A delegation of traditional elders from Mogadishu arrived in Hargeisa yesterday to mediate between the Somaliland government and the traditional elders of the SCC-Khatumo faction in the conflict-ridden town of Las Anod.
Led by Ugas Mohamud Ali Ugas, the elders have visited Las Anod and met with SSC traditional leaders. They are expected to meet with Somaliland leaders, including President Muse Bihi, to discuss ending the three-month conflict that has resulted in over 100 deaths and 600 injuries, with many civilians affected.
Sultan Hassan, a Somaliland traditional leader responsible for resolving the Las Anod conflict, informed the media that the traditional leaders have arrived in Hargeisa after spending several weeks in Aynaba, a town in the Sool region. The elders are scheduled to meet for the first time with the Somaliland elders that President Bihi has appointed to engage with their counterparts from Mogadishu.
All previous mediation attempts to resolve the Las Anod conflict have failed, and Somaliland authorities have restricted media access to the airport to cover the elders’ arrival.
Last week, Amnesty International released a report indicating that Somaliland security forces indiscriminately shelled the town, causing damage to hospitals, schools, and mosques. Witnesses have reported extensive damage to hundreds of civilian structures, including homes, mosques, schools, and a hospital, allegedly caused by Somaliland forces firing rockets from military bases on the city’s eastern side in their attempt to capture the town.
Humanitarian organizations have reported that between 154,000 and 200,000 people have been displaced to nearby towns and villages, with some crossing the border into Ethiopia and in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Women, children, and the elderly are among the most affected.
Amnesty International has urged all parties involved in the Las Anod conflict to cease indiscriminate attacks, commit to protecting civilians, and adhere to international humanitarian law.