The Somalia regional administration of Puntland briefly closed Amal Bank in Garowe for not promptly complying with a demand for cash contribution towards military preparations that the Somalia federal state was making to ‘recapture’ Sool and Sanaag regions of the Republic of Somaliland.
An order to pay up US$ 70 000 to the government was delivered to the bank management who did not immediately comply as neither the amount demanded nor the reasons behind it were in line with the objectives of a commercial establishment.
Customers, according to a Facebook posting on the event by reporter Yasin Husein Ismail, were turned back by clamped, wrought-iron gates and shuttered windows and armed gunmen on the larger part of today’s working hours.
The reports added that the bank was re-opened following frenzied shuttles between the two sides by a number of elders to bring the issue to a negotiable stage.
How many other establishments have felt the brunt of similarly unreasonable financial demands, how many coughed up and how many reneged on stated amounts and reasons are any one’s guess.
Puntland, a federal state of Somalia, has laid territorial claims built on ethnic allegiances on great swathes of the erstwhile British Somaliland Protectorate on which boundaries and international borders the Republic of Somaliland was born of.
It is believed that Puntland is acting on behest of the AMISOM-guarded, weak administration in Mogadishu in order to create a state of emergency that would allow the incumbent government to extend its expiring term.
Others say Puntland went livid with envy following the talks that began between President Siilaanyo’s government and Dhulbahante clans that the Garowe administration has always used as human shields to protect its political and commercial centers in the old Bari and Mudug regions of the defunct Somalia Democratic Republic.
This latest move on the part of Puntland coincides, too, with Garowe’s vehement, often belligerent, opposition to successful voter registration activities in Somaliland and, particularly, in the Sanaag and Sool regions of the Republic.
That Puntland even thinks of invading Somaliland is not inconceivable as Somaliland people’s justified pleas for diplomatic recognition has been largely ignored by all international bodies such as the UN, AU, EU, Arab League, IGAD, and by individual countries far and near.
Somalia’s Puntland sees that as a tacit tap on the shoulder to go for the kill as it believes the world will turn a blind eye as it did in the case of a Somaliland republic for over a quarter of a century now.
Puntland was conceived as a semi-autonomous regional administration of Somalia in August 1997, some six years behind the reclamation of independence of Somaliland in May 1991.