More than 20 nations and numerous international organisations have released a joint statement strongly condemning the recent escalation in hostilities between Somalia’s breakaway province of Somaliland and local clans.
The international partners, including the United Nations, the United States, and Turkey, voiced grave concern over the reports of a significant number of prisoners and emphasised the critical importance of all parties engaged upholding human rights and international humanitarian law.
The escalation happened in the city of Laascaanood, when armed Somaliland troops battled with SSC-Khatumo clan fighters. Concerns have been voiced about the possibility of violence spreading to the outskirts of the city, worsening an already tense situation.
The signatories called for a quick and unconditional cease-fire in a joint statement, urging all parties to suspend mobilisation and the distribution of supplies and ammunition.
The statement was supported by the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, Belgium, Canada, Djibouti, the European Union Delegation, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, the Arab League, the Netherlands, Norway, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Qatar, Russia, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Uganda, and the United Kingdom.
The international partners also emphasised the necessity of providing unrestricted humanitarian access and relief delivery to people in need.
Furthermore, they urged all parties concerned to avoid from making divisive remarks, emphasising the need of peacefully resolving concerns and tensions via conversation.
Las Anod, the administrative seat of Somaliland’s eastern Sool district, has been in the centre of the fighting. The conflict has resulted in hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries, and the relocation of many families. Local leaders, civil society organisations, and religious leaders in the region have expressed their rejection of the Somaliland government, sparking the commencement of violence.
In response, the Somaliland administration labelled the local troops “terrorists” and blamed them for the violence. Both Somaliland and Puntland State claim possession of the Sool and Sanaag areas, which have long been contested. The present local insurrection, however, has exacerbated the situation on the ground.
As the crisis develops, the world’s attention is focused on Somalia, with hopes for a quick end to the bloodshed and a return to dialogue and reconciliation.