SOMALILAND: Forces place 12 Dhulbahante tribal leaders under house arrest

LAS ANOD (Somalilandpress) — Twelve traditional tribal chiefs from the Dhulbhante clan have been placed under house  arrest by Somaliland forces in the town of Holhol.

In total, 14 tribal chiefs, known as Garaad or Isimo were expected to hold a political round-table discussions in the town of Holhol in the district of Huddun of Sool region, about 220km north of Las Anod on Sunday. The main focus of the Garaado Confederacy was to implement and establish a committee who would carry out attacks against Somaliland forces including political assassinations, remote bombing and creating unrest in the region. The conference was a follow up to a conference that was held in Nairobi early this year which was designed to create instability in the region.
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According to sources, the tribal leaders originally wanted to host the conference in the neighbouring semi-autonomous region of Puntland but leaders from that region blocked  the meeting.

On Sunday morning, the tribal chiefs led by Garaad Jama Garaad Ali, traveled across the border to hold the conference inside Somaliland. Somaliland intelligence who received information before hand, notified the military, about midday, Somaliland forces surrounded and arrested all tribal leaders except two who escaped in a car including the chairman of the conference Garaad Jama Garaad Ali.

Somaliland forces have reportedly given them 24 hours to denounce violence against Somaliland forces and acts of terrorism.

It is believed that the Garaad leaders were behind recent blasts and attacks in the town of Las Anod which killed a number of Somaliland policemen and military officers. Most of these blasts are often being financed by Dhulbahante clan-men in the Diaspora.

The dhulbahante clan which mainly inhabits in the Sool region is divided between Somaliland and Puntland, many are still loyal to clan affiliation and consider themselves part of Puntland and the Harti-Darood brotherhood. While many see themselves as Somalilanders and believe the development of the region is better off under Somaliland.

Right: Garaad Jama Garaad Ismael & Garaad Abdisalam

During the Nairobi conference, the Garaad leaders urged their supporters to kill Somaliland forces and leaders in the region by any means necessary and they have vowed to disrupt democratic institutions in the region including elections.

No one knows what the forces will do with the tribal leaders but they remain under house arrest.

Somaliland also sent a heavily armed combat unit to the town of Tuka-Raq who secured roads leading to Garowe in Puntland. However, according to source close to the Puntland government, a number of ministers from Puntland have held a secret meeting with Somaliland military officials in Tuka-Raq, who requested Somaliland to spare the town of Tuka-Raq.

In a meeting in Puntland Presidential villa, Puntland vice-finance minister, Abdi Halas, said in the presence of Puntland-vice president, Mr Abdisamad Ali Shire, that by meeting with Somaliland officials they have saved a lot of towns from Somaliland including Tuka-Raq. When he was questioned what Puntland forces would do, he said, Somaliland forces will withdraw from Tuka-Raq as part of the agreement.

Garaad Jama Garaad Ali

It is believed that Somaliland forces wanted to detain Garaad Jama Garaad Ali, who is accused of masterminding all the attacks against Somaliland forces. Somaliland is said to have made secret agreement with Puntland to hand over Garaad Jama in return Somaliland would withdraw from number of towns.  Garaad Jama is currently believed to be hiding in the town of Sah’dheer in the Sool region, no one knows if he will return to Garowe.

Listen to Garaad Jama Garaad Ali speaking to Puntland based local radio: [audio:garaad_jama_interview.mp3]

Somalilandpress, 26 January 2010

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