Somaliland army vows to stay in Las Anod despite violence

Las Anod (Caasimada Online) – The military of the self-proclaimed republic of Somaliland, located in northern Somalia, has declared that it will not abandon the city of Las Anod in the Sool region, despite the recent deadly protests that have resulted in the loss of at least 20 lives in the past week.

Brigadier General Mahad Ambashe, the commander of the Somaliland armed forces in the Sool region, stated that the national army has yet to leave and has no plans to leave the region.

“To my understanding, the national army has not left and has no plans to leave the region,” he said.

General Ambashe has issued a warning to those he believes are attempting to destabilize the region, stating that the military will continue to use force to maintain peace, law, and order.

He added that if the town descends into anarchy, the military will return to protect life and property.

The current protests in Las Anod were sparked by the assassination of a local figure, Abdifatah Abdullahi Abdi Hadrawi, after he left a mosque on December 26, 2022.

The killing led to the deaths of at least 20 people when Somaliland forces used excessive force to suppress the protest.

Somaliland President Muse Bihi has apologized for civilians’ deaths, promised to investigate the incident, and pledged to withdraw troops from the town once stability has been restored.

The military faced backlash and was then forced to retreat to army bases on the outskirts of Las Anod on Thursday after anti-government protesters and local militias stormed the city.

General Ambashe expressed remorse for the loss of life during the protests but argued that the military had exercised restraint and that the situation could have been much worse if a different army had handled it.

The international community has expressed concern about the ongoing violence in Las Anod and called for an end to the unrest.