Police in Somalia’s breakaway Somaliland region arrested more than 40 protesters and two journalists at a demonstration in a town whose ownership is disputed by a neighbouring region, a police officer said.
Protesters marched through Las Anod on Monday, shouting in support of rejoining the federal government, based in Mogadishu, residents said.
“We arrested 47 demonstrators including women and youth who were misled,” said Abdirisak Mohamed Faarah, police commander for Somaliland’s Sool region, said at a news conference in Las Anod. “There are two reporters in jail for creating chaos. We are looking for others and shall arrest them.
“We arrested them because they were destabilising peace and we shall take measures against those who masterminded it.”
Last week, fighting between Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region and breakaway Somaliland killed dozens of soldiers.
The fighting appears to be a resumption of more than 10 years of periodic conflict between Puntland and Somaliland over the disputed Sool region.
A week earlier, clashes between the two sides over the ownership of Tukaraq village, taken by Somaliland last month, killed at least 45 people. Forces from Puntland and Somaliland remain on opposite sides of Tukaraq.
“We shall continue fighting till we liberate Las Anod town. We urge Somaliland to stop suppressing residents,” Abdihakim Abdullahi, deputy president of Puntland, told Reuters.
Other Somaliland officials could not be reached for comment.