Thursday, March 08, 2012

Security Forces Clash With Successionist Protesters in Somaliland

Security forces clash with protesters in Somaliland

Thu Mar 8, 2012 1:34PM GMT

At least four people have been injured and more than 30 others arrested after security forces from the self-declared republic of Somaliland clashed with protesters in the disputed town of Las Anod, Press TV reports.

Witnesses told Press TV that security forces indiscriminately opened fire on demonstrators, mainly women, on Thursday as they were chanting pro-Independence slogans in favor of newly formed semi-autonomous state of Khaatumo.

“I saw four injured people lying on a street in Las Anod. We still don’t know why Somaliland forces fired bullets at those peaceful demonstrators,” Fartun Aden, a resident of Las Anod, said.

“More than 30 people were rounded up during the demonstration,” she added.

According to local elders, the rally was staged in protest against “inhumane rules” enforced by Somaliland government forces in the area.

“I strongly condemn and accuse Somaliland authorities of suppression of Las Anod residents,” Sheikh Ahmed Jibril, a local elder, said.

Las Anod is the administrative capital of Sool region of Somalia. The region has been the source of numerous clashes between the Somaliland forces and Khaatumo militiamen.

Clashes between Somaliland’s forces and Khaatumo fighters first erupted in January, after the leaders of the northern regions of Sool, Sanaag and Cyan decided to band together into a new state called Khaatumo and declared they wanted to be an independent region within Somalia.

Somaliland's troops have since clashed with Khaatumo militia fighters, with reports of dozens of casualties.

Somaliland, situated in northwestern Somalia, unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Horn Africa country in 1991.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

The Somali government has struggled for years to restore security but efforts have not yet yielded results in the African nation.

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