Somalia: We shall revenge against SSC-Khatumo forces, says Somaliland leader
HARGEISA, Somalia - Somaliland's regional leader Muse Bihi Abdi has vowed to revenge against SSC-Khatumo forces, following the heaviest defeat inflicted on his forces by the group, which is fighting to be governed from Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, leading to deadly clashes between the protagonists.
Recently, the SSC-Khatumo forces seized a military base manned by the regional forces, killing dozens of soldiers in the process according to reports. Further, several other soldiers were captured in Las Anod, the region in question, and that has been the epicenter of battle between SSC-Khatumo forces and Somaliland forces.
The breakaway region has seen months of conflict between Somaliland troops and a clan militia challenging the authorities of the self-proclaimed republic, which declared independence from Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally, AFP reports.
At Goojacade in the Sool region, the SSC-Khatumo forces took over a military base after heavy clashes, with Muse Bihi Abdi admitting that his forces suffered huge losses. Las Anod is claimed by both Somaliland and Puntland states.
“People should not be discouraged due to the fighting even though there are losses inflicted on the army,” Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi told a Saturday press conference in his capital Hargeisa.
“That should not be perceived negatively because the army is still intact and we will take our revenge against the alliance that perpetrated” the attack, he vowed, insisting the people “should not be fearing further escalation of the situation and war.”
Las Anod resident Abdilatif Adan told AFP by phone that “the situation is calm today. There is no fighting but there is massive military mobilization going on.” But he added, “People here are tense since they don’t know what is going to happen next.”
Tensions have persisted since hundreds died in the February fighting. Medical charity Doctors Without Borders said in July it had to stop work at Las Anod’s general hospital, citing “recurrent attacks on medical facilities and the level of extreme violence in Las Anod [which] have reached the threshold where MSF is no longer able to provide medical care”.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has been calling for sobriety and dialogue to solve the impasse, but both parties have remained non-committal. It is not clear how Muse Bihi Abdi's men will respond but it is likely they will prepare a counterattack against SSC-Khatumo forces.