A motley of fighter units who have been whipped into a semblance of order by generals in the pay of Somalia’s federal army and that of one of its member states, Puntland, launched a broad, all-out attack on Somaliland army positions near the Jihadist-occupied town of Las Anod at around 4:00 a.m. Saturday.
According to a statement from the Somaliland army command, the raids came in orchestrated waves aiming to break army defensive positions maintained since the government declared a unilateral ceasefire in February which was later supported by regional and international mediation efforts.
“Forces from the Somalia state of Puntland, local militias and extremist jihadists who joined forces in the city of Las Anod have at dawn today mounted heavy assault at all fronts on all Somaliland army positions around the city and its Goja’adde command post. The army has, as usual, repulsed them all successfully inflicting heavy losses on the raiding forces,” Army spokesman, Colonel Abdi Abdullahi Hassan, said in a statement he read out for the press later in the day.
Colonel Abdullahi stated that a number of officers belonging to Puntland army units and their ‘technicals’ were captured with many more battle-wagons destroyed. He showed a list of 14 containing the names of officers held at the command post identifying their clan and army origins which place squarely from areas beyond the boundary Somaliland shared with Somalia.
Among the dead are high-ranking Somalia army and police officers (above) who led today’s assault on army positions. At least two of them, Major Haibe Shire and Captain Mohamed Suleiman – first and second in the 2nd row from left – served as battalion commanders in the US trained Danab commando brigades of Somalia.
Among the captured is Colonel Mohamoud Mohamed Mohamed ‘Aarsade’ (above) who was in command of the Puntland forces.
Regional mediators led by Ethiopia have recently visited Somaliland and Garowe of Puntland in an effort to consolidate the Somaliland ceasefire overture.
Not a single day passed, though, that the forces grouping in Las Anod have not forayed forth into army positions to lure Somaliland troops to retaliate in force so that can be used for propaganda purposes. The well-disciplined troops did not fall for the ploys.
Today was different.
With battle plans generals Abdi Hijar, Abdi Hamid and others in the town drew for them, waves of infantry supported by artillery and technicals descended on army positions. Failing to break the defensive walls, they turned tail leaving behind the wounded and the dead with dozens more falling into the hands of the Somaliland army.
Both the government of Somaliland and Somalilanders of the Diaspora have been hammering home on international community intelligence agencies the fact that Las Anod was not about local grievances but a coordinated attack on Somaliland existence defying boundaries all international instruments.
Below are snapshots of a demonstration British-Somalilanders staged outside the House of Commons, London, the United Kingdom.
The Somaliland diaspora in the UK is at the Westminister today – a demonstration supporting Somaliland's quest for recognition. pic.twitter.com/HgOH6sF7l0
— Abdirashid Ibrahim Abdirahman (@cabdirashed) March 18, 2023
Based on an implausible premise that Somaliland itself was behind the killing of its officers in Las Anod during the past 15 years which claimed around 40 lives, a conspiracy to bring down the 32-year-old success story that was Somaliland erupted on 28 December 2022 in the guise of civilian demonstrations. This soon turned into an all-out war that had nothing to do with grievance and everything with political statements that declared Sool region as part of Somalia across the border. Traditional leaders came to the front as leaders of the ‘uprising’ soon slinking into second place with commanders of armed groups including jihadists masquerading as ‘clan relatives’ taking over decisions leaving the government no option other than to bring the festering situation to end.
Civilians all but fled the town.
A recent UNFPA report put residents in the whole of the area at between 120,000 and 160,000. But OCHA, in one of its typical over-inflated reports, stated that over 185,000 residents fled across the border to Ethiopia although the fighting only affected Las Anod, the regional capital – a town that has only grown into a resemblance of a modern city since Somaliland drove Puntland out of it in 2007.
The young reporter in the video below clearly states that people lining up for ration coupons in one of the refugee depots have come from as far as Nairobi in the belief that registered refugees will be quickly whisked off to western countries as soon as they were supplied ID cards.
Others in the same video state that western agencies feeding them are in fact terrorists who are in cahoots with the Somaliland government to pull them out of the Las Anod ‘Jihad’ to these camps.