At least  160 soldiers who have defected from Somaliland and joined Puntland on Sunday, Radio Dalsan reports.

Speaking to the media in Araweyn town, Lieutenant General Abdirizack Gar’adag, the Commander of the military men who previously defected from Puntland administration in 2012 before joining Somaliland said they decided to be part of Puntland.

“This is the Araweyn army that joined Somaliland in June 2007. It was covered in the media everywhere. And today February 2018, it has joined Somalia’s Puntland regional state government,” said Lt. Gen. Abdirizack.

Lt. Gen. Abdirizack added that they no longer have confidence in Somaliland.

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“We have withdrawn our confidence from Somaliland. We joined Puntland,” he added.

On the other hand, Puntland top security officials and members of parliament said they welcome the military men’s move to join Puntland.

“I, the commander of the Special Forces in Ayn province took over the Araweyn army. I convey to you greetings from Puntland President Abdweli Gaas and Deputy President Abdihakim Haji Omar Amey. We were waiting for you. You are welcomed. I am so happy with this. I can’t even talk more because of the joy. So I am telling you, thank you, thank you, thank you,” said a Puntland commander who took charge of the new army.

The defection of the force men from Somaliland to Puntland comes at a time when there has been a territorial conflict between the two sides. Both Puntland Somaliland claimed ownership of Sool and Sanaag regions which are located at the border.

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