Somaliland: Somaliland Troops Seize Parliament after Lawmakers' Dispute
Below is an article published by Garowe Online:
Police and military units in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland have assumed full control of the region's elected parliament, Radio Garowe reports.
Mr. Abdullahi Mohamed "Irro," Speaker of Somaliland's House of Representatives, the lower of house of parliament, told reporters on Tuesday [8 September] that troops had "fulfilled their original intention" by seizing the parliament building.
Somaliland troops have surrounded the parliament building in Hargeisa in recent weeks and intervened on one occasion.
Earlier Tuesday, the House's legal affairs advisor told lawmakers that an impeachment motion against Somaliland President Dahir Riyale and his deputy, Vice President Ahmed Yusuf Yasin, introduced last week by opposition lawmakers is "legal" under Somaliland laws.
Further, the advisor noted that another motion, introduced by members of President Riyale's ruling UDUB party to change bylaws in order to remove Speaker Irro, was illegal because bylaws can only be changed by the House's permanent committee.
This development angered UDUB lawmakers, especially MP Abdirahman Hoogwho pulled out a handgun inside the parliament building and attempted to shoot a fellow lawmaker, MPs and witnesses said.
Somaliland police units, supported by soldiers, immediately surrounded the parliament building in Hargeisa, forcing lawmakers to come outside. Although parliament's leadership initially refused, they eventually succumbed to the order.
Afterwards, Speaker Irro told a press conference in Hargeisa that Somaliland's elected parliament has been seized and "soldiers now hold the keys."
Parliament sources said 67 MPs out of the 82-seat House of Representatives were present during the heated debate.
Somaliland's political crisis deepened last week when the election commission postponed the presidential election scheduled for September 27.
Located in northwest Somalia, Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from the rest of the Horn of Africa country in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.