An estimated 160 soldiers have defected from the northern breakaway republic of Somaliland amid tension in Tukaraq town in Sool region.

Sources said the forces have surrendered themselves to the rival Puntland authorities in Boohoodle town in Togdher region. The reason behind their defection remains unclear.

Lieutenant General Abdirisak Gar’ad, who is among the surrendered officers said they moved from Araweyn area in the conflict-hit Sool region.

He stated that they decided to join Puntland army after losing patience with Somaliland’s aggressive attacks in the region, where an escalating tension has been brewing since Jan.