Friday, April 17, 2009

Somaliland clan elder arrested after attending opposition rally

Somaliland clan elder arrested after attending opposition rally
15 Apr 15, 2009 - 10:04:09 AM 

HARGEISA, Somalia Apr 15 (Garowe Online) - A clan elder was arrested Tuesday in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland after he attended an opposition rally the day earlier, Radio Garowe reports.

Saleban Boqor Saleban Hassan was detained by Somaliland police in Hargeisa, with witnesses saying he demanded the police to show him a warrant.

He was standing in front of Hotel Imperial in Hargeisa when police units arrested him without a warrant, witnesses said.

Crowds gathered around as the traditional elder was ushered into a police vehicle and transported to police headquarters in Hargeisa.

On Monday, Mr. Saleban addressed hundreds of people who came out in support of Kulmiye opposition party leader Ahmed Silanyo's refusal to recognize the term extension of Somaliland President Dahir Riyale.

He loudly criticized two government officials – Finance Minister Awil Ali Du'ale and Public Works Minister Said Sulub – whom he accused of "inciting old clan hostilities."

Mr. Silanyo, Somaliland's opposition leader, has demanded that President Riyale leave office after failing to hold presidential elections on time.

Somaliland's upper house of parliament, the House of Guurti, voted to give Mr. Riyale's administration a six-month extension in addition to a one-year extension Riyale received in 2008, angering opposition parties Kulmiye and UCID.

"I thank you for coming out to express your opposition to Riyale's term extension," Mr. Silanyo told supporters, as police units blocked off roads near the Kulmiye party headquarters in Hargeisa.

He openly accused the Riyale government of "robbing the public" and "destroying the democracy" in Somaliland.

"We have the constitutional right to stage peaceful protests. We do not fire bullets, we do not throw stones, but they [police] fired bullets at us," Silanyo said, while referring to Kulmiye's first public demonstration in Hargeisa last week that ended abruptly after Somaliland security forces fired into the crowd.

Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally. The separatist republic is currently locked in its most testing political crisis.

Source: Garowe Online

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