KISMAYO, Somalia – Friday, Jubaland president Ahmed Madobe ordered the closure of all state mosques, a move he said was “necessary” amid escalating cases of coronavirus pandemics, which threaten million residents.
During his meeting with the imams on Friday, the head of Jubaland said that the decision was not intended to restrict rather the “freedom of worship”, “to save hundreds of the dangerous disease” which could be the next major “nightmare” “for Somalia.
All residents, said Madobe, should strictly adhere to guidelines issued by the ministry of health, both regionally and nationally, adding that “it requires honest cooperation” from the people.
“It is a global pandemic and no one is safe. As a government, we are determined to ensure that all residents are properly prepared to deal with it,” he said. “We must cooperate with the authorities if we are ready to defeat him.”
The closing of the mosques in the middle of the holy month of Ramadhan means that many pilgrims will not be able to meet at the sites required for prayers, especially Friday and evening.
This is the major decision to be taken by the administration of Jubaland since Somalia announced the first case of COVID-19 in April, and could pave the way for the imposition of strict measures in order to fight the pandemic. .
“We must be used to such unprecedented actions because it is important for the region. We must not risk people’s lives, especially when we have the opportunity to protect them,” he added.
The closure also comes after the semi-autonomous state announced 52 positive cases, the highest after Banadir , Puntland , and the secessionist Somaliland, who had recorded at least 68 treatments and six deaths from coronavirus.
Nationally, Somalia has recorded 1,377 cases of COVID-19, the highest in the Horn of Africa region after Djibouti, which recorded a total of 1,309 cases on Friday. The region of Banadir where the capital, Mogadishu is located, is the most affected.
The country’s health ministry has confirmed 55 deaths from the deadly virus since April 2020.
To curb the spread, the federal government has suspended domestic and international flights, learning activities and mass gatherings across the country. In addition, movement inside Mogadishu has been restricted.
But earlier this week, Jubaland vice president Mohamud Sayid Aden said the federal government had prevented a plane carrying medical supplies to Kismayo from leaving Aden Adde International Airport, but the government didn’t has not yet responded to the allegations.
In addition, the supply of medical supplies across Somalia remains risky following the recent breakdown of a Kenyan aircraft in the southwest state. Since then, Ethiopian troops have claimed that they confused him with “an imminent attack by Al-Shabaab” in Bardale.
Elsewhere just across the border, Kenya has ordered a halt to travel along the Somali border, which is expected to last for the next 30 days. The state of Jubaland borders Kenya to the west and acts as a buffer zone in the fight against Al-Shabaab.
In a live broadcast on Saturday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said: “We will only allow the transport of goods across the Somali border. These drivers in transit will be subject to mandatory tests before crossing.”
It is the first international measure, applied in conjunction with the restriction of movement across the Tanzanian border, with Kenya recording 791 cases of COVID-19. Of these cases, 284 have since recovered and 45 have since died, seven fewer than those in Somalia.
Last week, leaders of Wajir and Mandera, who registered the highest cases after those of Nairobi and Mombasa, called for the border between Kenya and Somalia to be closed, after it emerged that people were crossing to pray in the evening because of the twilight. dawn curfew that has been going on for a month.
Governor Ali Roba de Mandera also banned cross-border movements after the region recorded more than 10 cases. The government has since established a laboratory in Wajir which is now used as a test center in north-eastern Kenya.