MOGADISHU, Somalia – Deadly violence has rocked in Baidoa town, some 250km south west of Somali capital Mogadishu, after Somali security forces backed by Ethiopian troops arrested Mukhtar Robow, a former senior official of the Islamist militia Al Shabaab who is running for presidential elections in the southwestern Somalia region.
Robow’s arrest sparked violence riots in Baidoa town, leaving at least ten people dead and 8 others injured, according to a witness, Ahmed Mohamed.
Mohamed says sporadic shots could be heard through the town.
Tension is very high and all shops are closed, he said.
Heavily armed Ethiopian soldiers and tanks have been seen moving into the town earlier on Friday.
Somalia’s Ministry of Security has announced the arrest of Robow through a statement.
Robow was accused of organizing a military offensive against the city of Baidoa, capital of that region where he was running to Presidential election of South West state region.
The arrest has caused an increase in tensions in the area and the cutting of communication lines, according to Radio Shabelle based in Mogadishu.
Ethiopia has military personnel deployed in the country within the framework of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which has not yet spoken about these incidents.
The southwestern Somalia region will be the first of seven semi-autonomous regions in the country to hold presidential elections in the coming months. On December 1, the electoral commission postponed them for the third time, without a date for now.
The commission gave ‘green light’ to Robow’s candidacy on November 2, shortly after he held a meeting with the president of this autonomous region, Sharif Hasan Sheikh Aden.
The decision was taken less than a month after the Somali Ministry of the Interior indicated in a statement that Robow will not be able to present his candidacy as he still faces sanctions and continues to carry international arrest warrants against him.