MOGADISHU, Somalia – Somali political leaders, clan representatives and civil society groups from Hiiraan region have condemned the recent deployment of troops to city of Baladweyne, some 335km north of the capital Mogadishu.
In a letter to Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Roble and copied to the international community, the leaders from the Hawadle clan warned that the presence of troops in Beletweyne town could lead to violent confrontations.
In the letter, the leaders also noted that Somali national army [SNA] leadership would solely take responsibility for the consequences of any confrontation in the town.
“We believe such move will only lead to displacement of people and further insecurity in the region, at a time when more than two million of Somalis are on the brink of starvation”, the letter reads.
They also described the deployment of Turkish-trained Haram’ad and Gorgor units as a violation against the recent political agreement signed by Somali PM Roble and other regional state leaders in Mogadishu that instructed the country’s army commanders to remain neutral from politics and elections.
Meanwhile, the civil society groups expressed their deep concern about the troop deployment and called for constructive dialogue and reconciliation towards Baladweyne town.
Last month, Somali cabinet ordered the removal of all troops deployed to Beledweyne town immediately and to return to their camps in Mogadishu. They also condemned the use of SNA forces for political affairs.
The move by the cabinet comes as Somali Prime Minister’s office, defense and security ministries are reported to have been unaware of the troop deployment to Beledweyne, where an election for 25 Lower House seats is expected to be held this month.
The troops are believed have been sent to the town last month to facilitate election rigging for President Mohamed Farmaajo, whose term ended in Feb 2021.
Farmajo’s right-hand man, Fahad Yasin who is currently serving as his national security advisor is planning to go to Beledweyne to run for a seat in the parliament this month.
Somalia is one year behind its election schedule due to recurring disputes, which discouraged the public and the international partners who provide financial support for the state-building.
Farmajo has stayed one more year in office illegally after his four-year term ended in Feb 2021. He made coup attempts twice last year that deepened the crisis in the Horn of Africa nation.
Read the statement bellow