Somaliland Sentences 17 to Death One Day After Attack

Posted May 17th, 2012 at 10:50 am (UTC-5)
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A military court in the breakaway region of Somaliland has sentenced 17 people to death following an attack on a military base.

The court convicted the defendants Wednesday, saying they confessed to attacking the facility in Hargeisa a day earlier, killing seven people.

The court also sentenced five underage defendants to life in prison.

Authorities say the base was attacked by an angry mob, which asserted the military had built on land that belonged to their clan for generations.

A clan elder representing the defendants told VOA the court's decision was made so quickly it did not allow justice to take its due course.

The elder, Suldan Yusuf Muhumad, said the defendants will appeal the ruling.

Somaliland broke away from the rest of Somalia in 1991 after the fall of the central government in Mogadishu. No country or international body has recognized it as an independent nation.

The region has been largely free of the violence and instability that has plagued Somalia for more than two decades.