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Somaliland leaders trade barbs as 9 policemen are killed in fresh fighting

Storyline:National News

GOOBJOOG NEWS|HARGEISA: Leaders in Somaliland have traded accusations following the ongoing fighting in Sahil region which claimed the lives of nine police officers on Friday.

Interior Minister Mohamed Kahin accused opposition Waddani party leader Abdirahman Irro of fueling the conflict claiming that most of those involved in the armed rebellion are allied to the opposition politician and hail from his clan.

The minister’s remarks follow calls by Irro on President Muse Bihi to withdraw security forces from Gacan Libah area of Sahil region. Irro called for dialogue noting that a military response will not yield a solution.

“I am calling on the president to pull out his troops from Gacan-Libaah mountain. I am calling on the armed people to put down their guns,” Irro said.

According to sources privy to the fighting, the rebels are opposed to Bihi’s term extension and failure to hold elections on time. Bihi’s term was set to lapse on November 13 this year after the completion of his five-year term. The electoral commission announced last month that presidential elections will happen on November 13, 2024.

At least 9 police officers were killed and 17 others injured Friday following fierce fighting in Gacal Libah. Somaliland Police Chief Mohamed Adam Saqadhi confirmed the casualties adding that his forces will now engage in direct combat with the rebels.

He noted that he had earlier not received authority to fight the rebels but will today deploy his forces for combat following the Friday killings.