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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

SOMALIA: Foreign terror suspects freed in Puntland

NAIROBI, 28 August 2003 (IRIN) - The authorities in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland have freed seven foreign nationals arrested a week ago on suspicion of having links with terrorist groups, according to a local journalist in Bosaso, the region's commercial capital.

Abdinasir Mire Adan told IRIN that the suspects were "Pakistani nationals", who had been arrested by Puntland security officials at Bosaso airport on 22 August.

The seven had been arrested on the orders of the Puntland Intelligence Service (PIS), set up recently "as an anti-terrorist unit".

However, it later turned out that the seven were members of a religious order known as the Tabliq, who travel the world "to propagate the Islamic faith".

They were released on Wednesday after "a PIS investigation found they had no links with any terrorist organisation", the journalist said. They were part of a larger group, some of whom went to Mogadishu while others went to Hargeysa.

Meanwhile, seven other people arrested by police in Bosaso on Tuesday on suspicion of possessing counterfeit money printed abroad have also been released, Abdinasir told IRIN.

"The police found that the money was genuine and released the suspects," he said.

Since the outbreak of the civil war in the 1990s, many Somali businessmen have brought in Somali currency printed abroad, which contributed to galloping inflation throughout the country, a Somali economist told IRIN.


Theme(s): (IRIN) Conflict



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