Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lascanood, a month later

(Waridaad) - A month has passed since Laaska was freed from Puntland occupation forces on October 16, 2007. Although Lascanood had been free too short a time to see its achievement fairy assessed, we can however see if my hometown is finally heading in the right direction.

The first few days were undoubtedly hard; first the school closures decided by governor Sandulle in order to protect school children had the reverse effect to spill scores of disaffected young men into the streets. Businesses therefore, too scared to proceed, were effectively shut down, putting the entire economic activity to a stand still. Secondly, the constant bellicose propaganda of Radio Garowe was particularly remarkable in driving elders and women from the city. Day in and day out, Puntland media drove up the chest beating rhetoric, promising a victorious return of their ragtag militia. Even if Lascanood freedom fighters and Somaliland forces have nothing to fear from those who ran faster that the legendary Abdi Bille less that a month ago, the relentless and unchallenged clan based hatred spewing often hit a nerve among the vulnerable population and cemeted an atmosphere of simmering tension.

A month after, the situation is noticeably better. Business have reopened, Lascanood main road has been cleared and the trade route to Aynabo and Burco is back to its normal volume. This was achieved despite the frequent attempts of Puntland to stir up trouble. Women and teenagers had been encouraged to set up road blocks and to use weapons without the necessary knowledge. In the same time, the farcical Adde Musse took to the airwaves with often contradictory messages. According to comical Adde, one day Lascanood was attack by Asmara, the next day Dirta Waqooyi were to blame (whatever it might means). In his latest interview, Adde Musse once again reversed himselg and contended that Somaliland could not set foot in Lascanood (whatever it might mean) and that Puntland was chased by disgruntled local militia. On the same topic, the ineffable president of Puntland Parliament was recently arguing that Puntland defeat in Lascanood was finally a good thing because it would allow his forces to go as far as Hargeisa and Burco and bring Somaliland back into Somalia federal system. Coming from a man who had to flee Garowe and seek refuge into Eastern Sanaag because Adde Musse militia were performing a routine clan cleansing, I am sure that this will send shivers up Somaliland forces spines.

Compared to the reckless and laughable sabre rattling coming from Garowe, I must confess that I am proud of the way that Sool political intelligentsia is handling the situation. All the would be child soldiers used by Garowe in absurd proxy war have been released, those wounded by their unknowledgeable manning of guns received a prompt medical treatment and governor Ali Sandulle has made a point of contacting the families of all the teenagers involved in recent incidents. Xaasbsade is touring the region, taking steps to avert any conflicts, had received a tremendous welcome in Kalabaydh and Darkengeyo. In his latest twist, Puntland is trying to set up some Sool sub clans against the others, and Xaabsade as playing host to ountless elders meetings as he has recently done in Buhoodle is trying to prevent interclan fighting. Colonel Dhakool is working from Buhoodle and spearheading Somaliland efforts towards Lascanood refugees. Recent reports confirm that the majority of them already returned home.

On a more political front, Fuad Adde Cadde went from Xuddur to Taleex leading a need assessment team. Bashe was from and center in the mission headed by Siciid Sulub and I was heartened to see Qaybe,using his tremendous experience and knowledge, outlining a course of action for the future of my province. Finally, stars are aligning and Sool political heavy weight are pulling in the same direction. After five years of neglect, Laasconood is a devastated city, inextricably associated with violence. No running water, no hospital, no roads, few crumblings schools. When every Somaliland district can boast of their university, Lascanood is left with no post secondary education. Recovery will not be an easy task and drawing on the concerted efforts of all Sool leaders is the avenue for Laascanood.

Mohamed Sougal

No comments: