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Somaliland to launch offensive attacks on SSC-Khatumo forces as Las Anod conflict enters second month

Sunday March 26, 2023

Somaliland army spokesperson Abdi Abdullahi Hassan Abdi Dheere. Photo Credit: Somaliland National TV

Hargeisa (HOL) - The Somaliland military announced on Sunday their intent to launch offensive attacks against the SSC Khatumo forces in Las Anod, marking a shift in strategy.

"From today, the Somaliland National Defense Forces (SNDF) has transitioned from a defensive approach to an offensive against foreign invaders in Las Anod. Professionally planned strategic military operations will be launched moving forward," read a statement from Somaliland's National Defense Forces.

The announcement coincided with Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi's visit to the military's national headquarters in Hargeisa, where senior security officials briefed him on the Las Anod conflict.

Abdi Abdullahi Hassan Abdi Dheere, the military spokesperson, emphasized that Somaliland's military has lost patience after nearly two months of conflict and will begin attacking the SSC forces in the Sool region.

This announcement followed intense fighting between the Somaliland army and SSC-Khatumo forces in Las Anod on Sunday morning, with locals reporting the battle concentrated north of the city.

Dheere claimed that Somaliland forces had taken a defensive stance when SSC forces, backed by Puntland, attacked them.

Somaliland previously announced a ceasefire, which both sides accuse the other of violating. This marks the first time they have declared an intent to launch an offensive against the SSC.

The SSC claims that forces from the self-proclaimed republic have shelled Las Anod indiscriminately since the onset of the proposed ceasefire.

Faysal Ali Warabe, leader of Somaliland's opposition party, the Justice and Development Party (UCID), welcomed the offensive. Warabe had previously criticized Somaliland's military for its "heavy-handed" response towards protestors in Las Anod at the beginning of the crisis.

The Las Anod conflict has resulted in over 200 deaths, 1,500 injuries, and nearly 200,000 displacements since early February.


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