Somaliland begins campaign
LONDON, 12 MARCH 2003 (BBC)--Campaigning has begun in the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland for its first multi-party presidential election, which is to be held next month. The current leader of Somaliland, Dahir Riyaale Kahin, is being challenged by candidates from two opposition parties.
Mr Kahin succeeded the long-standing leader of the breakaway republic, Mohamed Egal, following his death in May last year.
Somaliland declared independence in 1991, as the rest of Somalia descended into anarchy. Mr Egal was elected president two years later, but the territory has never won international recognition.
One of the candidates, Feisal Ali Warabe, expressed doubt that the election would be free and fair. Election Commission chairman Abdirahman Hagi Ali Adami has also criticised the authorities for not handing over all the promised funds to supervise the elections.
He also expressed concern about a hostile atmosphere in eastern areas.
On Monday, two soldiers died and six others were wounded when a armed car overtured near the town of Lughaye. The vehicle was carrying the president's bodyguards.