In this photo taken on May 18, 2016, a soldier of the army of Somalia's breakaway territory of Somaliland stands guard during an Independence day celebration parade in Hargeisa. (PHOTO / AFP)
BOSASO, Somalia – At least nine people were killed and another 14 wounded on Saturday in a sixth day of fighting in Somalia's breakaway Somaliland region, a local government official and medic said, hours after Somaliland called for an unconditional ceasefire.
Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 but has not received widespread international recognition for its independence.
Its government has faced heavy opposition in Las Anod and surrounding areas, where some clan leaders are seeking to rejoin federal Somalia and have accused the Somaliland authorities of failing to tackle insecurity.
Somaliland forces are shelling the civilian areas by using mortars and heavy artillery. The general doctor who was treating the wounded in the war was killed in the hospital.
Abdirahim Ali Ismail, mayor of Las Anod
"Somaliland forces are shelling the civilian areas by using mortars and heavy artillery," Abdirahim Ali Ismail, mayor of Las Anod, told Reuters by phone. "The general doctor who was treating the wounded in the war was killed in the hospital."
Mohamed Farah, a doctor at Las Anod Hospital, confirmed the toll and shelling to Reuters.
Somaliland government officials were not immediately reachable for comment.
Its interior ministry said Somaliland's troops had acted in self defense and the ceasefire announced on Friday still held.
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"The JSL (Somaliland) government is making it clear that the JSL forces were not attacking, they were only defending themselves, and they are still in their positions," the ministry said in a statement on its website.
The fighting in Las Anod, the administrative center of Sool region, first erupted after a committee of local leaders, religious scholars and civil society groups said last Sunday they no longer recognized the Somaliland administration and wanted to rejoin Somalia.
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At least 58 people were killed in clashes on Monday and Tuesday.