Northern Somalia Extends Pardon to Rebel Fighters, Resolving Electoral Crisis
Wednesday September 6, 2023
The government of Northern Somalia has announced a pardon for the anti-government fighters in the Ga’an Libah Mountains, thereby bringing an end to the prolonged electoral dispute.
A statement released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed the government’s decision, stating, “The Ministry of Internal Affairs has issued a statement confirming the pardon granted to the young men who had taken up arms in the Ga’an Libah Mountain. This matter has now been resolved.”
Last week, a committee of traditional elders successfully mediated an agreement between the government and opposition groups, effectively solving the long-standing electoral dispute.
The primary issue causing political discord between the government and the opposition was the sequencing of the political organization election and the presidential election. Chief Bihi advocated for the political organization election to precede the presidential election, a position met with resistance from the opposition.
Crucially, the committee determined that both the political organization elections and the presidential election will be held concurrently on November 13, 2024.
As part of the agreement, the opposition accepted the immediate disbandment of the anti-government rebels, while the government pledged to grant them pardons.
The rebel group has been instructed to compensate the families of 10 soldiers who lost their lives during attacks on government forces. Additionally, they are required to surrender their weapons and vehicles to the government. The rebel leaders stated that their decision to take up arms was in response to Chief Muse Bihi’s refusal to hold the election and his use of force against demonstrators calling for timely polls.