Garowe Online (Garowe)

Somalia - Puntland Candidate and Security Commander Speak On 'Bullet Incident'

A presidential candidate and a security commander in Somalia's northern state of Puntland have spoken publicly in contradicting terms about a gunfire incident today in Garowe, the state capital, Garowe Online reports.

Presidential candidate Mr. Abdidahir Mohamed Yusuf Yeey told the BBC Somali Service in a Sunday interview that the gunfire incident was an "attack" on him.

"Soldiers from the [Puntland] Presidential Guard opened fire on our vehicle as we were driving from a meeting among presidential candidates," Mr. Abdidahir said.

Continuing, he stated that "one bullet" hit the vehicle and "broke a window and one of the passengers was cut by broken glass and suffered minor injuries".

Mr. Abdidahir said that, "there was only a few soldiers" in the other vehicle.

Mr. Abdidahir said that he was "targeted", adding: "The Security Committee visited me and more recently the Nugal Police Commander also visited me. The case is under investigation and we will continue our campaign".

'Friendly fire, apology'

Col. Omar Abdullahi Faraweyne, commander of the Presidential Guard, told the BBC Somali service that his bodyguards fired "one bullet at a suspicious vehicle driving fast towards us".

Continuing, Col. Omar said: "We recognized that the other vehicle had soldiers inside and I spoke to the soldiers. We did not know who was inside the vehicle at the time of the incident. We each drove our separate ways."

Later, Col. Omar said he found out that a presidential candidate was inside the vehicle. "I found Mr. Abdidahir's number and called him to apologize for the accident. No one answered so I called elders related to Mr. Abdidahir and some members of his campaign team to share my message."

The commander said he heard about Mr. Abdidahir's allegations on the radio. "It was an accident and there is no political connection. We are soldiers so we are not presidential candidates. Our job is to maintain security in Puntland. The incident happened near the UN compound in Garowe, which is a high security area, and we all know Al Shabaab terrorists use car bombs and other attacks. So our soldiers are vigilant."

Security is extra tight in Garowe ahead of the Puntland presidential election on January 8, 2014.


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