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Somalia opposition says protests on despite government ban on gatherings

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The Council of Presidential Candidates is gearing up for planned protests against President Farmajo on Friday despite an order from the Somali government banning all public gatherings in a bid to quell rising coronavirus cases in the country.

The council, which is led by former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, announced that they would no longer recognize President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo as Somalia’s head of state after his mandate.

“Starting from 8th February 2021, the council of opposition candidates does not recognize Farmaajo as president,” they said in a statement. “The council will not accept any form of mandate extension through pressure.”

The coalition of presidential hopefuls arrived in Nasahablood 2 Hotel, the de facto base of operations for the council, in Mogadishu to begin preparations for the demonstration. The committee called on security forces not to interfere in the demonstrations, saying that civilians’ right to protest. They added that the demonstrations would go on as planned in the face of Somalia’s latest restrictions on public gatherings.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Somalia’s Information Minister Osman Abukar Dubbe; and Somalia’s Health Minister, Fowzia Abikar, announced that public gatherings would be banned. Students were sent home for the foreseeable future as schools and universities shuttered their doors. An exception was made for madrassas and mosques, which will remain open but still must adhere to social distancing rules.

“We have recorded several deaths of patients exhibiting coronavirus symptoms in recent days. We are hearing people who had the virus symptoms died and buried before they were registered,” said Abikar.

The demonstrations are expected to take place Friday morning between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm at the Daljirka Dahsoon monument or the unknown soldier’s tomb in Mogadishu. The U.S State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council has advised its citizens to avoid the area and have evacuation plans that do not rely on American government assistance.

“Somalia’s opposition presidential candidates have called for protests against President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmaajo” and delays to the country’s electoral process.  Given the risk of violent crime and civil unrest, U.S. citizens should avoid these demonstrations and any demonstration-related activities. ”

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Politics

Puntland forces block delegation waiting to receive Planning Minister Jamal Hassan in Garowe

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Puntland security forces reportedly under instructions from State President Abdullahi Deni barred a delegation which was to received Federal Planning Minister Jamal Hassan at Garowe Airport Thursday morning.

The minister who was on his way to his constituency in Dhahar, Sanaag region arrived at the airport but without a receiving delegation after his team on the ground was blocked from accessing the airport, sources at the airport said.

After he left the airport, sources said, a confrontation arose between his security team from Dhahar and Puntland forces. The team from Dhahar had come to pick him.

The government forces had reportedly attempted to bar him from leaving for Dhahar but he finally managed to leave.

Jamal, a close ally of President Mohamed Farmaajo does not see eye to eye with Deni whom sources said has attempted to derail his re-election.

Jamal will be seeking to be re-elected by his sub-clan in Dhahar in the upcoming Lower House elections.

Source: Hiiraan and Agencies

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Farmajo names committee of inquiry to investigate disappearance of former spy Ikran Tahlil

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Somali president Mohamed Farmajo has appointing a five-member committee to investigate the disappearance of former spy agent Ikran Tahlil.

“I hereby appoint a five-Member Commission of inquiry Chaired by the Attorney-General and deputized by Head of Military Court to expedite investigations on the case of IKRAN TAHLIL and to hand over the findings and evidence to responsible legal institutions for the execution of Justice.”

In the presidential decree, Farmajo appointed the Attorney-General to lead the fact-finding mission. The Armed Forces Court Attorney General is also a member of the committee. The three committee members will be nominated later by the Somali Police Force Commander, the Commander of the Somali National Army and Col. Yasin Abdulahi Mohamud, his new appointee Director-General of the National Intelligence and Security Agency.

The statement added that Ikran’s case was a “sensitive one that needs a thorough investigation.”

Farmajo instructed the commission to submit its investigative reports to the relevant authorities, although there will undoubtedly be demands to make the findings of any report public. There will also likely be apprehension to Somalia’s intelligence agency being a part of the investigation. Many lawmakers have called on an independent inquiry into Ikran’s murder.

Farmajo declared that the decree came into effect immediately after he signed it.

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Qorqor and Laftagareen try to bring Farmajo and Roble together

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The presidents of Galmudug, Ahmed Abdi Karie Qoor Qoor his South West State counterpart and Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed Laftagareen have taken the role of mediators to find a solution the wrangle between President Mohamed Farmajo and his Prime Minister Mohamed Roble.

The two  met with Farmajo and Roble separately, and urged both parties to refrain from further action that would escalate the tense situation.

Reports indicate that the president and the prime minister have accepted the mediation, although each has developed conditions attached to the talks.

Prime Minister Roble insisted that Commander Bashir Goobe was the commander of NISA, and President Farmajo emphasized that the steps taken by the Prime Minister were invalid.

The meeting is expected to continue on Friday. The two presidents are hopeful that the two top officials will finally be reconciled so that their differences do not affect the election process.

The intervention comes amidst heightened political tensions between Farmajo and Roble which could threaten the fragile security of the Horn of Africa nation.

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