Security forces in NW Somalia seize illegal missile launchers 2009-01-24 04:01:45   Print

    MOGADISHU, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Security forces in the self-declared republic of Somaliland in northwestern Somalia on Friday sized nearly 10 small one-time use anti-aircraft missile launchers and arrested two suspects in connection with the illegal weapons in Hargeisa, capital of the state, reports reaching here said.

    Abdullahi Ismail Irro, the interior minister of Somaliland which declared its independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, said the missile launchers were originally from Eritrea and were transported through the central Somali region of Galgadud before they were stored in a house in Hargeisa.

    "We have information that the missile launchers were brought from Eritrea and came to Somaliland through Galgadud region in central Somalia," Irro told reporters in Hargeisa.

    "The weapons are shoulder-held one-time use missile launchers and were kept in a house in Hargeisa where we make arrests of two suspects."

    The two suspects from Somalia are under investigation by Somaliland police and the motive or uses for the anti-aircraft launchers have not yet been established.

    Somaliland has not received international recognition for its secession from Somalia since the collapse of the Somali government in 1991. However the region, which enjoys relative stability, has its self-government, flag, police and military forces and currency.

    The region has been the target of three car bomb attacks in late October of last year in which twenty-four people were killed and more than two wounded.

    Eleven youths suspected of being trained with the hardline Islamist group of Al-Shabaab in the south-central Somalia were arrested. The youths reportedly arrived from Mogadishu to Hargeisaand had lived in the United States.

    The suicide bombers were Somali youths allegedly recruited and trained by Al-Shabaab movement to carry out the attacks in Hargeisa. The movement which is active in south central Somalia did not claim responsibility for the suicide attacks which also targeted the northeastern semiautonomous region of Puntland.

    Since then authorities in Somaliland have tightened security in the capital Hargeisa, the airports, seaports and all the other entry points of the region.

Editor: Yan
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