Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Eight people were murdered in violence in the Puntland area of Somalia

 MOGADISHU: No less than eight individuals were killed on Tuesday in battling outside parliament in Somalia's semi-independent district of Puntland between nearby security powers and equipped minute men faithful to resistance legislators, police and witnesses said.

During a parliamentary session to discuss changes to the local constitution, which the opposition claims are an attempt by Puntland's president to extend his term in office, the clashes in the state capital of Garowe broke out.

Abdiweli Hassan, a Garowe police officer, stated, "The fighting was confirmed to have killed approximately eight people, and more than ten others were wounded, including civilians."

He claimed that gunmen allied with opposition politicians confronted parliament guards and attempted to disrupt the session, which led to the outbreak of violence.

He continued, "They have been defeated, and the situation in town is now calm." No one will be permitted to defy the law."

Mohamednur Ali, one witness, stated that he observed approximately six bodies and a number of wounded individuals and added, " Heavy machine guns were used by both sides in the intense fighting.

Ali stated, "The situation is normal now, but there is still occasional gunfire."

Nimo Adan, another witness, claimed that she witnessed multiple deaths after being caught in the crossfire.

Local elections were held in Puntland in May. These were the first direct elections in Somalia outside of the breakaway region of Somaliland in more than half a century.

Politicians from the opposition at the time said that Puntland state president Said Abdullahi Deni had rigged the election and wanted to change the constitution to make it easier for him to extend his term, which was set to end in January of next year.

A deal to implement a one-person, one-vote system with local elections scheduled for June of next year was announced later in May by the central government of Somalia and four federal member states, with Puntland excluded.

It came in response to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's promise in March to end the country in the Horn of Africa's chaotic clan-based indirect voting system.

Since the dictator Siad Barre took power in 1969, Somalia has not held nationwide direct elections.

However, the new arrangement likewise calls for parliamentary and official votes in the government states on November 30 one year from now, past the ongoing expiry dates of certain commands including Deni's term.

Puntland, a dry, oil-rich region in northeastern Somalia, declared independence from the central government in Mogadishu in 1998.

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