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SSC-Khatumo apologizes to federal government amidst controversial support claims for Somaliland

Friday July 21, 2023

Las Anod (HOL) - The Supreme Council of SSC-Khatumo has issued an apology to the federal government following criticism from the traditional clan chief of Dhulbahante, who accused the government of covertly supporting Somaliland in its military campaign against the SCC militia in Las Anod town.

In a statement released on Thursday, the council emphasized that the government should not equate the elders working for the unity of Somalia with those advocating for Somaliland's independence. They also expressed gratitude for the government's support in welcoming and caring for the people injured in the conflict in Las Anod.

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.

Earlier this month, during a public meeting in Nairobi, Garad Jama Garad Ali, the traditional clan chief of Dhulbahante and leader of the 33-member SSC traditional council, openly challenged the federal government led by President Hassan Sheikh and Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre for their alleged support in the Las Aonod bombardment.

Garad Jama, accused the Somali government of hindering global efforts to impose sanctions on Somaliland. He stated, "They (Federal Government of Somalia) are endorsing Somaliland's raids on Las Anod and hindering international pressure to address the Las Anood issue."

"We are openly telling the Somali people that the federal government is working behind the scenes against us and supporting the balkanization of Somalia. He added that the Somali government's approach is obstructing peace efforts and contributing to the oppression of the Somali people."

According to data from hospitals in Las Anod, the death toll stands at 299, with 1,913 injured and more than 200,000 displaced since the conflict began.

In February, the federal government began transporting people injured in the ongoing fighting in Las Anod to Mogadishu for medical treatment. The wounded were airlifted from the airport in Garowe, the regional capital of Puntland.

Somalia's federal government has called on Somaliland to respect the desire of the Sool, Sanaag and Ayn communities and urged SSC-Khatuma and Somaliland officials to end the fighting in Las Anod town immediately.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud stated that the federal government is ready to participate in and facilitate a peace conference to resolve the tense situation in Las Anod town.