Oct 28, 2007

Puntland loses control of Las Anod, more fighting expected

As was expected Somaliland and Puntland resumed fighting in northern Somalia over the city of Las Anod. About ten days ago, armed militia from Dhulbahante tribe supporting Somaliland entered the city of Las Anod from the south declaring Las Anod a Somaliland city. At the time there were no other militias in the city so there was little casualty. Outside of the city, in the West, Puntland and Somaliland forces clashed, Puntland forces pulled back to the Easter side of the city after they heard that local militia loyal to Somaliland took the city. Puntland lost all control over Las Anod. Somaliland troops avoided going into the city to avoid and are camping outside of city, to the east.

Most families - women and children - left the city of Las Anod to the surrounding villages; to the south - up to or inside the Ethiopian border - and the east - up to Garowe, the capital city of Puntland.

Puntland forces are regrouping and there are reports that Puntland forces in the southern Somalia have already started moving up north. Tribal militias of Dhulhbahante and Majeerteen are also gathering in the east of the city. Las Anod itself have been emptied and most businesses are still closed, people are preparing for another round of fighting. It's a sad end to the peace that northern Somalia (East and West) have enjoyed in the past decade.

It seems this is only the first round of the fighting, most Dhulbahante elders and population continue to support Puntland.

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