A report today on an internet news source says the semi-autonomous region in central Somalia known as Puntland has cut ties with the UN-backed transitional government.  The story was carried by www.i-o-l.co.za.  For reaction, Voice of America's Cole Mallard spoke with Said Samatar, a professor of African History and African studies at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey.  

On hearing this report, Samatar expressed surprise. He said the report ?just doesn?t make sense? because the president of the central transitional government, Abdullahi Yussef, and his ?fledgling government? depends very much on Puntland for its military support to protect his government in Baidoa, plus the fact that Mr. Yussef is from Puntland himself.  Samatar said he is ?highly skeptical? as to the veracity of the report.  He said ?I believe someone has been misinformed.  They are probably confusing Somaliland and Puntland.? 

But if indeed it was true, Said said the severance of relations could mark the end of Abdulahi Yussef?s ?so called? government. 

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