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Tuesday, June 18, 2024


    Doctor: A hospital in the disputed Somaliland city was shelled, killing one person.

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    A doctor reported at least one person was killed and several others were injured when the major hospital in a disputed city in East Africa’s Somaliland region came under mortar fire during an uptick in violence Tuesday.

    Dr. Ahmed Abdi, speaking by phone from Las-Anod, said four shells hit the hospital. Several of the eight people injured, he claimed, were in critical condition. Two of the three ambulances at the hospital were destroyed.

    Patients recovering from earlier conflict that killed dozens were among the injured. According to the doctor, the hospital is experiencing a medicine scarcity.

    Diplomats and humanitarian organizations have expressed concern about fighting in Las-Anod between Somaliland’s security forces, which seceded from Somalia three decades ago and seeks international recognition as an independent country, and clan militia who want to be part of Somalia. According to the UN, about 185,000 people have been displaced and tens of thousands have fled into Ethiopia.

    Somaliland’s military ministry denied shelling the hospital in a statement, calling such accusations “false news” aimed to harm the army’s prestige. The Somaliland government has blamed the disturbance on fighters with “anti-peace groups and terrorism,” alleging that some attacks were supported by the al-Shabab extremist group.

    Doctors Without Borders, better known by its French abbreviation MSF, said on Sunday that at least 35 dead persons and more than 60 injured had arrived at the hospital it supports in Las-Anod as “fierce combat” resumed in the area following attempts at a cease-fire and talks.

    “Unfortunately, we learned today of the unfortunate killing of a colleague as a result of the indiscriminate violence,” MSF said, warning that the hospital was nearing capacity.

    “Individual shelling of civilians is reprehensible and must cease,” the United Nations and international allies stated earlier this month. Last week, Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi discussed the problem with the visiting US deputy chief of mission.

    For years, Somaliland and the Somali state of Puntland have fought over Las-Anod, although the eastern city has been under Somaliland’s sovereignty.


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