August 15, 2011 ·44 Comments
By Dalmar Kahin
The governor of Bari (Puntland), a pirate-infested region in Somalia, just like a local thug desperate for attention, time and time again, proved to be the most ruthless, self-centered, and reckless gangster in Horn of Africa. From anarchic Somalia to peaceful Somaliland, the governor left no stones unturned to stir mayhem in the region. But never before did his thuggish behavior shocked the region as much as his latest barbaric onslaught against unarmed Somaliland officials near the town of Taleh, in Sool province, of Somaliland, sent shockwaves throughout Somaliland.
Despite the sever drought that is devastating millions of Somalis, despite that we are fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, and despite the region is experiencing chronic conflicts, the governor of Puntland, Abdirahman Mohamed Faaroole, butchers Somaliland officials en rout to Taleh. On August 10, 2011, the Somaliland officials led by a Sool parliamentarian, Suleiman Yusuf Ali Koore and officials from Sool province, namely the governor, Keyse Mohamed Haji Hussain, the attorney general, Said Abdi Ali Shire, the top civil judge of the LasAnnod city´s court in Sool, Salaad Awar, the head of the education department in Taleh area, Mohamed Ali Artan, the commander of Somaliland forces in Taleh area, Col. Mohamed Shire Mohamed (Dhodi), and others, all from Taleh town, faced an unprovoked deadly attack from Puntland militia. Clearly, the ambush was well planned.
In the aftermath, some of the dead included: Mohamed Ali Artan, the head of the education department in Taleh area; other officials were, also, murdered in the Puntland militia´s cowardice attack. Additionally, five officials were wounded, while a dozen more were kidnapped, still remaining held hostages in a prison in Puntland´s capital, Garowe.
Despite the Somaliland President, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud Silanyo´s genuine efforts to reach out the governor of Puntland to cease all hostilities and to seek security cooperation between Somaliland and Puntland as to act a bulwark against the Al-Shabab terrorists in the region, Mr. Faaroole gives Mr. Silanyo the middle finger and slaughters Somaliland officials in their birth region.
Meanwhile, Putland officials stated, “On our side, there were no injuries or deaths”. Of course, Somaliland officials were unarmed, so they had no way of defending themselves, much less inflict losses on Puntland militia. What triggered Mr. Faaroole to unleash a gruesome attack against Somaliland officials?
Recently, after Somaliland engaged a peaceful dialogue with the violent rebel group, Sool, Sanag, and “Cayn” (SSC), armed and trained by Puntland, Mr. Faaroole feared that the SSC commanders that signed the peace agreement with Somaliland, in Widh Widh village, in Sool province, would betray him and reveal detailed information about Puntland´s villain strategy towards Somaliland.
Worse yet, Somaliland recently captured nine people and their bomb-making material in Las Annod, the provincial capital of Sool. These suspects are believed to be responsible for the string assassinations and bomb attacks against Somaliland officials that resulted scores of official´s deaths. Suddenly, assassinations ceased. But instead Puntland began to ambush Somaliland officials, savagely killing several of them.
Additionally, although it has yet to be confirmed, the training and the bomb-making material may have been provided by the infamous Puntland Security Intelligence (PIS) agency. Without a doubt, the PIS has the motive to do so and trained henchmen that provided the Somaliland delegations’ detailed travel route, in LasAnnod. The PIS is under pressure to drive Somaliland out of Sool province, by any means necessary.
Above all, Mr. Faaroole´s ongoing military struggle against the Warsangeli clans in Galgala mountainous area, in eastern Sanag province of Somaliland, posed an insurmountable challenge for him. In January 2011, in my article entitled, “Somalia: Puntland´s Anti-piracy Forces—Smokescreen for Hunting Oil & Minerals Unlawfully” I detailed Puntland´s incursions into Warsangeli clan´s territory had little to do with combating against terrorists and pirates but had everything to do with paving the way for oil explorations in the area. As it seems to be, I spoke to soon. In a recently published U.N. monitoring report about Somaliland and Somalia, Khadar Mohamed Farole, governor Farole´s notorious son and adviser, states, “The new force will hunt down pirates on land in the Galgala mountains”, because “you cannot have oil exploration if you have insecurity”. As the Somalis say, “Afkaagaa caano lagu qabay…or I could not have said it better.”
