HARGEISA – Ten Hargeisa firefighters were injured in a brazen attack on Wednesday while battling a fire in a western Hargeisa slum.
A blaze broke out in Hargeisa’s State House neighborhood on Wednesday, not far from Somaliland’s Presidential Palace. According to a press release from Hargeisa’s Fire Department, the firefighters were attacked by a group of youth upon arriving at the scene.
The youth reportedly hurled heavy rocks and other items at the firefighters. According to the department, four of the ten firefighters are said to be in critical condition. No arrests have been made.
A director with Hargeisa’s Fire Department has vowed to pursue legal action in the future against anyone who assaults a firefighter or HFD staff member.
“As of today, we will start taking legal action against any individual who attacks a firefighter. We will also press charges against anyone who prevents our staff from carrying out their duties,” the director said.
Ahmed Swahili, Chief of Somaliland’s National Fire Brigade also denounced Wednesday’s attack in the press release, calling it ‘bizarre’.
“How can you ask firefighters for help, then attack them when they arrive to help you?” Swahili said.
Locals say the attacks could’ve been a result of panic and miscommunication among the residents. State House is said to be one of Hargeisa’s poorest neighborhoods and is filled with thousands of refugees from Ethiopia and Somalia.
Fires are said to be common in the State House area.