Somalia’s government is dealing with rising tensions with Puntland and Somaliland, namely concerning the ongoing Las Anod war. As a result of the Puntland administration criticising President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s decision to send a special envoy to Somaliland, the situation has gotten worse.
Between the Puntland and Somaliland governments, Las Anod, a strategically crucial town in the Sool area, has been a flashpoint for political and military strife. Due to competing claims by Puntland and Somaliland, the city’s location close to the disputed boundary between these two territories has been a major source of conflict.
The Somali government has acted as a result of the recent escalation of the fighting in Las Anod between the forces of Somaliland and the SSC-Khatumo. To handle the issue and maintain the unity and solidarity of the Somali people, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud selected former Galmudug state President Abdikarim Hussein Guled as an envoy to Somaliland. Nevertheless, the Puntland state, namely Information Minister Mohamud Aydid Dirir, who sees the nomination as a breach of the rights of the SSC areas, has strongly disapproved of this action.
The war in Las Anod has political ramifications as well as humanitarian ones. Ethiopia has become home to more than 80,000 displaced Sool area inhabitants who are suffering in appalling conditions. The administration of Puntland has requested the establishment of a special envoy to work with the international community to organise relief for these refugees and make it easier for them to return safely home.
The commander of the Somaliland Army’s 12th Brigade, Faisal Abdi Botan, has declared his desire to go on the attack against the SSC-Khatumo troops in Las Anod. This action is likely to escalate the dispute and raise the possibility of further destabilising the area.
The Las Anod war has exacerbated tensions between Puntland, Somaliland, and the central government in Mogadishu, posing serious threats to the peace and unity of Somalia. Puntland has expressed disapproval of the appointment of a special envoy to Somaliland, further aggravating the issue. The Somali administration must negotiate difficult political terrain, deal with the humanitarian situation, and encourage communication between groups to find long-term solutions as the violence worsens. Somalia can only then expect to attain long-term peace and stability.