Jun 02, 2023

UNPO Call for Peaceful Resolution and De-escalation of Violence in Somaliland

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization are calling for peace and an immediate investigation into the outbreak of violence in Somaliland. As our member, Somaliland has been peaceful and thriving for 30 years, starkly contrasting with the rest of the region. The UNPO emphasises the critical need for urgent attention from the international community and civil society to facilitate peaceful resolutions within the region.

Las Anod was a part of theformer Brithis Somaliland region. However, Puntland and some of the tribes residing in Puntland have claims over the region. In recent months, the situation in Las Anod has deteriorated significantly. Violent confrontations between security forces and armed militia have become increasingly frequent, resulting in casualties and displacements — over 100 deaths, at least 600 injured and up to 203 000 people displaced. The clashes have led to fear and insecurity among the local population, disrupting daily life and causing immense suffering.

The outbreak of armed conflict in Las Anod, Somaliland, which sparked on February 6th, was triggered by the assassination of a local opposition politician, Abdifatah Abdullahi Abdi, on December 26th, carried out by unidentified attackers. Since this event, the city has witnessed widespread anti-government protests, amplifying the tensions and unrest in the region. The shelling of Las Anod by security forces is deeply regrettable, and we call on restraint by both parties and a commitment to protecting civilians. Amnesty International has released a report on the shelling documenting the collateral damage.

In addition to the shelling, there are concerns about the levels of displaced communities the conflict could bring.  The ongoing violence in Las Anod has severely affected the local population. Displaced families have been forced to flee their homes, seeking safety in neighbouring areas. Access to basic services has been severely disrupted, exacerbating a precarious situation. According to our member, once Puntland has withdrawn its troops, peace is slowly returnting to the city and displaced people are slowlier returning to their homes. To those who are returning and for those who are still displaced, the need for humanitarian aid and intervention is urgent to alleviate the suffering of those affected.

The international community must address the recent armed conflict and escalating tensions in Las Anod, Somaliland, by actively investigating the violence, facilitating the dialogue between both parties and working toward a peaceful resolution.

After a brutal war of independence, the Republic of Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 and has been a successful democracy and largely at peace for almost 30 years relative to the rest of the region. Somaliland currently seeks international recognition as an independent state, having already had independence at the end of the decolonisation process.

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization wishes to reiterate that all conflicts must be resolved peacefully, with full respect for human rights, International law and democratic values. Both sides must commit to protecting civilians and opening safe pathways through which emergency aid can reach the most vulnerable.