October 21, 2012 ·1 Comments
Authorities in Somaliland this week detained two officials in the seaport town of Berbera after their return from the Somali capital where they held talks.
Ahmed Dhego and Mohamed Hussein Dhabeye, from the Somaliland Football Association and Ministry of Civil Aviation respectively, were arrested at the airport by security forces.
The two officials visited Mogadishu for key talks with Somali officials and institutions. According to reports in Hargeisa, Mr. Dhego was detained for holding alleged talks with the Somali Football Federation (SFF) in Mogadishu, who are currently organizing a regional tournament in the capital for the first time in many years. The SFF president Ali Said Guled Rooble recently asked the African Union peacekeepers in Somalia (AMISOM) to relocate from the country’s largest football Stadium for the tournament. Themed “peace and development”, Mogadishu will host the event in December and plans to invite all Somali football clubs.
Mr. Dhego has reportedly expressed interest but the current administration is trying to keep tight grip of all Somaliland society after a number of high profile officials defected to the south. More and more people from Somaliland are beginning to fly to Mogadishu to seek alternatives and new opportunities due to improved security.
The Somaliland Football Association is trying establish relations between Somaliland football clubs and those in Mogadishu to improve the game at national and regional levels. The current arrest could isolate the football groups in the country if the meddling by the current administration of Ahmed Silanyo continues, who is increasingly growing unpopular.
The Somaliland deputy Health minister Nimo Qawdan was reportedly have visited Mogadishu back in July along with other officials who since took up posts in the Somali Parliament.
It is not clear what the authority will do with the two officials but locals suspect they might be tried for treason. Somaliland is not internationally recognised and is regarded as part of Somalia as does the Somali government.
The Kulmiye government might ban Somaliland football clubs from attending the tournament in Mogadishu, which could anger and alienate the large youth population. Unofficial estimates show that at least 65-70 percent of Somaliland’s 3.5 million people are under the age of 30, in which 75 percent are unemployed and with no recreational activities.