Several killed in Somaliland protests against government

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Several people have been killed and others injured in anti-government protests in the southeast of the breakaway region of Somaliland, the head of an opposition party and local officials said Saturday.

Since Tuesday, protests have been held in the town of Las Anod, about 500 kilometres (310 miles) east of the Somaliland capital Hargeisa, following the killing of a politician by gunmen.

Saleban Ali Kore, communications minister of Somaliland, the self-proclaimed Horn of Africa republic, on Saturday offered “condolence” to victims’ families.

He said they were killed in “violent incidents” in Las Anod, without giving details on the number of people killed or who was responsible.

“More than 10 people were killed in Las Anod,” Abdirahman Iro, head of the main opposition Wadani party, told a rally Saturday, adding that about 50 others were wounded.

A large number of security forces were deployed in Las Anod on Saturday, and most businesses remained closed, residents told AFP.

“More than 30 people have been admitted to the Las Anod hospital, including women and children, all of them with gunshot wounds and the city is still tense,” said Mohamed Suleyman, a resident of the town.

A former British territory, Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991, a move not recognised by the international community.