The government of Somaliland has put in place security forces to contain and end the violence that erupted in Las’anod in 2022.
Over the last few weeks, Las’anod has been in the news following a conflict that has been propagated by the external influence on social media, extremists, and militia enticed by terrorist groups.
The city has experienced clashes between Somaliland security forces on one side and these clan militias, and terrorist groups on the other.
Terrorist groups Al Shabaab, Dacish among others have infiltrated themselves into Las’anod and exploited the security vulnerability of the city. Somaliland security forces responded to the attacks of these groups in Las’anod.
As a result, women and youth have been slowly and methodically misinformed by a long-term strategy that the very terrorists who have previously assassinated prominent persons in Las’anod that include the Somaliland government officials, and other important persons in Las’anod.
“All we want is to restore peace, stability, and peaceful dialogue in Las’ anod conflict. Our security forces will do everything to protect the people in Las’anod, facilitate humanitarian (aid) for the displaced people, and work with them to return to their homes peacefully,” Somaliland president Musa Bihi said recently.
To implement the peace initiative, the government called for a ceasefire and also sent a peace mission consisting of cultural leaders to Las’anod.
The Somaliland government said it is also aware that young boys are being recruited from Kenya and transported by road and air to join the clan militias and terrorist groups currently in Las’anod.
Several meetings have been held in Nairobi’s Eastleigh area where some senior members of the Somali community in Kenya supporting the chaos, and violent conflict in Las’anod have helped raise funds to identify, recruit and facilitate the young boys into joining the militias and terrorist group.
“This is bound to set a very dangerous trend because the recruiting and weaponizing of the youth and young people from Nairobi may end up in the hands of terrorist groups that are currently operating in Las’anod,” an official of the Somaliland government who did not want to be named said.
Somaliland, located very strategic place in the Gulf of Aden – Red Sea, has been peaceful for decades and has contributed to regional peace and security.
The country is looking for support from regional states such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, IGAD, AU, and the international community to help solve the Las’anod crisis.
This, the government says there is fear for the terrorist group to expand, threatening to regional peace and security. Somaliland is arguing Las’anod not be a safe passage for terrorist groups as the area is volatile.
By Mercy Simiyu