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“Halt execution spree of children in Puntland” Amnesty International

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The authorities in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region must immediately halt plans to execute two boys sentenced to death by a military tribunal in February for their alleged role in the armed group Al-Shabaab’s killing of three senior administration officials, said Amnesty International.

The organization has learnt that Muhamed Yasin Abdi, 17, and Daud Saied Sahal, 15, could be put to death at any moment after five other boys -– all aged between 14 and 17 – were executed on 8 April for the killings.

“These five boys were executed following a fundamentally flawed process during which they were tortured to confess, denied access to a lawyer and additional protections accorded to juveniles, and tried in a military tribunal. The lives of the remaining two boys must be spared” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“The Puntland authorities must not allow more blood on their hands. They should halt the executions and retry the boys in fair proceedings in a juvenile civilian court without recourse to the death penalty.  Those responsible for killing the three administration officials need to be identified and brought to justice – torturing juveniles to confess, subjecting them to an unfair trial and then executing them does not ensure this.”

Family members told Amnesty International that the boys, who they deny were members of the Al-Shabaab militant group, were subjected to electric shock, burnt with cigarettes on their genitals, beaten and raped into confessing to the murders.

“These horrific allegations of torture must be fully and independently investigated and those found responsible held to account. Puntland must also stop the practice of trying civilians in military courts,” said Michelle Kagari.

Amnesty International believes the death penalty is cruel, inhuman and degrading, and opposes it at all times – regardless of who is accused, the crime, guilt or innocence or method of execution.

Puntland

Somalia military working to push terrorists out of Puntland

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Somalia’s president says that increased military operations in the southern part of the country have forced extremists to move into Puntland ,a relatively stable region in the north-east. President Farmajo is currently touring the region, encouraging the military to crack down on al-Shabaab and other terror groups. CGTN’s Abdulaziz Billow is travelling with the presidential delegation and sent us this report from Bosaso in Puntland

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Puntland

Somalia launches first renewable energy power plant

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Somalia is embracing new innovation to generate renewable energy. CGTN’s Abdulaziz Billow reports now from northern Somalia where one electric company is combing fuel, wind and solar power to light towns and villages.

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Puntland

Somalia calls for calm in northern region

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MOGADISHU, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) — The Somali government on Wednesday called on Somaliland and Puntland regional states to stop escalating tension in the northern Sool region.

The government said in a statement that it is committed to continuing reconciliation among the fighting sides in the region and across the country to help restore peace and stability.

“The federal government’s intension is to stop the fight. It calls for Somaliland, Puntland local officials, community leaders, and scholars to stop the conflict, and work with the government in fostering peace and integrating brotherly people,” it said.

The government called on both sides to swiftly and unconditionally bring to an end to the looming conflict and solve their differences through dialogue and reconciliation.

The government expressed concern about the fresh armed conflict at Tukaraq area this week and urged the two sides to stop the battle unconditionally and come to negotiating table.

Tension has been rising since Monday in the disputed Takaraq location in Sool region, about 90 km from Garowe town as both sides amass troops ready for combat in the Puntland administrative capital.

Puntland authorities have blamed the break-away region of Somaliland for launching offensive in Takaraq to prevent visit by Somalia president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo to the region.

The Somalia government described the current conflict in the region as unfortunate, saying such fighting would only give opportunity to the enemies of peace.

The statement comes after military forces from Somaliland Monday took control of a town under the semi autonomous region of Puntland following a fierce fighting.

Puntland State President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali condemned Somaliland for launching offensive on its territory.

“Puntland State is fighting Al-Shabaab and IS militants and the attack from Somaliland Administration gives shelter and support to the terrorist groups in the region,” Ali said on Tuesday evening.

Both Puntland and Somaliland have been in contest over Sool and Sanag regions with each side claiming control.

Puntland parliament threatened force in November 2017 against Somaliland if elections took place in Sool during the presidential poll. The polls, however, went on uninterrupted in most areas of Sool.

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