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Somaliland sends stern warning to media covering Las Anod

Monday January 30, 2023


Minister of Information, Culture & National Guidance, Saleban Yusuf Ali.

Hargeisa (HOL) - The Somaliland government has warned the media not to publish news, stories, or opinions that might exacerbate tensions in the politically tense Las Anod region.

A press release issued by the Somaliland Ministry of Information on behalf of the Ministry of Information, Culture & National Guidance reminded journalists in Somaliland to be mindful of the legal ramifications of their work.

"It is also the duty of all those who practice in Somaliland to obey the laws of this country. The Somaliland constitution mandates strengthening the nation's unity and protecting the sovereignty of Somaliland. Anyone who violates the law will be punished accordingly.

The statement added that journalists directly impact the situation in Las Anod.

"The media and journalists bear a great deal of responsibility for what they broadcast and its impact, so you must do your duty as a citizen, reporter and Muslim to report with respect to the country's laws."

The conflict in Las Anod, located in the Sool region of northern Somalia, has been ongoing between the self-declared state of Somaliland and Somalia's Federal Member State, Puntland, both of which lay claim to the area. 

In 2007, Puntland declared its control over the region; however, Somaliland disputes this and has continued to control and maintain its own administration. The conflict between the two regions has resulted in sporadic clashes, with both sides accusing each other of violating ceasefires and clan-brokered peace agreements.

The most recent flare-up came in late December after protestors clashed with Somaliland authorities. At least 20 anti-government protestors were killed in Las Anod in the nearly week longs demonstrations before the Somaliland government decided to pull its forces out of the town. Puntland accused Somaliland of "massacring" civilians, which Somaliland President Muse Bihi partially denied.

As recently as last Wednesday, Somaliland said it was still in control of Las Anod.

The protests began in response to the local administration's failure to deal with assassinations. Abdifatah Abdullahi Abdi Hadrawi, a Wadani Party official, was the victim that sparked the unrest, shot dead on after returning from the mosque on December 27. 
Somalia's parliament appointed a ten-member committee to prepare a report on the Las Anod situation, which Somaliland quickly dismissed as an attack on its sovereignty. 

Traditional leaders from the Sool, Sanaag and Ayn regions gathered in Las Anod over the weekend to discuss the future of their territory. According to reports, Somaliland's Minister of Internal Affairs approved for the elders to arrive in the city with their armed escorts. The region's supreme traditional clan chief, Garad Jama Garad Ali, opened the high-level meeting on Saturday, which was attended by the majority of the elders from the three regions.Garad's travel marked the first time since 2007 that the clan chief had visited Las Anod.


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