Nearly 20,000 people gathered in Garowe's Liberty Square on Sunday (February 24th) to protest al-Shabaab, largely in response to the recent killing of Sheikh Abdulkadir Nur Farah, who was shot in the back as he was kneeling to pray in a mosque, Somalia's Garowe Online reported.
Protestors carried banners with slogans such as "Al-Shabaab is a cancer that needs to be severed" and "Sheikh Abdulkadir was killed so there is no light at the end of the tunnel".
Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole, Vice President Abdisamad Ali Shire, scholars and traditional elders addressed the demonstrators.
"Today marks another historic moment in Puntland history, when the people of Puntland stood up to fight against injustice and terror right here in Garowe," Farole said.
Somali Islamic scholar Sheikh Jama Liban echoed Farole's sentiments. "[Al-Shabaab militants'] mission is to spread fear and terror so events like this do not happen, but on the contrary the killing of Sheikh Abdulkadir has brought the people of Puntland closer and has united them on a common goal to fight anyone and any group spreading terror in Puntland," he said.
Participants at the rally also expressed their hatred of al-Shabaab. "People have had enough with al-Shabaab," said Garowe resident Nimo Ahmed, adding that Somalis will do anything to stop terrorism.