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Puntland Minister: President Mohamud focus on Somaliland talks neglects dire situation in Las Anod

Friday July 21, 2023

Garowe (HOL) - Puntland's Minister of Information, Mohamud Aidid Dirir, accused the Federal Government of Somalia of exerting pressure on the people of SSC-Khatumo to negotiate with Somaliland amid ongoing shelling by Somaliland forces on Las Anod town.

The Minister of Information said on Friday that Puntland supports the statement made by Garad Jama Garad Ali that the federal government of Somalia covertly supports Somaliland in its military campaign against the SCC militia in Las Anod town.

Dirir expressed concerns that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud seems more focused on initiating talks with Somaliland than addressing the dire situation in Las Anod.

His remarks came hours after the Supreme Council of SSC-Khatumo apologized to the federal government, following criticism from the traditional clan chief of the Dhulbahante and leader of the 33-member SSC traditional council, Garad Jama Garad Ali.

The SSC-Khatumo council emphasized that the government should not equate those working for the unity of Somalia with those advocating for Somaliland's independence. They also expressed gratitude for the government's support in assisting the injured in the conflict in Las Anod.

Earlier this month, during a public meeting in Nairobi, Garad Jama Garad Ali openly challenged the federal government, led by President Hassan Sheikh and Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre, for their alleged support in the Las Anod bombardment.

The situation in Las Anod remains tense, with accusations flying between Somaliland and Puntland about fueling the ongoing fighting.

This week, the Somaliland Ministry of Internal Affairs accused the forces of the Puntland administration, supported by allied and terrorist groups, of attacking the position of the national forces of the Republic of Somaliland in Las Anod's Sool region. Puntland, however, refuted these claims.

Since February 6, there has been fighting in the disputed city of Las Anod between forces in the self-declared state of Somaliland and local militia from the Dhulbahante clan in northern Somalia.