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Garowe, Somalia Mar 28, 2008 – The leader of Somalia's Puntland regional government issued a decree on Thursday officially relieving of duty the region's internal affairs minister.
President Mohamud "Adde" Muse's decree criticized Abdirashid Barkadle for ineffectively administering the Ministry of Internal Affairs and declared Deputy Minister Ahmed Adan Arab the Ministry's caretaker head.
Mr. Barkadle was appointed in January during a Cabinet reshuffle, but his appointment had irked Vice President Hassan Dahir Afqura from the onset, according to sources familiar with the case.
Both VP Afqura and former Interior Minister Barkadle hail from the region of Sool, a stretch of land that has been the cause of military hostilities between the Puntland regional autonomy and the separatist region of Somaliland.
According to the sources, Barkadle did not get along with his two deputy ministers and the Ministry's director-general, a close associate of Afqura.
An undisclosed dispute between Muse and Afqura surfaced earlier this month, sources said.
Tremendous pressure has been exerted on VP Afqura in recent weeks by people from his native region of Sool, with many voices demanding that Puntland recapture the provincial capital Las Anod by military force.
Government sources tell Garowe Online that President Muse is not eager to send troops to Las Anod, fearing a long war with Somaliland that could threaten the investments of foreign companies intent on exploring for oil in Puntland.
Mr. Afqura had reportedly asked for more direct involvement in President Muse's relations with these foreign companies.
The two Puntland leaders held private meetings in the capital Garowe last week, where sources said a compromise was reached to resolve the dispute.
The tenets of the compromise agreement have not been confirmed yet, but Mr. Barkadle's firing is linked to the Vice President's demand being implemented.
Speaking with Radio Garowe on Friday, the former Puntland Interior Minister categorically denied the idea that his was fired as part of a compromise agreement between President Muse and VP Afqura.
Source: Garowe Online