Rebel militants seize government vehicle in Northern Somalia during election talks
Monday September 11, 2023
In the Dhoqoshay district of the Togdheer region, rebel forces opposing the government of Northern Somalia have seized a vehicle belonging to the Ministry of Water. The rebels, who are based in the Ga’an Libah Mountains, released a video where they demanded the resignation of the President and the Minister of Internal Affairs of Northern Somalia. They have threatened to escalate their attacks if their demands are not met.
One of the rebels stated, “If Minister Kahin and Muse Bihi genuinely care about the people, they should step down for the sake of peace and patriotism. Otherwise, we will extend our attacks beyond Dhoqoshay to Oog areas, even targeting the presidency.”
Two weeks ago, a committee of respected elders successfully mediated a resolution to a long-standing electoral dispute between the opposition and the government. The core of the political disagreement revolves around the order in which political organizations and the presidential election should take place. Chief Bihi advocates for the election of political organizations to occur before the presidential election, a position that the opposition is hesitant to support.
An important decision made by the committee was to hold both the elections for political organizations and the Presidential post on the same day, specifically on November 13, 2024.
Additionally, the committee of elders has issued a directive for the immediate disbandment of the anti-government rebel forces currently located in the Gacan-Libah Mountains. The rebel leaders have been instructed to compensate the families of 10 soldiers who lost their lives in clashes with government forces, and to surrender their weapons and vehicles. Last week, the Northern Somalia government granted amnesty to the rebel fighters.
However, the elders have spent the past few days in the Gacan-Libah Mountains, striving to persuade the rebels to renounce violence. Unfortunately, their efforts have not yet yielded results.
The actions taken by the rebel group raise concerns about the disruption of the agreement reached between the opposition and the government. The leaders of the rebel group assert that they resorted to armed resistance due to Chief Muse Bihi’s refusal to hold elections and his use of force against demonstrators who were demanding timely polls.