International partners condemn escalation in Somalia’s northern region

Over 20 countries and several international organizations on Sunday “strongly condemned” a recent escalation in fighting between Somalia’s northern breakaway Somaliland and local clans.

“We are deeply concerned about reports of large numbers of detainees and expect those involved to abide by human rights and international humanitarian law, in particular the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure,” said a statement signed by over two dozen of the Horn of Africa nation’s international partners, including the UN, US and Turkey.

The statement came in response to the escalation between armed Somaliland forces and clan militias known as SSC-Khatumo in the city of Laascaanood, as concerns rise over the risk of the fighting spilling over to the outskirts of the urban area.

The international partners urged all sides to agree to an immediate and unconditional cease-fire and an end to mobilization and the provision of supplies and arms.

Signatories included the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, Belgium, Canada, Djibouti, the EU Delegation to the country, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, the Arab League, the Netherlands, Norway, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation , Qatar, Russia, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Uganda, and the UK.

They also reiterated the importance of ensuring unhindered humanitarian access and delivery of assistance to those in need and called on all parties to refrain from divisive statements. Grievances and tensions “should be resolved peacefully and through dialogue,” they said.

Las Anod Is the capital of the northern region of Sool that has witnessed fierce fighting between Somaliland forces and clan militias that has killed hundreds, wounded thousands, and displaced many families from their homes.

Fighting started in Las Anod, the administrative capital of Somaliland’s eastern Sool region, after local leaders, civil society groups, and religious leaders announced that they would no longer recognize the Somaliland government.

The Somaliland administration has labelled the local forces “terrorists” and blamed them for the violence.

The Sool and Sanaag regions have been disputed territories, with both Somaliland and Puntland state claiming ownership before the current local uprising began.

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