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Tensions escalate as SSC militia, Somaliland forces anticipate conflict post-Eid holiday


Saturday April 22, 2023

 
Garad Jama Garad Ali

Mogadishu (HOL) - Garad Jama Garad Ali, a traditional elder of the SSC, announced that the SSC militia has grown impatient with Somaliland forces and is determined to intensify attacks following the Eid holiday. Garad Ali called for Somaliland to withdraw its army from SSC territories, asserting that this is a necessary condition for initiating dialogue.

"We are at an impasse, and they have nothing left. We want to inform the world and the Somali government that our patience has run out. After today's Eid, we will go on the offensive," stated Garad Ali.

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He called on Somaliland to withdraw its army from the SSC areas, stating that it is a necessary step before any form of dialogue could begin.

In Hargeisa, Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi addressed the Las Anod conflict during Eid prayers, maintaining that Somaliland's colonial border was non-negotiable. The president denied claims that Somaliland oppressed the people of Sool and insisted that they lived in freedom.

Amnesty International released a report on April 20, estimating that over 100 people have been killed and more than 600 injured, including dozens of civilians, due to fighting between Somaliland security forces and SCC-Khatumo local armed forces in the disputed Las Anod town. The organization called on all parties to the conflict to end indiscriminate attacks, commit to protecting civilians, and respect the rules of international humanitarian law.


Muse Bihi Abdi

Since January, clashes between security forces and clan leaders in Las Anod, northern Somalia, have killed 80 people and displaced 30,000 more, says the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO estimates that between 154,000 and 203,000 people have been displaced since December 2022 due to ongoing fighting. Approximately 95,000 refugees and asylum-seekers have arrived in Ethiopia from Somalia since the conflict in Las Anod began. The conflict has escalated during a severe drought in the Sool region, causing unprecedented water shortages and raising the risk of disease outbreaks.

The Las Anod conflict erupted following the assassination of a local opposition politician in December 2022, which incited anti-Somaliland government protests. Somaliland's security forces responded by indiscriminately firing at unarmed demonstrators, killing up to 20 during initial demonstrations that continued into early January.

Currently, a local committee of 33 Dhulbahante clan elders controls Las Anod. Although Somaliland troops have declared a shift to offensive tactics, they remain stationed outside the city, prompting international condemnation, mediation efforts by neighbouring Ethiopia and Djibouti, Western diplomatis, as well as calls for humanitarian relief due to concerns over further escalation.

Somaliland, a self-proclaimed republic with no international recognition, formed in 1991 as a separatist state breaking away from Somalia's northwestern region during its civil war.
 



 





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