Witnesses report movements of armed men a day after clashes with government troops following the president’s attempt to extend his term.
Somali opposition fighters took up positions in parts of the capital Mogadishu one day clashes with government troops erupted following the president’s attempt to extend his term.
Witnesses reported that armed men and vehicles equipped with machine guns were stationed in opposition strongholds on Monday, while the capital’s main roads were blocked.
“Somali security forces and pro-opposition fighters have taken up positions along some key routes, there is movement of civilian transport but in some areas they do not allow anyone to move,” Witness Abdullahi said. Mire to the AFP press agency.
Somalia, which is recovering from decades of civil war, is facing its worst political crisis in years after failing to hold elections scheduled for February.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known by his nickname Farmaajo, has faced harsh criticism at home and from foreign allies after signing a law earlier this month extending his term by two years.
On Sunday evening, sporadic gunfire rang out across the capital after fighting erupted between government forces and those allied with various opposition leaders.
The clashes – mainly in the northern neighborhoods of Sanca and Marinaya and at the busy KM4 junction in the center – began after dozens of opposition supporters marched to protest Farmaajo’s extension of tenure.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
In a report from Nairobi, Catherine Soi of Al Jazeera said that although opposition forces retained their positions in the capital, there was no active engagement on Monday morning.
“It seems there is a lot of shuttle diplomacy because no one wants an outright war,” Soi said. “Diplomats are trying to bring opposing parties to the negotiating table, saying they must defuse tensions. Everyone calls for calm.
Somalia, which plunged into war and chaos in 1991, is struggling to restore central government authority and rebuild the nation, with international help. The absence of the February elections sparked a new crisis.
Tension remained high on Monday, with some people trying to leave their homes in affected neighborhoods.
“People are starting to flee the Bermuda area where pro-opposition fighters took up positions last night, the situation is tense and there can be an armed confrontation at any time if the situation remains the same,” Fadumo Ali, a resident from one of the countries. tense neighborhoods told AFP.
“Some families already left last night when the fighting broke out… we don’t know how things will be in the next few hours but now it’s calm and there is no fighting,” another resident said. , Feysal Hassan.
As schools and universities were closed, life in some of the unaffected neighborhoods went on as usual.
The crisis in Somalia has sparked growing consternation among the country’s foreign donors, who have called on Farmaajo to resume dialogue with the leaders of the country’s five federal states over the holding of elections.
“Very concerned about the current events in Mogadishu,” European Union envoy Nicolas Berlanga tweeted on Sunday.
“The general interest requires the greatest restraint, the preservation of institutions which belong to all and dialogue. Violence is unacceptable. Those responsible will be held accountable. “
Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble said at a press conference Monday that he was “disappointed by the violence aimed at destabilizing peace and stability in Mogadishu during the holy month of Ramadan”.
He urged the security forces to “respect their national commitment and protect the stability of the people of Mogadishu”.