International Allies Express Concern over Escalation in Northern Region of Somalia
Monday August 28, 2023
A coalition of more than 20 nations and various international organizations has strongly condemned the recent escalation in the conflict between Northern Somalia, a breakaway region in northern Somalia, and local clans.
In a joint statement, signed by numerous international partners of the Horn of Africa nation, including the United Nations, United States, and Turkey, concerns were raised about the reported large number of detainees. The signatories emphasized the importance of adhering to human rights and international humanitarian law, particularly when it comes to protecting civilians and civilian infrastructure.
The statement was issued in response to the intensification of hostilities between Northern Somalia forces and clan militias known as SSC-Khatumo in the city of Laascaanood. There are growing concerns that the fighting could spill over into surrounding areas.
The international partners urged all parties involved to immediately and unconditionally agree to a cease-fire, as well as to halt mobilization efforts and the provision of supplies and arms.
Signatories of the statement included the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, Belgium, Canada, Djibouti, the European Union Delegation, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, the Arab League, the Netherlands, Norway, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Qatar, Russia, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Uganda, and the United Kingdom.
Furthermore, the international partners emphasized the need to ensure unrestricted humanitarian access and the delivery of assistance to those in need. They called on all parties to refrain from making divisive statements and instead encouraged peaceful resolution of grievances and tensions through dialogue.
Las Anod, the capital of the Sool region in northern Somalia, has been the epicenter of intense clashes between Northern Somalia forces and clan militias, resulting in numerous casualties, thousands of injuries, and the displacement of many families.
The conflict in Las Anod erupted after local leaders, civil society groups, and religious leaders declared their refusal to recognize the authority of the Northern Somalia government. In response, the Northern Somalia administration branded the local forces as “terrorists” and held them responsible for the violence.
The Sool and Sanaag regions have long been disputed territories, with both Northern Somalia and Puntland state claiming ownership. The current uprising by local forces has further fueled tensions in these areas.