On 6 February 2023, SSC Traditional Leaders and a 33-Member Committee issued the ‘Laascaanood Declaration’ where a 45-member body was elected to administer SSC-Khatumo, and where SSC-Khatumo declared of not being part of the Somaliland administration, and having never agreed to nor participated in the secession program, and that “SSC-Khatumo territories are part of the Federal Republic of Somalia, and stand for the unity and integrity of the Somali Federal Republic.”
In addition, the ‘Laascaanood Declaration’ unequivocally stated that “Somaliland administration should respect the desire and the will of SSC-Khatumo people toward their self-determination, and Somaliland administration should withdraw its troops from the territory of SSC-Khatumo without any conditions.”
Minutes before the ‘Laascaanood Declaration’ communique was to be announced, Somaliland immediately began attacking to capture the city and raining down artillery shells on the city. The war for Laascaanood that began on 6 February rages on to this day, where today it is being reported that Somaliland artillery shelling of the city has destroyed civilian homes and resulted a number of yet unspecified deaths.
As the war rages on, the death toll is mounting, Somaliland clan loyalties are fraying, and Hargeisa is experiencing political disarray, Daljir Media reached out to a number of Somali intellectuals and influencers, and we posed them two questions on the ‘War in Laascaanood and the future of SSC-Khatumo.’
As we find answers to above questions, we will run a series of what Somali intellectuals and influencers think of the war in Laascaanood, the role of or the lack thereof of Villa Somalia, and the way forward for both Somaliland and SSC-Khatumo.
Elham Garaad, a public and mental health professional, a blogger, and an influential Somali intellectual, answers our questions in PART II of this series.
Question 1: The people of SSC-KHATUMO, the 33-member Committee and most importantly SSC-KHATUMO traditional leaders have triggered Article 47(2) and they have clearly stated that they aren’t party to Somaliland’s secession project, and that they want to be a Federal Member State under the jurisdiction of the federal government of Somalia. So far, neither President Hassan Sh. Mohamoud nor PM Hamza Abdi Barre have provided an understandable answer to the people of SSC-KHATUMO and they haven’t even declared that SSC-KHATUMO is under the jurisdiction of the FG of Somalia and not under the jurisdiction of secession seeking Somaliland. What is preventing President Hassan Sheikh and his PM Hamza Abdi Barre from protecting the flag and standing up for the unity of Somalia, and in the process perhaps providing the answer to the unity of Somalia the people of SSC-KHATUMO seek?
Elham Garaad: The secessionist enclave, which refers to the self-proclaimed state of Somaliland, has been taking advantage of the political instability and dire conditions that have plagued Central and Southern Somalia, particularly in the capital city of Mogadishu, for many years. However, their attempts to gain recognition as a sovereign state have failed, as the international community has repeatedly stressed the importance of maintaining Somalia’s unity and territorial integrity. The politicians from Southern Somalia have disregarded the wishes of millions of unionist communities in Northern Somalia, who have fought hard to preserve the union. The of Sool, Sanaag, and Cayn regions, are now facing a crucial test and must show that they are capable of being statesmen in deciding the fate of Somalia.
5th of February deceleration is a major political shift. The legacy of Hassan Sheikh and Hamza Barre, who are the President and PM of Somalia, respectively, will depend on their ability to save the union, which will be recorded in Somalia’s history.
Question 2: What is the role of Djibouti and IOG in supporting Somaliland’s desire to secede from Somalia? And if he does have a role, why does IOG support, and how does he politically and economically profit from such a risky venture?
Elham Garaad: Djibouti and Somaliland share a common ancestral lineage and live in overlapping geographical areas, which has led to close cultural and economic ties. However, Ismail Omar Geele, who is the President of Djibouti, has been using a divide-and-rule strategy to maintain his power. The SSC region is complex and has been the subject of intense struggle to keep the secessionist movement alive. Somaliland sees the loss of the SSC region, which is located on the border between Somaliland and Puntland, as a blow to its identity, which is based on a colonial mindset of the unbridgeable divide between ‘North’ and ‘South’ Somalis. Somaliland’s map will now only include the northern Dir clans, which will give Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, complete control over them.
A positive outcome for the SSC people will not only benefit other regions trapped in Hargeisa’s secessionist ideology, such as Awdal or Togdheer, but also other oppressed Somali communities in Somalia and in East Africa. Moreover, the defeat of Al-Shabab, which is a terrorist group that has been causing chaos and instability in Somalia, is almost within reach. Therefore, the people will soon be able to confront Somalia’s corrupt rulers and work towards a more stable and prosperous future.
Stay tuned to our next series with Rashid Abdi, Faisal Roble, M. Mubarak, Mohamoud Gaildon and many more Somali intellectuals and influencers.
Somali intellectuals and influencers on ‘War in Laascaanood & the future of SSC-Khatumo’ | PART I
FAALLOOYIN & FALCELIN