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semiautonomous region (2009 est. pop. 3,900,000), c.82,050 sq mi (212,500 sq km), extreme NE Somalia. It is bordered on the N by the Gulf of Aden, on the E by the Indian Ocean, on the S by the Gulmudug region, on the SW by Ethiopia, and on the NW by the Somaliland region. Puntland occupies about a third of Somalia and contains about a third of its population. Garowe is the capital, and Bosaso, on the Gulf of Aden, is the largest city and region's major port.

An arid area with frequent droughts, it supports pastoralism and some agriculture, and there is fishing along the coast. Oil exploration on land and offshore began in the 2000s. In recent years Puntland has been a hub for pirates targeting shipping in the Indian Ocean.

Ruled by various Muslim sultanates for hundreds of years, it came under European influence along with the rest of Somalia in the 19th century. Puntland became part of the newly independent Somalia in 1960. Puntland declared its independence in 1998, but unlike neighboring Somaliland, Puntland is not seeking recognition as an independent entity but is willing reestablish ties with the federal government if the latter shares power and foreign aid with the regions. Puntland has had border disputes and conflicts with Somaliland and Galmudug. Since the 1990s the region has been inundated by refugees from the war-torn south, and more recently Islamic militants have been a growing presence in the area.

References in periodicals archive ?
The airline is to launch thrice weekly flight from October 12, 2015, and will be using Beach 1900D aircraft to serve the Addis Ababa-Gerewe route, capital of Puntland.
Puntland now has its own well-trained Maritime Police Force, funded by the UAE.
1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- ION Geophysical Corporation (NYSE: IO) and the Puntland Petroleum Minerals Agency (PPMA) announced that the PPMA has awarded ION a contract to acquire 8,000 kilometers of seismic data covering the entire Somalia Puntland offshore margin.
Puntland, on the northeastern tip of Somalia, had in the past largely avoided the regular attacks seen in other areas.
political situation between the Regional Government of Puntland and the
The convicted pirates, who had been tried on the Indian Ocean archipelago, were flown back to Somalia's northern Puntland region, the interior ministry said in a statement.
Impoverished Puntland, which forms the tip of the Horn of Africa, has its own government, but unlike neighboring Somaliland, it has not declared independence from Somalia.
Since the first successful exploration wells were drilled in semi-autonomous Puntland in early 2012, oil has become a deciding factor in the reduction of piracy, claims Gary Li, Senior Analyst, IHS Maritime.
The north east has broken way into two autonomous statelets in Puntland, and Somaliland in the north west has been separate from the rest for many years, successfully holding elections and managing its affairs well.
But in northern Somalia, the region of Puntland has a reasonably effective local government and runs its own maritime police force.
Forces of Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region said their maritime force began the operation to free the hostages, and their ship, nearly two weeks ago.
Forces of Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region raided hijacked ship MV Iceberg on Sunday and safely rescued 22 hostages who had been held captive for nearly three years, authorities said.