Tension mounts as renegade army officer takes Somali town

The takeover came after HirShabelle leader Ali Gudlawe announced that he will pay a maiden visit to Beledweyne city.

Warar Keydmedia Online
Tension mounts as renegade army officer takes Somali town

MOGADISHU, Somalia – Troops led by a senior Somali military commander seized control of a strategic town in the central province of Hiran amid a political crisis in HirShabelle state.

Hundreds of heavily armed soldiers moved out of Somali National Army bases in Hiran moved into Beledweyne city last night, engaging in fierce fighting with rival pro-government troops.

Colonel Abdullahi Barre, who was recently fired as the chief of the 5th battalion for opposing HirShabelle leader Ali Gudlawe is leading a strong force named Hiiraan Salvation Army.

Hiiraan Salvation Army took the control of the regional headquarters, police, and key administrative offices in the city, where Djibouti peacekeepers under AU mission are based.

The takeover happened as Gudlawe was anticipated to visit Beledweyne but his plan was ruined by the rising tension that could turn into a bloody conflict between the rival forces.

-'The root cause'-

The region has been the flashpoint of conflict in recent months that resulted from a dispute over the power-sharing system of HirShabelle which Farmajo has changed in 2020 polls.

The regional state established in late 2016 has been beset by violence and political crisis for the past five years with continued leadership changes due to Villa Somalia's interference. 

As Somalia is in an electioneering period, the leaders of the regional states and PM Roble on Sunday reached a deal that outlines the process of the 275-seat Lower House chamber vote.

The opposition candidates have immediately boycotted the fresh election agreement, arguing the process goes against the constitution and the electoral pact signed on May 27 of this year. 

The rejection came after the regional leaders and PM Roble agreed to get rid of the registered 135 traditional elders who were the base for selecting the electoral delegates picking the MPs.

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