- The presidential palace, the Ethiopian embassy and UN offices in Hargeisa, the capital of the democratic breakaway republic Somaliland, were bombed today in what is described as the biggest coordinated terrorist attack in the Horn of Africa so far. At 21 persons were killed.
According to reports from Hargeisa, car bombs were detonated in front of these three key institutions, which represent the state and its main foreign collaborators. In Somaliland, at least 19 civilians were killed in the coordinated attacks, which bear the fingerprint of al-Qaeda.
Also in neighbouring Puntland, an autonomous region in north-eastern Somalia, two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the offices of the anti-terrorism unit of the security services in the capital, Bosasso. Puntland is the power base of Somali transitional President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and has also enjoyed relative stability.
According to the reporter of partner media 'Awdalnews' in Hargeisa, also the attacks in Somaliland were perpetrated by suicide bombers. The terrorists launched the attacks with cars laden with explosives. Heavy casualties and material damage have taken place. The Somaliland government has imposed curfew in the capital and President Dahir Riyale Kahin has stated authorities will take any measures to defend the country.
The terrorist attack comes as Somaliland kicked of its electoral registration programme two weeks ago, preparing the country for general elections. Somaliland, contrasting the rest of Somalia, has a well-functioning and democratically elected government. Somaliland therefore has been a thorn in the eye for extremists wanting the Horn region to fall into total chaos.
This is not the first time terrorists manage to enter into Somaliland and mount attacks with an aim of destabilising the country. Earlier terrorist attacks focused on foreign aid workers, with the aim of causing these to leave the country and thus increase misery and discontent in Somaliland. Terrorists so far however have not succeeded in destabilising the country.
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