NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The International Committee of the Red Cross says 43 bodies have been collected in the past week from the front line of the latest fighting in a disputed city in Somaliland.
The ICRC in a statement Friday said a further 110 wounded people have been taken to hospitals in the past week by the Somali Red Crescent Society amid clashes that have continued for months in and around Las-Anod. The statement did not identify the dead or those to blame.
Somaliland separated from Somalia three decades ago and has sought recognition as an independent country. Somaliland security forces have been fighting clan militia who wish to be part of Somalia, whose Puntland state for years has disputed Las-Anod with Somaliland.
Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the fighting. It is not known how many hundreds of people have been killed in total. The ICRC reported “widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure” in Las-Anod, the capital of the Sool region.
Somaliland’s government in a statement Thursday condemned what it alleged were images circulating of mistreatment of its captured soldiers and reminded combatants of the Geneva Conventions guidelines, as well as Islamic custom, for the treatment of prisoners.
Hundreds of people have been captured on both sides in the latest fighting, and the ICRC said it had managed to make its first visit to 300 held by the militias. Four wounded detainees were taken to a hospital, it said. ICRC staff had previously visited captured militia forces in the Somaliland capital.
Somaliland’s defense ministry earlier this year denied that the army had shelled the main hospital in Las-Anod.