Abdillahi Yusuf Allies Himself With Abdiqasim Salad Hasan


Somaliland Times, Issue 106 Feb.2-8, 2004

NAIROBI--(SL Times) In the ever shifting alliances between the various southern warlords, Puntlands Abdillahi Yusuf has now allied himself with Abdiqasim Salad Hasan, former president of the transitional government, better known as the Arta Faction, sources close to the Nairobi peace talks on Somalia said.

The new alliance between the two faction leaders was reportedly forged earlier this month following Abdiqasim Salad Hasan's return to the peace talks. Since the peace negotiations began in Oct 2002, each of the two faction leaders has tried hard to steer the course of the talks in a way that would be favorable to his own political agenda. The two men competed against each other to wield as much support as possible from the delegates, with each wanting to boost his chances for winning Somalia's presidency. However, neither of the two men succeeded in emerging as a winner.

The sign of rapprochement between Abdillahi Yusuf and Abdiqasim Salad Hasan first emerged after the two held a series of extensive face-to-face talks at Nairobi in the last 2 weeks, it was reported. According to sources close to the meetings, Abdillahi Yusuf surprised Abdiqasim Salad by showering him with highly conciliatory gestures and offering support for the Arta Faction leaders re-election as Somalia's president.

Abdiqasim Salad Hasan has reportedly pledged to appoint Abdillahi Yusuf as his premier provided the latter distances himself from Ethiopia. The anti-Ethiopian propaganda emanating from Puntland controlled media, particularly the Las-Anod FM radio station, since last week, has been cited by observers as an indication of Abdillahi Yusuf's compliance with Salad's demand. In addition to Abdiilahi Yusuf's lust for power in a future government for Italian Somalia, he is also displeased by Ethiopia's opposition to his invasion of Somaliland's Sool region. Abdillahi Yusuf's associates in Bosaso have recently castigated the Ethiopians for not being cognizant of the real situation in the region. These comments were issued on the heels of an Ethiopian delegation's visit to Majerteenya (Puntland).

The Ethiopian delegation was headed by the commander of Harargey, Gen. Gabre Makanan. Warlord Abdillahi Yusuf's spokesman, Mr. Ismaaciil X. Xasan said in an interview that they were upset with the stand that the Ethiopians took with regard to the conflict between Puntland and Somaliland. The spokesman said the Ethiopians insisted that colonial boundaries should be respected.

To return the favor, Abdiqasim Salad Hasan has accepted to support Abdillahi Yusuf's claims on Sool and Sanag. In a BBC interview broadcast yesterday, Abdiqasim Salad Hasan suggested that the number one priority of the future government of Somalia will be the disarmament and demobilization of armed militia men all over Somalia. Abdiqasim Salad Hasan made it clear that Somaliland should be included in any disarmament effort to be initiated by the government to emerge from the Nairobi talks.