Hargeysa(Mogadihu24)-Somaliland’s Administration has distanced itself from the opposition claims that the administration’s reluctance on the extension of President Bihi’s term has increased the formation of anti-government rebels.

The President of the Breakaway Republic, Musa Bihi Abdi, has on Saturday spoken about the growing tensions surrounding the emergence of rebel groups and clan militias as a result of delayed elections.

In the Book Launch event organized by former President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud (Silanyo), Bihi downplayed the influence of the rebel group which is at Gaan-Libah mountain in the Sahil region, stating that it is just exaggerated propaganda.

The President further noted that there are only minor tensions from the opposition parties, but it has not reached the level of being a conflict.

“I want to assure the people of Somaliland that there are no armed conflicts in Sahil region as exaggerated by the media; There are no conflicts from the opposition side, there are no conflicts from any of the communities living in the regions. The challenges and tensions are brought by the advanced technologies that are misused by individuals who want to create havoc in the country,” President Bihi stated.

The President further highlighted that there will be peaceful elections and transition of power as the electoral commission has set a date for elections, stating that the government is ready for criticism and pressure from the opposition.

Dr. Edna Adan, an activist, has warned the opposition against the consequences of the conflicts that may arise due to the political tensions, stating that they should seek power through fair elections rather than engaging in conflicts and bloodshed.

“I want to tell the opposition that they should forget about getting power through conflicts and bloodshed. They should rather think of unity and peaceful solutions to the current political tensions. Let them seek power through free and fair elections instead of taking the country into chaos and bloodshed,” Dr. Edna said.

This statement comes as last week, the rebels kidnapped eight people, including two military officers, although they were later released after extensive efforts and peaceful dialogue.

The military officers, who chose to remain anonymous for security reasons, accused certain members of Parliament of being involved in orchestrating their kidnap.

“While we were in Adadle district, some members of Parliament from the Wadani Party visited us and advised against engaging in talks with the armed group. Despite their warning, we insisted on pursuing negotiations. However, the armed rebels we were waiting to engage in peaceful dialogue unexpectedly attacked us,” he recounted.

“We were then taken to the rebels’ cell at the Mountain area. After a few hours, the same members of parliament who had cautioned us earlier arrived. They claimed to have successfully negotiated with the leaders of the rebels’ group for our release from captivity. The parliamentarians instructed us not to request the return of any confiscated items, including our pistols. It appears that these parliamentarians are the ones managing and financing the rebel group,” he added.

However, the Somaliland Opposition political parties have raised serious accusations against the government, pointing out that the massive increase in rebel groups within the country is attributed to President Musa Bihi’s extension of term.

Khadar Hussein Abdi, the Secretary General of the WADDANI Party, expressed concerns about ongoing conflicts, particularly in Las’Anod, and the challenging economic situation.

He further accused the government of delays in elections and committing extrajudicial killings, leading to escalation of conflicts to armed clan clashes.

“The government has been breaking the law, committing extrajudicial killings, and delaying elections for so long until the clashes arise. The government of Musa Bihi does not want elections to happen. These delays have caused wars and the formation of rebels and clan militias,” he stated.

Somaliland faces intense conflicts in Las’Anod between the Somaliland Army and the SSC Khatumo since February 6th, 2023. The emergence of these anti-government rebels further escalates the political tension in the country, fuelling the ongoing conflicts.

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