Clashes between anti-government protesters and security personnel over a number of days have resulted in at least 20 deaths in Somaliland, the country’s breakaway territory.
In Laascaanood, a town in Somaliland‘s east that is disputed between Somaliland and nearby Puntland, one of Somalia’s semi-autonomous territories, clashes between protesters and security personnel police have been for more than a week.
It was gathered that one Mohamed Farah, a physician at Laascaanood Hospital, a public hospital in Laascaanood, that at least 20 people had died and numerous others had been hurt. He claimed to have witnessed the victims’ bodies being taken into the facility.
In addition to asking that Somaliland give Puntland authority of the town, protesters also charge security personnel with failing to reduce crime there.
“Somaliland forcefully occupied Laascaanood and failed to secure it. We are demanding that they leave,” Adaan Jaamac Oogle, the spokesman of the protesters told newsmen.
“We cannot tolerate continuing bloodshed of civilians.”
Although Somaliland split apart from Somalia in 1991, its independence has not been widely acknowledged internationally. Despite Somalia’s three decades of civil strife, the area has remained largely quiet.
Ahmed Elmi Osman Karash, the vice president of Puntland, charged the security forces with using violence.
“What is being done by the Somaliland army is a massacre of civilians,” he told Reuters by phone.
Salebaan Ali Koore, the information minister for Somaliland, urged the protesters in a statement on Saturday to put an end to their rallies and start talks with the government.
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