when a Federal Minister coming all the way from Mogadishu made the very first visit of its kind by a Somalia high official to the area for the 27 years since Somaliland restored its independence in 1991.

Puntland candidate, Deni, and his bodyguards

Following Mr. Gass’s visit, eastern Sanaag became a regular backyard to Puntland ministers, Parliamentarians and candidates to the Puntland Presidency canvassing for political support from residents in the area. It was only two days ago that one of them, the flamboyant, ‘Mission Impossible’ styled Said Abdullahi Deni, came to Badhan to tour the area appealing for support from parliamentary MPs representing the area since Puntland Presidents are elected by the 66-member Puntland parliament.

Deni vowed that he will capture Burao if elected.

Taking advantage of President Bihi’s  decision not to proceed to the areas Gass has politically invaded to the east of Erigavo, the Puntland President crossed over to Dhahar, 282 km driving distance from Erigavo, and 208 km removed from Badhan, the leading city in the area, with heavily equipped troops, further consolidating his ethnic and political claims to the area. Gass is also taking optimal advantage of the said area’s proximity to major Puntland cities such as Qardho. For instance, Dhahar and Qardho sitting on opposite sides of the border are less than 50 kilometers apart.Stopping at Erigavo and permitting Gass to cover them is a blow not only to President Musa Bihi’s leadership but to the whole sovereignty claim of the republic based on internationally recognized borders which, in 1960, Somaliland took to Mogadishu to unite with areas under Italian Somalia proclaiming independence.

Under no other President before Musa did Somalia and its federal state of Puntland dare encroach into Somaliland so conspicuously and in no fear whatsoever of retaliation from Somaliland.

REDA ALSO: Puntland President pays landmark visit to Badhan, Farmajo to follow

The Badhan Fiasco: A Prelude to another military showdown between Somaliland, Somalia?

 

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