According to a doctor at a public hospital, at least 20 people were murdered in skirmishes between anti-government protestors and security forces in Somaliland over many days.
For more than a week, police and the military have clashed with protestors in Laascaanood, a town in the east of Somaliland that is disputed between Somaliland and neighboring Puntland, one of Somalia’s semi-autonomous territories.
According to Mohamed Farah, a doctor at Laascaanood Hospital, a public hospital in Laascaanood, at least 20 people were murdered and many were injured. He claimed to have witnessed victims’ remains transported into the facility.
Protesters demand that Somaliland hand over authority of the town to Puntland and accuse security forces of failing to resolve the community’s instability.
“Somaliland took Laascaanood forcibly and failed to secure it. We are requesting that they leave “The demonstrators’ spokesman, Adaan Jaamac Oogle, told Reuters.
“We cannot accept the continued slaughter of civilians.”
A police spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
Somaliland seceded from Somalia in 1991, although its independence has received little international recognition. While Somalia has been embroiled in a three-decade civil war, the region has remained mainly quiet.
Ahmed Elmi Osman Karash, Puntland’s Vice President, accused security troops of assault.
“What the Somaliland army is doing is a massacre of civilians,” he told Reuters via phone.
A call to Mahad Ambaashe Elmi, a senior commander in the Somaliland army, went unanswered.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Somaliland’s Minister of Information, Salebaan Ali Koore, urged protesters to halt their rallies and initiate dialogue with the administration.