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Djibouti clashes leave 19 dead: Opposition

22 December 2015 13:55


An opposition group in Djibouti says at least 19 people have been killed in clashes with police forces during a religious ceremony in the mainly Muslim country.

Police forces resorted to violence during the clashes on Sunday night, which also left dozens of people wounded, spokesman for the opposition coalition Union pour le Salut National Kadar Abdi Ibrahim said on Tuesday.

The clashes reportedly erupted when police forces attacked people taking part in a ceremony commemorating late religious leader Sheikh Yonis Muse in the capital’s Balbala neighborhood.

According to Abdi Ibrahim, security forces then attacked a house where opposition members had gathered in.

Reports also say opposition leader Ahmed Yusuf and an opposition lawmaker were injured in the attacks. A number of opposition supporters were also wounded.

A statement released by Interior Minister Hassan Omar Mohamed said scores of “armed individuals” had launched an attack on security forces in the Buldhoqo area.

Only nine people were wounded in the violence “which aimed to destabilize our nation and sow divisions,” it said.

The tiny Horn of Africa country, which has a population of about 876,000 people, witnessed a wave of anti-government protests in 2011. The government cracked down on demonstrators demanding President Ismail Omar Guelleh to step down from power.

Guelleh has been in office since 1999. The country, which hosts the only United States military base in Africa, is expected to hold presidential elections in April 2016.

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