Ga’an Libaah, Sahil region, Somaliland, Somalia –
A new insurgency has emerged in a remote area of the Golis Mountains in Somaliland’s Sahil region. Recent reports and videos seen by the Somali Digest show unidentified armed militiamen mobilising near a place called Ga’an Libaah (also referred to as Gacanlibaax or Gan Libah).
As of now, the intentions of this group have not been disclosed either by the group itself or the Somaliland government. Nevertheless, Somaliland has already deployed its security forces to the area in an attempt to regain control. Multiple clashes have been reported, and the rebel group allegedly kidnapped and later released eight elders and military officers from the Go’da Wayn district.
The Somaliland government has labelled the militiamen as “dulmidiid“. This term was previously used to refer to a disbanded rebel group in 2020 in Erigavo, the capital of the Sanaag region. However, the current militia remains largely obscure, raising suspicions about its potential connections to ongoing political struggles within Somaliland, particularly elections-related.
Tensions likely related to “undermining the democratic process” by Bihi
Indeed, as Hiiraan Online reported yesterday, the group’s spokesperson, Ahmed Ali Haybe, “claimed that the militia forces entered the mountains in response to President Bihi’s use of force against the opposition.”
Somaliland’s legislative House of Elders recently decided to extend the term of the current President, Muse Bihi Abdi, by two years, effectively extending his total tenure to seven years. The decision arose from a dispute last year over the order in which elections should be held.
The move has drawn condemnation from opposition leaders, who accuse Mr Bihi of undermining the democratic process and refusing to adhere to the scheduled election timeline. The opposition party, Waddani (the Somaliland National Party), also accused the government of exacerbating unrest among the people.
Bihi: Militia not as threatening as portrayed on social media
President Bihi finally addressed the issue yesterday when speaking at a forum dedicated to introducing a book about Ahmed Silanyo, a former Somaliland President. The President said that the Ga’an Libaah militias were not as threatening as portrayed on social media. Seemingly downplaying the situation, Mr Bihi reassured that “political rivalries always emerge during elections.”
Traditional leaders in the affected regions have urged the conflicting parties to engage in dialogue and seek a peaceful resolution. The progress of these efforts is unknown, and results are yet to be seen.
This is a developing story, and we will give updates on the situation as we learn more.