The night-time attack on the Las Anod residence of Somaliland governor of Sool region last week by unidentified gunmen could foreshadow a change similar to the one the district had undergone when it changed hands in October 2007. The governor, Mustafe Abdi Shiine, briefed journalists in Hargeisa. ” Only 20% of Las Anod population is against the progress in human development made so far. Peace has been threatened. We will not revert to securitisation“, the visibly shaken governor said. Since 2015 Las Anod has been gradually becoming less governable. Jailbreaks and political assassinations have exposed the fragile security of the district. Twenty percent of the population of a district of more 300,000 people is 60,000. By quantifying the resistance to the presence of Somaliland forces in Sool the governor brought to light the change Las Anod is undergoing since Somaliland government decided to “diversify” local militias paid in the name of Somaliland army and security forces.
The attack on Somaliland governor’s residence came in the wake of a meeting the governor had with local business owners in which he asked them to pitch in for May 18 celebrations by contributing funds to make celebrations in Las Anod this year less low-key.
The diversification plan started off after mistrust emerged between local security forces and Somaliland authorities in Sool following pastoralist clashes near Oog, an area between Aynaba district and Yagoori. Clashes brought about weakening of the deal that is keeping Las Anod under Somaliland administration.
Las Anod is classed as a disputed territory although it has been under Somaliland administration since October
2007. Non-Somali NGOs and aid workers seldom visit Las Anod and other Sool districts such as Huddun and Taleh partly because of a Somaliland government policy that discourages foreign visitors to the area. Discouragement comes in the form of a warning that Somaliland authorities in Sool cannot guarantee the security of visitors to a region known to ardent Somalilanders as jiidda hore ( the front-line).
Last year Somaliland government organised in Aynaba meetings for the two subclans whose nomads clashed near Oog, but one side allied with the last two Somaliland governors of Sool byclan blamed Somaliland government for being partial to the other side. The stalled talks created a situation that have had impact on confidence of people to travel from Burao to Las Anod and vice versa.
The ruling Somaliland party, Kulmiye, which has recently elected a new chairman and a presidential candidate, banks on Sool to which Somaliland National Electoral Commission moved polling stations of Buuhoodle for security reasons. Somaliland government does not wish Sool to be labelled a “no-election zone” or the region to become an excuse for postponing Somaliland elections in 2017 due to “security threats in Eastern Somaliland”, one of the pretexts the Somaliland House of Elders ( Guurti ) used in 2015 to extend the president’s term in office.
Somaliland administration should rethink the securitisation model to control Las Anod because the appointment of governors who do not belong to the region clanwise has become counterproductive.
A total overhaul of the
regional administration and the local government with a view to reverse the presidential decree that broke up Sool into two regions ( Sool and Haysimo) could be a good step in the right direction.
Such a a new administrative structure for the region should enable people of Sool to hold their leaders accountable. Currently, Somaliland government does not share with people in Sool information on how tax levied on local businesses is used. There is no clarity on how Somaliland Development Fund money earmarked for health and education sectors will be spent.
In 2008 the Chairman of Somaliland House of Elders, Suleiman Mohamud Adam, urged the former Somaliland government to organise a conference to reconcile Sool subclans to make Somaliland more inclusive. The current Somaliland government did not heed the Guurti Chairman’s advice either. It is now paying a price its predecessor had paid from 2009, when organised armed opposition to Somaliland forces in Sool began.