UN envoy in Somalia concerned over violent clashes in Hargeisa

Special Representative Augustine Mahiga. UN Photo/Stuart Price

19 May 2012 – The United Nations envoy in Somalia, Augustine P. Mahiga, today expressed concern over recent violent clashes in the northern city of Hargeisa, located in Somaliland, between Somaliland security forces and citizens which allegedly resulted in the deaths on both sides.

According to media reports, earlier this week a military court in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, sentenced 17 civilians to death for attacking a military base in relation to a land dispute. This led to dozens of people marching through the city's streets demanding the release of the defendants, before riot police reportedly dispersed the crowd.

“The Special Representative of the Secretary-General [Mr. Mahiga] regrets the loss of life on both sides and expresses concern the trial of these civilians was conducted by a military in contradiction of both applicable local statutes and customary norms of standards of international law,” the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) said in a statement issued on Saturday.

“He urges the immediate transfer of the case to a criminal court and encourages the authorities to ensure that fair trial rights are respected in a new trial,” UNPOS added, noting that Mr. Mahiga is also calling for a full, impartial, independent and transparent investigation into the incident and its aftermath.


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