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Somali Militants Warn Somaliland's People Not to Vote

An al-Qaida-inspired Somali militant group has warned people in the northern breakaway republic of Somaliland not to vote in Saturday's presidential elections.

The warning from al-Shabab was posted on the Internet in the form of a purported audio recording by its leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane.

The voice on the recording says those who take part in the election will, quote, "face the consequences."

Somaliland declared its independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, but is not recognized by the international community. The region has seen relative peace and stability, unlike the rest of Somalia.

The Somali government controls only small parts of the capital Mogadishu amid continuing fighting with Islamist militants.

The vote Saturday is a contest between Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin and two challengers - Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo of the Kulmiye Party and Faisal Ali Warabe of the UCID party.

Mr. Riyale's term ran out in April 2008 but officials have delayed the election three times, most recently last September.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.