Somalia’s opposition has called on the United Nations Security Council to intervene in the political crisis in the country and accused President Mohamed Abdulahi Mohamed, whose term expired on February 8, of attempting to assassinate several of them during Friday’s crackdown on protests in the capital, Mogadishu.
The Council of Presidential Candidates, which brings together 15 opponents, including several former presidents and former prime ministers, have called for a “rapid” intervention of the international body to achieve “a transfer of power” after the “resignation” of the president, popularly known as ‘Farmajo’.
Thus, they have requested that “power be handed over to a National Transitional Council composed of the presidents of the federated states and the presidents of the two chambers of Parliament”, as well as “the cessation of all interference in the electoral process”, as reported by the Somali news portal Goobjoog News.
The opponents have also demanded an investigation into the “atrocities committed in the name of former president ‘Farmajo'”, including the alleged attempted assassination of former presidents Hassan Shaykh Mohamud and Sharif Shaykh Ahmed and other opponents during the clashes in Mogadishu. In this regard, they have also demanded “help in bringing those responsible to justice”.
The Somali authorities have so far refused to assume any responsibility for the incidents, which are said to have resulted in about a dozen deaths, and have blamed the incidents on militiamen aligned with the opposition formations.
In this regard, the Somali federal government accused over the weekend “foreign actors” of poisoning the political crisis and the protests resulting from it and accused the Presidential Candidates Council of “misleading public opinion”.
He also said that the opponents were seeking to “gain the sympathy of outsiders”, in reference to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which hours earlier had expressed its “grave concern over the violence” in a statement in which it described the current authorities as “acting government”.
For its part, the Presidential Palace published on Sunday photographs of a meeting with leaders from various regions, although the presidents of Puntland and Jubaland, two of the most critical of the stalled electoral process and the ensuing crisis, were absent.
In view of this situation, the United Nations and the African Union (AU) demanded on February 17 the resumption of the dialogue, after the postponement of a meeting to try to agree on the organization of elections, after which ‘Farmajo’ called a meeting which was to take place between Thursday and Friday, but which, however, did not take place.
The opposition candidates for the Somali presidency announced on February 8 that they would no longer recognize the current president due to the end of his term of office, at the same time as they opted for the creation of a body in charge of preparing the next elections. The President of Parliament, Mohamed Mursal, has ruled out an extension of Farmajo’s mandate.
The controversy erupted because of the opposition’s rejection of the work of the body set up to organize the elections due to its composition, understanding that it is made up of political appointees, intelligence agents and “friends” of the president, a reason which led them to announce their intention to create a parallel “national electoral salvation commission”.