The president of Somaliland says five people were killed in opposition protests over fears of a delayed election, hours after police confirmed shooting demonstrators and accused them of not following officers’ instructions.
In comments late Thursday, President Muse Bihi Abdi said the five were killed in the capital, Hargeisa, and the towns of Burao and Erigavo in Somaliland, the northern region that separated from Somalia three decades ago and seeks recognition as an independent country. He said almost 100 others were wounded, most of them members of security forces.
The president blamed opposition groups for the unrest and said unauthorized protests would not be tolerated. The Somaliland government had allowed the protests to occur in six regions but in limited areas, which the opposition parties opposed.
Thursday’s events prompted the United States, the European Union and others to issue a joint statement expressing concern over “excessive use of force” and urging all sides to hold dialogue for a roadmap on elections.
Opposition leader Abdirahman Mohamed Irro said protests will continue until the presidential election is held on Nov 13.
Hundreds of people took part in Thursday’s protests after talks between the government and opposition failed and the opposition accused authorities of trying to delay the election.