Somalia: Death toll in Las Anod conflict surpasses 200 amid calls for ceasefire

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Las Anod mayor Abdirahin Ali Ismail speaking at a press conference on Thursday, March 2, 2023. [Photo: GaroweOnline]

LAS ANOD, Somalia - At least 210 people have been killed in the ongoing conflict between SSC and the Somaliland military forces, a mayor said as the international community calls for a ceasefire between the two parties, which have been wrangling for the last month.

The fighting started about three weeks ago after a local politician was shot dead by Somaliland security forces, triggering protests in Las Anod city by locals who rejected the secession by Somaliland that rented the air. Elders from the region insisted that they want a separate state part of the Federal system in Somalia.

But in return, the Somaliland military refused to leave the city leading to intense security operations which targeted innocent civilians.

The UN said those affected are mainly women and children, who have been victimized for political reasons some may not understand. The regional forces were forced to leave the city by SSC fighters last month.

The town's mayor Abdirahin Ali said 210 people have been killed in Las Anod with over 2000 people also displaced. Those displaced are currently in refugee camps with Hargeisa accusing Garowe and Mogadishu of engineering the conflict, reports which the two have vehemently denied.

Ali said over 680 people have been wounded and are admitted to various hospitals across the town which can no longer host the rising number. The United Nations recently expressed concerns that the conflict could end up causing a humanities crisis if action is not taken immediately.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud insisted that Somalia does not have any plans to interfere with the conflict but called on the two parties to embrace a ceasefire. The president further insisted that Somaliland remains part of Somalia, noting that he will, however, not use force to dictate the historical crisis.

Somaliland claimed self-independence from Somalia in 1991 after a civil war in the north during the military regime led by Mohamed Siad Barre but the region is yet to be internationally recognized despite efforts and investment on the global stage. The international community still distributes resources to the region as part of Somalia.

''The death toll of the LasAnod conflict rises to 210 people, 680 wounded while 2,000 displaced since the start of the war last month,'' says the mayor.

Since yesterday, no fighting reported situation is calm but businesses still remain closed as most of the residents fled their houses.

UN said an estimated 185,282 individuals have been displaced, as per the interagency assessment report published on February 13th, 2023. 

GAROWE ONLINE

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