Employees of Danish NGO expelled from Somaliland for allegedly blaspheming Islam

Authorities in Somaliland, a breakaway region of Somalia, have expelled two employees of the Danish NGO  Danish Demining Group (DDG) from their territory after accusing them of blaspheming Islam.

David Selby, an American citizen, and Nicola Naidu, a British citizen, where flown out of Egal International Airport in Hargesia after being detained by authorities who captured them following reports given to them by local Somali employees of the NGO.

Naidu was deported after she allegedly complained to her driver because he took a prayer break when he was supposed to pick her up from the airport. She also allegedly gave him a written reprimand. Prior to her deportation, she had been serving as DDG’s country director for Somalia. Selby was deported for allegedly making rude comments during the Muslim call to prayer. It was not made clear what precisely he had said. Prior to his deportation, he was the area manager for the breakaway Somaliland region.

Mohamed Ibrahim, Somaliland’s National Planning Minister, confirmed the deportations during a press conference. He said that “Anyone who blasphemes our religion will be deported from the country.”  He thanked DDG for its cooperation in the deportation, and said that the NGO had terminated the employment of the two individuals. He also thanked DDG for its long service in Somaliland and for its efforts to respect Islamic religious customs, such as by installing a mosque on its premises.