His Excellency the President for the Republic of Somaliland, Musa Bihi Abdi, dismissed the idea that a clan state be formed within the boundaries of Somaliland as Puntland – a federal member state of Somalia – has been encouraging of late.
President Bihi, speaking at a graduation ceremony held for over 6,000 new military cadets at the Abdullahi Askar Military Academy at Dararweine to the northeast of the capital, Hargeisa, Sunday, said Somaliland will not be be the cause of the collapse of all modern states of Africa whose borders divide so many clans at present.
“The Republic of Somaliland is based on the boundaries it inherited from its former self – the British Protectorate of Somaliland – at independence on June 26, 1960,” he stated.
“So many clans straddle borders inherited from the colonial. African states and if a reshuffle of boundaries based solely on clan demarcations is introduced is Puntland has been fighting for inside Somaliland, present-day Africa will cease to exist as we know it today,” he stated.
The President, of course, was referring to Article 4(a) of the African Union’s own Constitutive Act which stipulates that states emerging from the colonial era must ‘respect borders existing on achievement of independence’, adopted by the thirty-sixth ordinary session of the Assembly of heads of state and governments on 11 July, 2000 – Lome, Togo.
“Spouting such unworkable, untenable philosophies cannot be tested on Somaliland. The consequences are dire and far-reaching both for the continent and for the proponents,” President Bihi added.
President Bihi cautioned Puntland not to export internal strife within its federal state to Somaliland.
“Puntland must solve its own problems within its own area and not try to shove it across the border to Somaliland in order to divert attention elsewhere. A clan state carved out of an existing country will not work for you here as it didn’t anywhere else in the world,” Bihi said.
President Bihi defined the problem of non-recognition of Somaliland as a historiocal oversight at time of union with Somalia in 1960.
“The world, by recognizing the Somali Republic in 1960, did not stake stock of a Somaliland that over 35 countries acknowledged and recognized its independence. Instead, it bestowed legal recognition on the junior partner getting out from under a UN trusteeship a state that did not earn even a single congratulatory note as an independent state on its own before joining Somaliland,” he said. “Unless that oversight is corrected as we have been trying since 1991, neither peace nor stability or amicable co-existence between the two parts will remain a tall order”.
” There is hardly a country in the world that has no internal issues to tackle. The Sool conflict is an internal issue. We, as we have always maintained, will resolve outstanding issues peacefully and through dialogue. Anybody heeding these calls has another agenda that does not have the interests of the people in the region at heart,” the President said.
The 32-year old, diplomatically yet-to-be-recognized has been fighting insurgents in the Sool area who, it was gradually revealed, had been behind over 40 targeted killings in the regional capital of Las Anod since 2010 in order to force a rebellion of locals against the government they helped build.
“We are aggrieved of any damages or loss of life that has transpired until now. The national army is here to preserve lives not to waste it. It is there only to defend the internal security and integrity of its people. We are neither against Puntland or Somalia nor anybody else bur are for peace and development,” President Bihi emphasized.
The President added that so many lives have been unnecessarily lost, much property damaged and the lives of the rest had been put in jeopardy since the onset of the imported, armed conflict in the region.
“One has only to take count of what is happening now in Las Anod on a daily basis: the killings, the destruction, the rape, and so on. A city that has been on the up and up and developing was stopped on its tracks by belligerents, including extremist militias, and politicians with an agenda of their own,” he added.
Puntland, along with other clan-inspired groups and entities, including leading politicians , religious and tribal leaders from as far as Kenya and across Eastern Somali region of Ethiopia, had been fanning armed engagements against the government of Somaliland since December 2022. These groups openly provided moral, political and financial support as well as manpower, technicals and ammunition promoting clan hatred and the formation of, first as an independent clan state of its own and later as a member of federal Somalia, in parts of Sool, Sanaag and Togdheer regions – a proposition that brings an unsavory dimension to regional governance, peace and clan dynamics that will irreversibly affect other states across the Horn and Eastern Africa..