On Wednesday afternoon, a notable Somali poet and composer, Jama Kadiye Elmi, was killed in a devastating mortar bombardment conducted by the Somaliland army in the town of Las Anod.
The attack, which targeted residential areas, also injured many others, heightening tensions in the contested territory.
The Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism strongly denounced the Somaliland army’s mortar assaults in Las Anod and conveyed heartfelt condolences to the late poet’s family and relatives. The Somali creative community is extremely saddened by the death of Jama Kadiye Elmi, who was acclaimed for his lyrical contributions.
The Supreme Council of SSC-Khaatumo, which represents the interests of the Sool, Sanaag, and Cayn (SSC) areas, also condemned the latest Somaliland army attacks. The council voiced its outrage at the deaths and demanded a halt to the violence in Las Anod. Prior to Elmi’s killing, a mortar assault on Sunday killed nine people, including Amir Jama Mohammad Digaale, a widely regarded elder in the SSC districts.
Jama Kadiye Elmi was widely regarded as one of Somalia’s best poets of all time. He began his brilliant career by exhibiting his poems on Radio Hargeisa and Radio Mogadishu, and he is originally from Las Anod.
Elmi’s literary works struck a chord with readers, covering a wide range of topics and earning him a distinct position in Somali culture.
Elmi’s poetry was instrumental in uplifting and encouraging Somali forces during the Ethiopia-Somalia conflict in the 1970s. During difficult circumstances, his songs and rhymes provided consolation and drive, gaining him great respect and admiration.
Aside from his creative endeavours, Jama Kadiye Elmi was an outspoken opponent of Somaliland’s presence in Las Anod. He expressed his resistance to the administration’s rule, highlighting the community’s worries and criticisms.
Since the killing of a Dhulbahante politician in December 2022, which provoked huge demonstrations, the situation in Las Anod has been increasing.
The response of Somaliland security forces was characterised by the use of disproportionate and fatal force, resulting in the deaths and injuries of countless demonstrators.
In response to rising public outrage and protests, Somaliland officials withdrew their soldiers, allowing Dhulbahante clan elders to enter the city and declare their independence from Somaliland’s authority.
war occurred quickly between Somaliland security forces and armed militants affiliated with the Dhulbahante tribe, throwing the region into a full-fledged armed war.
The continuous violence has taken a heavy toll, with an estimated death toll of roughly 300 persons and a displacement of 154,000 to 203,000 residents.
The situation in Las Anod has sparked international anger, with repeated demands for a quick settlement.