Tuesday May 23, 2023
Garowe (HOL) - Traditional elders in the Nugaal region have successfully brokered a resolution to the contentious local council election in the Puntland regional state. The dispute, which has previously sparked violence and turmoil in Garowe, saw its most severe escalation last week with the death of two soldiers during a clash near the city's airport.In a parallel development, the Puntland Prosecutor's Office has retracted arrest warrants previously issued for four politicians, including former Finance Minister Hassan Shire Abgaal. They were implicated in last week's violent clash, which further fueled the region's political discord.
In a conciliatory move, following a meeting at the home of local elder Islam Issa Islam Mohamed, the elders urged opposition factions to withdraw their militia from Garowe. They underscored the need for peaceful conduct during the local council election and proposed a subsequent general assembly to discuss the 2024 presidential race.
Further strife unfolded on Monday when Hayle Arabay Hireey, the former Deputy Commander of the Puntland Security Forces at Garowe Airport, was brutally murdered in Garowe, Puntland's administrative capital. While the motivations behind the murder remain nebulous, speculations circulate about possible pro-opposition militia involvement.
Despite these tensions, all parties involved in the election-related conflict have consented to the traditional elders' decision. Preparations for the election are moving forward, with ballot boxes set for distribution across the Nugaal region on Tuesday.
On May 25th, a landmark event in Somalia's political history is set to occur: local government elections will be held across 37 districts in Puntland, representing the first such event since the collapse of the central government in 1991. Seven political organizations have fielded candidates, signalling a competitive race.
On the international stage, Puntland's upcoming local council elections have been met with considerable acclaim. A joint statement released on Monday by international partners applauded the efforts of the Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission (TPEC) in surmounting numerous obstacles to facilitate this historic election—a defining moment in Puntland's journey towards democratic governance.