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Somalia: Puntland presidency orders aspirants’ billboards vandalized

By Staff reporter , GAROWE ONLINE

GAROWE, Puntland - The office of the incumbent president of Somalia's northeastern Puntland State, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas issued an order to deface campaign billboards in the capital, Garowe Online reports.

Garowe Online has learned that troops acting on the directive began the destruction at a bus stop in Garowe Tuesday night, ransacking billboards for a frontrunner presidential candidate, Farah Ali Shire mounted in the area.

The site is located in front of the state parliament compound.

Sources revealed to GO that the move to vandalize the candidates' campaign placards erected in the city is led by the commander of Puntland Presidential security guards, whose name has been identified only as Captain.

The reports further indicated that the president's office made contacts with the private companies printing the posters and noticed them that no election will be held in Puntland and thus stop services for the candidates.

This comes as the city is preparing to host the upcoming 4th summit of the leaders of the Federal Members States in the Cooperation of Inter-state council [CIC], who are at loggerheads with the central government in Mogadishu.

Shire's election campaign office has condemned the destruction of the billboards, and demanded from the state security agencies for an immediate and credible investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The security commission of Nugal region announced new security measures in Garowe and warned people against any action that may destabilize the city.

Since Puntland parliament approved legislation on the 2019 election in mid this year, President Ali who has not yet declared his candidacy is reported to be trying to postpone the polls for an attempt to extend his mandate illegally.

Under his stewardship, Puntland saw its worst downfall with corruption within government institutions reaching its peak in the past four years.

In addition, the overall security has dramatically deteriorated as the state was hit by deadliest terrorist attacks in history due to weak of counter-terrorism policy by the current administration.

A number of candidates have already shown interest in running for Puntland president, and the forthcoming election is expected to become one the most tightly contested since Puntland was established in 1998.