News24

Somaliland cops arrest 'bombers'

2010-06-10 19:34

Hargeysa - Somaliland police arrested 11 people in possession of firearms and explosives on Thursday in the breakaway republic but lost one officer killed in the raid, a spokesperson said.

"They had explosives and other materials that are used for bomb making. There were seven men and four women with the hallmark of trouble makers," the spokesperson for the police force in Burao where the raid took place told journalists.

"The material was for suicide attacks; some of the arrested are suspected to be potential suicide bombers," he said, adding that police "were following the group after tips from local people".

Those arrested attempted to resist when police launched their raid. An exchange of gunfire ensued in which one police officer was killed and two others wounded, the spokesperson said.

Burao is the second-largest city in Somaliland, which broke away from the rest of Somalia in May 1991 but has not yet been recognised by the outside world.

Somaliland has scheduled June 26 as the date for presidential elections, already postponed three times since 2008.

A recent internal UN report, a copy of which was seen by AFP, said there was a risk of suicide attacks on hotels or other buildings housing international observers monitoring the June 26 elections.

The report also spoke of the recent arrival in Somaliland of nine young men trained by the Shebaab to carry out suicide attacks.

In October 2008, 24 people, including UN staff, were killed in Hargeysa in a suicide attack for which the Shebaab claimed responsibility.