Strangely, the Warsangeli clan fighters´ leader, Mohamed Said (Atom), whom Puntland labels as a terrorist, without credible proof, agrees with Mr. Farole´s views, as Mr. Atom states,” They [the Puntland administration] wish us flee [sic] from our settlements so they can exploit our resources; that was the root cause of the conflict … we are available to negotiate.” Evidently, Mr. Atom´s armed group poses threat both to Somaliland and Puntland, but he denies having any ties to Al-Shabab. And just as Mr. Farole´s son unambiguously put it: it is all about oil explorations. Hence, the notion of hunting terrorists is merely used as a smokescreen to displace the opponents of the illegal oil explorations. And today, not surprisingly, Mr. Atom is negotiating with Puntland to join its ranks. So much for hunting perceived terrorists, when the real deal is about exploring oil unlawfully.
Somaliland not only faces the Puntland militia´s incursion into the country, where thousands of Somaliland civilians are displaced in eastern Sanag region unabatedly and Somaliland officials are savagely butchered to death in Sool province, but also Puntland pirates choke Somaliland´s life line. Recently, an oil tanker bound for Somaliland was hijacked by Puntland pirates. The tanker did not mysteriously vanish into the Red Sea, but it simply headed towards one of the pirate headquarters littered along Puntland´s coast, namely the pirate capital: Ayl (a small town which its entire economy depends upon piracy and pirates are treated as the kings of the land, yet the town has a mayor and a police force that are on the payroll of the Puntland administration—an administration that itself is clearly subsidized by the ransom paid to pirates.) At any rate, after intense negotiations and the admirable efforts of the Puntland traditional leaders, the oil tanker was released, but not before Somaliland people underwent almost two months of crippling fuel shortages.
On the other hand, initially, Puntland officials hinted some ransom should be paid to the pirates, to release the tanker. Such a demand hardly surprises anyone because Mr. Farole himself received ransom in the past, as reported in another U.N. monitoring document. The U.N. report states, “Several candidates in the leadership contest of January 2009, which saw Abdirahman Farole accede to the Puntland presidency, accepted significant campaign contributions from pirate leaders.”
Similarly, Puntland pirates routinely kidnap Somaliland commercial truck drivers delivering food to the needy people of central Somalia. Although, Puntland poses serious threats to Somaliland, Somaliland attempts to reach out Puntland officials.
Meanwhile, the governor of Puntland´s gangsterism behavior towards Somaliland is based on his indoctrinated clan dogma which dictates to defy International boundaries and draw new clan borders. To illustrate, in 2000, then the governor of Puntland who later become Somalia´s notorious president from 2004 to 2008, Col. Abdullahi Yussuf Ahmed, a.k.a the butcher of Mogadishu, sent a letter to U.N. to protest against Somaliland´s desire to hold an independence referendum in its eastern provinces which Puntland claims based on clan affiliations. Col. Yussuf echoed, “The regions of Sool and Sanag and the district of Buhodle [which he later named it: Cayn] are an integral and inseparable part of the State of Puntland…our position is based on history and clan boundaries…it is indisputable fact based on blood, irrevocable historical clan boundaries…” It is the preceding clan dogma that drives Mr. Farole to insanity to brutally slaughter Somaliland officials in the middle of the holy month of Ramadan and sadly in the midst of a devastating drought in Somalia, which Somaliland with its meager resources vows to help the Somali people, while Puntland takes more lives, much less rescue them.
The U.N. and IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) must understand—today, Puntland slaughters Somaliland officials because they crossed into an invisible clan boundary which Puntland officials drew mentally; tomorrow, Ethiopian and Kenyan officials will meet the same fate because Puntland´s clan-territorial claims stretches from eastern provinces of Somaliland, to eastern region of Ethiopia, to Somalia´s Jubba region, bordering Kenya.
Evidently, Somalia´s competing factions include the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the Al-Shabab terrorists, the International faction (U.N., neighboring countries and others) and more important—the Puntland faction, or the Farole gang.
