Somaliland fights back against accusations in Laascaanood

Hargiasa (Caasimada Online) – The Republic of Somaliland, a self-proclaimed state in northern Somalia, has dismissed the allegations related to the ongoing conflict in Laascaanood, the capital city of the Sool region. 

The conflict, which has been raging for five days, involves the forces of Somaliland and local fighters who oppose their presence in the city and have called for their withdrawal.

Over the past five days, the conflict has resulted in approximately 50 deaths and over 150 injuries. The Somaliland forces have been accused of killing civilians and disrupting basic services in the city.

Somaliland denies accusations 

The Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement rejecting these allegations. In the statement, the ministry said, “The critical situation of Laascaanood has become highly politicized and continues to be exploited by organized groups in the region who are actively working to destabilize the Republic of Somaliland and the Horn of Africa.”

The statement also denied allegations that the government has obstructed humanitarian aid to Laascaanood.

“The Somaliland government strongly rejects the baseless allegations that claim Somaliland’s national security forces have obstructed humanitarian assistance to Laascaanood. This completely contradicts the national principles, values, and dignity of the Republic of Somaliland,” the statement read.  

Terrorists and Al-Shabab claims

Somaliland, on the other hand, repeated its claims that Laascaanood is under attack by terrorists and members of Al-Shabab, a claim that has been previously perceived as a pretext for killing civilians. 

The statement called for the international community to join forces in combating terrorism and extremism, saying, “The Somaliland government emphasizes the necessity of the international community and its strategic partners to join in combating terrorism and extremism, which pose significant threats to Somaliland and the region’s security, stability, and democratization.”

Al-Shabab rebuffs involvement

However, the Al-Shabab militant group has previously issued a statement denying these claims as baseless and a guise to justify killing innocent civilians. 

“The Al-Shabab Mujahideen group denies the statement made by the self-proclaimed Somaliland administration that Al-Shabab is fighting in Laascaanood,” The statement read,

The statement added, “Al-Shabab confirms that the statement is baseless and will not accept its name being used as a guise to justify killing innocent civilians, taking their property, and their honor in Laascaanood.”

Roots of the conflict 

The conflict was sparked by a decision made by local leaders who declared that the region would be under the control of the federal government of Somalia and not part of Somaliland.

Local leaders have accused Somaliland forces of launching an attack, while Somaliland authorities have claimed that groups organized by local leaders attacked their forces.

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991 but has not yet been recognized as a separate state. Despite controlling the regions of Sool, Sanag, and Cayn for over 15 years, Somaliland has faced opposition and resentment. 

The current crisis was triggered by the assassination of a local youth leader and opposition Waddani Party member, which was blamed on Somaliland, leading to further violence and casualties.