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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

SOMALIA: Concern over tension in north

NAIROBI, 8 January 2004 (IRIN) - The Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB) - which brings together donors, UN agencies and international NGOs - has expressed concern over the rising tension in northern Somalia.

The self-declared republic of Somaliland and neighbouring self-declared autonomous region of Puntland both lay claim to the disputed regions of Sool and Sanaag, and there are reports of troops build-ups and preparations for conflict.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the SACB said such reports "in areas that have managed to achieve a measure of peace and stability in recent times are a particular preoccupation for the members of the SACB".

The statement went to say that the timing of these moves was regrettable given the fact that the local people were suffering a "debilitating drought".

"International assistance to the area, including the humanitarian drought-relief operation currently under way, would inevitably be one of the first casualties of an outbreak of armed conflict and hostilities, and the people of the region the first to suffer," the statement warned.

It urged the Somaliland and Puntland authorities to resolve their differences peacefully and called on them "to exercise the greatest restraint, and to do all in their power to defuse the mounting tensions".


Theme(s): (IRIN) Conflict



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