Somaliland Withdraws Soldiers From Troubled Town Near Somali Border

Somaliland Withdraws Soldiers From Troubled Land (News Central TV)

After days of deadly demonstrations against central rule, government soldiers in the self-declared Somaliland republic withdrew from a contested town close to the Somalia border, security authorities said Thursday.

“In order to preserve the security situation, stability of the district and the wellbeing of the civilian population, the army commanders ordered the forces to return to their camps so that the situation returns to normal,” Las Anod mayor Abdirahim Ali Ismail said.

Las Anod mayor Abdirahim Ali Ismail

Commanders of the Somaliland army acknowledged their intention to leave the town “to avoid further escalation,” but they also issued a warning that the stability of the area would not be compromised.

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Last week, protests in Las Anod turned violent, and government troops are accused by opposition parties and human rights organisations of killing numerous protesters in the contentious border town.

Both Puntland, a state in northern Somalia, and Somaliland, which seceded from the remainder of the nation in 1991 but is still not recognised internationally, claim Las Anod.

Following the shooting death of a local legislator last week, the protests first started. Officials from Somaliland, which administers the town, claimed that conflicts between police and protesters resulted in deaths but did not specify how many.

After a local businessman was shot and killed on Wednesday, the town’s armed conflict between people and the military grew, according to Las Anod mayor Abdirahim Ali Ismail.

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“In order to preserve the security situation, stability of the district and the wellbeing of the civilian population, the army commanders ordered the forces to return to their camps so that the situation returns to normal,” Ismail said.

Commanders of the Somaliland army acknowledged their intention to leave the town “to avoid further escalation,” but they also issued a warning that the stability of the area would not be jeopardised.

“The incident last night was unfortunately accidental, and we extend our condolences to the relatives of the victim,” Abdi Dheere, a military commander in the region, told a press briefing, referring to the killed trader.

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