Somalia: Clashes in LasAnod leave 15 dead, over 40 injured

LAsAnod (Caasimada Online) – At least 15 people have lost their lives, and more than 40 sustained injuries in the aftermath of a deadly conflict that took place on Monday in LasAnod, a city located in the Sool region of northern Somalia.

The unrest in LasAnod has been brewing for the past month, as the local population has vocally opposed the presence of the Somaliland administration and called for the removal of troops.

On Monday, the situation escalated when the Somaliland forces attempted to enter the city, only to be met with opposition from the local residents. 

The authorities of Somaliland have claimed that their troops were attacked by militias loyal to local traditional elders who had gathered in LasAnod. 

However, this claim has been disputed by one of the local elders who spoke to local media and stated that the Somaliland army actually attacked the city.

Tragically, most of those killed in the conflict are innocent civilians, including women and children, according to the director of the LasAnod General hospital. 

Among those who lost their lives was Mohamud Ali Hersi Boos (Afgab), a local resident who was an outspoken critic of the Somaliland administration and a member of the SSC rebel group that had fought against the Somaliland forces in the past. Boos had recently returned to LasAnod and was killed during the conflict that broke out on Monday.

The conflict erupted just a few hours after the traditional elders, who had been in the city for nearly two weeks, issued a statement rejecting the idea of LasAnod being a part of Somaliland. Instead, the elders expressed their desire for the region to fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government of Somalia.

The elders’ statement also reinforced the unity and sovereignty of Somalia and emphasized that the SSC-Khaatumo region and its people are an integral part of the Federal Republic of Somalia.

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991, but its status as an independent state has not been recognized internationally. 

Despite controlling the regions of Sool, Sanag, and Cayn for over 15 years, the Somaliland administration has faced opposition and resentment in the area. 

The current crisis, which started in late December, was triggered by the assassination of a local youth leader and member of the opposition Waddani Party, Abdifatah Abdullahi Abdi (Hadrawi), which was blamed on Somaliland. 

Since the start of the protests, the Somaliland security forces stationed in the city have resorted to using force to control the situation, resulting in casualties and further exacerbating the conflict.