From Somaliland to Somalia, the Farole gang respects no bounds. Just like mindless hooligans, the Farole gang´s, old men equipped with young boys´ brain capacity, strategy is to intimidate, attack, and stir mayhem. The reason: it is either the gang´s way or the highway. For instance, just before Somalia inaugurated its fifth Prime Minister since 2004, Mr. Farole´s hostility and intimidation towards the vulnerable TFG resembled that of a reckless bully boy in a playground. Mr. Farole not only banned the TFG officials to visit his region, but he also accused them of carrying out assassinations and bomb attacks against Puntland. Absurd indeed! But no sooner a Prime Minster who hails from Puntland was inaugurated than Mr. Faaroole dropped his daggers pointed at the TFG. In other words, the bully boy of Puntland, Mr. Farole, got his way. Somalia´s new PM, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, hails from Puntland. Shortly, after Mr. Ali´s nomination, Mr. Farole stated, “The new Prime Minister is one of us (one of our clan members) and as of today he got our backs, and we won´t be back-stabbed…” Only time will tell whether Mr. Ali will succumb to the Farole gang´s demands or the Prime Minster himself will reinforce the unwavering clan dogma itself.
Yet another factor that triggered Mr. Farole to attack Somaliland is the recent visit of the Somaliland President, Mr. Silanyo to China. The visit worries Mr. Farole for the obvious reasons. Mr. Silanyo singed an unprecedented trilateral, multimillion-dollar business agreement, to expand port Berbera of Somaliland, build railroads from the port to Ethiopia and an oil refinery in Berbera, among others, with China and Ethiopia. The Farole gang remain convinced that the more Somaliland is developed the sooner Puntland militia is flushed out of Somaliland territory—and more important, the sooner the pirate dens in Puntland are obliterated, ending subsidy to Puntland administrations´ economy. Hence, Mr. Farole, a real distractor, wants to drag Somaliland into an interminable conflict to show the International investors that Somaliland is just as safe as Somalia, not worth of risking investments in Somaliland. Somaliland must shrewdly outmaneuver Mr. Farole´s booby traps. To counterattack the Farole gang, the worst thing that Somaliland could do is to launch military attacks against the gang. Somaliland would be seen as an irresponsible state that lowers its standards to that of Farole gang. The most feasible and logical approach is to win the hearts and minds of the locals in Taleh area, providing them economic assistance and developments; gradually, the Farole gang´s support would start waning away. But it is not just Somaliland and Somalia that struggle to put keep the mad man, Mr. Farole, on leash.
His gangsterism, true in every sense of the word, also, holds the International community by the throat. As piracy rages in Puntland waters, Mr. Farole´s only panacea for the high seas gangs is: more money into his pocket, or else piracy won´t only be condoned in his territory, but also some of the officials will enjoy the feast after the ransom is received. Using brute force, Puntland, repeatedly and successfully, rescues any commercial ships bound for its ports. But when it comes to freeing dozens of International ships and their seafarers currently held in Puntland territory, Mr. Farole bangs the table with his clutching fist, demanding more money to alleviate piracy problems.
Truly, if Puntland forces could displace thousands of villagers in eastern Sanag, and launch military incursion into Sool, killing innocent local politicians, then, undoubtedly, the Farole gang could also apprehend pirates, overrunning their dens along the coast of Puntland. No ifs, ands, or buts! But piracy will remain unabated in Puntland because just as mafia business is lucrative in Italy, so too, piracy is profitable business in Puntland. And just as Mr. Farole adheres to Col. Yussuf´s clan dogma engraved in stones, Mr. Farol also inherits the pricy problem instigated by Col. Yussuf. Read my article entitled, “Somalia Regime: Epicenter of Sea Piracy”.
Why piracy remains ineffective in Somaliland´s territorial water and in its soil, but piracy thrives in Puntland? Simply, the Somaliland culture neither condones piracy, nor glorifies pirates as heroes.
To sum up, Somaliland cannot let its citizens die in vain; a proper response is a must, but the timing is crucial. Due to the chronic instability in Somalia, and the sever drought that brought millions of Somalis to their knees—littering their dead bodies across the barren land of Somalia, Somaliland government should hold back any retaliations against Puntland. At the present time, Somaliland should lick its wounds, bury its murdered officials, and demand the immediate and the unconditional release of the rest of the officials held hostage in Puntland, while sending letters of protest to U.N. and IGAD. But Mr. Silanyo´s government can not let Mr. Farole get away with the murder of Somaliland officials in their own land. The Farole gang must be punished, but not now.
firstname.lastname@example.org | 15 August 2011