Somalia: President Hassan Sheikh calls for ceasefire in Las Anod
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Hassan Sheikh has called for immediate cessation of hostilities in the troubled city of Las Anod, following renewed tensions which left over 30 people dead on Monday morning, leading to sustained calls for peace in the country.
As of Monday, a total of 35 people had been killed in the town following protests that were triggered by the death of a youthful politician. Also, security forces attached to Somalilaland clashed with local militia, leading to the deaths, something which evoked calls from President Hassan.
On Tuesday, the President called for cessation of hostilities in Las Anod, adding that concerned parties should resolve differences through dialogue. This is the second time the Somali leader is asking for tolerance in the town which is disputed between Somalilaland and Puntland.
He said the conflict needs a “political solution” and has urged respect for the wishes of the people. He said to continue to spill the blood is “unacceptable.” The president said Somalis should not fight amongst themselves, arguing that there is need for both parties to be understanding.
After the clashes on Monday, Somalilaland administration reiterated readiness to resolve situation of LasAnod through dialogue. Following an Extraordinary meeting chaired by President Muse Bihi Abdi, the Cabinet called for assistance for those displaced.
For the better part of Tuesday, the situation in the town remained uncertain as both parties stayed put with non willing to withdraw from positions. The local militia have been fighting the Somalilaland military who they accuse of occupation. Hargeisa maintains that it has no intentions of withdrawing out of Sool region.
The town is disputed between Somalilaland and Puntland and when clashes broke out, Hargeisa accused Garowe and Mogadishu of engineering the skirmishes. However, Said Abdullahi Deni, the regional president of Puntland refuted the claims just like the federal government of Somalia which is domiciled in Mogadishu.
Also, the neighboring Sanaag has been witnessing skirmishes with the two regions also expressing displeasure with with the government of Somalilaland. Somalilaland declared self-independence in 1991 following the civil war during the administration of Siad Barre but the region is yet to be recognized internationally.