This content is not available in your region

Police and protesters clash in Djibouti

Access to the comments Comments
By Everton Gayle  with REUTERS
Police and protesters clash in Djibouti

<p>An opposition group in Djibouti claims that 19 were killed after a clash between police and revellers celebrating a religious festival turned violent.</p> <p>Government officials dispute this figure and say that nine were wounded. </p> <p>Independent reports to verify the real figure were not yet available. </p> <p>The country has often been the scene of sporadic violence , usually sparked by protests against the government of President Ismail Omar Guelleh. </p> <p>Kadar Abdi Ibraim, a spokesman for the opposition coalition Union pour le Salut National said police had started the violence by attacking people at the festival, which had been banned. </p> <p>An interior ministry spokesman said “dozens of armed individuals” launched an attack in the Buldhoqo area in an attempt to “destabilise our nation and sow divisions”.<br /> He said nine people were wounded, including a police officer. </p> <p>In 2011, anti-government demonstrators, who were buoyed by the revolutions then sweeping North Africa, demanded Guelleh step down. </p> <p>The authorities cracked down hard on the opposition.</p> <p>The president has been in power since 1999 and a new presidential election is scheduled for April 2016.</p>