Over 100 Somaliland soldiers defected to Puntland state

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Over 100 soldiers from the self-declared state of Somaliland have defected to the semi-autonomous regional state of Puntland, according to a confirmation statement made by Puntland military officials on Monday.

The two regions in northern Somalia had severally engaged in a deadly gun battle over a territorial dispute.

Speaking to the media, Nugal governor, Omar Abdullahi Mohamed aka Fara-weyne said one of Somaliland contingents dubbed Ga’an Liban (Lion paw) comprising of 110 soldiers surrendered to the authorities of Puntland state.

Puntland military officials have matched the identities of the soldiers to be those who were ‘renegades’ from Somaliland.

Abdullahi Abdi Ali, the commander of the defected soldiers said the soldiers defected following troubles foisted by the breakaway region Somaliland.

The move comes just three months after the two states fought in open warfare over Tukaraq town in Sool region.

Following two days of fierce fighting, Somaliland took control of the town which initially was under control of Puntland state.

Both Puntland and Somaliland have been in a contest over Sool and Sanag regions with each side claiming control.

Somaliland, a former British colony, declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 but has not been internationally recognized. Puntland is officially a member state of the Federal Republic of Somalia but functions as a semi-autonomous state that generally runs its own affairs.

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