The Somaliland army is on guard against terrorism and destabilizing elements. It will not vacate positions only for them to take over. Creating a defenceless vacuum was not an option – President Bihi
President Musa Bihi Abdi, speaking at an event inaugurating a new year for the National Youth Fund, Monday, stated that the very people who planned and carried out targeted killings in the Las Anod city of Sool region of Somaliland had simultaneously put a long-term strategy to blame the slaying on Somaliland in order to ignite violent protests and civil uprising of the kind that burst into the streets late last month.
“The people of Las Anod do not resent or hate other Somalilanders. Women and youth have been slowly and methodically misinformed by a long-term strategy that the very terrorists who targeted prominent members of the society who either worked for the Somaliland government or promoted its principles put into motion alongside the operations. Terrorist assailants infiltrated vulnerable groups who did not necessarily question motive,” President Bihi said.
Terrorists, he stated, assumed varying identities driving their agenda home behind many guises in order to bring down the unity of the nation and a government that stood between them and their planned takeover of the region.
“The government of Somaliland is for the people, by the people and is not confined to any one section or segment of the society. Terrorists assume a number of guises hiding behind a clan, intellectual, religious cleric or political mask.
The President said he expected the ongoing traditional leaders’ consultative meeting in Las Anod would not be different from similar discussions that preceded it around the country.
“Traditional leaders and clan conferences they lead typically follow a pattern that consolidates and promotes peaceful coexistence, unity and the preemption of civil strife and violence in all its forms. The Las Anod meeting will not be different,” he said.
The president hoped that traditional leaders and prominent members conferring in Las Anod will not decide otherwise, wishing them to act sagaciously.
“The government of Somaliland welcomes any decision that highlights grievances of the region and that it is more than prepared to meet them as long as the aim is to keep the society cemented in its aspirations to peace and development,” he underlined.
“On the same token,” President Bihi said, “the government will not countenance or condone actions of anyone who is fomenting trouble, stirring civil strife or is actively working against public order and development”.
The President called on indoctrinated, misinformed members of the society to wait for the right moment and venue where the government lays bare all the details of its investigation and proof of perpetrators in front of a select number of regional leaders.
“Of course, you will be prevented to get at the bottom of the killings or to be apprised of the actual facts. That is how saboteurs, assailants and the masters who run them have planned to keep you from discovering the truth,” he said.
President Bihi called Sool and its residents to supplant engineered violent civil strife with peace and development.
“The city must return to normalcy. Children must go back to school. All civil services such as access to health must be restored. There is no other option. There is no reason why they should not,” he said.
President Bihi added that the Somaliland army is deployed to defend the country from external elements including terrorists encroaching on its territory to harm its citizens.
“The national army is on duty to defend the country from external elements and to safeguard its peace and stability. Pulling it out from major parts of the country that are vulnerable to terrorist encroachments and other disruptive elements or creating a defenceless vacuum was not an option,” the President stated.
Somaliland has permitted all Sool traditional leaders to gather in Las Anod pulling out the army and the police from the city and putting them on guard duty on the peripheries and areas that kept a distance from the venue.
A number of the organizers have been vociferously calling for a total pullout of the Somaliland government and the army from the whole region.
Residents and implanted elements also openly emblazoned the Somalia flag on walls, streets and cars in an attempt to provoke clashes with the army and the police.