Hargeisa regional court on Saturday sentenced three to 2-4 year terms in jail for claiming leadership of a parallel Hargeisa city council.
Several people were rounded up in October for publicly announcing that their areas within the Hargeisa City council had elected them to office.
They claimed that the districts of Mohamoud Haybe, Ahmed Dhagah, and Mohamed Mogheh have totally withdrawn their support of the incumbent 25-member Hargeisa City Council, and the capital of the Republic of Somaliland.
The challengers contended that the districts they represented lacked basic amenities and services which the serving council could have attended to in part or – in some cases – in totality.
The Maroodijeeh regional court found Aqil Hassan, Hussein Shabel, and Hassan Camp-Libah guilty of claiming offices they were not legally entitled to as imposters and disturbing the peace. The three were handed out 4-year, 3-year, and 2-year sentences, respectively. Abdiqani Madobe, a fourth was acquitted.
The rift, at the time it happened, took the city by surprise and some observers even claimed that the move was externally being driven and financed by the Assistant Prime Minister of the Somalia Federal Government in Mogadishu to start rifts which could bring down a hitherto peaceful Somaliland to its knees through similar red-line challenges across the spectrum.