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Somaliland President sacks interior minister

Dahir Riyale Kahin fired minister Ismail Aden Osman and police commissioner Mohamed Eghe Elmi in a row over corruption.

india Updated: May 30, 2006 17:18 IST

The president of Somalia's breakaway northern republic of Somaliland has sacked his interior minister and police commissioner in a row over corruption and poor salaries, officials said on Tuesday.

In a decree issued late on Monday, Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin fired minister Ismail Aden Osman and police commissioner Mohamed Eghe Elmi and replaced them with their deputies, they said.

No reason was given for the move but it followed a protest from about 70 police officers who complained to parliament on Monday that money meant for their salaries had been misappropriated by their superiors for personal use.

The decree was read over Somaliland's government-run Radio Hargeisa and published in local newspapers in the self-styled republic, which seceded from Somalia proper 15 years ago.

Officials in Kahin's office confirmed the order had been issued but declined to comment further on the matter.

The police involved in the protest are members of an elite unit that is charged with protecting foreigners in the enclave after several expatriate aid workers were killed there in 2002 by suspected terrorists.

Last November, eight men were convicted and sentenced to death for those killings and another seven given life prison terms.

Two months earlier, Somaliland police raided the headquarters of a suspected Al-Qaeda cell in Hargeisa engaging those inside in a fierce firefight.

Somaliland seceded from the rest of Somalia in May 1991, five months after strongman Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled, plunging much of the country into lawless chaos.

Despite holding elections and creating its own governmental institutions, Somaliland has yet to be recognised by the outside world.

First Published: May 30, 2006 17:18 IST