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EE SOOMAALIYA                  OF SOMALIA   
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 REF: PL/XSXMW/235/2001                                          Garowe, Thursday, 08 November 2001  
To     :      The Government of the United States of America
C/O     :      U.S. Embassy, Nairobi, Kenya  
Dear Sir,  
With reference to the article published by Washington Post on the 4th of November 2001, I am surprised that Puntland State of Somalia has drawn the attention of the United States of America as a terrorist stronghold. This has indeed created serious concern among the people as well as the administration of Puntland. I would therefore like to confirm to the government of the United Sates of America our stand and knowledge regarding the subject in question.  
There has been no hint whatsoever of any kind of presence of Al Qaeda or any one or group associated with the named suspect, Osama Bin Ladin, or affiliates of his at any time in any part of the territory of Puntland. In the aftermath of the attack of September 11, our security guards at the airports and Bosaso port closely watched the travellers in order to spot suspicious movements of terrorists.  
Prior to the formation of Puntland State of Somalia, a radical religious group calling themselves Al-Itihaad made an armed attempt to take over the then North Eastern regions of Somalia, under the leadership of the now defunct Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF). They were badly defeated and over one thousand men were killed in the confrontation during June and July of 1992. SSDF then decreed a special security law banning the existence of Al-Itihaad in the land. That law is still in force in Puntland. That incident of 1992 is remembered with resentment by the general Public. Since then no particular group of extremist persuasion dared to breach the law. I believe that there is no exaggeration in saying that Puntland's resolve to fight off the Al-Itihaad terrorists prevented further attempts to impose extremist brands of Islam on Somalia by taking advantage of the given situation of statelessness.  
The allegations that Bosaso has been used to send Somali volunteers to Afghanistan are baseless. The quoted local radio reports monitored by the BBC are probably from Radio  
Galkayo, controlled by Puntland's former President, Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who had been ousted from office in July following a ruling by the titled traditional leaders, after his unlawful refusal to hold planned constitutional elections as per the interim Charter of Puntland. The Colonel is now in Galkayo, conducting a relentless campaign of disinformation against the ongoing democratic process in Puntland to elect new leaders. The 2nd Constitutional Conference is still underway in Garowe and is expected to conclude by next week. I will of course keep you informed of the anticipated results to elect a President and a Vice-President.  
Despite what the Ethiopian officials had to say to the newspaper, I must repeat that Al-Itihaad has no place in Puntland.  The position here is to promote and maintain friendly relations with our westerly neighbour of Ethiopia. Any US military action on Puntland would amount to an attack against democracy rather than an attack on a real terrorist target.  
We hope the government of the United States of America finds our response sufficient and credible. If, however, there is any ambiguity about the issue concerned, we wish to take advantage of this opportunity to invite delegations from your government to come to Puntland to investigate the matter. As a gesture of goodwill, we will ensure genuine co-operation and provide any facility required from us to circumvent any danger of terrorism in this region.  
Looking forward to hearing from you, and best regards  .

Yusuf Haji Nuur
Care-taker President
Puntland State of Somalia

Copyright © 2001 By Qandala.