Aug 13, 2007

Turmoil in Puntland

Puntland has been one of the most stable regions in Somalia. While the south was rampaged by warlords and militias this region continued to grow. In 1998 the state of Puntland was formed but unlike Somaliland the region does not claim independence. Puntland region is now the wealthiest in Somalia.

But recently there has been political turmoil in the Puntland and the Somali shilling, one of the worlds worst currencies and still used in Puntland, has devalued even further. PINR has an excellent report about the situation in Puntland and the possibility that it might destablize the region even further.

Puntland is made up of Harti, a sub-clan of Darood which includes Majeerteen, Dhulbahante and Warsengeli. Majeerteen is the largest clan and has the presidency while the vice president is Dhulbahante. The two tribes act as balance to one another, and often compete. While Dhulbahante is part of Puntland they've kept their own autonomy - and distance - from Puntland (for example they don't pay taxes). The Puntland soldiers in Nugaal and Sool are mostly Dhulbahante as well.

The currency problem is mostly the result of the businessmen printing counterfeit money. Because there isn't a central bank in Somalia, anyone with enough money can print his own bank notes, and many do. As a result, the Somali shilling was devalued and the price of goods increased dramatically. As a result the TFG prime minister Gedi announced that the government will be printing new bank notes.

There might be some political instability but the tribal elders in the region yield much power and they've always made sure - even before Puntland was created - that peace is kept in the region.

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