Where is Puntland?

The map of the Puntland State of Somalia.
The map of the Puntland State of Somalia.

In the aftermath of the 1991 Somali Civil War, Puntland declared itself an autonomous state in 1998, and its recognition remained unseen. However, unlike Somaliland, Puntland wishes to form a united but federal Somali State. Puntland is recognized by the Independent Federal State of Somali. It has a constitution that governs the country. Under this constitution, the government has three branches; the executive, legislature, and judiciary. Puntland is also in constant disputes with Somaliland in some regions such as Sool and Sanaag. Apart from the civil strife that hit the country in the early 2000s the country remains economically and politically stable. Since it does not seek any independence from Somali, Puntland has little international relations apart from development-based associations with other nations such as the UK and Djibouti.

Background And Overview

Since mid-1998, the northeastern part of Somalia has been regarded as the Puntland region of Somalia. The pre-colonial Somalian community had no national governments nor did clearly defined borders exist. However, the northeastern parts did have a traditional system of government dating back to the 19th century. The Sultans ruled these areas. In 1923-1927, the British and Italian ruled out the Sultanate, suppressing any resistance and destroyed any political, commercial and economic activity. Italian trade companies replaced import-export sector. Puntland was formed at the onset of the 1991 Somali Civil War. The constitutional conference held in Garowe in 1998, formed Puntland so that it can offer services like security to the people, control trade, and facilitate domestic and international relations. On August 12, 2014, the semi-autonomous state of Puntland cut all ties with the Somali government. Puntland area is composed of Bari, Mudug, Nugal, Sool, Karkaar, Sanaag, and Ayn regions. It occupies one-third of northeastern Somalia and almost half of Somali’s coastline. Puntland has a population of about 3 million people. The country has a functional constitutional government, security system, public sector, and it is a democratic state. The 2009 elections were peaceful, and there was a smooth transition followed by peaceful power transfer.

Politics And Government

On April 15, 2012, Puntland inaugurated a new constitution overseen by the Puntland Electoral Commission. This action led to finalizing the regional democratization process which had started in the 2009 draft constitution. On September 12, 2012, PEC allowed for party registration. On January 8, 2014, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali was elected as the 5th president with Abdihakim Abdullahi Haji Omar as the Vice President. The Puntland government has three branches; the executive which consists of the President, Vice-president, and nine ministers, the Legislature comprising of 66 members, with five women, and the judiciary. On June 21, 2009, Puntland adopted a new constitution with 141 provisions which allow for a multiparty political system. Puntland has a state flag and a national anthem. The flag has three colors; the blue stripe with a white star represents the Somalian flag, the white line lies at the center symbolize peace and unity, and the Green at the bottom represents Puntland natural wealth.


Puntland has 1600 km of coastline with abundant fish and other marine resources. Livestock rearing, frankincense, myrrh, manufacturing, and agriculture also contribute largely to the country’s economic activities. Bosaso has a large commercial market that opened in December 2011. The Golis Telecom Somalia is also located in Bosaso, and it supplies GSM, internet services, and fixed line. The services extend to forty other districts in Somaliland and Puntland and cover the major cities of Somalia. Other telecommunication services include Netco, Telcom, and NationalLink. More projects underway include the construction of a fish market in Garowe with collaborations from the UK and UNDP and the development of new seaports within the region. The last project is an association involving Djibouti and a China-based international construction firm. As of 2012, oil mining started in Puntland and Somali. The country has its Television and radio station. Private stations include the Somali Broadcasting Corporation and Eastern Television Network broadcasting from Bosaso.

Disputes And Boundaries

Over the years Puntland and Somaliland have engaged in violence clashes. The most disputed areas are the boundaries between Somaliland and Puntland, and also the fact that whereas Somaliland wants to split Somalia into independent states, Puntland works towards a united but federal Somalia. Tensions with Somaliland over Sool and Sanaag regions have persisted. Puntland also disputes over Cayn, Sanaag, and Sool with the independent state of Khatumo. As of January 2009, Maakhir is part of Puntland. In general, Puntland consists of Bari, Ayn, Sool, Mudug, Nugal, Karkaar, and Sanaag.


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