Breakaway Northern Somalia Firmly Declares Refusal to Discuss Unification with Somalia
On Tuesday, September 26, 2023, the breakaway region of Northern Somalia made it clear that it has no intentions of discussing unity with Somalia, which contradicts the statement made by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. President Museveni had previously stated that he would act as a mediator for unification between the governments of Northern Somalia and Somalia.
Since declaring autonomy from Somalia in 1991, the government of Northern Somalia has struggled to gain widespread international recognition for its independence. In a statement released on Sunday, Northern Somalia’s government asserted that any future dialogue between the two nations would focus on how they can progress separately as previously united countries, rather than discussing unification.
Despite being plagued by civil war, Northern Somalia has maintained relative peace for over three decades, while Somalia has experienced significant unrest. Northern Somalia emphasizes that it currently has no plans for engaging in dialogue with Somalia to discuss unity.
In certain disputed areas along the border between Northern Somalia and Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland state, some clan elders have expressed their desire to be part of Puntland rather than Northern Somalia. The town of Las Anod has witnessed intense fighting between Northern Somalia forces and militiamen, illustrating the complexities of the situation.
President Museveni’s remarks on unifying Somalia and Northern Somalia followed his meeting with Jama Musse Jama, a special envoy for Northern Somalia. During their meeting, President Museveni highlighted the importance of moving away from identity politics for the sake of prosperity in both nations.
Uganda’s state house declined to comment on Northern Somalia’s statement, according to President Museveni’s deputy press secretary. The information and interior ministers of Somalia did not provide an immediate response to requests for comment. However, it is worth noting that Somalia has consistently maintained its position that Northern Somalia is part of its territory and supports the idea of unification.
This report was compiled by Aaron Ross, with additional contributions from Elias Biryabarema. The article was written by Hereward Holland and edited by Estelle Shirbon.