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Somali government seeks opposition leader’s help in demilitarising Mogadishu

Wednesday May 5, 2021

MOGADISHU (HOL) - The Somali government has sought the intervention of opposition leader and former president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed to remove security forces and armed militias from the capital Mogadishu following the easing of tensions.

President Mohamed Farmaajo dispatched Mogadishu mayor Omar Filish Tuesday to engage with Sheikh Sharif who is the Council of Presidential Candidates (CPC) chairman in a bid to seek his help in demilitarising the city.

There was no public statement from the meeting but sources said the city boss appealed to Sharif to support the demilitarisation of the city.

Hundreds of Somali National Army soldiers allied to the opposition vacated their camps in Middle Shabelle late last month and moved to Mogadishu to reinforce opposition militias who had already massed up following heightened disputes between the opposition and the government.

Former Banaadir regional governor General Sadaq John and former national intelligence boss General Abdirahman Turyare led another group of militias in Hodan and Kaaran districts respectively amid fears the city was headed for a deadly fight.

The UN estimates that over 60,000 people were displaced from the city during the two weeks long tensions.

EU ambassador to Somalia Nicholas Berlanga called for the removal of the forces from the city as the first step towards the resumption of electoral talks.

“Demilitarise Mogadishu is the priority now. Those that want to play a positive role towards elections should support PM Roble in his key tasks. Division of Mogadishu with militias or out-of-line-of-command security forces is not helping Somali people,” the EU ambassador said in a tweet.

Prime Minister Mohamed Roble announced this week talks between the Federal Government and Federal Member States will resume on May 20.


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