GAROWE, Somalia Feb 24 2013 (Garowe Online) – Almost 20,000
people came out chanting slogans and carrying banners protesting Al Shabaab in
Garowe’s downtown square on Sunday, Garowe Online reports.
In a bold move, Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole
and Vice President Abdisamad Ali Shire accompanied by Puntland officials walked from the Presidential Palace
towards the square where the rally was being held to speak in front of crowd of
almost 20,000 people.
Traffic came to a standstill, government offices and schools
were given a holiday giving the opportunity for young and old to come to the “Square of Liberty” to participate in the rally.
Government officials, Cabinet Ministers, Islamic scholars,
women groups, youth groups and traditional elders, were few in attendance at Sunday’s
People were carrying slogans that read: Al Shabaab is a
cancer that needs to be severed. Others had banners that read: Sheikh Abdiqadir
was killed so there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
The most recent Al Shabaab assassination of prominent Islamic
scholar, Sheikh Abdiqadir, sparked fury amongst Somalis at home and abroad and
prompted messages from major Islamic scholars and Somalis to root out Al
President Farole, scholars and traditional elders spoke to
the huge crowd who gathered to protest the terror organization.
“This is not a ceremony to commemorate our fallen Sheikh
[Abdiqadir], we came here together to agree to wage war against Al Shabaab,”
said President Farole.
Continuing the President stated that this would be a memorable
moment in Puntland history.
“Today marks another historic moment in Puntland history;
when the people of Puntland stood up to fight against injustice and terror right
here in Garowe,” said President Farole.
Sheikh Jama Liban a Somali Islamic scholar reiterated the
Presidents satement saying that it was time for people to stand
together in order to overcome the terrorists.
“Their [Al Shabaab] mission is to spread fear and terror so
events like this don’t happen, but on the contrary the killing of Sheikh
Abdiqadir has brought the people of Puntland closer and has united them on a common
goal to fight anyone and any group spreading terror in Puntland,” said Sheikh Jama
The protests continued even after the speeches, where
thousands of people walked the main tarmac road in Garowe chanting anti Al
At Sunday’s rally the atmosphere was one of anger, where
people voiced their anger for hours in the hot sun some even falling unconscious.
“People have had enough with Al Shabaab, people were scared
before but not anymore were tired of it people are ready to lay their lives on
the line to stop terrorism in Puntland,” said Nimo Ahmed who we spoke to while she
was fanning her sister who had fainted minutes earlier.
Sheikh Abdiqadir’s killer was apprehended at the scene when
brave citizens captured the killer as he tried to flee despite him wounding 3
The Puntland government issued a press release on the update of Sheikh
Abdiqadir’s investigation on Saturday.
“Puntland security forces that have apprehended many
principal terrorists and their terror networks that were behind past and recent
attacks,” read the press release.
The press release also stated that over 50 perpetrators Galkayo,
Garowe and Bossaso were apprehended by Puntland authorities including foreign
The Puntland government stated that it will not let up, “until
terrorists attempting to instill fear and wreak havoc in the country are
captured and brought to face justice in a court of law.”