Somaliland issues threat: Tensions soar in LasAnod

LASANOD, Somalia (Caasimada Online ) – Somaliland Army’s 12th Brigade Commander, Faisal Abdi Botan, announced the army’s intent to launch an offensive against the SSC-Khatumo forces in LasAnod after heavy fighting erupted again on the town’s outskirts last Saturday.

Speaking to Somaliland-owned media from the Goja-Adde command near Las Anod, Botan emphasized that the national army would take “an unforgettable” step against the enemy while intensifying its operations.

The commander accused the Puntland administration of playing a role in the conflict and claimed that the opposing forces suffered heavy losses during Saturday’s skirmishes.

In contrast, SSC elders’ committee spokesman, Abdirizak Mohamed Hassan, asserted that they had killed 100 Somaliland soldiers and wounded another 100, adding that they had defeated the Somaliland army in the war.

Despite mediation efforts by various parties, attempts to reach a ceasefire have been unsuccessful.

While both sides have announced ceasefires at different times, the fighting has continued unabated.

US calls for de-escalation

The United States State Department recently expressed growing concern over the ongoing violence in LasAnod, a disputed town in northern Somalia.

In a statement released last Friday, the State Department urged “adherence to the agreed ceasefire, unhindered humanitarian access, and resumption of constructive dialogue towards peaceful resolution.”

The statement also warned that “continued violence will increase the potential for extremist groups to sow broader instability and further exacerbate the ongoing humanitarian crisis.”

As a show of commitment to peace, the US called on Somaliland to withdraw its security forces and requested militias in Las Anod to cease any offensive actions against Somaliland forces.

Devastating impact on civilians

The conflict between security forces and clan fighters in Las Anod has resulted in more than 200 deaths within a month.

The fighting, which began on February 6, has caused significant damage to infrastructure and homes.

The mayor of Las Anod, Abdirahim Ali Ismail, reported that “210 civilians were killed and 680 others were wounded” in the clashes.

The conflict was triggered by the assassination of Abdifatah Abdullahi Abdi (Hadrawi), the local chairman of Wadani, Somaliland’s opposition party, and the subsequent murder of local entrepreneur Mohamed Ali Saadle.

The conflict trigger 

On February 5, local leaders, clan elders, and notable figures convened in Las Anod to discuss resolving the conflict.

They issued a 13-point declaration reinstating the rule of the SSC-Khatumo regions, denouncing Somaliland as a separatist state, and reaffirming their commitment to being part of federal Somalia.

They also urged Somaliland authorities to withdraw their soldiers from the area. This declaration led to violent clashes, with both sides accusing the other of aggression.

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.

The unresolved status has further complicated the situation in the region as various parties continue to vie for power and influence.

LasAnod, which straddles a key trade route, is claimed by both Somaliland and neighboring Puntland, a semi-autonomous state of northeastern Somalia.

The ongoing conflict over this strategic location has intensified tensions between the two sides, further complicating prospects for a peaceful resolution.