HARGEISA – At least seven people have been killed in violent riots in Hargeisa and Burao on Thursday, after Somaliland’s main opposition party, Waddani, accused the ruling party, Kulmiye, of stuffing ballot boxes with forged ballot papers.
According to sources on the ground, five people were killed in Burao after angry Waddani supporters clashed with police in west Burao and vandalized businesses belonging to the sub-clan of Kulmiye’s presidential candidate. It is still not known how many people were wounded in the clashes.
The supporters also vandalized the Burao branch of a digital printing company, Sagal Jet, that is owned by an individual who also hails from the sub-clan of Kulmiye’s candidate.
Below, is a video of the supporters throwing rocks at the company’s office, while chanting “Sagal Jet”.
Almost an hour after the Burao riots, Waddani supporters staged violent protests in east Hargeisa (New Hargeisa) and later stormed into Hargeisa’s central market to confront Kulmiye supporters, according to local reports.
Hargeisa’s central market, divides east Hargeisa and west Hargeisa, which are currently Waddani and Kulmiye strongholds, respectively.
According to sources on the ground, a young woman and one man were shot and killed during the riots. It is not known how many were wounded in the Hargeisa riots.
As of currently, the situation in both west Burao and east Hargeisa are now relatively calm after additional police officers and military personnel were deployed to both areas.
Several politicians and national figures, including the chiefs of Somaliland’s army and national police force, have spoken out against the riots, and have vowed to apprehend individuals inciting election violence.
The riots erupted hours after senior Waddani officials held a press conference on Thursday morning, accusing the ruling party of purchasing and using ballot papers forged with the NEC’s official stamp.
The officials, headed by Waddani’s central committee Chairman, Osman Afgab Nur, showed reporters a book containing empty ballot papers with the NEC stamp to back up their allegations of election fraud.
The officials, however, did not state where they obtained the ‘forged’ book of ballot papers from.
Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) dismissed the allegations in a press conference on Thursday evening, stating that the claims are ‘completely false’ and vowed to charge those in possession of the forged book.
This is a developing story. Please check back at The National for more.