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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 Galmudug 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.

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References in periodicals archive ?
(52.) Darod clan members, rather than the SSDF, formally adopted the Puntland Charter.
Bahadur indicates that there is a certain amount of collusion between the pirates and the revenue-starved government in Puntland; that despite rumours and much speculation, there seems to be little or no connection between pirates and Islamic terrorist groups like Al-Shabaab; and that pirates are in this for the money and tend to prefer, whenever possible, to hijack unarmed boas.
Puntland is relatively peaceful compared to south-central Somalia and foreign aid workers and businessmen are usually able to operate there.
Puntland, which unlike Somaliland does not seek recognition as an independent state, was formed in 1998.
Uganda-based Saracen International has been identified as the contractor in a letter and a statement from Puntland's government and the Somali president's former chief of staff.
Al-Shabaab hit Somaliland and Puntland with synchronized suicide blasts that killed at least 24 people in Oct.
The new contracts were signed by the parties in Garowe, Puntland, and subsequently approved by the Cabinet of the Puntland Government.
The gunmen snatched the workers in the village which is 75 miles south of Puntland's capital Bossasso.
The ship and its crew of 12 were being held close to the island of Ras Afun, just off the Puntland coast.
Some local administrations, including the self-declared "Republic of Somaliland" and the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, have made Islam the official religion in their regions; however, regional authorities generally do not espouse rhetoric against non-Muslims.