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Somaliland Officials Torture House Church Pastor

1/24/08 Somaliland (International Christian Concern) – All the members of a house church based in Hargeysa, Somaliland, were forced to flee to neighboring Ethiopia after hearing that the government was preparing to arrest them. The pastor of the church, Mohammed [name changed for security reasons], however, decided to stay in Somaliland.

On the order of one of Somaliland’s high-ranking government officials, Mohammed was imprisoned on December 3, 2007, for leading the official’s niece to Christ. Though Pastor Mohammed was released on December 7, 2007, he has been placed under 24-hour surveillance by Somaliland security officials.

During his imprisonment, Somaliland’s Criminal Investigation Department tortured Pastor Mohammed in order to obtain the names of the members of his house church, but failed to obtain any information from him.

Somaliland is a breakaway de facto state in Somalia. The country has not been recognized by the international community, though it has had a functioning government since 1991. When ICC asked about the incident, a representative of Somaliland to the United States, Dr. Saad Noor, said that “there are no Christians in Somaliland.”

Our sources indicated that Somaliland’s Criminal Investigation Department is currently infiltrated by Islamic Jihadists, “who have compiled a list containing the names of several Somali church leaders whom they have vowed to eliminate using the Somaliland justice system.”

Our source further noted, “All these anti-Christian Islamic militants are members of the fundamentalist Salafi movement which gave birth to Al-Qaeda.”

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Darara Gubo, stated, “Somaliland should prove to the international community that it is a democratic country where freedom of religion is upheld. The international community should closely monitor and condemn the activities of Islamic fundamentalists who have infiltrated the security forces of Somaliland.”