The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported Friday that 42 bodies were retrieved from the Somaliland conflict front line. The ICRC also visited with over 300 detainees in the region on Thursday for humanitarian purposes and to inform families of their whereabouts.
The delegation delivered blankets and mattresses to the detainees, and, in conjunction with the Somali Red Crescent Society, four wounded prisoners were transported to Qaran Hospital to receive medical treatment. Both organizations have supported hospitals, including providing medical supplies and frontline triage. The ICRC press release noted that, “In the past week, 110 wounded people were transported to hospital, while 42 dead bodies were collected to assist with the carrying out of dignified and proper burial.”
As well as medical treatment, the ICRC is working to ensure that detainees are being treated humanely. Speaking on the conditions, Pascal Cuttat, head of the ICRC delegation in Somalia reported:
It is crucial that each detainee, from either side, is treated in accordance with international humanitarian law. This means that every detained person must have access to food and water and must never be subject to any form of ill-treatment.
Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991. Las Anod, the capital of the disputed region of Sool, has emerged as the source of conflict between Somaliland government forces and the Dhulbahante clan, who have accused Somaliland of marginalising them. Amnesty International reported that protests erupted following the December 2022 assassination of a Dhulbahante local politician, Abdifatah Abdullahi Abdi. This ultimately culminated in clashes between Somaliland security forces and armed Dhulbahante fighters.
Fighting in the region has been waging since the beginning of the year, with the focus of the conflict being in Las Anod. This has resulted in mass destruction of property and hundreds of thousands of people being displaced from their homes. The conflict has split up families, with Ahmed Said, who oversees ICRC’s operations in the northern part of the country, noting, “Not knowing what happened to their loved ones is causing an incredible amount of anguish to people”.