Nairobi, Kenya –
Speaking at a public meeting in Nairobi, Garad Jama Garad Ali, the traditional leader of the SSC Khatumo Administration, openly accused the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) of providing support to Somaliland in shelling of Las Anod and obstructing international pressure to address the conflict. He also addressed Somalia’s need for unity.
In his speech, the Supreme Garaad of SSC-Khatumo expressed scepticism towards the Somali government’s claim of working on solving the issue of Las Anod. According to him, no actual solution is being pursued, and no ongoing dialogue is taking place. The leader asserted that the government’s approach is inadequate for achieving regional peace and agreement.
“We say to you [people in power], you have been sworn to protect the unity of Somalia, the President and the Prime Minister, and the Parliament of Somalia. If you cannot fulfil your duties and oath, don’t be an obstacle to the Somali people who are fighting for unity. Don’t stand in their way; don’t obstruct; don’t assist in splitting Somalia apart,” he called upon the highest officials.
FGS “ignoring the UN”
Indeed, the Somali government has so far demonstrated a minimal to no willingness to take action in the Las Anod conflict, even ignoring the pleas made by the United Nations. On 7 February, Volker Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, called on the Somali authorities to “conduct a credible and impartial investigation into the clashes to determine who is responsible and hold them to account in fair trials, including for reported damage to homes.”
The conflict erupted on 6 February in the contested city of Las Anod. The clashes have involved forces from the self-declared state of Somaliland and local militia affiliated with the Dhulbahante clan. The clan, which resides in Sool, Sanaag and Buuhoodle, historically disputed between Somaliland and Puntland and did not want to contribute to dividing the Somali state.
According to the Protection and Return Monitoring Network, at least 200,000 people have been displaced so far from the Las Anod region due to conflict and insecurity.
Warning against fragmentation
Garad Jama also expressed concerns about the separation of Somaliland from Somalia and its potential consequences. The leader argued that if Somaliland is allowed to separate, other regions in Somalia may also seek separation, leading to further fragmentation.
Such fragmentation would not be beneficial for Somalia, as the whole region of East Africa is moving towards forming a union, said Garad Jama, further emphasizing that the division of Somalia on a family-by-family basis is unacceptable.
FGS “siding with Somaliland”
“It is clear and unmistakable that they [the Federal Government of Somalia] are working closely with the government of Somaliland, who are indiscriminately shelling people of Somalia on a daily basis. They [the FGS] are preventing the sanctions that would be imposed [on Somaliland], whether intentionally or not,” believes Garad Jama.
“They [the FGS] are the reason why sanctions are not imposed on the war crimes that Muse (the President of Somaliland Muse Bihi Abdi) and his group have carried out,” he further underlined.
The traditional leader of SSC-Khatumo concluded by urging the Somali parliament to take action. He asserted that the MPs should question the President and the Prime Minister about the oppression and war crimes in Las Anod, which were even acknowledged by the United Nations.
So far, this has been one of the highest accusations raised by the Supreme Garaad. It comes at a time when the central Somali government fails to condemn the Somaliland government for the atrocities it has been committing in Las Anod. It is an urgent attempt to put pressure on the FGS to readjust its position.