Local Resistance Take Over Laascaanood Killing 5 Soldiers as Somaliland Withdrawals

05.01.2023: Laascaanood, Sool

Following nearly two weeks of oppression and a brutal crackdown by the separatist Somaliland Government in Hargeisa which saw dozens of unarmed civilians killed, locals armed themselves last night and pushed Somaliland soldiers out of the city.

This morning saw dozens of locals come to the streets to raise the flag of the Somali Republic and the flag of Khaatumo State, a locally declared federal state which seeks recognition from Mogadishu to be an official Federal Member State (FMS) of Somalia. Garaad Jama’ Garaad Ismail was recorded speaking to the crowds in the city, informing them of victory and glory for the people of the town following days of killings.

How did the Battle Unfold?

Last night saw yet another killing of a prominent Laascaanood resident. Mohamud Ali Saadle ‘Geenyo’ was a local businessman and a well respect figure in the city.

Reports from the town indicate that soldiers from the separatist Somaliland Government in the city shot and killed Geenyo as shocked onlookers were outraged.

At around 9pm local time, outraged residents began arming and organising themselves before attacking the Somaliland forces stationed in the town. Armed resistance shot from windows and shops as well as barricades in the streets under the cover of darkness. The startled Somaliland forces began retreating and fled the town following a fierce battle with armed local resistance in the early hours of this morning, leaving behind their deceased.

However, reports from locals in the town suggest that Somaliland units are still stationed around the city’s main entrance points both East and West of Laascaanood.

Nevertheless, internet, water and electricity was restored in the city after locals forced companies to reopen offices and provide services immediately. This comes after days of no services in the city as Somaliland forces shut all companies down.

What has Hargeisa Said?

Speaking to the press, Spokesman for the Separatist Somaliland Government’s Military said that Somaliland forces withdrew from the city at the request of the traditional elders and leaders. The Spokesman stated that these traditional leaders “pledged to restore peace” in the town and insisted the presence of soldiers only aggravated the situation. Indeed, Somaliland soldiers have killed dozens of locals in recent days with no internal investigations or arrests made against perpetrators by Somaliland authorities.

The Somaliland military spokesperson also announced that the murder of Mohamud Ali Saadle ‘Geenyo’ last night in Laascaanood “was accidental” and that “two soldiers were arrested” in relation to the ongoing investigation on the matter. The Spokesman said that the arrested soldiers claimed that Geenyo allegedly “pulled a gun first”, outraging the victim’s family and many supporters.

The Spokesman did not speak about the casualties or the battle that ensued between his forces and local resistance, categorising it as a tactical withdrawal rather than a defeat and retreat as being depicted by locals in the town.

What Next?

The capture of Laascaanood is a monumental moment for the people and leaders of Khaatumo State as the SSC regions continues to fight for its self-determination.

With protests erupting in other towns across Sool including Taleh and Boocame, it seems as though the news of resistance overrunning the Somaliland forces will most likely instil encouragement and boldness for other towns in the region to similarly take up arms.

Ultimately, this could be the beginning of the declaration of Khaatumo State in the region.

However, there are number of problems:

Firstly, Somaliland forces are still surrounding the city and could besiege the town if the resistance in Laascaanood declared the town the headquarters of the Khaatumo resistance movement. At the moment, the people of Laascaanood and Sool have received no support from any regional government or people, so it is difficult to see resistance surviving a long siege.

Secondly, speaking to the press, Deni’s Information Minister declared the recent Khaatumo Committee established as “fake news”. He reaffirmed Puntland’s claim to the SSC region. In other words, Puntland would do anything in its power to hinder the formation of Khaatumo State, in agreement with Somaliland.

Lastly, it is difficult to see Mogadishu recognition the newly re-established Khaatumo State as it has failed to do so over the past few years. Khaatumo’s leadership have held multiple conferences on its inclusion into the Federal Member States of Somalia in recent years only to be ignored.

Additionally, with the entire media blackout by the Federal Government in regards to the Laascaanood situation, it does not seem as though there is much interest from Villa Somalia.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: