update on Secessionist Somaliland’s Catch 22…!
At least one person was killed and a half a dozen wounded in a northern Somali city of Las Anod as anti-Somaliland protests turned violent
The protests started around 11am Monday after local demonstrators began burning tires and closing off roads.
Security forces loyal to Somaliland, a separatist region in northwest Somalia, began fighting back the rioters and the situation soon turned violent.
Local sources reported that at least two police vehicles were burned, with medical workers reportedly treating six wounded civilians.
Protesters chanted anti-Somaliland slogans and demanded the withdrawal of Somaliland troops, who militarily seized control of Las Anod in Oct. 2007 as Puntland troops withdrew.
Somaliland and Puntland, two regions in northern Somalia, have disputed violently over control of Sool and Sanaag regions since 2002, with Las Anod town becoming the epicenter of their dispute.
Somaliland-appointed governor of Sool region, Mr. Abdullahi Jama Dirie, confirmed the violent protests to BBC Somali Service.
He noted that one Somaliland police vehicle was burned, but stated that "no one was killed" during the protests. According to Mr. Dirie, five civilians were wounded.
Furthermore, he stated that 118 persons arrested by police during the protests were released Monday afternoon.
Residents of Las Anod have protested several times against the presence of Somaliland forces inside the town. Residents oppose Somaliland's separatist agenda, according to experts and observers.
Meanwhile, Monday's protests coincide with violent clashes between Somaliland troops and a rebel group Ayn region in the outskirts of Buhodle town near the Ethiopian border. At least five people including Somaliland soldiers were killed during the armed clashes in Kalshale village, according to local reports.
Located in northwest Somalia, Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.