One murdered in Somalia during protests over prophet drawings

Police fired in the air Monday to disperse stone-throwing protesters demonstrating over cartoon deemed offensive to Islam, triggering a stampede in which a teenager is killed in northern Somalia . Hundreds of protesters threw stones at police and aid workers after attending a peaceful rally in the northern port city of Bossaso , sparking the stampede in which a teenage boy was killed, said businessman Mohamed Ahmed, a witness. Protests over the cartoon broke out in three other Somali towns, as they have around the Muslim world. Some 300 members of the paramilitary police were later deployed in Bossaso, capital of semiautonomous Puntland. Officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

In Dhusamareb, capital of the central Galgudud Region, hundreds of protesters condemned the Western media, reserving their fiercest criticism for the Danish newspaper that originally published the caricatures.

"Apologies are not enough," said regional governor Yusuf Eyow. "There should be some measures taken against that particular newspaper."

The protests were organized by Islamic scholars in an anarchic country where fundamentalists are increasingly projecting themselves as an alternative to the warlords who have turned Somalia into a patchwork of fiefdoms.

Somalia has had no effective central government since opposition leaders ousted former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Protests have erupted around the world since the cartoons first appeared in the Danish newspaper the Jyllands-Posten.

A children's book writer complained to the Jyllands-Posten that he could not find an illustrator for his book about Muhammad. The paper put the problem to several cartoonists, and published their depictions of Muhammad in September. The Danish cartoonists not only showed Muhammad's face, but added such flourishes as a bomb-shaped turban.

The drawings were reprinted by several other papers in Europe or elsewhere either to illustrate stories about the controversy or to make a point about freedom of speech, reports the AP.


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