Somaliland court sentences 3 to death for bomb attacks


A court in Somalia’s northern breakaway region of Somaliland sentenced three people to death and ordered the deportation of four foreigners for four bomb attacks on the security forces, court sources says.

Five people were killed in the attacks between November and January, including four police officers killed in a single attack in January.

Somaliland is proud of its relative stability, compared with the anarchy further south, but the attacks were a reminder of its vulnerability to radical militants.

The four foreigners — two Ethiopians, an Eritrean and a Sudanese — said they were not involved in the attacks, but the chairman of Berbera Regional Court ordered their deportation.

Police sources said at the time of the blast in January that an explosive device had been left among milk cans near a mosque in Las Anod near the Puntland border.

Al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab — a major rebel group in Somalia — hit Somaliland and Puntland with synchronised suicide blasts that killed at least 24 people in October 2008.

A row has been simmering between the Somaliland president and opposition parties over delays in elections, and analysts said this could trigger a re-arming of clan militias and new violence for al Shabaab to exploit.

But in a surprise announcement on Tuesday, Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission said the presidential poll would take place in June.