Puntland Situation Report – August 2019


“Somali Law & Policy Program
August 2019

  1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
    Over the course of the August reporting month, the security situation in Puntland State of Somalia
    remained relatively stable and even optimistic, although the state continued to face serious threats
    from conventional and non-conventional forces. Unprecedentedly low numbers in violent deaths
    for August signaled an improved security situation in Puntland, especially with regards to a decline
    in violent extremist activities. The cycle of attacks, mostly concentrated in and around Bossaso,
    have dropped significantly since June, giving credence to the administration’s efforts and
    community-led engagement to restore Bossaso as a center of economic activity in Somalia, and
    the wider region. Two roadside bombings in Bossaso during August indicated that IED (improvised
    explosive devices) attacks remain the foremost security threat to state forces and government
    officials in Puntland.
    Although low numbers in violent deaths in Puntland were reported, the sub-national conflict with
    Somaliland and regional fault-lines continued to intensify. Significantly, instability in the regional
    fault-lines and local/clan conflicts remained key factors that fueled insecurity, and as the month
    ended, it was unclear whether or not the government had any action plans to tackle this threat.
    Sporadic armed clashes with Somaliland forces in Sanaag region continued, exerting further
    pressure on Somaliland already facing low-intensity insurgent attacks on its forces in Sool region.
    The El Afweyn clan conflict in western Sanaag region continued to rage on and an armed skirmish
    in Sanaag region between Puntland and Somaliland forces was followed by defections of
    Somaliland forces to Puntland. Local clan conflicts in Mudug region continued to worsen, as there
    were reports of a series of revenge killings between sub-clans from Puntland and Galmudug.
    The Puntland leadership attempted to address a growing trend of local clans adopting Islamic
    Sharia Law to govern traditional justice systems. In a bid to quell the growing trend, the Puntland
    Vice President hinted at government-community dialogue process during his speech marking Eid
    celebrations in Puntland. Moreover, the justice process for the high-profile case of violent rape and
    murder of 13-year-old Aisha Ilyas concluded with the Puntland High Court upholding of murder
    convictions for three men.
    Puntland’s relations with the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) remained fraught with
    disputes, with Puntland levying allegations against FGS interference in the Jubaland state
    elections. This development is significant as the two sides’ growing rift worsens, as the 2020/2021
    federal elections loom closer. Somaliland and Puntland relations fared no better, as the Puntland
    leadership vocalized contradicting perspectives towards the conflict over Sool and Sanaag
    regions. Contradiction was also a theme when the Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission
    (TPEC) was appointed, as the Puntland vice president disagreed publicly with the president’s
    TPEC nominations. Furthermore, the new administration’s reform efforts to implement systems of
    integrity was tested when media reports surfaced that potentially tarnished the state’s commitment
    to public finance management. The dispute between FGS and Puntland education ministries and
    its impact on Somali students came to surface, indicating that the federal-state political dispute
    was having an adversarial effect on Somali students. Finally, Somali local airlines were focused on
    launching allegations of “unfair competition” against international airlines companies, but the local
    airlines’ shortcomings have paved the way for foreign-owned carriers to dominate the Somali
    aviation market’




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