The government of the de facto independent but nominally unionist Puntland State of Somalia recently switched its support to a proposed South-Western State consisting of three regions in the mostly lawless far-south of the “Federal Republic of Somalia.” Earlier, Puntland had supported the ambitions of another autonomous state, Jubaland, to win approval from the internationally recognized central government in Mogadishu for a legitimate autonomous territory—a status which Puntland enjoys. (The proposed flag of South-Western State is pictured on the wall in the upper right of the above photograph.)
The March 31st statement read, “Puntland government conveys warm congratulations to Southwest State of Somalia’s people on their role in crowning an autonomous state,” and added that Puntland “fully supports the formation and the development of southwest state of Somalia.” Jubaland has also been supported by the governments of Ethiopia and Kenya, two major foreign players in southern Somalia’s seemingly endless civil war against the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamists of al-Shabaab.
Jubaland (which has at times also been called Azania and Greenland) claims Lower Juba, Middle Juba, and Gedo, three of Somalia’s 18 official regions. South-Western State would include these as well as Bay, Bakool, and Lower Shebelle and would have a capital at the inland city of Baidoa, not the fiercely fought-over harbor city of Kismayo, which serves as Jubaland’s capital. (The eight northernmost of the 18 regions are governed by two de facto independent “autonomous states”—Puntland and Galmudug—and by the fully independent but internationally unrecognized Republic of Somaliland.) Somalia is currently in the beginning stages of a transition to a new system of federal states, but even their boundaries have not been agreed upon.
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of power as president of South-West State of Somalia.
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