Somalia: Curfew imposed in Mogadishu ahead of presidential poll


MOGADISHU, Somalia - Police have imposed a curfew in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, ahead of the much anticipated presidential election, which could provoke members of the opposition, who are keen to defeat the incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

The committee managing elections has scheduled May 15th [tomorrow] as the date for the election, which has attracted a record of 39 candidates, who will be facing one another in the polls. The candidates were cleared having paid $40,000.

Police say the curfew will kick off from 9 pm local time in Mogadishu and will last until 6 am on Monday. The curfew, police say, will improve security within the country, which has been polarized for the last three decades.

A video emerging from the police insists on suspension of all public and traffic movements in Mogadishu, from 9 pm Saturday until 6 am Monday. Security has been a thorny issue within the Horn of Africa nation, with Al-Shabaab militants even targeting highly protected areas like Halane Base Camp.

The African Union Transition Mission [ATMIS] was given a full mandate to take over security arrangements within the venue, a move which had initially been opposed by outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. The president wanted local security forces to take charge.

Al-Shabaab has been targeting senior government officials and opposition politicians in the country, insisting on disruption of the polls. At least four people were killed this week near the Aden Adde International Airport, very close to where elections will be held.

On the other hand, Farmajo has been accused of misusing security agents in the country for his own political capital, with members of the opposition insisting that security forces should remain neutral in the polarized political environment.

Farmajo is facing stiff opposition from former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud along with former PM Hassan Ali Khaire and Wadajir party leader Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame. The opposition has indicated the possibility of fielding one candidate in the second round.


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