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Puntland Ex-Minister Surrenders To Somaliland
LAS ANOD, Somalia Oct 11, 2007 – After weeks of military tension, a former minister of security in Somalia's Puntland region switched sides and surrendered himself to Somaliland officials, sources said.
Ahmed Abdi Habsade arrived in the town of Oog, in the disputed region of Sool where Somaliland and Puntland troops clashed on October 1.
Somaliland's defense minister, Abdillahi Ali Ibrahim, today confirmed that Habsade had arrived at the Somaliland barracks in Oog.
Mr. Ibrahim said Habsade met with Somaliland minister and military officers in Oog. The town serves as military base for Somaliland forces in Sool region.
Habsade was accused of instigating Puntland by deploying clan militias allied to Somaliland. The move led to armed clashes for control of Las Anod that led to at least 15 deaths last week.
Puntland security forces currently maintain order in Las Anod and are still facing Somaliland troops in the outskirts of the town.
Habsade was Speaker of Somaliland's parliament in the mid-1990s but transferred his alliance over to the Puntland government when it was established in 1998.
Puntland President Mohamud "Adde" Muse sacked Habsade in July.
Somaliland claims the region of Sool based on colonial-era boundaries that ceased to exist in 1960 when the northern regions merged with the southern regions to create the first Somali Republic.
The region declared independence in 1991 but has not gained recognition.
Puntland, on the other hand, maintains that the local clans of Sool region are the blood cousins of major clans in Puntland.
The two rival regions fought several battles in Sool since 2003 when Puntland took control of Las Anod.
Source: Garowe Online