Somaliland Army Successfully Repels Another Attack by Somalia Forces, Local Rebels, and Terrorists
Las Anod Clan Rebellion Exacerbated by Influx of Terrorist Elements from Somalia's Puntland Region
Early Saturday morning (March 18th), the Somaliland National Army successfully defended its positions in Las Anod and Goojaade, Sool region, against a surprise attack by a coalition of armed groups and militias led by the Puntland Regional Administration of Somalia. The assault took place while the Government of Somaliland was actively working to restore peace and stability in the region.
Following the skirmish, a group of soldiers claiming to be from the Puntland Regional Administration of Somalia were captured by Somaliland forces and subsequently interviewed on Somaliland National TV. During the broadcast, the soldiers claimed they were fighting in support of "a clan war." At this time, it remains unclear whether the captured soldiers are indeed Puntland soldiers or if they are members of the terrorist groups taking advantage of the volatile situation in Las Anod.
Efforts by the Ethiopian government to mediate between the Government of Somaliland and Dhulbahante clan rebels have so far been unsuccessful. The Dhulbahante rebel militia committee has stated that they will only agree to a ceasefire and engage in direct talks with the Government of Somaliland if the latter abandons the Goojaade base and relocates to Oog, another town in Sool region. In response, the Government of Somaliland continued to call for an unconditional ceasefire. It is worth noting that Somaliland has continually abided by its call for a ceasefire and has been defending its military positions from these coordinated attacks being launched by a coalition of armed groups in Las Anod.
The Las Anod clan rebellion has also become a cause for concern as terrorist groups, currently fleeing their bases in central Somalia, are now infiltrating the area. Both ISIS and Al-Shabab have established a presence in Somalia’s Puntland region and it appears that their influence is being exported to Las Anod, Somaliland. This development poses an even greater threat to Somaliland’s stability and security - and neighbouring countries like Ethiopia - as the infiltration of these extremist groups complicates ongoing efforts to establish peace and lasting solutions in the conflict.
The crux of the conflict in Las Anod can be traced back to the recent discovery of oil across Somaliland. As highlighted in our previous article, "Somaliland's Oil Find: A Wake Up Call For US Foreign Policy", foreign actors are suspected to be fuelling the unrest as they vie for control and influence over these valuable resources. It is believed that the involvement of these external powers has exacerbated the situation and further complicated the resolution of the conflict.
Moreover, the involvement of foreign actors is not only aggravating the Las Anod crisis but also undermining Somaliland's sovereignty and security. It is crucial that the international community takes note of these destabilizing forces and acts accordingly to support Somaliland in its efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region. Somaliland's stability is vital not just for its citizens but also for the broader geopolitical landscape in the Horn of Africa.
The Somaliland Journal will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates as more information becomes available. The recent events in Las Anod underscore the ongoing challenges faced by the Somaliland government in its efforts to maintain stability and security in the region.