Casualties mounted in Las Anod as the troops of Somaliland, a separatist breakaway region from Somalia with no international recognition of its claim to sovereignty, continued attempts to reoccupy the city. Las Anod is at the heart of the unionist movement to reunite the region with Somalia.
On March 18, attacks by the Somaliland army left over 280 people injured and 47 dead, Jaama Mohamed Mursal, a medical doctor at the Las Anod General Hospital told Peoples Dispatch. The hospital has been severely damaged in the bombardment ongoing since early February.
Somaliland is a self-proclaimed republic formed in 1991 as a separatist state, breaking away from Somalia’s northwestern region after the civil war. It spans a strip of land of almost 137,600 square kilometers along the south of the Gulf of Aden—a crucial shipping route, including for petroleum, connecting the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. It is now facing what many observers regard as an existential threat as the unionist movement for reunification with Somalia spreads across Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (SSC), which is over a third of what Somaliland regards as its territory.
The protests calling for reunification began in December 2022 in the city of Las Anod, where a declaration was passed in February proclaiming SSC as a part of Somalia. The document deemed the presence of Somaliland administration illegal. Somaliland has since been shelling the city.