Puntland Armed Engagement Bears Witness to Somaliland Claims of External Forces in Las Anod

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Forces complete with over 80 ‘technicals’ and hundreds of foot soldiers attacked positions of the Somaliland army Monday from three fronts the nearest of which was about 9 kilometers to Las Anod – a town where pro-Somalia armed combatants constantly engaged Somaliland security forces since February 6. The raids brought to an end a month-long media barrage from warmongering elements always blaming the army for attacks and shelling.

Puntland MP Ahmed Gass post the reality of the attacks on Facebook stating that their forces initiated the raid. The post was later scrapped.

According to a statement Brigadier-General Mahad Ambashe posted on hius Facebook Page and a press conference Brigadier-General Faisal Abdi Bottan held at one of the engagement locations, military forces belonging to the Puntland Federal State of Somalia, elements from the from the Federal Somalia Army, extremist militias and misguided civilians turned into uniformed combatants for Somalia principles, attacked the Somaliland army base of Gonja’adde and Maraaga positions on a three-frontal assault.

One of the captured Somalia officers, army ID and ranks of the colonel leading the Maraaga Monday Assault
A destroyed Puntland battlewagon
A destroyed Puntland battlewagon

General Mahad stated that 13 of the technicals were captured, many more destroyed and 61 prisoners placed under custody.

A number of the vehicles mounted with guns – technicals – sported the colors of the Puntland army as many of the officers leading the raids on Somaliland positions wore the uniforms and insignia of Somalia.

MP Ahmed Gass, some reports, say, met his end in Las Anod or has been captured by an army that protects the identity of its prisoners closely often to its detriment and at a cost of losing to social media propaganda propagators.MP Ahmed Gass, some reports, say, met his end in Las Anod or has been captured by an army that protects the identity of its prisoners closely often to its detriment and at a cost of losing to social media propaganda propagators.May be an image of 1 person, standing and outdoors

The raiding forces mistook a tactical retreat of the Somaliland army from Tukaraq near the Somaliland-Somalia border to positions that were over 20 kilometers distant from Las Anod.Following the evacuation of positions MPs from both the Federal parliament of Somalia and the Puntland federal member state as well as officers and army units crossing over from Mudug  held photo-op pictures of themselves in the abandoned position and the town of Las Anod itself. General Abdi Hassan Hijaar who has been recently relieved of his position as Somalia Police Commissioner was among the Somali-related elements posting pictures of themselves strolling in Las Anod where before twenty days they were not able to proving the depth of the conspiracy hatching there, according to political regional observers and think-tanks.

Recently deposed Somalia Police Commissioner, General Hijar, Federal MPs Abdi Warsame Qawdhan & Ali Yussuf Ali Hosh, and Puntland MP Ahmed Gass with Puntland army officers pose for pictures inside Somaliland territory
Recently deposed Somalia Police Commissioner, General Hijar, Federal MPs Abdi Warsame Qawdhan & Ali Yussuf Ali Hosh, and Puntland MP Ahmed Gass with Puntland army officers pose for pictures inside Somaliland territory

General Abdihamid Dirir, admiral of the Somalia naval forces during president Farmajo’s reign has been reportedly spotted in Las Anod as a member of the  war command.

May be an image of 5 people and military uniform

The early morning all-out assault followed twenty-day-long skirmishes of the same kind that started earlier in the month following a declaration of war and a drive for another forced unity with Somalia Sool traditional leaders called for. This came at the end of a two-week conference they were allowed to hold in Las Anod the capital of the Sool region in a bid to solve violent demonstrations that rocked the town on 27 and 28 December which caused the death of several civilians and a number of security officers.

Turning Las Anod into a Somalia blue area is a political statement opponents to Somaliland were quick to make

The demonstrations, as has been pointed out by analysts, were the result of a plan that had been long in the hatching that aimed to wipe Somaliland presence and governance out of the whole region.

During the past skirmishes, some of these elements were seen shelling the town, some demolishing hospitals and homes and others shooting at civilians and their homes to blame it on the Somaliland army.

The ultimate aim, observers argued, was manifold. The forces united by opposition to Somaliland – locally and externally – were not, however, united in a single alternative outcome. Some were genuinely disappointed in the continuation of a 13-year-long targeted killings that resulted in the loss of life of some 40 prominent citizens most of whom related to the government of Somaliland and its political parties one way or the other. Others wanted the region and some areas in the Togdheer and Sanaag regions to apply for a federal state status with Villa Somalia. And yet others wished to turn the area to a haven of Daesh (IS) and Shabaab terrorists routed out of Somalia positions where they could continue wreaking havoc to terrorize the whole East African and Horn of Africa regions.

Many, including top-notch writers, believe that the Las Anod situation is an international as well as a regional project unfolding, and that it has obviously nothing to do with social grievances.

A China whose many offers to Somaliland to jettison Taiwan has met a blank wall, for one, they believe, is very much in the picture. China, using Somalia as a medium, is supplying both moral and material support to the destabilization project since Somaliland is the only democratic nation in the region that has resisted China pressures, debts and influences.

Another theory – but a weaker one – is that Qatar is paying the armed insurgents’ salaries, provisions, weapons and uniforms. Brand new fatigues, guns and mortar shells of a type associated with China has been identified in the Las Anod clashes.

But even more alarming that all of the above together is a plan whose outline is revealed by Garad Mukhtar Garad Ali who stated, Monday, that once their forces bring the las Anod engagement to a close, they will proceed to Erigavo. From Erigavo to where else, is anybody’s guess given the composition of the isurgents who hail from not only Somaliland but Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya making it a cross border issue.

Discovery of rich reserves of oil and, possibly, an imminent international recognition for the 33-year old republic may be the root cause triggering Somalia and regional envy, others say.

The outward motive – which can well be the cohesive drive of the different groups fighting shoulder to shoulder in Las Anod – is a movement aiming to unite a clan whose branches span over Somaliland, Somaliland, Ethiopia and Kenya. One of the rallying war cries of the leaders of the Sool rebellion is that the central clan in Somaliland has played a major role in bringing down the military dictator – Siyad Barre – who was of this general clan. The latter viewpoint explains why militias and military personnel who are posing as civilians are flocking from all over Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya to fight in Las Anod.

Abrogating an AU principle embodied in the Lome Resolution of 2001 which ruled out state demarcations along clan lines seems not to be of any bother to the organizers and leaders fanning the the Las Anod hostile situation alive.

If Africa and the world do not wake up to the dangers inherent in this philosophy, one may as well accept a total breakdown of all boundaries in Africa and elsewhere. There are tribes in Africa branching into more than a dozen modern states (as below).

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