Puntland condemns Kenya's deputy speaker
30 Dec 30, 2009 - 1:04:39 PM

The government of Somalia’s Puntland state has strongly condemned the recent visit of Kenya parliament deputy speaker Farah Ma’alim Mohammed to Las Anod town in Sool region.

In an interview with BBC Somali Service, Puntland’s Good Governance and State minister, Mohammed Farah Isse Gashan accused Ma’alim of interfering with the affairs of Puntland and entire war-torn Somalia.

“Puntland government strongly condemns the visit of Kenya’s parliament deputy speaker Farah Ma’alim to some parts of Somalia, which as government, we see as direct interference into Somalia’s state of affairs. In particular, we us a government condemn his visit to the capital of Sool, Las Anod,” he said in an interview with BBC’s Ahmed M. Ali (Kismayo).

Gashan said that the deputy speaker was aware of the status of the region, which is under the Somaliland administration and most of the region’s intellectuals are away.

“Farah Ma’alim is aware that Las Anod is unlawfully under the control of Somaliland and that most of its leaders, elders, elites and scholars are out of the town,”

The minister termed Ma’alim meeting with people in one of Las Anod’s Hotels as a way of fuelling animosity between Puntland and Somaliland.

Asked why his government is raising condemnation against Farah Ma’alim, who was a Somaliland visitor and the fact that Las Anod is under Somaliland, the minister replied:

“Farah Ma’alim knows better that Las Anod is forcible controlled by Somaliland and its people is against that. His visit is to support Somaliland’s bid to break-away from the entire Somalia.”

“He met with some people in a hotel called Hotel Hamdi and told them not to wait for Puntland or Somali Federal government instead join Somaliland,” he said, adding that his government got the information from the confidential eyewitnesses.

The minister said if Ma’alim would have stayed only in Hargeisa, then Puntland would not have raised any condemnations. Nevertheless, he noted that his calling to people of Las Anod to forcefully follow Somaliland was of great concern to Puntland.

On other hand, reports from Las Anod said that people who were agitated by Ma’alim’s remarks barred by security forces from demonstrating.

It is not clear the reason behind the visit of Kenya’s Palimanet deputy speaker to Las Anod, at a time when the town is heavily disputed by the two governments.

However, political analysts say the visit come after Puntland jailed several people accused of having links with Ethiopian rebel group, Ogaden National Liberation Front.

Before his election as the deputy speaker, Farah Ma’alim, who was then an opposition figure, was accused of allegedly supporting Somalia’s Union of Islamic Courts, which was fighting against the UN-backed Somali transition government.


Source:Garowe Online