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Somali PM slams armed clashes in Mogadishu

Saturday February 20, 2021

Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble on Friday condemned anti-government clashes in Mogadishu that disrupted business activities in the city.

Roble warned that his administration will not tolerate armed protests a few hours after fierce clashes between government security forces and those loyal to opposition presidential candidates in central Mogadishu.

"I am not a candidate in the upcoming polls, but it is my duty to ensure timely, free and fair elections take place," Roble said in a statement issued in Mogadishu while terming the incident as unfortunate and criticized attempts to disrupt the development and economic progress made by his government in the country by the opposition.

"I am very sorry for what happened last (Thursday) night and this morning in Mogadishu. We tried our best to avoid it," he added.

His statement came after gunfire and mortar fire which rocked Mogadishu on Friday amid a lockdown imposed by the government as opposition presidential candidates staged a rally to force President Mohamed Farmajo to call for elections.

Farmajo, whose term ended on Feb. 8 and is seeking another four-year term has been unable to reach an agreement with five federal member states on the electoral process.

Roble said his government was committed to holding free, fair and credible elections in the near future and urged the opposition to stop further demonstrations in Mogadishu.

The prime minister said peaceful demonstrations are a constitutional right, but armed demonstrations are not and called on Somalis to embrace peace and dialogue to iron out their differences.

The current tenure of Parliament has lapsed. Parliamentary and presidential elections were to be held between December 2020 and February 2021.


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