MPs accuse Muse Bihi of undermining Somalia's unity

Muse Bihi Abdi, the President of Somaliland speaks to The Associated Press in Hergeisa, Somaliland, Somalia on 3 April 2018. (AP Photo/Malak Harb)

LAS ANOD, Somalia - Somaliland leader Muse Bihi Abdi has been accused of "undermining" unity in the federal republic of Somalia, following heightened clashes in Las Anod city, where over 200 people were killed and hundreds wounded in two months.

Since January 2023, the Somaliland regional army has been clashing with members of the SSC-Khatumo forces who are fighting for autonomy and establishing a separate state under the federal system of Somalia.

Regional lawmakers and members of local councils particularly from Burco and Erigabo districts maintained that Bihi should take responsibility for Las Anod atrocities which drew international and local condemnations. 

Elders from SSC established a 33-member committee that insisted that dialogue can only take place in the event Somaliland withdraws troops from all their regions - Sool, Sanaag, and Cayn but Hargeisa maintains the presence of the soldiers who carry out attacks. 

With some attempts to form a new committee consisting of elders from the Garhajis clan, lawmakers have accused the president of being behind the formation of the new committee. Said Sokeeye, one of the lawmakers, stated that those who seek to dismantle the Garhajis community would not succeed in their intentions.

The previous committee from Garhajis had refused to take part in the talks and seemed to oppose his stand. For some time now, members of the opposition maintain that the Las Anod conflict is artificial, insisting that Bihi engineered it to delay the Nov 2022 presidential election.

Las Anod conflict is the worst in recent years within the Republic of Somalia, with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud calling for dialogue between the warring parties. The president has also maintained that he is not interested to interfere with peace processes but maintained Somaliland region is part of the country.

Bihi has also been accusing Puntland and Mogadishu of allegedly engineering the choice a claim which the two sides have dismissed as "hot air". Thousands of people have been displaced from their homes, with United Nations now calling for an immediate ceasefire, adding that the humanitarian crisis could escalate to dangerous levels.


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