August 15, 2012 ·29 Comments
Somaliland soldiers setup a check-point outside Buhodle township.
LAS ANOD — Somali insurgents have abducted at least four civilians in southern Somaliland, according to news reports.
Armed members of the Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (SSC) separatist rebels late Tuesday intercepted and kidnapped four nomads near the village of Sool-Jogto in the restive southern province of Buhodle.
A spokesman for the kidnappers demanded the government to free one of their jailed leaders under conditions for a truce. The rebels insisted all victims were soldiers but the government has dismissed their claims.
“This afternoon around 4:30-PM we arrested four members of Somaliland’s defense forces in Sool-Jogto. We took them to exchange for the man named Jama Kutiye, who was in prison for years,” Abdullahi Aidid Jama, a man who identified himself as a rebel spokesman, said.
He added the men are set to face a military tribunal on Wednesday (Today) and warned if Mr. Kutiye was killed, they will execute all four men.
They further declared that their lives were in God’s hands and that they were currently held in Buhodle town, the base of the group. They said they were looked after in a human fashion but warned the government of harming their man.
Tribal figures in Burao said all four men were nomads who got abducted while herding their camels in that area. They named as Hussein Ahmed Arab, Khadar Hussein Aidid, Mohamed Ahmed Aidid and Abdi Suleiman Aden.
The group dismissed the recent peace deal between President Ahmed Silanyo and the group’s leader, Suleiman Isse Ahmed ‘Hagaltosie’. The truce deal aimed at ending a war that has raged in eastern regions included prisoner exchange, halting of military operations and compensating victims of Kalshale conflict.
The government thus far freed more than 86 prisoners and withdrew its forces from two hotspots including Sool-Jogto, where the kidnapping took place.
The conditions demanded of the rebels include disarming and the hand over weapons, freeing detained soldiers and civilians and complete end to all attacks.
The separatists claimed Mr. Suleiman was acting on his own and not the group’s interest. It is not clear how much control he has over the separatist insurgents.
While people have welcomed the ceasefire deal, many question if the rebels will abide by the ceasefire. Others feel the government has acted prematurely and rushed before even the rebels honoured a single condition in the agreement.
The rebels are fighting for independence and aim to unify with neighbouring Somalia.
August 15, 2012Follow @somalilandpress