Stop The Shelling Of Defenseless Civilians In Las Anod

Las Anod, the capital of the Sool region in northern Somalia has seen unprecedented level shelling by the SNM militia of the clan -enclave that has labeled itself the Somaliland government. The shelling of the city started immediately after the traditional elders of the different subclans Sool, Sanag, and Cayn regions (SSC) categorically stated they will not want to be part of the clan-enclave entity proclaiming itself as the Somaliland Republic. In a meeting of all the prominent Garaads of the Dhulbahante (the predominant community in SSC) declaration, they stated unequivocally that they DO NOT WANT TO BE PART OF AN ENTITY calling itself Somaliland and that wished to join the Federal Government of Somalia. It’s this stand taken by the Garaads that has infuriated the top leadership of the self-declared yet-to-be-recognized clan enclaved calling itself Somaliland republic. Instead of calling for further dialogue and mediation, Las Anod city was shelled immediately and to this day continues to be bombarded by the Somaliland clan militias under the direct supervision of the top echelons of the political and military leadership in Hargeisa.

The people of SSC have their inalienable right to determine their destiny and this right is enshrined in the universal declaration of human rights to live in dignity and without torture and arbitrary detention by anyone. For the past 32 years, the people of SSC have been subjected to unprecedented levels of targeted killings and assassination of their prominent traditional leaders, youth leaders, and businessmen hailing from the region and especially from Las Anod.

Despite the oppressive nature of the occupation, Sool, Sanag, and Cayn regions have been the most peaceful area in Somalia over the past two to three decades even though also the region has been contested by both Puntland and the secessionist clan enclave calling itself the Somaliland Republic. The Puntland regional state shares the same kinship with the majority of inhabitants of the SSC while on the other hand “Somaliland’s” claims is based on a historical boundary delineated by the British colonial administrators in the early 1900s-  it is an artificial boundary that was never recognized by the Somali communities and clans in SSC regions and the wider Somali people. The colonial British Somaliland Protectorate official never fully administered the SSC region because of the resistance to colonial rule and hence concentrated their administration in the Isaq-dominated regions of the protectorate. Thus, SCC enjoyed their independence and freedom even though the British claimed nominal authority through the Garaads.

Because of love for their territory (SSC), for their independence, and for their freedoms, the  SSC Garaads and Isimo (traditional leaders) finally declared to the Somaliland clan enclave administration that SSC has and will always be a part of Somalia and they would want to unilaterally join Somalia: that SNM should leave SSC region. However, both clan enclaves -Somaliland and SCC should learn to co-exist as brotherly communities.   Because of this stand, Musa Bixi and his top militia commanders have relentlessly shelled and bombarded Las Anod, the main capital city in the region with the largest population. This has led to mass killings, and massive destruction of properties including schools, hospitals, and homes creating massive Internally Displace People (IDPS) and a large number of civilians crossing into Ethiopia for Safety.

We urge the international community particularly the UK and the US governments who are strong supporters of the secessionist clan enclaved – “Somaliland” to demand they stop and end the shelling of defenseless civilians and to allow corridors for humanitarian passage to the City.

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