What’s driving conflict in the disputed Somali city of Las Anod? Featured

Violence has erupted in a city at the centre of a dispute between Somalia’s semi-autonomous Somaliland and Puntland regions.

Since February 6, there has been heavy fighting in the northern Somali city of Las Anod (Laascaanood) between troops of Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland and local militia from the Dhulbahante clan in northern Somalia.

So far, at least 82 people have died and 400 have been wounded.

How did it all begin?
The Dhulbahante clan lives in the regions of Sool, Sanaag as well as the district of Buuhoodle in the Togdheer region, all of which are disputed between Somaliland – which seceded from Somalia in 1991 – and Puntland.

Las Anod, the capital of the Sool region, is also claimed by the clan as its capital.

Somaliland claims the borders of the old British Somaliland protectorate which merged with what was known as Italian Somaliland in the 1960s to form Somalia.

In 1991, after clan militias overthrew Siad Barre, Somalia’s military ruler at the time, the country descended into prolonged conflict, and Somaliland proclaimed its secession.

Before 2007, when Somaliland seized Las Anod, it was administered by Puntland.

The current upheaval in Las Anod began on December 26 when a local opposition politician, Abdifatah Abdullahi Abdi, was assassinated by unknown attackers, sparking anti-government protests across the city.

Read article….