The semiautonomous Puntland state has jailed four government officials of the self-declared Somalialand republic following a border dispute.
The officials were seized in Taleh district after clashes on August 10. The area is about 1,100km northeast of Mogadishu.
“Our security officials seized 11 (Somaliland) officials that trespassed our jurisdiction,” the spokesman of Puntland’s presidency, Omar Abdullahi Farole, said.
District judge Abdinur Jama Hussein on Wednesday handed down terms ranging from 5-10 years.
Soldiers accompanying the officers at the time of capture were each sentenced to five years in prison.
The however court released one of the accused after he proved that he was not a Somaliland government officer.
Somaliland was formed in May 1991 following the collapse of central rule in Somalia while Puntland was constituted as a semiautonomous state in August 1998.
The two authorities have been in dispute over the control of a large territory that comprises most of Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (SSC) regions that lie between them.
However, a rebel movement calling itself SSC Authority has been claiming independence from both Puntland and Somaliland, further complicating the dispute.
According to SSC leaders, the group believes in the unity of Somalia and is particularly opposed to the secessionist ideal of the Somaliland leaders.
By: ABDULKADIR KHALIF
Source: Africa Review