Somalia: Protests continues in LasAnod as Somaliland shuts down internet

LasAnod (Caasimada Online) – Protests in the city of LasAnod, located in the Sool region of Somalia, have resumed and are reportedly becoming increasingly violent. 

The demonstrations began a week ago and were sparked by the assassination of a local youth leader and member of the opposition Waddani Party, Abdifatah Abdullahi Abdi (Hadrawi).

Since the start of the protests, Somaliland security forces stationed in the city have used force to try and control the situation, leading to casualties, including deaths and injuries. In response, the government of Somaliland, which has jurisdiction over the region, has shut off internet access in LasAnod in an attempt to quell the unrest.

The city has been thrown into a state of crisis, with businesses, schools, and general movement coming to a standstill. The ongoing demonstrations and use of force by security forces have only served to escalate the situation, with no resolution in sight.

At least 21 people have been killed in the city since the riots began a week ago, including women, children, young people, and elderly.

In recent hours, top leaders in the country, including former presidents and politicians, as well as some international countries, have called for an end to the violence in the Sool region and have urged Somaliland to address the concerns of the people of LasAnod. 

Decades ago, Sool region declared itself an independent state known as the Khatumo State. However, this declaration was not recognized by successive Somali governments, and the region ultimately came under the control of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland.

Since then, the Sool region and the neighboring region of Sanaag have resisted being fully incorporated into Somaliland and sought greater autonomy. 

These longstanding grievances have contributed to ongoing tensions between the government of Somaliland and the people of the Sool region, including the current round of protests in LasAnod.

It remains to be seen how the situation will be resolved, as the protesters continue to demand that the security forces leave the city and the use of force by the authorities continues to result in civilian casualties.