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Conflicting claims over ceasefire agreement in Las Anod raise doubts over peace prospects

Thursday February 16, 2023


Las Anod (HOL) - Somaliland's President Muse Bihi Abdi announced on Thursday that traditional elders in Las Anod have accepted the ceasefire and agreed to meet with Somaliland's counterparts in Yagoori in the Sool region to end the conflict peacefully. However, Garad Jama Garad Ali, a traditional elder from Las Anod, who spoke to Gaylan Media, denied a peace meeting being organized and further accused the Somaliland government of mobilizing its forces. The discrepancy in claims between the two parties raises questions about the prospects of ending the conflict and the credibility of the parties involved.

The president made the announcement following a meeting in Las Anod, attended by various dignitaries, including the chairman of the senate, former vice presidents, parliamentarians, politicians, scholars, businessmen, women, youth, and Somaliland's traditional leaders and intellectuals.

"The intellectuals have accepted the ceasefire and have given orders to their army as far as I know, but there are many civilians who have taken up arms and are not listening," President Bihi said.

He added that the army is staying peacefully in their camps and that the people of Las Anod and Somaliland are brothers who have agreed to end the conflict peacefully. The president assigned the task of holding the peace meeting to Somaliland's traditional leader.

The president noted that the intellectuals in Las Anod requested the peace meeting be held in Yagoori. 

However, Garad Ali denied opening talks with Somaliland's traditional leaders. He said no ceasefire was agreed upon between the Las Anod people and Somaliland. He further noted that the Somaliland government delivered vehicles and weapons to Las Anod and that no one contacted his delegation to offer peace talks.

Garad Ali said that Somaliland's soldiers must be removed from the area as a precondition to any ceasefire or peace talks.

The United States government has called for an end to the conflict in Las Anod and urged stakeholders to resolve their disputes through dialogue.

Asked about the news that Somaliland forces committed abuses in Las Anod, American Ambassador to Somalia Larry E. André Jr. said he was still trying to get reliable information.

"There must be an end to the conflict; it is not in anyone's interest to continue fighting. This issue must be resolved through dialogue. I have had direct talks with the leaders of all parties, members of the international community and President Hassan Sheikh has also delivered the message to stop the violence," said André.

He further stated that those who started the attack and those who targeted the people would be investigated at the appropriate time, but now the important thing is to stop the conflict and settle the issues through dialogue.
At least 82 people, including civilians, have been killed in several days of fighting in Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland, a medical source said this week. The International community strongly condemned the continued violence and expressed serious concern about reports regarding the mobilization of armed groups. The breakaway region of Somaliland has been accused of indiscriminate shelling on civilian targets but claims that its operations are "defensive in nature" and has accused the SSC of harbouring terrorist elements, which the SSC vehemently denies.


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