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Somaliland to probe Puntland military supply plane

by Staff Writers
Mogadishu (AFP) Dec 19, 2010
Authorities in autonomous Somaliland said Sunday thy opened an investigation into a plane seized en route to neighbouring Puntland that contained military supplies and two South Africans posing as journalists.

"We have sent transferred the case to the prosecutor and the affair will now go through the courts," said Transport Minister Mohamud Abdi Hashi.

The government of Somaliland, a northern region of Somalia which has declared independence but is yet to be internationally recognised, made the decision to investigate on Saturday evening, Hashi said.

Hashi said prosecutors would probe a violation of Somaliland airspace, the violation of an international embargo on arms to Somalia, and the presence of two South Africans who passed themselves off as journalists.

Somaliland authorities seized the plane on December 10 after it was forced to land in regional capital Hargeysa because it was short on fuel.

It was heading to Puntland, another autonomous Somali region which is home to many of the pirates who threaten international shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, after travelling from South Africa via Uganda.

It contained military equipment including uniforms and there were six people on board, authorities said.

Tensions run high between Somaliland and Puntland, which are separated by a disputed territory where armed clashes sporadically break out.

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