Somalia's Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke is scheduled to hold discussions with
officials of the semi-autonomous Puntland region Monday. His visit
follows the assassination of five Pakistani clerics in the region last week.
The alleged killers
dragged the preachers out of a mosque and shot them dead. No group has claimed
responsibility for the killings.
Sharmarke's visit to Puntland is his first as
prime minister after he was nominated by President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed
in neighboring Djibouti in February.
Somali information minister Mohamoud Farhaan itold VOA that Prime Minister Sharmarke will discuss with Puntland
officials military cooperation as well as finding a lasting solution to the
region's piracy menace.
prime minister is going to the Puntland region for two or three days on
official visit. That will be his first visit. For the last six months he was
the prime minster of the Transitional Federal Government. We expect that the
delegation of ministers and MP's (Members of parliament) and other civil
servants will be (joining) him in this journey," Farhaan said.
men reportedly dragged five Pakistanis out of a mosque after dawn prayers in
Puntland last Wednesday and opened fire on them. Although no group has claimed
responsibility for the attack, authorities in Puntland have launched a manhunt
for the killers.
Farhaan said a high
ranking official of Puntland was also killed recently.
"Before the assignation of
the clerics which is an unfortunate event, there has also been the killing of
the information minister of Puntland in the same city Galkayo…there
is also growing concern of security of the region which has relatively been
peaceful," Farhaan said.
He denied the reason for the
prime minister's visit was because of the assassination of the Pakistani
"This trip has been planned
about three months ago. And it didn't happen because of what is happening in
Mogadishu… this is a window for the prime minister and his delegation to take
advantage of," he said.
Farhaan praised the
government of the semi-autonomous Puntland for the relative peace it has
"The Puntland authority has
done a lot showing that Puntland remains a peaceful and prosperous and forward
looking. I'm very proud of what they have done," Farhaan said.
He said among the
discussions would be security cooperation between Mogadishu and Puntland.
"One of the reasons is to
discuss with the Puntland authorities of how we can cooperate in terms of
security. What happens today in Mogadishu is not going to be far from Puntland.
Therefore cooperation within Somalia and Puntland is paramount," he said.
Hard line Somalia insurgents
have refused to recognize the Transitional Federal Government led by President
Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
They have vowed to overthrow
the less than a year administration and implement the strictest form of Sharia