Yeyle, SOMALIA – In a significant escalation of regional tensions, Somaliland forces launched an early morning attack in the Yeyle district, located in eastern Togdheer. This offensive targeted areas where a peace delegation, comprising clan elders and intellectuals from SSC-Khatumo, was actively engaged in conflict resolution initiatives.
According to a statement by the SSC-Khatumo: for three days, the delegation, under the leadership of Garad Jama Garad Ismail, has been tirelessly working towards peace in the region. Yet, their efforts faced a severe setback when Muse Bihi’s militia initiated a surprise attack.
The Counter-Response by SSC-Khatumo Defense Forces in Yeyle
The SSC-Khatumo forces confronted the attacking forces; demonstrating remarkable resilience, they repelled the attackers, reclaiming their positions. In this counter-offensive, they captured prisoners and military vehicles, which they presented to social media. So far, they have not crossed into Isaq majority areas.
The SSC-Khatumo administration has appealed to the public and their defense forces for vigilance, emphasizing a defensive posture rather than an offensive one. They reiterate their commitment to peace, seeking to assure the Federal Government of Somalia and the international community of their adherence to international norms and United Nations Security Council resolutions. However, they express grave concerns over Muse Bihi’s administration’s apparent inclination towards prolonged conflict.
Background of the Conflict in Yeyle
The current escalation can be traced to demographic changes in the Yeyle area, notably in Buqdharkayn. Once predominantly Dhulbahante, the area has seen significant settlement by the Habar Jeclo-Isaaq clan over the past 15 years, fueling tensions. The area is still majority Dhulbahante, with Habar Jeclo settlement limited to Buqdharkayn village. Recent flareups in and around that village were initiated by the killing of herdsmen from the Dhulbahante by suspected Somaliland provocateurs. Additionally, contrasting stances of regional leaders have exacerbated the situation. While SSC-Khatumo leaders advocate for peace and territorial integrity, Somaliland leaders, including Hargeysa mayor Abdikarim Ahmed Mooge, Colonel Aare, and UCID chairman Faysal Ali Waraabe, have been stoking the flames of war.
Broader Implications and Future Outlook
This recent outbreak of violence in Yeyle is not an isolated event but a part of the intricate tapestry of Somalia’s long-standing conflicts. With the international community’s focus predominantly on southern Somalia, particularly the fight against Al-Shabab, the northern regions often receive less attention. However, incidents like these highlight the volatility of the entire nation and the need for a more comprehensive approach to peacebuilding.
This situation requires urgent and multifaceted interventions. First, immediate ceasefire and dialogue between the conflicting parties are essential to prevent further escalation. Long-term solutions must address the root causes, including historical grievances, ethnic tensions, and political power struggles. The involvement of neutral international mediators could be pivotal in facilitating dialogue and fostering a sustainable peace process.
In conclusion, the attack in Yeyle district and its aftermath signal a disturbing trend of escalating violence in a region already burdened with complex conflicts. The path forward demands a concerted effort from local leaders, the Federal Government of Somalia, and the international community to address the underlying issues and pave the way for lasting peace. Failure to do so could see the situation spiral into a larger conflict between Somaliland and SSC-Khatumo, further destabilizing an already fragile region.