Somaliland defends decision to expel Somali people from Las'anod city


HARGEISA, Somalia - Northern Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland, has strongly defended recent evictions from Las Anod in the Sool region, arguing that the deportees were a major "security" threat to the contested city.

Over 3,000 people were flushed by authorities in Somaliland, and most have since been resettled by the regional government of Puntland. Most of those affected were businessmen, women, and innocent children, UN said.

In a statement issued by Somaliland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hargeisa asked Mogadishu to "keep off from our internal affairs" in what could ignite sharp differences between the two parties which have been in conflict for the last three decades.

Somaliland said the decision to flush out a number of individuals was based on intelligence and complaints from members of the public which indicated the targeted individuals’ continued stay was a security risk. But sources link the unfortunate incident to growing business rivalries between the southerners and northerners.

The decision was also arrived at after authorities were informed of ‘issues pertaining to security, including appeals from the local communities and authorities in Las Anod district. The district borders the Puntland State of Somalia.

Further, Somaliland noted, intelligence reports and consultations indicated that the selected individuals were putting the safety of the local population at risk. It also claimed the evictions were carried out in a manner that did not infringe on their rights and without damage or loss of property, in compliance with international laws.

Already, Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble has condemned the evictions, terming them "inhuman and irregular". Several other stakeholders among them regional leaders and members of the opposition castigated the evictions.

But Somaliland said it did not ‘take lightly’ Mogadishu’s response to the evictions noting it was an indicator that Somalia could not be counted as a trusted international partner on peace and stability in the region. The region is fighting for international recognition.

On Tuesday, the UN said it was aware that more evictions by the Somaliland government in Las’anod were underway and urged for respect to human rights. Southwest President Lafta-Gareen hailed Puntland's Said Abdullahi Deni of "expeditious resettling of our people".


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