Somalia: Puntland VP in Las Anod as Somaliland vows to fight back
LAS ANOD, Somalia - On Tuesday, Puntland Vice President Ahmed Karash visited Las Anod town which has been the epicenter of clashes between SSC-Khatumo forces and the Somaliland army, leaving hundreds, mostly innocent civilians dead and others injured since early this year.
Karash's trip came days after SSC-Khatumo forces flushed out Somaliland troops from the Goojacade base following a deadly battle on Friday. It was a historic victory for the local community which wanted to establish its own regional state after rejecting the secession agenda.
The Somaliland army had refused to leave LasAnod despite calls from the international partners who demanded an unconditional ceasefire.
After Goojacade capture, Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi vowed revenge on SSC-Khatumo forces, who killed his soldiers and captured many as prisoners of war/ The region is yet to respond to the attack but tensions have been rising steadily in Sool region.
At a joint press conference with opposition leaders on Saturday, Bihi assured the people of Somaliland of the government’s resolve to ‘protect its territories.” This is the first time local political bigwigs met in the breakaway state of Somalia.
Abdirahman Irro, the party leader of Waddani and his counterpart Faisal Warabe of UCID, called for togetherness in the standoff, while vowing to protect the region's borders. SSC-Khatumo is pushing to be administered from Mogadishu instead of Hargeisa, the regional administrative capital of Somaliland.
Already, the international community has called for ‘an immediate and unconditional ceasefire’ and also called for an end to the mobilization of fighters and to the provision of supplies and armaments. SSC-Khatumo has yielded to pressure and announced a ceasefire.
Puntland denies Somaliland's claims that it is involved in the LasAnod conflict, saying it had "nothing" to do with the SSC-Khaatumo struggle in the Sool region, blaming the breakaway region for what it called "maladministration".