The recent visit by federal government and Puntland state officials to Las Anod town, the capital of the Sool region, was strongly condemned by the Somaliland government on Saturday.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Somaliland, this visit was deemed an act of aggression and violation, undermining the region’s peace and stability while encroaching on Somaliland’s sovereignty.
The Minister reiterated the commitment of the self-declared Somaliland Republic to safeguard its independence, nationalism, and territorial security. Additionally, Somaliland has expressed concerns regarding the alleged presence of al-Shabab militants in Las Anod town, although this claim has not yet been independently verified.
Lawmakers from both the Upper and Lower Houses, who visited Las Anod town, confirmed that peace and stability have been restored. They have urged aid organizations to promptly provide assistance to the residents. During their visit, they emphasized that they did not encounter any security issues or terrorism-related problems. They also acknowledged the significant role played by the administration of SSC-Khatumo in pacifying the town.
However, the SCC-Khatumo forces successfully expelled the Somaliland army from the Sool, Sanaag, and Ceyn areas, collectively known as the SCC-Khatumo region, following intense fighting in Las Anod town that spanned over eight months. Somaliland’s authorities have acknowledged the heavy casualties suffered by their army during the recent fighting at the Goja-Adde military camp on the outskirts of Las Anod town.
Earlier this month, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visited over 300 detainees captured during the clashes between the Somaliland army and SCC-Khatumo forces in Las Anod. While the organization had previously visited Hargeisa Central Prison, where SCC-Khatumo inmates are held, it did not provide specific details regarding the number of detainees observed in the capital of Somaliland.
The conflict between the Somaliland army and SCC-Khatumo fighters erupted in February of this year, displacing hundreds of thousands of individuals from their homes. Las Anod, the capital of the Sool region, has become the primary battleground, resulting in extensive damage to civilian infrastructure.