Somaliland troops forced out of Las Anod city, north of Somalia

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LAS ANOD, Somalia - Disgruntled local protestors and militia forced Somaliland troops out of Las Anod following a week of bloodshed which left at least 20 innocent civilians dead after they went to the streets to express their displeasure after an upcoming politician was killed in the town.

The troops, who have been camping in the area, were forced to retreat to the outskirts of the town which has been subjected to chaos, with local militia accusing them of fuelling insurrection against the government. The militia and protestors forced them out.

Locals described the situation on Thursday as "unpredictable" while admitting that the situation was still tense. The military still remains active within the outskirts of the town according to the locals, who have been calling for intervention from the federal government of Somalia.

"Many people are fleeing this morning due to the possibility of further clashes," one of the locals said while confirming that there were deadly skirmishes on Wednesday night in the disputed city within the break-away region of Somaliland.

The latest skirmishes were triggered by the killing of a youth within Las Anod, who was reportedly shot dead by Somaliland security forces. After the death of the youthful man, his clansmen are said to have taken arms after the government troops who were stationed in the region.

For a week now, the troops have been camping in the area, with the regional President Muse Bihi Abdi warning the federal government of Somalia and Puntland against interference. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud had called for peace while encouraging dialogue over the dispute.

Las Anod was claimed by Somaliland from Puntland in 2007. Several leaders have also called for dialogue to resolve the crisis in Las Anod.

GAROWE ONLINE

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