Protests in Degehabur after the shooting death of a young man by police; Somali region chief security says situation calm

Addis Abeba, August 17/2020 – Several hundred people took to the street in of Degehabur (Dhagaxbuur) city of Somali regional state today to protest against the shooting death of Mukhtar Yare (A.K.A Usama) by regional security forces. Protesters burned tyres and blocked inner city road in front of the police station and other parts of the city, two eye witnesses told Addis Standard.

Dr. Hussien Kassim, Chief of Somali Regional State peace and security bureau, on his part told Addis Standard that the incident happened on Thursday August 13 leading “to the death of a young man during a police operation against youth violence. Youth groups clashed and the police responded to contain the situation,” he said, and confirmed that the young man “died in the hands of the police.” An investigation was launched and “the police officers who were involved in this are in custody,” he said.

However, this morning several hundred residents of the city took to the streets to protest against the killing and news that the police officer involved was released. Dr. Hussien confirmed the protest but said they were “the extended family” of the deceased boy. “This morning the extended family of the deceased boy gathered around the police station in response to a rumor that the police officers might be released,” he said.

Both eye witnesses who spoke to Addis Standard on conditions of anonymity say there were confrontations between regional security forces and protestors leading to the arrest of “scores of civilians” including Suldan Mukhtar Galool, a 60 year old man and a well-known traditional elder from Dhagaxbuur.

Uneasy calm has returned in the city, but one of the two eye witnesses said rumors of Mr. Galool being mishandled by the police were circulating triggering fears of “more protests” to come.

Dr. Hussien on his part assured that “the situation is calm and the investigation is underway.”



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