Fighting in breakaway Somaliland kills nine …official and medic say

At least nine people were killed and an­other 14 wounded on Saturday in a sixth day of fight­ing in Somalia’s breakaway Somaliland region, a local government official and medic said, hours after Somaliland called for an unconditional ceasefire.

Somaliland broke away from So­malia in 1991, but has not received widespread international recogni­tion for its independence.

Its government has faced heavy opposition in Las Anod and surrounding areas, where some clan leaders were seeking to rejoin federal Somalia and have accused the Somaliland authorities of failing to tackle insecurity.

“Somaliland forces are shelling the civilian areas by using mortars and heavy artillery,” Abdirahim Ali Ismail, mayor of Las Anod, told Re­uters by phone. “The general doctor who was treating the wounded in the war was killed in the hospital.”

Mohamed Farah, a doctor at Las Anod Hospital, confirmed the toll and shelling to Reuters.

Somaliland government officials were not immediately reachable for comment.

Its interior ministry said Somalil­and’s troops had acted in self de­fence and the ceasefire announced on Friday still held.

“The JSL (Somaliland) govern­ment is making it clear that the JSL forces were not attacking, they were only defending themselves, and they are still in their positions,” the ministry said in a statement on its website. —Reuters

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