27 November 2012

Somalia: Mayor Attacks Somaliland Election Commission Office in Erigabo

Erigabo, Somalia — Gunmen attacked the offices of Somaliland Election Commission in Erigabo town in Sanaag region on Tuesday, Garowe Online reports.

According to local media, the attack occurred around midday Tuesday in Erigabo, there were no reports of injuries or deaths.

Somaliland political parties have been conducting campaigns in towns and districts under control of Somaliland authorities.

Somaliland officials have pleaded for peaceful campaigns although the process has been marred by political infighting between political parties.

Sources in Sanaag region say Erigabo Mayor, Ismail Haji Nur a member of the former ruling UDUB party, was suspicious of Somaliland's administration to minimize voting polls in Erigabo. Mayor Nur demanded the same number of polling stations of previous elections in Erigabo in previous elections.

The sources say that Kulmiye party officials - currently led by Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo - was worried that Mayor Nur a member of the Wadani party could be reelected as mayor of Erigabo.

According to Hargeisa sources, Mayor Nur sent a group of gunmen to "fire on office of Somaliland Election Commission in Erigabo".

The attack is not only a political skirmish but is being fueled by clan power struggles in the district, Hargeisa sources say. Somaliland authorities reportedly agreed to Mayor Nur's demand to install more polling stations, in order for hostilities to cease.

Similarly there was a shooting at a voting poll in Lughaya town in the region of Awdal in Somaliland.

According to media reports, armed forces fired shots in the air after voters crowded polling stations in the town, resulting in 1 person being killed and two injured.

Somaliland government and neighboring Puntland government have been locked in a territorial struggle that could have implications on both Somaliland's current elections and Puntland upcoming elections.

On Monday, Puntland warned Somaliland of encroaching on Puntland territory after Somaliland forces leading delegation of Somaliland Electoral Commission attempted to setup polling stations in Sanaag region. However Somaliland forces and election officials withdrew immediately after Puntland sent a clear warning through international media and mobilized ground forces.

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