A court in Somalia’s northern breakaway region of Somaliland sentenced three people to death on Wednesday and ordered the deportation of four foreigners for four bomb attacks on the security forces, court sources said.
Four police officers were killed in the attacks between November and January.
Abdifatah Muse Yusuf, head of the intelligence department in Sool region, Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed and Abdirashid Yusuf Burale were all sentenced to death in absentia.
The court also sentenced Abdikadir Abdi Hassan and Abdirashid Warsame to 15 years in jail each while Mohamed Jama Duale had eight years.
Somaliland is proud of its relative stability, compared with the anarchy further south, but the attacks were a reminder of its vulnerability to radical militants.
The four foreigners two Ethiopians, an Eritrean and a Sudanese said they were not involved in the attacks, but the chairman of Berbera Regional Court ordered their deportation. Police sources said at the time of the blast in January that an explosive device had been left among milk cans near a mosque in Las Anod near the Puntland border.
Al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab a major militant group in Somalia strike Somaliland and Puntland with coordinated suicide blasts that killed at least 24 people in October 2008.
A row has been simmering between the Somaliland president and opposition parties over delays in elections, and analysts said this could trigger a re-arming of clan militias and new violence for al Shabaab to utilize.
But on tuesday, Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission said the presidential poll would take place in June.