Somalia: Top Two Puntland Leaders at Loggerheads Over Admin Issues Again


A disturbing administrative schism has again surfaced between the President and Vice President of the Somalia Federal State of Puntland, Saeed Abdullahi ‘Deni’ and Ahmed Elmi Osman ‘Crash’, respectively.

This time around, the rift was caused by a replacement the President made to the Deputy Commander of the Presidential Guards. The Vice President dismissed the proposed change of command as unconstitutional and a direct violation of agreed protocols.

President Deni, on Thursday, appointed a former military officer, Osma Ethiopia, to command the Presidential Guards. Another officer, Abdirizak Ahmed Ali was to become the Deputy Commander.

“Mr President, since you have made the appointments of the Commander and Deputy Commander of the Presidential Guards without prior consultations (with me) which contravenes the Constitution and bylaws of the Puntland government, Colonel Abdiqani Mohamed Harbi remains the Deputy Commander and should dispense his duties as usual,” a countermanding letter the Vice President addressed to the President, copying the state parliament which voted both of them to their current responsibilities, stated.

The two officers, per the President’s Decree No. 42, were to replace Commander Barkhad Abdullahi Yussuf and Colonel Abdiqani Mohamed Harbi, who was a handpick of the Vice President who appointed him to the post at a time he was the acting president in December 2019.

General Barkhad was appointed to the command in February 2019 but, since then, he often complained of undue interferences to the proper dispensation of his duties – a situation which led to his resignation earlier this month.

Differences between the two leaders have come to the surface more than once since they were selected for their current roles by a 66-member parliament in early 2018. The last of these was somehow doused down late 2019 which makes the conflagrating class of characters so soon after a cause for Puntland worries.

Federal leaders at Villa Somalia, Mogadishu, have made presidential life for the former President of the federal state, Dr Abdiweli Sheikh Mohamed Gass untenable during his reign. Farmajo and his PM, Hassan Ali Kheyrre, talked the then Vice President of Puntland, Abdhakim Ammey, to challenge – and reverse if possible – every major administrative move the President attempted.

Ammey and Crash both belong to Sool, Somaliland, ethnic clans which do not command much clout in Garowe which is dominantly run by clans whose territory stretches from Bossasso of the Red Sea to Hafun of the Indian Ocean all the way down the coast to Eyl and Gara’ad ports curving back to Galkayu.


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