“Chaotic and sudden eruption of violent clashes now rock Las Anod, following weeks of peaceful respite”
It was a chaotic scene on Tuesday May 16, 2023 in Las Anod (AX) as heavy fighting erupted between Northern Somalia army and SSC-Khatuma forces on the outskirts of the town. The conflict reportedly began after the Northern Somalia army made movements on the frontlines, causing artillery fire to ring out across the area.
Residents in the town are reeling from the violence and have yet to determine the extent of the damage caused, while there has been no official word from either side. Interestingly, a Northern Somalia military armored vehicle was seen heading to the Goja Adde command, which is thought to have played a role in sparking the fighting.
This latest clash follows an extended period of heavy fighting in the northern Somali city of Las Anod which has caused hundreds of deaths and forced thousands of people to flee the area. Tuesday’s violence occurred after the withdrawal of clan militia forces to Garowe, the administrative center of Puntland State, which is currently experiencing unrest due to the upcoming local council elections.
In anticipation of the election, Puntland’s police chief, Mumin Abdi Shire, has vowed to crack down on any attempts to disrupt the elections and has warned that his officers are aware of those planning to organize attacks on polling sites. Prime Minister Hamza has also spoken out, emphasizing that the federal government is committed to ensuring the safety and stability of Puntland during the election process.
The situation in Las Anod remains tense and uncertain, with residents bracing themselves for more fighting and unrest.