Congratulations to the President of the newly created Southwest State of Somalia, H.E.
Hassan Nur Shatigadud, other leaders and inhabitants of all the Regions!
For those of you who were not following the long process and tough talks that paved the
way to bring together six regions of Southern Somalia, it took a series of meetings in
Garowe, Elbarde, Addis Ababa and finally Awassa to establish the foundations of this
Initially, great ideas are difficult to be embraced by some people and it took a lot of
persuasion to convince some of the participants in those meetings that it was in the best
interest of each and every region in that part of Somalia to create a State.
The New President of this State was not among those to be persuaded in those long and
tiring meetings held inside and outside Somalia.
I would like to pick up this opportunity to recall a day in which our chartered light
aircraft from Garowe lost its way to Elbarde and finally landed in a stormy in Bardale
instead on rough makeshift airstrip one and half years ago. Quickly, we found
aircraft surrounded by a seemingly hostile militia armed with technicals, plenty of rocket
propeller grenades and AK-47 assault rifles. The President of Puntland State of Somalia,
myself and a number of cabinet Ministers were inside that aircraft.
Those militia-men luckily were from the RRA strictly instructed to hunt down members of
the Arta Faction, who were infiltrating the regions at the time. Under the gun and having
our aircraft blocked by technicals from both ends of the pumpy runway, we were forced to
explain who we were. Saransoor was the commanding officer of those besieging
militia. He saved our lives that day. We were released finally following an
identification process. We were late for several hours to reach our destination, Elbarde.
Surprisingly, we had succeeded during our five-day stay in Elbarde to bring the
faction leaders of the six regions that today constitute The Southwest State of
Somalia, a federation of equal states as a guarantor for regional
development and a sure safeguard against tyranny, backwardness and abuse of human rights,
is here to stay forever.
Long live the united, strong and prosperous federal Somalia!
Ismail H. Warsame
Chief of Cabinet