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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Somaliland's Successful Counter-Terrorism Raids

4 October - "Somaliland security forces arrested 17 terror suspects and captured explosives, weapons and remote controls," according to the government of the breakaway state. The Islamist group Al-Shabaab was indicated as the perpetrators.

Somaliland - a peaceful, stable democracy that broke away from Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognised by any state - has again been at the focus of terrorists from neighbouring Somalia, according to the government.

Interior Minister Mohamed Gabose yesterday held a press conference in Hargeisa, the capital, where he displayed the weapons and other items confiscated during the raids against the individuals accused of terrorism planning.

Minister Gabose revealed that Somaliland police and army forces had raided several buildings in the country's three major cities: Hargeisa, Burao and Berbera.

The explosives and remote controls found in some of the ransacked houses led to the suspicion of terror planning and the detention of 17 suspects, he explained. Minister Gabose added that police believed there were still members of "the group" at large and that police were on a massive search to arrest these suspected terrorists.

According to a Somaliland government statement, the suspects allegedly "planned" a terror attack and acted as a "group". It was not informed whether the alleged terror attack was to be in Somaliland or whether the suspects were Somalilander citizens.

Further, it remained unclear whether the police raid had been provoked by earlier suspicions against some the 17 detained, or whether it had been a lucky strike by the Somaliland police. The Ministry statement however indicated there had been a general "security sweep carried out in the cities of Somaliland."

Minister Gabose during the Hargeisa press conference went far in indicating that the Somali Islamist group Al-Shabaab was behind the alleged terror plot in Somaliland. Al-Shabaab controls large parts of Somalia and has organised several terror attacks in Somalia and outside, including in Kampala, Uganda, in July.

Somaliland has been at the focus of Somali terrorists earlier, even kidnapping and killing foreign aid workers. Security in Somaliland however is generally high, both for Somalilanders and foreigners.

Last month, the US State Department announced it would deepen ties with Somaliland - although without recognising the state - among other reasons to join forces in the fight against Al-Shabaab.

From here.

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