Somalia: Why Somaliland's Lower House speaker resigned?
LAS ANOD, Somalia - Abdirisak Khalif, the immediate former Somaliland Speaker of the House of Representatives, has opened up about his recent resignation which came as a shocker to authorities in the breakaway region, accusing Muse Bihi Abdi, the current leader, of fueling tensions in the state.
According to him, his decision to quit was informed by endless war in Las Anod town which led to the displacement of thousands of people and several deaths, which have been widely condemned by members of the international community. It is estimated that over 250 people have died so far.
So pressing has been the Las Anod conflict that the people of the SSC-Khatumo region have been at loggerheads with Somaliland, pushing to be governed from Mogadishu instead of Hargeisa, the regional administrative capital of Somaliland. Tensions are still high in the region.
"As the Laascaanood conflict going on for a month, I said to Muse Bihi, 'Don't separate the people to a place where they will not return'; today I say, 'you have separated the people of SSC and the people of your origin for the rest of their lives," said Abdirisak Khalif, the former speaker of the Somaliland House of Representatives, a day after his resignation.
The resignation came days after Muse Bihi's government filed a case against him at the Supreme Court for "undermining" the existence of the self-proclaimed breakaway region and supporting SSC-Khatumo in LasAnod. He also quit as a lawmaker, further complicating Somaliland politics.
While SSC-Khatumo leaders want the Somaliland troops to exit from the conflict zone before talks commence, the forces have remained defiant and are still stationed in the outskirts of the town. Somaliland blamed the conflict on Puntland and the federal government but the two parties have since refuted involvement.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud asked the two parties to solve their differences amicably, while insisting that Somaliland is still part of Somalia. Somaliland has been pushing for international recognition but the United Nations and other stakeholders are yet to yield to the pressure.