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Somaliland ceasefire holds after fighting leaves dozens dead

Somaliland soldier in Las-Anod   -  
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At least 57 people are reported to have been killed 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 rejoin the federal government of Somalia.

The head of a public hospital in Las-Anod, the administrative centre of Sool region, said over 400 people had also been wounded.

Somaliland and the Somali state of Puntland have disputed Las-Anod for years but the city has been under the control of Somaliland. Traditional elders accused Somaliland forces of invading the city.

The fighting in Las-Anod first erupted after a committee of local leaders, religious scholars and civil society groups said last week they no longer recognised the Somaliland administration and wanted to rejoin Somalia.

Somaliland separated from Somalia in 1991 but has never been recognised as an independent country. Officials there ordered a ceasefire on Friday night but some fighting continued. Somaliland's interior ministry said troops had acted in self defence and the ceasefire still held.

The United Nations says ongoing fighting has displaced more than 80,000 people and water and electricity have been cut off amid shelling.

The Somali Red Crescent Society said the dead included one of its volunteers, who was killed by a stray bullet.

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