By Omar Faruk
An aerial view shows the city of Hargeisa from the outskirts of the city, in Somaliland, on September 16, 2021. (AFP)
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — At least 57 people have been confirmed dead in days of clashes between anti-government fighters and Somaliland security forces in the disputed city of Las-Anod after local leaders said they wanted to re-join the federal government of Somalia, a doctor reported Saturday.
Abdimajid Hussein Sugulle, the director-general of a public hospital in Las-Anod, told The Associated Press that more than 400 people also were wounded in nearly a week of fighting.
Authorities in Somaliland, a region that separated from Somalia three decades ago and seeks recognition as an independent country, announced a unilateral cease-fire on Friday night. But residents said skirmishes continued in and around the eastern city.
Somaliland and the Somali state of Puntland have disputed Las-Anod for years, but the city has been under Somaliland control.
The Somaliland government accused clan militants of targeting its army facilities. In return, traditional elders accused Somaliland forces of invading the city and said the only way to restore peace was for the troops to leave.
The United Nations has said the fighting has displaced more than 80,000 people. Water and electricity have been cut off amid shelling.
“Indiscriminate shelling of civilians is unacceptable and must stop,” the U.N. and international partners said in a statement earlier in the week.
The Somali Red Crescent Society said the dead included one of its volunteers, who was killed by a stray bullet.
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