Despite ceasefire announcement, violence persists in Somaliland
As armed groups wish to rejoin Somalia's government, violent clashes occur killing dozens and displacing 185,000.
Somaliland is witnessing clashes between its forces and anti-government forces, where more than 185,000 people fleed their border town, the UN's emergency response agency said. After 15 days of clashes in the east of the territory, health workers have recorded dozens of deaths.
The region declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 after the overthrow of Somali military dictator Siad Barre, causing a civil war to break out in Somalia between two opposing presidents' supporters. Somaliland has not yet gained international recognition for its independence and is seen as stable amidst a somewhat unstable region.
The fighting broke out in eastern Somaliland on Monday morning between forces of the region and fighters opposed to its current government.
Political unease led to protests where 20 people were killed. This led to violence on February 6 between government forces and militias loyal to Somalia wishing to rejoin the federal government of Somalia in the territorial land of Las Anod, which is under the control of Somaliland. The control of Las Anod has changed several times over the past few decades.
Supporters of Somalia's federal government issued a statement urging Somaliland soldiers to be withdrawn from the area.
Read more: Hundreds die as Somalia faces famine
The fighters say that they no longer recognize the Somaliland administration.
As a result, 185,000 people have been displaced as the heavy fighting continues and dozens were killed, 89% of which are women and children, according to OCHA. Many of the displaced have sought refuge in schools, but due to inadequate resources, healthcare workers are unable to respond to the situation well.
There are 401 injured victims currently receiving aid at 4 different hospitals in the region.
Despite the declaration of a ceasefire on February 10, the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Somalia said there were reports of heavy fighting taking place on Thursday. Somaliland accused Somalia of attacking its forces, while Somalia did not respond to the allegation.
H.E. Prime Minister @HamzaAbdiBarre welcomed the ceasefire in Lasanod and called for an immediate access to humanitarian assistance for those whose lives have been devastated by the conflict. With thousands of people displaced, the need for emergency relief is more pressing now. pic.twitter.com/pC2r3I5rEV— SomaliPM (@SomaliPM) February 17, 2023
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