Grand entry of exitraditional elders in Las Anod major concerns for Somaliland
LAS ANOD, Somalia - Thousands of residents of Las Anod flooded the streets to usher in Garad Jama Ali, a traditional elder who has been living in exile for 16 years after the fallout with the administration of Somaliland which forcibly took over the city, in what could be a major concern to the shaky leadership of Muse Bihi Abdi.
For the past two months, Las Anod, a town claimed by Somaliland and Puntland, has been the epicenter of political battles, with many residents associating themselves with the leadership in Mogadishu rather than the secessionist Somaliland which took over in 2007.
On Sunday night, thousands of residents waving in Somalia's traditional blue and white colours lined up in the streets to communicate a major message, perhaps the persistence of rebellion against the administration of Muse Bihi Abdi, whose tenure elapsed in November 2022 but his yet to conduct presidential polls.
On Tuesday, Garad Abdullahi Garad Saleeban Garad Mohamed and his delegation were welcomed in Lasanod where demonstrations against the presence of Somaliland troops recently started.
Khadar Hussein Abdi, the Secretary General of Wadani party, an opposition outfit in Somaliland with majority control of the assembly, said the gesture from the people of Las Anod reminiscents opaque leadership in Somaliland under the stewardship of Muse Bihi Abdi, a former Somalia Air Force officer.
"This is what happens when you believe you can rule a country with a gun. This is now Lascod, but many people feel the same way. He thought that he didn't need anyone. Every day he remains in power is a disaster for Somaliland," he said in reference to the embattled regional leader.
"The grand entry of Garad Jama in Laasanood after a 15-year exile opens a new dawn for the people of the region. Somaliland and Puntland MUST support this long-awaited gathering of the people of SSC as they seek to determine their future in their quest for unity and self-rule," added Abdinur Mohamed, former Villa Somalia Chief of Staff.
Garad Jama Ali is a tribal chief of Dhulbahante clan where he is regarded as the supreme leader and his presence in the city after 16 years brings both hope and tension regarding which side of the coin you view it. To residents, he is a hero turned villain and to the establishment, he is a nuisance who is out to cause trouble.
Curiously, his convoy was not restricted by Somaliland troops who have been manning the troubled city which witnessed deadly protests that left over 20 people dead a few weeks ago. The residents were protesting against the assassination of a youthful politician under unclear circumstances in December 2022.