Somalia's opposition calls for fresh protests in Mogadishu next Friday


MOGADISHU, Somalia - The union of Somalia's presidential candidates vowed to carry on with protests over the delayed elections, it has emerged, just a few days after soldiers cracked a whip on demonstrators on Friday, leading to the death of five besides dozens of injuries.

The andidates who have been calling for the resignation of outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, now say their supporters will be in the streets on Feb 26, as they pile pressure on Farmajo, who they accuse among others, of failure to implement the September 17 pre-election deal.

Last week's protests were quelled by government troops who have been accused of using excessive force, leading to an outcry from around the world. A number of international partners have asked both parties to restrain themselves from acts of violence.

At Jazeera Hotel on Monday, the Council of Presidential Candidates led by former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed told reporters that the government could not prevent people from protesting lawfully and said they would go on with the protests to force Farmaajo out of office.

Sharif, however, distanced the opposition from former military commander Yusuf Indha-Ade's remarks, who claimed last week that his people had taken control of the country until a new government is formed. He noted that the former SNA General's remarks do not reflect the opposition's views.

Last week, the federal government banned protests ostensibly because of rising COVID-19 cases in and around the capital, but the candidates believe the move was meant to curb planned demonstrations, aimed at pushing for timely elections in the country.

Former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, who led protestors in the march on Friday along with Wadajir party leader Abdirahman Abdishakur said that the attack was an attempt at political assassinations. The government has denied claims that it targeted the politicians through the army.

Abdishakur lashed out at the international community for 'watching and ignoring the brutal incidents of February 19 in Mogadishu.' Opposition candidates and international partners uniformly condemned the violence.

The opposition leaders lauded Puntland and Jubaland for refusing to attend the electoral talks with Farmaajo in Mogadishu. Villa Somalia disputed the opposition's description of the events and accused the opposition figures of inciting an armed insurrection against the federal government.

The comments come barely a day after the Council of Presidential Candidates wrote to the UN Security Council, asking them to intervene and force President Farmajo out of office. The Security Council is expected to meet and discuss Somalia's developments on Monday at 6 pm East Africa Time.


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