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Jubbaland monitoring security situation in Mogadishu ahead of planned conference

Saturday February 20, 2021

FILE - Jubbaland Vice President Mohamud Sayid Adan

Mogadishu (HOL) - Jubbaland's regional government said that it is currently monitoring the tense security situation in Mogadishu ahead of a conference convened by Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

Jubbaland Vice President Mohamud Sayid Adan told the BBC Somali Service on Saturday that their administration is ready to participate in the conference in Somalia's capital but must assess the security situation after security forces from the federal government and opposition candidates clashed during anti-government protests.

"We are not ready to attend the conference as of right now because of what happened in the city. We will re-evaluate it, but we will attend," said Mohamud Sayid Adan.

"It has always been our underlying belief that Somali's should own this political process and that we should talk to one another. We believe that these elections should be held peacefully. Our last proposal was to hold it in Mogadishu where all political stakeholders are present, and we are standing by that."

Adan added that Jubbaland condemned the use of security forces to suppress public demonstrations.

"The Jubbaland government considers it unfortunate that the outgoing federal government that has been unable to work out a peaceful political solution with its rivals and has taken the wrong steps by using the country's military illegally, as it has done in Gedo region."

The latest electoral negotiations convened by President Farmajo in Dhusamareb collapsed two weeks ago because Jubaland and Somalia's federal government could not agree on the contentious Gedo region, which has been the crux of the electoral crisis. Jubaland has demanded that federal soldiers evacuate from the Gedo region in Jubaland before credible polls can occur. Those talks' failure, just two days before Farmajo's mandate officially expired, sped up the political crisis Somalia now faces.

The Council of Presidential Candidates has called on Somalia's Federal Member States leaders not to participate in the conference. The group added that Friday's events would not deter them from organizing further protests against the federal government. The council announced that it does not recognize President Farmajo as the legal head of state since his mandate as leader expired on February 8th.

"It is clear to us that former President Farmajo does not want peace and stability in the country and is not intending to holding free and fair elections. His political amusement and false ambitions have shown that he can stay in power and stay in the country illegally," the statement reads in part.

So far, only Ali Guudlaawe, the President of Hirshabelle, and Abdiaziz Laftagareen, the President of South West State, have reached Mogadishu to attend the regional meeting leaders and the federal government.

President Farmajo called for a two-day Leadership Consultative Summit from February 18-19, but that timetable was partly pushed back due to Friday's anti-government protests. The decision to hold the conference in Mogadishu - as opposed to Garowe, as Villa Somalia previously suggested - came after 14-member technical committee appointed by both the federal and regional governments met in Baidoa this week to discuss critical issues that have hampered the latest attempts at breaking the electoral crisis.


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