Las Anod (Caasimada Online) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced that 43 bodies had been recovered within the last week from the embattled Las-Anod area, the locus of ongoing conflict in the self-declared republic of Somaliland.
The humanitarian organization added that the Somali Red Crescent Society had shuttled 110 wounded civilians to hospitals in the same period.
Patricia Danzi, the ICRC’s director-general, observed, “Amidst the political conflict, we must not forget the human tragedy unfolding. Our paramount concern is for civilians caught in the crossfire.”
Somaliland, which split from Somalia about 30 years ago, has been locked in a protracted struggle with the Puntland state of Somalia over control of Las-Anod, the capital city of the Sool region.
This conflict pits Somaliland’s security forces against clan militias loyal to Somalia’s Puntland state.
Who’s fighting whom, and why?
Somaliland’s aspiration to be an independent state has faced stiff resistance from clan militias desiring reintegration into Somalia.
The dispute concerns territorial claims, cultural heritage, and unresolved political tensions.
Beyond the fatalities and injuries, the conflict has spurred a massive migration crisis. Many residents have fled the city, with hundreds of thousands displaced.
Furthermore, the ICRC reported widespread damage to civilian infrastructure in Las Anod.
A Controversial Standoff: The Treatment of Captured Combatants
The government of Somaliland condemned circulating images purportedly showing the mistreatment of captured Somaliland soldiers.
In a statement, it reminded all parties of their obligations under the Geneva Conventions and Islamic traditions regarding the treatment of prisoners.
The ICRC disclosed that its personnel recently visited 300 detainees held by the militias, four of whom required immediate hospitalization.
Dr. Sa’ad Ali Shire, Somaliland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, stated, “While we strive for peace, both parties need to adhere to international protocols.
It’s crucial, particularly for the detained, who are still human despite the circumstances.”
Accountability and transparency
Earlier this year, Somaliland’s defense ministry vehemently denied allegations that it had targeted Las-Anod’s primary hospital with artillery fire. Independent verification remains elusive.
As the conflict simmers, questions about accountability, humane treatment of detainees, and the devastating impact on civilian life loom more extensive by the day.
Amid geopolitical maneuverings, ordinary citizens bear the heaviest burden—underscored by the grim statistics presented by international humanitarian organizations.