Somaliland threatens to arrest masked delegates elected senators in Mogadishu

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A number of delegates from Somaliland who participated in the recently concluded senatorial polls could face arrest, Somaliland has said, in what could further strain the relationship between Hargeisa and Mogadishu.

The breakaway region’s Vice President Abdirahman Abdillahi Ismail alias Saylici said Hargeisa has recognized those who participated in the elections, noting that stringent actions will be taken against them.

Further, the VP added, the decision by the delegates to engage in the polls did not have a blessing from the Somaliland government, noting that the candidates who participated in the polls are not recognized and will not be accepted in Somaliland.

“I say to the people of Somalia, we are not worried about what happens behind the few kilometers of foreign protection, and we do not accept it. We do not believe that 20 rebels from this nation represent us, and they do not speak for us,” Saylici said.

Once they return to Hargeisa, the Vice President said, they will be arrested and charged in court. The delegates participated in electing 11 senators who represent the region in the federal parliament.

“Those who were hiding their eyes are those who left Somaliland and want to return tomorrow. They are national criminals. Let’s not see Somalilanders screaming when they are arrested tomorrow,” he said.

In his address to the media, the VP said, Somaliland was very disappointed with the presence of United Nations officials during the elections in Afisyoni center. The region has been fighting for international recognition three decades after it claimed to have seceded from Somalia.

“I am, however, deeply saddened the United Nations is witnessing and believing that 20 or 30 traitors are accepted as our representatives,” he said in reference to the presence of UN Special Representative James Swan and a host of a delegation from AU.

Somaliland’s official spokesperson on COVID-19 infection Committee Hussein said lawmakers of Somaliland origin elected in Mogadishu do not represent Somaliland.

“Somaliland is an independent country, and it has been self-governing for 30 years. The man (delegate) who says I represent Somaliland today is a dreamer. Nobody was sent to Mogadishu on our behalf. Its electorate represents Somaliland,” he said.

“The delegates also use the derogatory term ‘northern regions.’ They represent themselves, they are mercenaries, they do not represent Somaliland at all,” Dayr added.

Ambassador Safina, Somaliland’s Electoral Commission spokesperson, suggested that the delegates were wearing extra facemasks and headscarves because of COVID-19 precautions.

Since 1991, Somaliland has been running a parallel government from that of Mogadishu after the breakout over the civil war. In fact, in May, the region held the first democratic parliamentary elections which saw over 1 million voters choose 82 MPs.

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