Somaliland president vows revenge after militia seizes base

Hargaisa (Caasimada Online) – Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has vowed revenge against the SSC militia, a local clan militia challenging the authority of the self-proclaimed republic, following their seizure of a major military base in the Sool region.

This incident is the latest in a series of conflicts between the Somaliland troops and the SSC militia, as tensions persist since hundreds died in the February fighting.

Addressing a press conference in his capital, Hargeisa, the President said, “People should not be discouraged due to the fighting even though there are losses inflicted on the army.”

He urged the citizens not to fear further escalation and insisted that revenge would be taken against the alliance that perpetrated the attack.

Despite the Somaliland President’s assurances, residents of Las Anod, the capital of the Sool region, are tense and uncertain about what the future holds.

Abdilatif Adan, a resident of Las Anod, told Caasimada Online, “There is no fighting, but there is massive military mobilization going on.”

Background of the conflict

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

The region of 4.5 million people, formerly a British protectorate, prints its own currency, issues its own passports, and elects its own government.

However, the quest for statehood has left it relatively poor and isolated, albeit stable compared to Islamist insurgency and civil war-torn Somalia.

The city of Las Anod is claimed by both Somaliland and the neighboring autonomous region of Puntland, which has fueled tensions and conflict in the region.

Doctors Without Borders, a medical charity, had to cease operations at Las Anod’s general hospital in July, citing recurrent attacks on medical facilities and extreme violence.

The UN humanitarian affairs office estimated that more than 185,000 people had fled the violence by February 16.