NAIROBI – International partners have strongly condemned the escalation of the conflict in Laascaanood, Somaliland, including reports of fighting spreading outside the town.
In a statement on Sunday, the partners called on all sides to agree to an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.
“We call for an end to the mobilisation of fighters and to the provision of supplies and armaments. 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,” the statement said.
It was signed by the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), Belgium, Canada, Djibouti, the EU Delegation, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, IGAD, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, League of Arab States , Netherlands and Norway.
Others were the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation , Qatar, Russia , Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Türkiye, Uganda, the UK, the US and the UN.
“We reiterate the importance of ensuring unhindered humanitarian access and delivery of assistance to those in need. We urge all parties to refrain from divisive rhetoric. All grievances and tensions should be resolved peacefully and through dialogue,” they added.
Somaliland representative in Nairobi Amb Mohamed Barawani has previously accused some clans of mobilizing resources and fighters in Eastleigh hub in Nairobi and in Northeatern region in Kenya to finance and fight in Laascaanood.
Since February 6, forces in the self-declared state of Somaliland and local militia from the Dhulbahante clan in northern Somalia have been involved in fighting in the disputed city of Laascaanood, also known as Las Anod.
The fighting was triggered on December 26 when a local opposition politician, Abdifatah Abdullahi Abdi, was assassinated by unknown attackers, sparking anti-government protests across the city, which is located between Somaliland and Puntland, both regions laying claim to it.
As of May this year, the death toll stood at 299, with 1,913 injured and more than 200,000 displaced since the conflict began.