A group of traditional elders from Mogadishu arrived in the conflict-ridden town of Las Anod on Monday to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, which has been ongoing for three months.
The committee has begun assessing the damage caused by the fighting in Las Anod, including the damage caused by alleged attacks by Somaliland forces.
Heavy fighting between Somaliland and SSC forces occurred in the town this week, resulting in heavy casualties on both sides, including civilians.
The delegation arrived hours after fierce battle erupted between the Somaliland army and SSC forces in Laascaanood, causing more turmoil in the city.
Somaliland officials have claimed that a group of Puntland soldiers, and local forces launched an attack on their military base and that their troops were defending against the assault. But local media outlets in Laascaanood reported that the attack was launched by Somaliland soldiers.
Accompanied by SSC elders, the committee travelled to where the fighting occurred. They met with Puntland’s Vice President Ahmed Karaash in Garowe on Monday night and are expected to proceed to Hargeisa to meet with Somaliland officials.
The elders plan to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Las Anod, which has resulted in deaths, injuries, destruction, and displacement. However, the Somaliland military announced on Sunday their intention to launch offensive attacks against the SSC Khatumo forces in Las Anod, marking a shift in strategy.
In response to the military decision announced by the Somaliland military, the 33-member SSC elders’ committee spokesman, Abdirizak Mohamed Hassan, stated that he did not believe Somaliland would launch a larger attack than the battle on Sunday. He also called on the international community to rein in Somaliland from attacking civilians in Las Anod.
In an interview with BBC Somali, Garad Jama Garad Ismail said that the Somaliland army had already attacked the town with military forces.
He also denied Somaliland’s claims that Puntland-led allies, including forces from Ethiopia and other Somali regions, are fighting in Las Anod, stating that there are non-Sool region people in the area.