CrisisWatch Somaliland

Deteriorated Situation

Conflict Risk Alert

Situation in Las Anod worsened dramatically, with clashes between Somaliland forces and local militias killing over 100; violence could escalate further in coming weeks if fighting spreads in Sool region or draws in Puntland, Somali or even Ethiopian actors.

Violence in Las Anod left over 100 dead. Conference of Dhulbahante clan representatives 5 Feb concluded in contested Sool region’s administrative capital Las Anod; participants said they did not recognise Somaliland’s administration and wanted to be part of Somalia, demanding withdrawal of Somaliland forces from wider area they inhabit in Sool region. Clashes same day broke out between Somaliland armed forces and Dhulbahante militias in Las Anod. Violence 6 Feb killed at least 34 people and wounded another 40, next day left at least 24 people dead and 53 injured. Hargeisa 7 Feb asserted fighters from neighbouring Puntland state of Somalia were fighting alongside local militias in Las Anod, which Puntland denied. Hargeisa 10 Feb announced unilateral ceasefire, which promptly broke down amid fresh fighting, and violence continued throughout month with mortar shelling in town itself. Somaliland 25-26 Feb withdrew forces from important military base in Tukaraq village east of Las Anod.

Regional and international actors called for calm. Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud 7 Feb called for negotiated settlement between Somaliland administration and clan elders of Las Anod, said “solution is in our pursuit of united Somalia”. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk same day urged Somali authorities “to carry out a credible and impartial investigation into the clashes to determine who is responsible and to hold them accountable in fair trials”. UN humanitarian agency 14 Feb said violence since early Feb had displaced over 185,000 people from Las Anod.

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In The News

22 Feb 2023
What Somaliland is probably trying to do by saying there are terrorists involved in the fighting is to discredit their opponent. The Guardian

Nicolas Delaunay

Project Director, East and Southern Africa

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