Residents in Borama, the capital and the largest city of the northwestern Awdal region of Somaliland, took to the streets in protest on Thursday after the Gadarbursi clan chief was refused entry into the city.
Residents and local media are reporting that Ugas Abdirashid Ugas Roble Ugas Dodi was travelling from Jigjiga in the Somali region in Ethiopia to Borama when Somaliland soldiers denied him entry at Guryo-Awol, Ethiopian-Somaliland border. Gunfire rang out shortly afterwards, sending the would-be welcome party scattering for cover after a confrontation between the elite British-funded Rapid Response Unit (RRU) and the chieftains entourage. The Ugas was forced to retreat to Aw Bare, a small town on the Ethiopian side of the border.
There is still no formal explanation from the Somaliland government or the Ugas as to why he was denied entry.
Hundreds of youth poured into the streets city as word began to spread that the Ugas was turned away with many chanting pro-Somalia unity slogans.
“Today we’ve witnessed the government of Somaliland tell our Ugaas (clan leader) that he cannot visit his people. The government is misbehaving, and the people of Borama will no longer take this disrespect from the government. The people in Hargeisa do not get to decide who represents us,” one protestor told local media.
One person was injured by gunfire and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. He is expected to survive.
The Ugas was travelling to Borama to have a meeting of the minds with other clan leaders to discuss the upcoming parliamentary elections in Somaliland.
Traditional leaders in Awdal have announced earlier this month that they will not be participating in the upcoming parliamentary elections because they feel that the allocation of seats is disproportionate. The Somaliland government has assigned 13 of the 82 seats in parliament for Awdal region.
Parliamentary elections in Somaliland have only been held once, back in in 2005. Those MPs have been in office for 15 years.