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Somali government, opposition agree to withdraw forces from Mogadishu


Wednesday May 5, 2021

MOGADISHU (HOL) -  Somali PM and the opposition struck a deal on Wednesday that would see all warring forces vacate their positions in Mogadishu within 48 hours.

The two parties agreed to a general amnesty, with no dismissals or punishments to be doled out.

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The meeting came after the PM's engagement with foreign envoys in the country resolved that a technical committee will oversee the withdrawal of the forces, some of which came from the Middle Shabelle region.

The leaders agreed that neither side should be punished for partaking in the fighting.

"The rights of these forces, such as salaries, ranks and responsibilities, will not be affected by the violence in Mogadishu, and that no action can be taken against that incident," a statement from the meeting read in part.

The two sides also resolved that a committee of military experts be appointed to advise the Prime Minister on reforms within the military. Banadir regional governor Omar Filish met Tuesday with opposition leader and former president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed to convey the Federal Government's request for help in withdrawing the forces.

The PM hailed the announcement as a crucial step towards peace and security.

"I commend all the efforts to demilitarize Mogadishu and see an amicable end to the conflict.  This is a good step towards peace and stability. We must all work towards achieving this goal. This would bring us closer to our major goal of conducting peaceful, free & fair elections."

Hundreds of soldiers under the Somali National Army left their stations in Middle Shabelle late last month to support the opposition-allied militias. At the same time, the Federal Government sent in more forces from the Hiiraan region to Mogadishu as the city edged closer to full-scale violence.

Former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud hailed the PM's engagement with the opposition and the resolution on the fate of the deserting soldiers.

"I commend the efforts of the PM in his pursuit to sue for peace and bridge the divide, in particular how he handled the soldiers who opposed the illegal term extension to the mandates of the President and Parliament. In light of these efforts, I also welcome the talks scheduled on the 20th of May," the former leader said in a tweet.



 





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