Ten civilians killed in deadly artillery shelling in LasAnod

LasAnod (Caasimada Online) – According to residents, the city of LasAnod in northern Somalia has been hit by a deadly artillery shelling that killed at least ten civilians and injured several others on Saturday. The shelling also caused significant damage to buildings in the area. 

LasAnod has been witnessing heavy fighting between Somaliland forces and residents who reject their presence in the city for the past two weeks. Somaliland forces stationed on the outskirts of the town have been accused of being responsible for the recent attack. 

Targeting of SSC elders’ residence 

According to residents, the Somaliland forces targeted the residence of SSC (Sool, Sanaag, and Cayn) elders in the town. However, the elders escaped without any casualties.  

Aaqil Abdirisaaq Mohamed Hassan (Falalug), the SSC spokesperson, accused Somaliland of bombing the town with mortars daily with the intention of massacring the people. 

He reiterated that peace talks between SSC and Somaliland are only possible if Somaliland forces leave LasAnod town. He also denied the arrival of any delegations from Hargeisa, Somaliland’s administrative capital. 

Displaced population

The United Nations’ emergency response agency reported that over 185,000 people had been displaced from their homes due to clashes in a disputed border town in Somaliland.  

Women and children make up an estimated 89% of the displaced population, with many seeking shelter under trees or inside schools that have been forced to shut down due to the violence.  

Additionally, more than 60,000 people have fled to Ethiopia’s Somali region to escape the violence, with an average of 1,000 people crossing into Ethiopia daily. 

The conflict in LasAnod 

Somaliland has long been regarded as a model of stability in a chaotic region, having declared its independence from Somalia in 1991.  

Despite being recognized internationally, recent months have seen a surge in political unrest, culminating in deadly violence between government forces and pro-Somalia militias in the contested town of LasAnod. 

Rooted in the region’s struggle for statehood and recognition, Somaliland claimed independence from Somalia in 1991 but has never been recognized internationally.  

The region’s relative stability and economic progress have been seen as a beacon of hope in an otherwise chaotic region. However, its quest for statehood has yet to be recognized, leaving it poor and isolated. 

The latest fighting in Somaliland erupted in the contested town of LasAnod on February 6, with both Somaliland and neighboring Puntland claiming control over the area.

The latest violence in LasAnod comes amid growing calls for peace talks to end the conflict in the Sool region. Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has been calling for an amicable solution to the current conflict triggered by the assassination of a young politician from LasAnod.