Mogadishu (Comment) — The unconditional ceasefire proposed by the Somaliland administration in response to the Laascaanood conflict comes in the wake of the indiscriminate shelling of the district by Somaliland forces. For a ceasefire to take hold it should be based on agreed principles and mechanisms to maintain it.
As it stands, the ceasefire has been proposed by an administration that described Laascaanood as a terrorist-infested district, a false claim that is as damaging to communal co-existence as the indiscriminate shelling is. In this respect, the ceasefire could be exploited by the Somaliland administration as an opportunity to recalibrate its war strategy and as a public relations stunt to mislead public opinion.
Somaliland administration has not abandoned the core principles on which its war effort is premised: that Laascaanood is not a part of the Federal Republic of Somalia and that its forces are enforcing colonial borders that ceased to exist in 1960. If the Somaliland administration were serious about a ceasefire it would revise its claim that it is a sovereign state that seceded from Somalia in 1991. As long as Somaliland claims to be a sovereign country the ceasefire can fairly be interpreted as a dangerous ruse to escalate the conflict. Its claims leave no room to trust and negotiation.
Mogadishu-based federal institutions represent Laascaanood whose MPs and Senators have supported Garad Jama Garad Ismail’s call for the total withdrawal of Somaliland forces in most parts of Sool, to areas where Somaliland administration conducted a unilateral referendum in 2001.
The Laascaanood Declaration of 6 February 2023 emphasizes genuine political representation in a federal Somalia. Laascaanood is bearing the brunt of a secession war that should not be taking place in the country recovering from a traumatic state collapse. A ceasefire proposed by an aggressor side whose forces are threatening Laascaanood with massacre does not lead to a peaceful resolution of a conflict.