LAS ANOD, (Somalilandpress) — Mobile and internet communications remain suspended for the third day in the Somaliland town of Las Anod, after minister issued an emergency decree.
All mobile and internet service providers were suspended on Friday night on orders from Somaliland’s Postal and Communication minister, Mr. Ali Sandule. The minister insisted communication providers must register all clients with proper Identification card and physical address to help beef up security.
The reasons for suspending communication in the town, is connected to an ongoing security operation in the town, after a week in which over five people including three police men were killed and wounded further eight including the governor of the region in a string of roadside bomb attacks.
According to local sources in the town, Somaliland security forces imposed a curfew on Friday from 8 pm to 6 am and raided a number of homes suspected of harboring perpetrators and bomb making materials.
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Mr. Sandule told reporters that a number of materials were seized including mobile phones and bomb making materials. He added that mobile phones take cruel role in the bombs against Somaliland interest by acting as ‘bomb triggers’, for these reason and on rectification orders, he said all communication were suspended.
At least 40 people are believed to have been detained in connection to the remote-bombings. Most of those arrested consist of immigrants from Somalia, who are said to be experts in bomb making materials and pro-Puntland elements, who want to stabilize the region.
Most people believe the attacks were carried out on orders from Tribal chiefs known as Isimo or Garaad hailing from the Sool region who see themselves as part of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland because of their tribal affiliation.
According to EJ Hogendoorn of International Crisis Group, the attacks appear to be have been carried out by Islamist elements in the Dhulbahante clan who have links with Al Qaeda’s Somalia wing – Al Shabab group.
Somaliland has enough forces to restore security to the town but it often keeps its military away from civilian area, there are no open gun fights, it’s often remote bombs and feels such requires intelligence gathering rather than a pre-emptive strike.
The town is bitterly divided along tribal kinship, pro-Islamists and Somaliland, and Somaliland is going to require a political solution rather than a force and so far has not used any force.
Sources in the town were also quoted saying: “an American and Ethiopian secret agents have arrived in Las Anod to assist the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) investigate the recent bombings. The American is believed to be bomb expert and will inspect materials obtained during the raids.”
The governor of Sool has sustained non-life threatening injuries and is currently in good spirit and recovering in the city of Burao.
Somaliland, which reinstated it’s statehood in 1991 after a never rectified union with the Somalia failed maintains some relative peace and the current unrest in the south is a great concern for Somaliland and neighbouring states, in particular Ethiopia.
Somalilandpress, 31 January 2010