The dispute between Somaliland and Puntland stems from 1998, when Puntland formed and declared the region as part of its territory. Prior to that, it had been claimed by Somaliland since the 1991 events of the Somali Civil War.
Puntland claims Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (SSC) based on kinship ties with the regions' dominant Darod clans. Somaliland claims the territory as part of the original bounds of the former British Somaliland protectorate, which the enclave's separatist government regards itself as the successor to. Fighting between the two forces led to casualties and captured prisoners, who were later exchanged.
The dispute with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) stems from the passage of the new Charter in November 2004. However, this was not a pragmatic issue until the military successes of the government in the 2006–2007 war in Somalia. Assertions of sovereignty in January 2007 by the TFG leadership sparked riots in Somaliland.
On July 1, 2007, the state of Maakhir was declared in Sanaag. The polity's leaders claimed independence from both Puntland and Somaliland, but Maakhir was later officially incorporated into Puntland in January 2009.
Sool is a disputed region, claimed as sovereign territory by both the Somaliland and Puntland administrations. During 2006, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) also incorporated sharia courts in Sool region into their loose alliance, though their military forces never occupied the region.
From 2003 to October 2007, Sool was controlled by Puntland.
The area, centered on the town of Buuhoodle, is also disputed by Somaliland and Puntland. According to Somaliland, the so-called Cayn (or Ayn) area claimed by Puntland remains part of the Togdheer region. Somaliland disputes the territorial claims of Puntland, which wrote the claim on the portion of Togdheere into their 1998 charter.
Troops from Somaliland and Ethiopia entered this region on 15 May 2010, in order to facilitate the upcoming Somaliland elections. Troops searched several towns and villages, including Buuhoodle, for local clan militia supporting Puntland. These forces clashed with local militia, leaving at least 13 dead on 33 wounded.
Capture of Las Anod
In October 2007, the conflict mushroomed into a regional conflict over control of the city of Las Anod, as Somaliland regular army forces mobilized from their base in the town of Adhicadeeye, west of the city, and entered the conflict. Puntland was slow to mobilize a counter-attack, as Puntland's weak economy and overstretched military obligations in Mogadishu prevented a rapid response. After getting the city under its control, Somaliland moved Sool's regional administration into Las Anod. Between 10 and 20 people were reported to be dead.
The 2010 Sool clashes saw Ethiopian and Somaliland forces engage an autonomist militia in northern Somalia's Sool region in a bid to pacify the region ahead of the Somaliland presidential election, 2010. Ethiopian troops used to enter southern Somalia to fight Islamist militants, but it is believed to be the first time that they have sought to do this in the semi-autonomous region of Somaliland, which is generally seen as more stable than Somalia.
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