Monday March 6, 2023
Las Anod (HOL) - Heavy fighting erupted on the outskirts of Las Anod on Monday between SSC-Khatumo forces and Somaliland, according to local sources.
The Somaliland government has blamed the morning's fighting on groups it has labelled as joint forces, which it claims are composed of terrorists, anti-peace groups, and Puntland forces.
In a statement, the government stated, "The allied groups in the town of Las Anod on 06/03/2023 attacked the positions of the National Forces of the Republic of Somaliland in the vicinity of the town."
Although the situation in the town had been stable for the past few days after more than 20 days of fighting, some neighbouring governments have made ongoing efforts to implement a ceasefire.
It is unclear what sparked the latest outbreak of violence, but tensions between SSC-Khatumo forces and Somaliland have been simmering for some time.
Fighting in Somalia's Sool Region has killed at least 80 people and injured 451 others, including medical personnel, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) Human Rights and Protection Group and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The UN has repeatedly called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and for all parties to prioritize the needs of the civilian population. However, violence continues to flare up sporadically, underscoring the situation's fragility.
The violence has been ongoing since 28 December 2022 and has displaced more than 185,000 people. Hospitals have also been damaged, which has hindered access to medical care for the wounded.
The humanitarian impact is a growing concern as the fighting enters its fourth week. The UN has called for respect for medical workers, facilities, and services and for the sick and wounded to receive the necessary medical attention without discrimination. The UN has also urged unhindered humanitarian access to all those in need.
The situation in Somalia is dire, with an estimated 8.25 million people needing humanitarian assistance and protection in 2023, almost half the country's population. The UN has urged all parties to the conflict to prioritize the needs of the civilian population and work towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Las Anod remains fluid, and it is unclear how long the latest fighting will last.