human rights expert on Somalia expressed concern Tuesday over
the arrest of community leaders traveling to a peace conference
in neighboring Djibouti.
Rishmawi called on faction leaders and heads of regional administrations
to ``respect the wish of the Somali people to bring an end
to the hostilities in Somalia and to re-establish peace and
has been without a central government since 1991, when dictator
Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted, and the country descended into
chaos and clan-based fiefdoms.
of northwestern Somaliland, President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal,
and Col. Abdullahi Yussuf, who heads the regional administration
in northeastern Puntland, both oppose the peace conference
underway in neighboring Djibouti.
which aims to establish an interim administration for Somalia,
began May 2. Earlier this month, Egal arrested 19 clan elders
and military officials from Puntland, who were traveling to
the Djibouti conference against the wishes of Col. Yussuf.
unusual cooperation between the two rival administrations
of Puntland and Somaliland against the peace process causes
much concern,'' Rishmawi said in a statement.
reports of earlier repression of supporters of the peace conference
in both regions.