A last-minute agreement to pay 100 camels as compensation has spared a murderer’s life in Somaliland.

The unnamed man was among five convicts set to be executed in the Madheera area, north-east of Hargesia, the capital of the self-declared republic on Tuesday.

Minutes before the firing squad was given their orders, elders from the families of both the murderer and the victim arrived at the execution site and untied him from a pole.

The other four, who had been found guilty over separate murder charges, were shot dead.

Last-minute interventions at execution sites are not uncommon in Somaliland.

In the traditional justice system, the compensation for a man’s murder is 100 camels, but money is often used instead because of a decline in the number of the prized animals in recent years.

This parallel system operates alongside a formal court process which complements or sometimes replaces it entirely.

It has however been criticised because it means people from rich families can buy their freedom while the poor can’t.

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