English text of the speech of President Bihi’s on the situation of Las Anod – Jan 3, 2023

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We have just concluded a meeting attended by leaders of the Guurti (Upper House), the Parliament (Lower House), all Security Agencies, and relevant members of the Ministerial Council, as well as other prominent figures who are well informed about the situation of Las Anod.

We discussed the security situation in Las Anod and ways of finding a solution to the current problems. We all agreed that Somaliland can alone deal with its own issues and find a solution.

Our first decision is to send our condolences again to the families of those who lost their lives. We express our condolence and deep sorrow as leaders of the nation, and on behalf of the nation, we convey our condolences to the families and relatives of those who lost their lives. Somaliland as whole shares your pain. As soon as the peace is restored, the government will investigate this matter.

Secondly, when clashes between security forces and protestors take place anywhere in the world, there are ways to resolve such problems that prevent more bloodshed while identifying the causes of the problems. Therefore, our task today is to work together to restore peace and stability in Las Anod. We will collaborate on this with prominent people from Las Anod including their community leaders, politicians, religious people, youth, and women.

Once peace and stability are restored and the city returns to normalcy, the military forces will leave the city. The military are not there to oppress people or do any harm, they are the protectors of the people.  Regarding the protest that resulted from the assassination of a prominent person by terrorists, it is unfortunate that the protests were infiltrated by four other groups – including a terrorist group – that were determined to launch a war against Somaliland.

Since 2009, there have been forty assassinations. Out of these 40, the security forces have arrested 32 perpetrators and eight suspected criminals are still at large. But out of the 32 arrested people, 23 of them have been sentenced to prison terms, seven of them are still on trial, and two have been found not guilty and were released. Twenty-four of the assassinated victims were government officials including people working in courts, the office of the attorney general, and security forces. Also included were the Chairman of Kulmiye Party in the Sool Region and the Chairman of Waddani Party in the Sool Region who was the latest victim. Sixteen victims were civilians who were killed for being supporters of Somaliland government. But the perpetrators of these crimes, those serving jail sentences and those who are still at large but are known to the Somaliland security authorities, have mobilized people, and convinced them that Somaliland is behind these killings. And what that means is the enemy who killed you is at the same time instigating you against your government and people. These are the crimes that took place from 2009 until now. And this how the government has addressed them.

We, therefore, urge the people to restore the peace of the city. Then the military who is there for your protection and maintaining peace will leave. If the question is raised why the military came to the city to begin with, the answer is because people feared that a war would break out.

Members of Kenyan Parliament among them Farah Maallim have spoken and urged the people of Las Anod to fight back. Farah Maallim was the man who came to Somaliland when he was the deputy speaker of the Kenyan Parliament. He visited Las Anod and had the courage to say that Las Anod was part of Somaliland. He was the one who gave scholarships to 10 youth from Las Anod and some of his own children in Amoud University where they graduated. He was the man who was always advancing the legitimacy of the case of Somaliland. Hence, I don’t want to dwell on the story of people who made a habit to practice different shades of politics. But what no one expected from him today was to say that he would put enmity between Somaliland and clans he named. His only aim was to cause a clan warfare in Somaliland. Farah Maallim said the borders set by the British cannot be valid. I say to him, that you are a Kenyan. You share fate and identity with the multiethnic and multilingual people of Kenya. I cannot, therefore, comprehend what was the objective of your remarks.

Also, the President of the State of Puntland and his deputy have spoken and declared war on Somaliland. No one expected today that Puntland would declare its intention to wage a war on Somaliland. We both have our own problems and in Somaliland we stand for peace and good neighborly relations. We tell him that no one benefits from war, and we advise him to not go down that road. But if you go ahead and launch such a war then you will get your reward. Somaliland is ready to defend its sovereignty.

Again, [Said Abdullahi] Deni [President of Puntland] said that they will not watch the genocide taking place in Las Anod but will fight instead. What happened in Las Anod is an incidental clash between the police and the people. It is a Somaliland problem, and we take responsibility for what happened as government and people, and we will find a solution for it. But I want to remind you, the number of people who died in the clashes between you and [Puntland Security Forces Commander Mohamoud Osman] Diyano in Bossasso is five times more than this. And the number of Las Anod victims are far less than number of people who died in Bossasso the day the woman MP arrived from Mogadishu. We prayed for you at the time, and we did not interfere in your problems. But you must know Somaliland people are listening to your words with great attention when you and your deputy today say that you want to launch a war against Somaliland. But I am happy to say that Somaliland’s people and military are ready to defend their country. If you refuse to preserve the peace and proceed with your war plans, then we say to you go ahead and we will see how you benefit from it.

The fact that the parliament in Mogadishu has today appointed a committee for the situation in Las Anod is a proof that the government in Mogadishu is not only in cahoots with Deni but has also mandated him to declare a war against Somaliland. This is a testimony that the Mogadishu government has publicly decided to wage a war on Somaliland. I am not sure if you have that power, but we are ready for you. If all the five presidents who gathered in Mogadishu decided that you can wage a war on Somaliland and defeat it, then we are ready for you.

And to the people of Somaliland I say, today the Mogadishu Parliament decided to appoint a committee that they said will find a solution for Somaliland’s affairs. We will see what benefit they will get from such hostility. Also, many traditional leaders have spoken from Kismayo, Qardho and other places. It is the first time in Somali culture that all these traditional leaders have declared a war. They accused Somaliland of being responsible for the killing of the people in Las Anod and they increased the number from the 40 I mentioned to 100. These elders did not make a fair judgment, they do not know the background of the situation and they did not conduct a serious investigation. They just decided to create a conflict between the people of Somaliland. This is a new phenomenon.

I would like to extend my gratitude to Sultan Abdirahman Dullane Rafle who based his advice on the traditional wisdom of Somali traditional elders. He made a fair judgement like any honest Muslim person would do. He called for peace and the cessation of hostilities. He advised other Sultans against pouring more fuel on the fire. He followed his father’s tradition. And this is what a traditional leader should do. We congratulate him on calling for peace and for telling the wrong person to stop doing harm. I urge the governments of Ethiopia and Kenya where members of their Somali speaking people are instigating a war in Somaliland, first among them Farah Maallim: we have good neighborly relations with you, there is peace and cooperation between us. We, in Somaliland, have the same peace for you. Therefore, we would like to ask you to look into this new phenomenon from some of the Somali speaking people of your countries.  And we say to the Federal Government of Somalia that we suspect that Deni was not alone in his inflammatory remarks. We suspect that he has the support of your government. I am sure things will unfold in the near future, but we will wait for your official position on this.

In conclusion I say, as Somaliland has been a sovereign state for 30 years, we are ready to defend our country from any coalition of forces. If war is imposed on us, we are ready for it.

Finally, I tell the people of Somaliland that today we are not divided into government and opposition. I am sure our people are ready to defend our sovereignty. All political groups – the three political parties whose term has ended, and the 10 new political organizations – are all united to defend the sovereignty of our country. You realize that the country that you aspire to lead is under attack. I have no doubt that they all are ready for the defense of the country. All Somalilanders including the diaspora are all united against the hostility and war declared by Deni and whoever supports him. We are ready to defend our country.

My last word is that we Somalilanders will come together to find a solution for the situation of Las Anod.

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