Hargeisa)ANN)-The government of Somaliland expressed its concern today about a statement issued by the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Lasaanood on Wednesday, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Somaliland described as a misinformation statement that does not reflect the reality. ‘the statement is not about the facts on the ground’. MFA statement said.

“The Government of the Republic of Somaliland welcomes the statement from the UN Security Council on the cessation of hostilities, on creating conditions for peace, unhindered provisions of humanitarian assistance and stabilization of the situation in LasAnod.  However, we also wish to express our concern that UNSC appears to be misinformed about the facts on the ground. On the 26th of February 2023, Somaliland forces withdrew from LasAnod and since then have maintained a static defensive position outside the city of LasAnod. The Somaliland Security forces have rigorously avoided civilian casualties, only firing to maintain their defensive positions against the militia forces”, the Ministry of Somaliland’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation statement said.

The statement went on to repeat assertions that Somaliland was, in fact, not only fighting insurgents that threatened its unity but, also, extremist elements that existentially threatened it and the whole region.

Related:  LasAnod: The tribal style of organized war has become gunpowder, which easily destroys peace in the Horn region and even East Africa

“The government of Somaliland is concerned by the Security Council’s failure to acknowledge the rapidly expanding presence of Al Shabab in Las Anod and Sool region of Somaliland. This poses a threat not only to Somaliland but also to our neighbors, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Djibouti as well as the entire region. In our letter to the UN Secretary General, dated 12th of April 2023 we informed him of the growing threat of Al Shabab in Las Anod and Sool region. No single state can contain this threat and the Government of Somaliland therefore appeals to the members of the UN Security Council to provide their attention and support in addressing this growing threat,” the statement added.

The statement quickly went over steps that the government of Somaliland has taken to contain the situation and avoid full-out military engagement with invading Somalia armed units, largely coming from the neighboring Puntland Federal State of Somalia and the Somali State of Ethiopia, to avoid massive civilian casualties, which the UN statement neither acknowledged nor even even fleetingly mentioned. The government reminded the UNSC, too, that access to humanitarian supplies was a top priority in its approach and that it has delivered such supplies to areas where residents of the beleaguered town fled long before any of the international organizations reached it.

“Our government has called for dialogue throughout this conflict, unfortunately, these calls have not been accepted by Las’anod clan leaders. Throughout this conflict, Somaliland has provided access to international organizations to deliver humanitarian aid to our people in LasAnod and has facilitated the delivery of medical supplies. The government has continuously provided food, water, and medical supplies to the displaced in areas outside of Las’anod,” the government stated.

The MFA statement, obviously, thrown off by the UNSC referring to the 32-year-old de facto Republic of Somaliland as ‘Northern Somalia’ only putting its name in between perenthesis when it had to mention it, was quick to point out where the Security Council widely veered off from accepted norms and legal instruments it, otherwise, respected and promoted when it did not concern Somaliland.

“The Somaliland forces in Sool region are protecting the people, sovereignty, and territory of the Republic of Somaliland within our recognized borders at the time of independence. Our international borders are in conformity with article 4 of African Union Constitutive Act which the United Nation recognizes,” the MFA stated.

The UN statement, it appears, only encouraged the traditional leaders who started the armed engagement against the Somaliland they helped found, many of whom are currently courting Villa Somalia, to redouble their attacks on army positions, gloating over what they thought was a resounding political and military success over Somaliland.

“We will give seven days to Somaliland forces to withdraw from our areas. We promise we will not shoot them on the back during the retreat,” Garaad Jama Garaad Ismail leading the Sool delegation visiting Mogadishu said, unable to conceal the leering pleasure he felt over the unequivocal, undivided support the security Council’s words ‘members of the Security Council called for the immediate withdrawal of “Somaliland” security force’ lent what they maintained as a just cause to form a clan state inside the Somaliland republic.

On the other hand, many in Somaliland quickly pointed out that nothing was to be welcomed in the UN statement, as the MFA statement began with, about the UNSC statement deeming it a blatant invasion against the wishes of Somaliland nationals as it was a thoughtless abrogation of the exemplary track record Somaliland achieved in state-forming, peace-building, democracy and fight against extremist acting as a shield for neighbor countries in the Horn of Africa.

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By Arraale M Jama Freelance Journalist and Human Rights activist.