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Published On: Tue, Dec 28th, 2010

Puntland’s tin mineral war; South African mercenaries

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Tin is one of the earliest metals known and used.

Because of its hardening effect on copper, tin was used in bronze implements as early as 3,500 B.C. Nearly every continent has an important tin-mining country. Tin mineral is mainly used as a protective coating or as an alloy with other metals such as lead or zinc.
The Somaliland authorities are investigating plane loaded with military hardware for the self-styled Puntland region that made an emergency landing at Egal International Airport (Hargiesa). This is part of Puntland’s agenda to wage war with unknown objectives; however, the investigation will enlighten such unknown agenda and objects. Puntland, self-styled region of Somalia led by Cabdiraxman Faroole, is training more than a thousand soldiers to fight piracy – as they claim.
The first-hand reports show different stories: Puntland invited foreign companies including Australians to mine in the region that have more than 30,000 tons of tin mineral worth about $250 million. In order to achieve this, the mining area should be secure and safe, as Australians conditioned.
In recent months, Puntland started its operations to free the wealthy locations including Galgala and Mijayahan villages that have large quantity of tin mineral. The villagers of the areas, mainly Warsangali tribesmen led by Sheikh Atom, took arms against the invasion. The fighting broke between villagers and Puntland militia, which resulted in death and displacement of hundreds of people. Australians are holding breath until Faroole clears the wealthy locations. Faroole’s recent interest into illegal mining points out a shift of business agenda from piracy and human trafficking to criminal mining. Think tank groups, governments and UN accused Puntland administration for human trafficking and piracy in last decade. Thousands of poor Ethiopians, Somalis and other Africans die trying to reach Yemen and on wooden boats by the close associates of Faroole including a son. Faroole administration blames Atom for having relation with terrorists like Al-Shabab and Al-Qaeda without concrete evidence. Also, Faroole claimed of eliminating Atom and the villagers; however, first-hand reports from Galgala say that Atom withdraw from Galgala on military tactic but not a defeat.
In order to achieve his agenda, Faroole requested weapons and training from South Africa and Uganda with help of mercenaries. He contracted Saracen International, a security company associated with Uganda’s Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho, alias Salim Saleh, a senior advisor to President Yoweri Museveni, who is also his younger brother, to train Puntland militia who will protect the mineral. Saracen International is known as (Ghost of Congo) for its illegal activities in Democratic Republic of Congo.
AFP and AP reported that an unnamed Arab country is sponsoring the expenses of the training militia for Puntland and military equipment from South Africa and Uganda into Somalia, which violates UN weapons embargo on former Somalia. The UN weapons embargo team is visiting Hargiesa, capital of Somaliland, to participate in the investigation of the arrested plane at Hargiesa airport.
Faroole administration is trying to mislead the world over the illegal war at Galgala by linking his opponent Sheikh Atom to religious extremism, but the bottom-line is Faroole is trying to overtake minerals and other natural resources in the area.
Former military leader in Somalia Mohamed Siyad Barre explored the minerals in the region with the help of a Bulgarian company; however the company stopped the operations and left Somalia for unknown reasons. The Ministry of Minerals and Water of the military regime invited BRGM Company from France and Arab Mining Company (AMC) from Arab League.
The exploring companies agreed on an estimation of $250 million worth tin minerals, including the expenses, in the area, and quantity 30,000 tons of Cassiterite or Tin. The fighting between Puntland and Sheikh Atom is over the minerals in the region.

By ABDULAZIZ AL-MUTAIRI  ARAB NEWS

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