The president of Somaliland has stated that five people were killed in rallies by the opposition over fears of a postponed election. This comes hours after police confirmed shooting demonstrators and accused the marchers of disobeying officers’ directions before opening fire on them. In statements made late on Thursday, President Muse Bihi Abdi stated that the five people had been killed in the city of Hargeisa, the town of Burao, and the town of Erigavo in Somaliland. Somaliland is a region in the north of Somalia that broke away from Somalia 30 years ago and is currently working toward gaining recognition as an independent country.
According to him, there were about one hundred more people injured, the majority of them being members of the security forces. The president placed the blame for the unrest on opposition parties and declared that unapproved demonstrations would not be tolerated. The opposition parties in Somaliland were opposed to the fact that the government of Somaliland had authorized rallies to take place in six different regions, but only in limited areas.
Following the events that transpired on Thursday, numerous nations, including the United States, the European Union, and others, issued a joint statement in which they voiced their concern regarding the “excessive use of force” and urged all parties involved to engage in dialogue in order to develop a road map for the upcoming elections. Abdirahman Mohamed Irro, head of the opposition, has stated that demonstrations will continue up until the day of the presidential election on November 13. After talks between the government and the opposition broke down on Thursday, the opposition said that the government was trying to delay the election. This led to hundreds of people protesting against the government.
Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi, the leader of the most prominent opposition party, Waddani, addressed the audience and said, “Let those who stand for democracy triumph.” Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi was speaking to the crowd about how peace can only reign in Somaliland with free and fair elections. According to Ahmed Ismail, a protest leader in Hargeisa, three individuals, including a lady, were killed during the demonstrations, while 34 other people were sent to the hospital.
Several individuals were killed, including one of our party leader’s security guards. “We are still investigating the entire number of deaths, which may be higher,” a Waddani member told AFP under the condition of anonymity. “We are still investigating the total number of deaths, which may be higher.” According to witness Abdullahi Mohamud, there was also a fatality in the clashes that took place in Erigavo between demonstrators and police.
One of the demonstrators, Heybe Adan, made the following statement at one of the demonstrations: “We will not stop these protests until the president (Muse Bihi Abdi) says that he is ready for the elections.” The chairman of the Waddani tribe made these accusations against the government during a press conference on Thursday evening. He said that the government had committed “atrocities” against the protesters.
“It was a peaceful demonstration with people who only had placards and whistles, but the government committed (rights) violations by using excessive power, live bullets, and tear gas,” he accused. “It was a peaceful demonstration with people who only had placards and whistles.” Waddani and the opposition Justice and Welfare Party (UCID) were both infuriated by the decision of the government to register new political parties before the elections. Both of these groups are afraid that competition from new movements will make them less effective.
In June, leaders of the opposition said that police in Hargeisa used tear gas and live bullets to break up an anti-government rally with similar demands.