While speaking with journalists in the city of Djibouti, where he is currently in talks with officials from Somaliland, the self-proclaimed president of Khaatumo State Ali Khalif Galaydh denounced Puntland saying: “To our enemies, with Puntland being #1, we will unite against them.”
Galaydh also spoke dismissively of the newly elected president of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo saying that he was “the president of Mogadishu” and that he should “take care of Mogadishu [before worrying about anything else].”
Before arriving in Djibouti, Galaydh was recently driven out by an armed militia of his own Dhulbahante kinsmen from the town of Buhoodle, which serves as the base for Khaatumo State, an unrecognized political entity which rejects association with Somaliland and instead seeks to be recognized as a federal state within a united Somalia. Galaydh had angered residents there after it became clear that he sought to merge Khaatumo State with Somaliland, with many accusing him of being bribed and seeking a political appointment within Somaliland at the expense of his Dhulbahante constituents who had long supported Khaatumo State in order to resist their assimilation into the Issaq-dominated Somaliland secessionist state or the Majeerten-dominated Puntland federal state of Somalia.
Given Galaydh‘s embarrassing ejection from Buhoodle, and the sentiments of many Dhulbahantes that they will never join Somaliland, it is unclear how much support Galaydh has as he continues talks with Somaliland officials. Many suspect that he is representing little more than his bank account, with Somaliland having a reputation for bribing Dhulbahante elites to proclaim their support for Somaliland in order to bolster the secessionist state’s chances of outside recognition by presenting itself as a united, multi-tribal state.
Galaydh was said to have recently had a lengthy phone conversation with Farmaajo who, like all Somali leaders outside of Somaliland, is sternly against an independent Somaliland. His dismissive comments on Farmaajo’s election, which were delivered in a dry and almost mocking manner, suggests that friction has already developed between the two men.
In the areas of northeastern Somalia claimed by Khaatumo State, massive public demonstrations supporting Farmaajo took place following his election, including in the city of Buuhodle. In addition to his general popularity for honesty and good governance, Farmaajo’s mother was a Dhulbahante woman from the area of Somalia claimed by Khaatumo State and many there consider him one of their own.