Instability and Democratic Backsliding in Somaliland

The United States is increasingly concerned by the continuing violence in Lascanood and joins other international partners and neighbors in calling for de-escalation, adherence to the agreed ceasefire, unhindered humanitarian access, and resumption of constructive dialogue towards peaceful resolution. Continued violence will increase the potential for extremist groups to sow broader instability and further exacerbate the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

We call on Somaliland to pull back its security forces as a demonstration of its commitment to these principles. We call on the militias in Lascanood to refrain from any offensive actions against Somaliland forces. We support the Federal Government of Somalia’s constructive engagement and deployment of a clan elders’ delegation and welcome Somaliland President Bihi’s commitment to meet with the delegation in Hargeisa.

We also note with concern that Somaliland’s presidential elections have been delayed since November 2022, well beyond the timing set forth in Somaliland’s constitution. We call on the Somaliland authorities to set a clear timeline and complete the elections as soon as possible. The United States stands ready to use authorities under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to restrict the issuance of visas to current or former Somali officials or other individuals who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Somalia, including in Somaliland.

After 3 months of conflict in Laascaanood, I think Biihi had enough time to change the course of the conflict to Somaliland’s advantage. But repeatedly failures, both political and military decisions that has caused more problems than good. For that, I think Biihi should bring the army back to Adhi Cadeeye. Hold the Presidential electioins.

We need a new President to reset our relationship with the world and also put Somaliland’s case back on the agenda.

If Biihi ignores these calls from the IC, we risk of becoming an even more isolated than we already are.

PRESS RELEASE - The Republic of Somaliland’s response to the US State Department Statement - Hargeisa, Somaliland. March 31, 2023

Mar 31, 2023

For Immediate Release

Hargeisa, Somaliland. March 31, 2023 - The Government of the Republic of Somaliland shares the concerns of the international community regarding the continued violence in Las’anod, which was prompted by the assassination of a Somaliland politician in December, subsequent incursions by external forces, and attacks on civilian areas, including the residence where several Somaliland Cabinet Ministers were addressing concerns of the community members.

In a good faith effort and to contain the violence and restore stability, the Somaliland government pulled back its security forces from Las’anod, declared a unilateral ceasefire and encouraged all other parties to join. The government also supported a Peace Mission by Somaliland’s clan elders to initiate dialogue, and welcomed the initiative taken by neighboring governments to mediate an end to hostilities.

However, those who provoked this conflict have rejected all these efforts. Instead, they have continued to engage in incitement, violence, and misinformation to further destabilize the region and challenge the Republic of Somaliland’s sovereignty. Over the last two months, Somaliland’s military has been under constant, unprovoked attacks whilst they have been striving to contain the instability and avoid further military escalation to prevent harm to civilians.

To date, negotiations with local community leaders have been foiled by escalating attacks by numerous armed groups. These groups include members of Al-Shabaab, who were displaced from their safe havens in Somalia by U.S. supported counter-terrorism activities, members of the Puntland Security Forces, and of the Somali National Army, including high ranking Commander of the U.S. trained 4th battalion “Danab Brigade”, who was subsequently killed during an assault targeting Somaliland military units.

Like all other governments, the Republic of Somaliland has the right to defend its territorial integrity, and our Armed Forces have been doing so with restraint and professionalism.

Despite this difficult situation, the Somaliland government’s requests for U.S. support to convince Puntland authorities to stop the flow of fighters and arms from their territory into Las’anod, or to allow local elders to engage in talks, have yet to be answered. As a result, armed militias have operated with impunity in Las’anod, intimidating local leaders who desire to engage in political dialogue with the government and enabling a permissive environment for terrorists. Failure by the U.S. and others to engage constructively, objectively, and dispassionately risks emboldening these militias and prolonging the conflict.

The Government of the Republic of Somaliland once again urges the United States, the African Union, and the International Community to work in solidarity with our people to restore security in Las’anod and support a long-lasting solution that includes recognition of Somaliland’s sovereignty.

Regardless of these challenges, we are determined to implement democratic elections, a right that the government has protected and a process that serves as a model for the region.

In accordance with our laws, the National Electoral Commission is mandated to organize elections in our country. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the National Electoral Commission to develop the roadmap for the elections.