Opposition candidates blame Farmajo and SNA chief over Gedo conflict

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - The union of presidential candidates of Somalia has accused President Farmajo and the Somali National Army [SNA] chief Gen Odowaa Yusuf Rageh of engineering the crisis at Gedo, which has partly led to sharp differences between Jubaland and the federal government.

In a letter dated 26th January, the union which comprises 14 candidates took a swipe at the two leaders accusing them of the recent clashes between Jubaland security forces and the SNA which left at least 11 people dead and 20 seriously injured at Baled-Hawo town.

Earlier, Somalia had accused Kenya of "arming" militia in Baled-Hawo, adding that it's against the international laws and sovereignty of the country. But in a rejoinder, Kenya through Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i said the crisis at Gedo was "purely an internal crisis in Somalia".

But the opposition candidates say President Farmajo was to blame by "militarizing" local conflicts instead of using "dialogue" to solve them. They accused the SNA chief of aiding the current regime to "met" violence on innocent civilians.

They said the country should embrace dialogue and withdraw troops from Gedo for the sake of reconciliation and dialogue, adding that such a move will be in compliance with the agreement that was signed in September last year in Mogadishu.

Gedo region has been the battlefield for the SNA and Jubaland forces in a conflict that Kenya has also been dragged into. Jubaland authorities accuse the government of taking forcefully some administrative units contrary to the spirit of federalism.

Experts have warned that the conflict could give room for the resurgence of Al-Shabaab militants given that SNA, Jubaland security forces, and the Kenya Defense Forces are major stakeholders in the fight against Al-Shabaab. The Somalia-based militants still control huge sections of Jubaland.

GAROWE ONLINE

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