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Last Updated: Feb 11, 2014 - 5:11:05 AM
Somalia: Galkayo mayor warns about 'targeted killings of intellectuals'

The new mayor of Puntland's Galkayo city in northern Somalia has warned the public about targeted killings of community leaders including intellectuals, Radio Garowe reports.

Mr. Saeed Abdi Farah, who was appointed as Galkayo mayor on 24 August 2011, told reporters in Galkayo that his administration shall prioritize security matters.

“I urge the public to work with the administration and with government security forces,” said Galkayo's new mayor. He noted that the new administration will focus on developing and strengthening community relations, particularly in security matters.

"We should not hide criminals and anti-peace elements...I urge the public's cooperation with the police and security agencies," said Mr. Farah.

A former military man, Mr. Farah was appointed at a time when Galkayo is under attack from Al Shabaab terrorist group, according to Puntland’s government.

Galkayo violence

Earlier September, Puntland government forces launched a two-day counterterrorism operation, killing at least 60 militants and detained more than 20 war prisoners. The government publicly showed the war prisoners, who hail from different regions of Somalia, most notably Bay and Bakool regions ins southern Somalia.

Since 2006, Al Shabaab terrorist group has been blamed for a series of killings and bombings targeting community leaders, intellectuals, businesspeople and government officials in Puntland. In Galkayo, more than 30 people have been targeted and killed over the past two years, according to Puntland police documents.

Puntland government officials say that Galkayo' Garsoor neighborhood, which was the target of government counter-terrorism operations earlier this month, is a source of instability whereby Al Shabaab terrorist cells maintain a secret presence.

Reporter's shooting

On 14 Sept 2011, Radio Galkayo reporter Ms. Horriyo Abdulkadir Sheikh Ali was shot and injured by unidentified gunmen, days after she publicized a special report on the independent radio station describing the security operation as "targeting Al Shabaab."

Local journalists, who spoke with Garowe Online on condition of anonymity, said Ms. Horriyo received threatening phone calls after reporting about the security operations in Galkayo. Puntland security officials believe that Ms. Horriyo was targeted by Al Shabaab terrorist group. Relatives say the reporter is at the hospital in stable condition.

The attempted killing of Ms. Horriyo, who is from Galmudug but works in Puntland, is "proof" that terrorist cells are behind the violence in Galkayo, say government officials.

Since its formation in 1998, Puntland State of Somalia has been relatively stable, with its own state government, security forces and policies.

READ: Somalia: 'Puntland peace for all Somalis': Security Minister
READ: Somalia: Puntland presents '18 Al Shabaab prisoners' from Galkayo counterterrorism operations
READ: Press Release: Somalia: Puntland Presents Prisoners Arrested in Counterterrorism Operations in Galkayo
READ: Somalia: Puntland blames Al Shabaab terror group for Galkayo violence

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