25 February 2013

Somalia: Police Sweep Hargeisa, Las Anod to Eliminate Security Threats

Police in Somaliland carried out security operations in Hargeisa and Las Anod over the past few nights to assuage any fears of threats against Westerners, security officials say.

"We are ensuring that the security of Somaliland is stable and everything is okay," Somaliland Minister of Interior Mohamed Nur Arrale said at a press conference in Hargeisa on Friday (February 22nd). "There have been no kidnappings and no one has been hurt."

Arrale did not give a specific figure, but said many people were arrested.

The operation follows a warning from the British government on January 27th of a "specific threat to Westerners" in Somaliland. "That fear is no longer in existence," Arrale said, adding that police were conducting a thorough investigation of the suspects and will release all found to be innocent.

Somaliland police chief Abdullahi Fadal Iman said anyone found culpable would be immediately taken to court. He apologised for any inconvenience resulting from the security operations and asked for the public's co-operation in maintaining peace in the region.

The handling of the security operations evoked some concerns, however, and complaints that members of the Rapid Reaction Unit damaged private property during the raids, according to director of the Hargeisa-based Horn Human Rights Umbrella Ahmed Yusuf Hussein.

"We will be investigating the complaints that resulted [from the operations] this week," Hussein told Sabahi, adding that about 250 people were arrested.

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