UN calls for investigation into the killings in LasAnod

New York (Caasimada Online) – In the midst of ongoing clashes between security forces and clan members in LasAnod, Somalia, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, has called for an independent, effective, and impartial investigation. 

Türk expressed concern over the recent clashes and the potential consequences they could have on the already fragile humanitarian situation in the region.

“At least 20 people have been killed, and an estimated 119 others injured in LasAnod – among them children – in fighting between the security forces and members of a local clan,” Türk stated. “I am concerned by reports that the clashes are continuing today with additional claims of new casualties.”

Türk expressed concern over the possible impact of the clashes on the already fragile humanitarian situation in the region, as it comes just a month after around 20,000 people were displaced due to violence.

“These potentially unlawful killings come just a month after at least 20,000 people were displaced by clashes in LasAnod, and could contribute to further displacement, compounding the already fragile humanitarian situation in the region,” he said.

“I call on the authorities to conduct a credible and impartial investigation into the clashes to determine who is responsible and hold them to account in fair trials, including for reported damage to homes,” he said.

The situation in LasAnod, in the Sool region, has been escalating over the past month. The local population has voiced their discontent with the presence of the Somaliland administration and has demanded the withdrawal of its troops. 

This tension reached a boiling point on Monday when Somaliland forces attempted to enter the city and were met with resistance from the residents.

In response to the ongoing conflict, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has appealed for an immediate end to the hostilities. He emphasized that the solution to the problems in the Sool and Sanaag regions lies within the realm of politics and that the people’s will must be respected.

“The will of the people cannot be resolved through the use of force. Their will must be respected, weapons must be laid down, hostilities must cease, and a negotiating table must be set.”

The current crisis, which began in December of last year, was triggered by the assassination of a local youth leader and opposition party member. 

Since the start of the protests, the Somaliland security forces have used force to quell the situation, leading to casualties and further fueling the conflict.

According to the Director of LasAnod General Hospital, Ahmed Mohamed Hassan, the battle between Somaliland government forces and local self-armed residents has resulted in the deaths of 38 individuals and injured 132 others. 

The Somaliland authorities have claimed that their troops were attacked by militias aligned with local traditional elders. However, this claim has been disputed by one of the local elders who spoke to the media and stated that the Somaliland army was actually the aggressor.

The traditional elders, who had been in the city for nearly two weeks, issued a statement rejecting the notion of LasAnod being a part of Somaliland and instead expressing their desire for the region to come under the jurisdiction of the Federal government of Somalia. 

The elders’ statement also emphasized the unity and sovereignty of Somalia and the integral role of the SSC-Khaatumo region and its people in the Federal Republic of Somalia.

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991, but the international community has not recognized its independence.

Despite controlling the regions of Sool, Sanag, and Cayn for over 15 years, the Somaliland administration has faced opposition and resentment in the area.