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Somaliland: This year’s Pilgrims violated sovereignty

HARGEISA (SD) – The Somaliland government says Somalilanders who went on the hajj this year violated a government order and the country’s sovereignty.

Somaliland Vice President Abdirahman Abdillahi Ismail Saylici accused Somaliland pilgrims who have traveled to neighboring countries first then to Saudi Arabia for hajj of violating Somaliland’s nationhood.

“We are informing the people of Somaliland that those who have traveled or begged have violated the decision of the nation of the Republic of Somaliland,” Saylici said.

The pilgrims had no choice as their government failed to secure visas and passage to Hajj and were forced to make other arrangements.

Saylici denied that he had spoken to Somalia’s Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowments Omar Ali Roble, who said he had discussed the matter with Vice President Saylici.

Somalia’s Minister of Religious Affairs recently said that they had held talks with the Vice President of Somaliland, and told him that there was no special quota available for Somaliland.

The vice president described the minister’s statement as an insult to Somaliland, saying that Somaliland has not been a part of Somalia for 30 years.

He called on the Saudi government to intervene in the conflict, saying “The government of Somaliland is demanding its Islamic rights from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has turned a blind eye to them the last few years.”

The vice president’s statement comes at a time when Somaliland pilgrims, including some of the country’s most prominent clerics, have flew out of the neighboring countries to perform the hajj.

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