UN calls for peaceful swap of prisoners in Somalia after deadly battle
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The United Nations [UN] has called for a peaceful swap of prisoners in Somalia, following a war at Las Anod within the Sool region, which put Somaliland at loggerheads with the SSC-Khatumo, which is fighting to be governed from Mogadishu.
For about 10 months, authorities in Somaliland state engaged in a fierce gunfight with the SSC-Khatumo leaders in Las Anod, who rejected the secession idea and opted to remain in greater Somalia as a Federal State.
Catriona Laing, the representative of the UN Secretary-General to Somalia, now wants the SSC-Khatumo administration to swap prisoners of war with Somaliland, and a ceasefire was embraced by both parties. Most of the prisoners are fighters from either side.
In her speech, Catriona Laing called for order in Las Anod which has been the epicenter of violence for 8 months, leaving hundreds of people dead and forcing thousands to flee their houses due to Somaliland shelling.
She stressed the need to resolve the conflict between SSC-Khatumo and Somaliland peacefully, emphasizing the United Nations' commitment to supporting peace efforts and conflict resolution. SSC-Khatumo region has been a center of contention between Somaliland and Puntland states.
Statistics given by Red Cross International show that over 300 people were captured during the clashes between SSC-Khatumo and the Somaliland regional troops fighting to control Las Anod town, which is strategically situated along the Somaliland and Puntland border.
According to Pascal Cuttat, the head of the ICRC delegation in Somalia, it is confirmed that the Geneva-based organization had also visited Hargeisa Central Prison, where SSC-Khatumo inmates are held. UN believes a peaceful swap of prisoners will end the conflict once and for the good.