The two-day National Consultative Council meeting concluded recently in Dhuusamareeb, again without Puntland. The discussions primarily focused on the recent political and security developments, with a particular emphasis on the ongoing counterterrorism operations.
Dhuusamareeb, Galmudug, SOMALIA. By Jama:
Members from the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), Federal Member States (FMS) representatives, and Banadir region officials attended the meeting. Similar to previous instances, the invitation did not extend to Puntland.
Within the Council, a consensus emerged regarding the alignment of the ongoing counterterrorism operations with the national strategy designed to combat al-Shabaab. Moreover, there was agreement on the need to accelerate national reconciliation in liberated areas. The Council also concurred that al-Shabaab leaders and fighters who surrender to the government and local forces should receive amnesty.
Aloof mention of the situation in Sool
Furthermore, Council members expressed concern about the situation in the Sool region. They called on all sides to exercise restraint and safeguard the prisoners’ rights. The Council’s response to the developments in Las Anod, much like the recent statement from the international community, appeared noticeably aloof and detached.
As the Somali Digest wrote in yesterday’s Editorial, the so-called “prisoners” are largely responsible for the indescribable anguish inflicted on hundreds of innocent civilians through indiscriminate shellings. It is bewildering how both the FGS and the international community, aware of these atrocities, had previously maintained near silence. The Somali government remained deafeningly silent throughout the conflict, raising concerns about whether it still considers Sool part of Somalia or whether it already gave it up to the break-away Somaliland. Their sudden concern for the perpetrators, now prisoners, rather than the victims is glaringly incongruous.
Puntland absent again
As mentioned above, the Somali President again did not invite representatives of Puntland, precisely Puntland’s President Said Abdullahi Deni. The absence of Puntland from the meeting underscores the lack of progress in resolving differences between the FGS and Puntland administrations.
On a similar occasion two weeks ago, the Ministry of Finance of the Puntland government, an entity pivotal for Somalia’s debt relief process, received no invitation to an important economic meeting in Mogadishu. This omission, critics argue, reflects the central government’s persistent neglect of varying perspectives and ignorance of Somalia’s (federal) governing system. Observers emphasize that inclusivity is paramount. All member states, not just those reliant on the FGS, should engage in such matters.