Rebel Forces Seize Northern Somalia Government Vehicle in Midst of Election Consensus
Monday September 11, 2023
On Saturday, rebel forces opposing the government of Northern Somalia seized a vehicle belonging to the Ministry of Water in the Dhoqoshay district of the Togdheer region. The rebels, based in the Ga’an Libah Mountains, released a video demanding the resignations of the President and the Minister of Internal Affairs of Northern Somalia, and vowed to continue their attacks.
In the recorded video, one of the rebels stated, “If Minister Kahin and Muse Bihi truly care about the people, they should step down in order to restore peace and loyalty. However, if they refuse, we will expand our attacks from Dhoqoshay to Oog areas, and even target the presidency.”
Two weeks ago, a committee of traditional leaders successfully mediated an agreement between the opposition and the government, resolving a longstanding electoral dispute. The root cause of the political conflict revolves around the order of the election of political organizations and the presidential election. Chief Bihi advocates for holding the election of political organizations before the presidential election, a position that has been met with resistance from the opposition.
A significant decision made by the committee was that both the elections for political organizations and the Presidential post would take place on the same day, specifically on November 13, 2024.
Moreover, the committee of traditional leaders issued a directive for the immediate disbandment of the anti-government rebels currently located in the Gacan-Libah Mountains. The rebel leaders have been instructed to compensate the families of 10 soldiers who were killed in attacks against government forces, and to surrender their weapons and vehicles to the government. Last week, the Northern Somalia government granted amnesty to the rebels.
However, despite the efforts of the traditional leaders who have been spending the past few days in the Gacan-Libah Mountains, persuading the rebels to lay down their arms, they have not yet succeeded in their mission.
It remains uncertain how the actions taken by the rebel forces may disrupt the agreement reached by the opposition and the government. The leaders of the rebel group claim that they took up arms in response to Chief Muse Bihi’s refusal to hold elections and his use of force against demonstrators who were demanding timely polls.