Somalia’s opposition warns of political concerns after the military surrounds the ex-leader’s house
MOGADISHU, Somalia – Somalia’s opposition forum for national parties [FNP] accused President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo’s administration of antagonism, stating that troops were deployed to monitor the movements of the leaders.
In a thinly veiled attack Tuesday, the coalition said troops from the Somali National Army [SNA] had been seen in a house occupied by former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who is also the leader of the suit.
The troops, the FNP said in a statement, surrounded the house, adding that “the maneuver was intended to target Ahmed” with the sole purpose of introducing “phobia” and possibly undermining opposition campaigns.
At the FNP headquarters in Mogadishu, the government troops also surrounded the premises, although no one was arrested or ordered to record a statement with the authorities.
The FNP, which is a conglomerate of six opposition parties, claimed that “concerted degradation” against its members was a manifestation of “paranoia” as President Farmajo’s administration showed.
Incidentally, the charges come just two weeks after the government ordered the withdrawal of troops from “private” missions, another directive aimed at abolishing the security linked to Ahmed and his successor, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
General Yusuf Rageh Odawaa, the commander-in-chief, ordered service commanders to recall all SNA troops to their barracks, from his involvement outside “normal” duties. It is not clear if the two leaders lost their guards.
SNA soldiers guard the former presidents by virtue of their past status. But in recent weeks the two have taken the lead against the government against the government and then invited the government’s anger.
For example, the two leaders were temporarily blocked from making internal flights to different states, although Farmajo would “apologize” for the “unintentional” protocol problem during their reconciliation meeting at Villa Somalia last December.
But in a quick recall, the FGS dismissed the reports as “baseless” by the Interior Ministry, adding that the government has no intention of “harming” the former leader, whose security “means a lot” to the people of Somalia.
The rumors added to the ministry in a statement were “unrealistic” as troops being pulled from the SNA are responsible for the security of Villa Somalia and the former leaders.
“The ministry wants to make it clear that soldiers from the presidential guards are the ones responsible for the safety of the incumbent president and for all the former presidents who make the rumors spread unrealistic,” it added.
At a forum in Turkey at the beginning of this month, the FNP leadership agreed to merge all their respective parties and form a front that would put a presidential candidate in the December general elections.
The move would allow the individual party to gain a majority in parliament and then pave the way to form the next government, whose mandate is crucial to changing the war-torn nation, the FNP said.
Somalia’s international partners have called for dialogue to resolve the current curse, which they insist could “erode” the gains in the fight against Al-Shabaab militants.
For months, the FNP has condemned the FGS for “absolute failure” in guaranteeing the security of its citizens, citing Al-Shabaab as the immediate “existential threat” that the government has failed to eliminate.
Sharif Sheikh Ahmed is credited for constructing Al-Shabaab’s defeat in the capital in 2011 after working closely with AMISOM soldiers. Farmajo, who is facing an upheaval debacle, is also at the forefront of regional leaders, accusing him of “abusing” SNA troops.