Sunday September 17, 2023
Hargeisa (HOL) - The Somaliland government on Saturday strongly condemned a visit this week by ministers and lawmakers from the federal government and Puntland state to Las Anod town, the capital of the Sool region.The Minister further emphasized that the self-proclaimed Somaliland Republic is committed to taking all necessary steps to protect its independence, nationalism, and the security of its territory. Additionally, Somaliland has expressed concerns about what it called the presence of al-Shabab fighters in Las Anod town, although this claim has not yet been independently verified.
The Somaliland Ministry of Internal Affairs described the visit as an "aggression and violation" of Somaliland's sovereignty, which undermines the peace and stability of the region.
Lawmakers from both the Upper and Lower Houses who visited the town have confirmed that Las Anod has returned to peace and stability. They have called upon aid organizations to arrive and assist the residents promptly. During their visit, they emphasized that they did not encounter any security problems or terrorism-related issues. They also noted that the administration of SSC-Khatumo has been highly influential in pacifying the town.
The federal lawmakers visiting the Las Anod town.
However, SCC-Khatumo forces ousted the Somaliland army from the Sool, Sanaag, and Ceyn areas, collectively known as the SCC-Khatumo region, following over eight months of heavy fighting in Las Anod town. Somaliland authorities acknowledged that their army suffered heavy casualties in the latest fighting at the Goja-Adde military camp on the outskirts of Las Anod town.
Earlier this month, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visited more than 300 detainees captured during the clashes between the Somaliland army and SCC-Khatumo forces in Las Anod. The Geneva-based organization had previously visited Hargeisa Central Prison, where SCC-Khatumo inmates are held, but did not specify the number of detainees observed in the capital of Somaliland.
The conflict between the Somaliland army and SCC-Khatumo fighters erupted in February of this year, displacing hundreds of thousands of individuals from their homes. Las Anod, the capital of the Sool region, has become the primary battleground, leading to extensive damage to civilian infrastructure.