Somaliland takes responsibility for civilians deaths in Las Anod, north of Somalia
HARGEISA, Somalia - Somaliland leader Muse Bihi Abdi has taken responsibility for the killing of civilians in Las Anod following weeks of anti-government protests which escalated last week after the assassination of a prominent youthful politician in the breakaway region of Somalia.
So far, over 20 civilians have been killed by security forces in the state leading to condemnation from members of the international community. Most of those who died succumbed to bullet wounds according to reports filed in various hospitals in Hargeisa, the regional administrative capital of Somaliland.
In his remarks, Muse Bihi Abdi put the death toll at 3 and 9 wounded. He termed the deaths as "unfortunate" but was quick to accuse the federal government of Somalia and the regional government of Puntland of meddling in the affairs of the breakaway state. He said Somaliland will not allow Mogadishu and Garowe to continue to meddle in the affairs of the region.
Last week, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud called for immediate dialogue between the regional government and members of security forces, adding that the region needs stability. The president condemned security forces for "using excessive force to quell legal demonstrations".
On Tuesday, embattled Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni said the state is ready for a “military and political solution” should the situation in Somaliland persist. The president denied claims that he was fully immersed in local political contests at the expense of security in Las Anod.
"If Somaliland does not accept the calls of the people of Las Anod, who demand that Somaliland leave the town and the entire Sool region, Puntland is ready to take all possible actions," said Deni while asking politicians and public intellectuals to come together and find a lasting solution.
Protests escalated in Las Anod, the capital of the Sool region following the assassination of Abdifatah Abdullahi Abdi Hadrawi shortly after he returned from a Mosque. The high-profile death has caused anxiety in the region which has been after all enjoying relative stability.