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109 Reported Killed in New Somalia Clashes

October 31, 2004|From Reuters

HARGEYSA, Somalia — A defense spokesman in the Somaliland region said Saturday that 109 people had been killed in fighting between his territory and the rival region of Puntland.

Somaliland has accused Puntland's leader -- Somalia's new president -- of waging war on it. Abdullahi Yusuf, elected president on Oct. 10, has pledged to work peacefully with breakaway Somaliland as he tries to restore order to Somalia, which descended into anarchy in 1991 after the ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

But Yusuf's election has alarmed Somaliland, hostile to a man it has long seen as its archfoe. It warned Yusuf on Oct. 12 against any attempted aggression and said it was on alert against any move to reunite Somaliland with the rest of Somalia.

The Somaliland defense spokesman said 109 people had been killed since fighting erupted Friday in the village of Adi-Addeye, near Las Anod.

It was unclear whether that figure referred to combat casualties, civilians or both, but the spokesman said nine Somaliland soldiers were killed.

Puntland and Somaliland have fought sporadically for years over several eastern areas of Somaliland claimed by Puntland's leaders.

The cause of the new fighting was unclear, and each side accused the other of starting it.

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