Sunday, April 20, 2003

Somaliland presidential poll loser rejects result
HARGEISA, 20 APRIL 2003(Reuters) - The defeated opposition candidate in Somaliland's presidential election accused the government of vote rigging on Sunday as violence flared between rival supporters.

Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, who emerged as the main challenger in Somaliland's first multi-party presidential election, claimed victory in the April 14 poll. Official results on Saturday handed victory to President Dahir Riyale Kahin by just 80 votes.

"I can confirm that I won the election," Silanyo told reporters. "The government has used public funds and its authority to win the election for its candidate. I call on the government not to suppress the (will of) the people."

He spoke as violence broke out between supporters of Kahin's United Democratic Party (UDUB) and Silanyo's Solidarity party (Kulmiye) in the capital Hargeisa and other cities.

Officials said four people were wounded and a teashop destroyed in Burao, Silanyo's hometown, as his supporters clashed with police. In Hargeisa, police shot in the air to disperse a protest against the election body.

There was no immediate comment from the government. MORE

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