Dozens dead in fight over Somali region


al-Shabab, Somalia. Photo by Reuters

from SAAD MUSE in Mogadishu, Somalia
Somalia Bureau
MOGADISHU, (CAJ News) – WARRING parties are denying humanitarian agencies access to thousands affected by armed clashes in the disputed Somali city of Las Anod.

Several weeks of continuous violence, perpetrated by militia from rival clans, left more than 150 people dead and over 600 wounded, while thousands find themselves in difficult conditions after they fled their homes.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is calling on all those involved in the violence to guarantee safe and unimpeded access to people.

“People in Las Anod urgently need humanitarian assistance, and we are acting as quickly as possible to bring it to them,” said Juerg Eglin, head of the ICRC delegation in Somalia.

“Political disputes must never stand in the way of saving lives.”

ICRC lamented that while it is scaling up its response to the situation, social media posts are circulating inciting blockage of the life-saving aid.

Merick Alagbe, who oversees ICRC’s operations in the area, said misinformation spread online can have a serious real-life impact on the security of humanitarian teams and their ability to respond to the urgent needs,.

“All our teams are working together in a strictly neutral way to ensure help gets to Las Anod,” Alagbe said.

Las Anold is disputed between Somaliland and Puntland regions, both semi-autonomous from Somalia.

After the violence broke out, the ICRC said it sent surgical materials, sufficient to treat more than 400 patients to six hospitals.

A team of ICRC staff is currently in Las Anod assessing the humanitarian needs of the population affected by the violence.

– CAJ News

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