At least 96 people have been killed in more than two weeks of clashes between security forces and clan members in Somaliland, a hospital director said on Thursday.
“We have 96 dead and 560 wounded,” said Ahmed Mohamed Hassan, director of the main hospital in the contested town of Las Anod.
Garaad Jama Garaad Ali, a senior clan chief, on Wednesday said that 150 people had been killed and 500 wounded.
Somaliland, which has claimed independence from Somalia since 1991, but has never been recognized internationally, is often seen as a beacon of stability in the Horn of Africa.
However, political tensions have surged in the past few months, leading to deadly violence between government forces and militias loyal to Somalia.
The latest fighting broke out on Feb. 6 in Las Anod, which straddles a key trade route and is claimed by Somaliland and neighboring Puntland, a semi-autonomous state of northeastern Somalia.
The UN said more than 185,000 people have been displaced by the violence.
Heavy fighting was still raging on Thursday, the region’s clan leaders and witnesses said.
“It started in the early morning and already several artillery and mortar shells landed in the town,” Las Anod resident Mohamed Saleban said by telephone, adding that people were fleeing.
On Wednesday, Hassan said that the hospital itself had been bombarded and that several employees had on “a number of occasions” survived shelling.
“They have destroyed the electricity system of the hospital, the oxygen system, the blood bank, the office of the human resources and other parts of the hospital building,” he told reporters, vowing to continue working.
The violence erupted after elders in the Sool region, where Las Anod is located, issued a statement pledging support for Somalia’s federal government and urged Somaliland authorities to withdraw their soldiers from the area.
The Somaliland government announced a ceasefire on Feb. 10, but days later accused Somalia of attacking its forces.
The UN last week said that more than 185,00 people had been uprooted from their homes, with aid workers struggling to respond to the situation due to inadequate resources.
Women and children accounted for an estimated 89 percent of the displaced population, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement.
Many were reportedly seeking shelter under trees or inside schools, which have been forced to shut.
In addition to those displaced inside Somaliland, more than 60,000 have fled to Ethiopia’s Somali Region to escape the violence, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said.
Vaccines that protect against severe illness, death and lingering long COVID-19 symptoms from a SARS-CoV-2 infection were linked to small increases in neurological, blood and heart-related conditions in the largest global vaccine safety study to date. The rare events — identified early in the pandemic — included a higher risk of heart-related inflammation from mRNA shots made by Pfizer Inc, BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc, and an increased risk of a type of blood clot in the brain after immunization with viral-vector vaccines such as the one developed by the University of Oxford and made by AstraZeneca PLC. The viral-vector jabs were
Women on Thursday officially joined a so-called “naked festival” at a shrine in central Japan for the first time in the event’s 1,250-year history, donning purple robes and chanting excitedly as they bore a large bamboo trunk as an offering. Seven groups of women took part in the ritual which is said to drive away evil spirits and where participants pray for happiness. Despite its name, those taking part are not naked. Many women wore “Happi Coats” (robes that reach to the hips) and shorts that are typically worn at Japanese festivals, although men just wore loincloths similar to those worn by
DECLINE: About 27 million Argentines are poor, of which 15 percent are mired in ‘destitution,’ meaning they cannot adequately cover their food needs, a study showed Poverty levels last month skyrocketed to 57.4 percent of Argentina’s population of 46 million, the highest rate in 20 years, a study by the Catholic University of Argentina (UCA) showed. The findings quickly unleashed accusations between Argentina’s former vice president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and the government of President Javier Milei, who came to power announcing a series of shock measures aimed at tackling the country’s severe crisis. About 27 million people in Argentina are poor and 15 percent of those are mired in “destitution,” meaning they cannot adequately cover their food needs, according to the study released over the weekend. The UCA’s
‘DRAGON SLAYERS’: The alleged members of a radical protest group were arrested after police accused them of planning a bomb attack during a Human Rights Day rally Fourteen people yesterday went on trial in Hong Kong for allegedly planning to carry out a bomb attack to murder police officers during pro-democracy protests in 2019, with prosecutors invoking the territory’s anti-terrorism act. The defendants, allegedly members of a radical protest group called “Dragon Slayers,” were arrested after police accused them of planning to carry out a bomb attack during a rally marking International Human Rights Day. Thousands of people have been rounded up and charged over their involvement in months of huge and at times violent protests that started in 2019 calling for greater autonomy from Beijing’s rule. Hong Kong