More than 500 killed in al-Shabaab attacks during period of constitutional changes

As Somalia deals with security issues, political turmoil has arisen from attempts to amend the provisional constitution put in place in 2012. The recent amendments, approved by Parliament on March 30, aim to increase presidential authority, eliminate the prime minister role in favor of a vice president, and switch from a clan-based voting system to universal suffrage. These changes also suggest extending the terms of the president and Parliament, transferring some legislative powers to the presidency.

The proposed constitutional amendments have sparked opposition, notably from the Puntland government, which briefly declared independence from Somalia on March 31 in protest. Puntland stated it would acknowledge the federal government and the constitution if approved by a national vote.

The situation escalated when Puntland engaged in trade discussions with Ethiopia on April 3 without consulting the Somali government, resulting in diplomatic tensions and the expulsion of the Ethiopian ambassador from Mogadishu. Exploiting the political chaos, al-Shabaab has increased attacks in the Hirshabelle area, despite a U.S.-backed airstrike on April 2 targeting a key al-Shabaab meeting in Lower Shabelle, resulting in numerous militant casualties.

However, government-led efforts to combat the insurgency have been inconsistent due to internal divisions, allowing al-Shabaab to regain control in certain regions. Efforts to address the unrest and controversial amendments have been attempted by the federal government, but a planned meeting with all political groups on April 16 was boycotted by the Puntland administration. Instead, Puntland organized its own meeting to discuss federalism, leading to the postponement of the planned NCC meeting by the federal government.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More