MOGADISHU (HORN OBSERVER) Violent protests have been going on for the fourth day consecutively in Lasanod in the Sool region as the death toll of civilians shot dead by Somaliland forces has increased, the local media reports on Friday.
Lasanod residents staged protests on Tuesday following the killing of a prominent politician Hadrawi Sangub in the city. So far 21 civilians have been confirmed to have died from gunshots. All are women, young men and elderly people. Bidde Farah Alin, a Somali-American citizen who came to Lasanod for a visit, is among the civilians shot dead by the Somaliland forces on Friday, as confirmed by his family and a local hospital Fayo. He was shot dead in the mosque where he have the Friday sermon.
Local hospitals are now appealing for blood donation due to high volume of injured civilians in the hospitals. Limited development coupled with recurring climatic shocks, such as drought, give rise to high levels of need among affected populations. Journalists in Lasanod reported that Somaliland deployed a large number of troops to the city, including the United Kingdom-trained counter-terrorism RRU. Pictures posted on social media showed RRU soldiers shooting civilian protestors in the streets.
“What is happening in Lasanod is not normal incident. It’s a violation of human rights. Somaliland authorities must be held accountable for this heinous acts of killing civilians in Lasanod,” said Abdi Jama, a clan elders in Lasanod. Dozens of protestors armed with stones and sticks and wearing the Somalia flag and that of the Khatumo, an administration established by the Dhulbahante clans, have been filling on the streets every hour. The city’s main businesses remain shut.
Journalists and some of the protesters are reporting that an unknown number of demonstrators have been arrested. The Vice President of Puntland, a autonomous Somali federal member state, Ahmed Osman Karaash, stated that Somaliland authorities are committing atrocities in Lasanod.
“The brutal actions of the #Somaliland administration against the #people of #Laascaanood is unacceptable, and they will take responsibility for whatever happens,” he wrote on his Twitter account.