Puzzling and tumultuous scene unfolds as soldiers in Puntland clamor for overdue pay, and ignite a raucous demonstration in Garowe
On the morning of Wednesday May 31, 2023, chaos erupted in Garowe, the administrative capital of Puntland, as soldiers from the regional state launched a mutiny over unpaid salaries and allowances. The protesting soldiers, mainly those tasked with guarding the presidential palace where Regional President Said Deni and other state officials reside, have blocked the crucial road leading to the presidency and ministries of Puntland, causing massive traffic disruptions. Military vehicles and a collection of stones have been cleverly placed to prevent movement on the roadway, making it impossible for ministry employees, the Puntland presidency, business centers, and various institutions to carry out their daily activities.
The protesting soldiers have voiced their grievances, highlighting the fact that they have not received their salaries or allowances for many months. This marks the second occasion in a few days that Puntland forces have expressed their dissatisfaction with unpaid wages, as soldiers stationed in the Golis mountains had similarly blocked the road to Bosaso.
Puntland has become known for army strikes occurring in the last year of the president’s term, often leading to delayed salary payments for both civilians and military personnel, as leaders focus on election-related issues. Despite this, residents of Somalia’s semi-autonomous state turned out to cast their votes in local elections last week, in what was the first one-person, one-vote election held in more than half a century in the conflict-ridden, fragile Horn of Africa nation, excluding the unrecognized breakaway region of Northern Somalia, which considers itself an independent republic.