By: Yusuf M Hasan
BURAO (Somalilandsun) – An officer from the Rapid Reaction Unit-RRU responsible for shooting a demonstrator in Burao on Monday has been arrested.
This was confirmed by interior minister Mr Mohamed Duur Arale during a press briefing in the Togdeer regional capital Burao where he is in an official visit in pursuit of calming local residents’ jittery nerves following the killing of a demonstrator.
The fateful Monday shooting to dead occurred after the RRU a police crack unit shot at Tipper owners/drivers who were amassed at the Burao mayor’s office demonstrating in protest against a council directive denying them rights to sand collection and sales.
Said he, “Though the calamity that befell Burao residents on Monday was occasioned by officers of the RRU, the responsibilities is the government’s where the buck stops” said the minister
While apologizing to the residents for the misfortunes that befell them Minister Duur who accused the local and regional governments for the troubles said that if the two cooperated as required then the troubles would not have reached the unfortunate level of death and injuries.
As he informed that a broad based meeting shall be held soon to explore guidelines for the way forward the interior minister revealed that the confrontations between police and protesters ensued not only with the one death and numerous injuries but destruction to 21 vehicles among them one belonging to the police and several offices plus furnishings and equipment.
In the course of calming jittery nerves which was part of his main objective within Burao city the interior minister started h is itinerary with a visit to the family of the deceased thus entering yet to be disclosed arrangement that facilitated the burial which family members had refused to perform until the government arrests the killer.
Once the minister had an RRU officer placed in custody the family embarked on burial arrangements that saw them and a multitude of Burao residents collect the body of the deceased thus effect disposal as per Islamic laws.
Upon assuaging the bereaved family Minister Duur Arale then held meetings with community leaders as well as local and regional government authorities where all concurred in the need to continue with efforts geared towards solving the root cause of the protests in addition to unearthing the person responsible for dispatching he RRU to the scene of demonstrations.
The officials also agreed on facilitating the medical attention for the demonstrators injured during confrontations with the RRU as well as settling the fate of the many others currently in custody following their arrests during the demonstrations. While the situation which was volatile for a number of hours on the fateful Monday.
The manner in which the Rapid Reaction Unit had handled the demonstrators elicited condemnation from various quarters with the Burao mayor Councillor Murad accusing the central government in murder complicity since He, mayor, being the immediate authority at the scene did not request the deployment of RRU.
Mayor Murad had thus on the day demanded to know not only the identity of the person who dispatched the RRU to the scene but the identity of the shoot to kill officer as well as why the unit had to utilize brutal force by use of bursts of live bullets shot on the demonstrators.
Minister Duur’s visit and subsequent activities show that the central government took the issue to heart thus the urgent measures effected so far.
Meanwhile the Wadani opposition party has added its condemnation to the shooting to death incident in Burao where they accuse the interior minister of being personally responsible.