SCC-Khatumo elders, amidst perplexing circumstances and bursts of activity, assume the arduous task of mediating the tumultuous Puntland election dispute.

It is Friday, May 19, 2023, and confusion and unpredictability plague Garowe (AX), as the SCC-Khatumo traditional elders find themselves thrust into the center of a contentious election dispute. The disagreement pits Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni against various opposition factions, and tensions have escalated since two soldiers lost their lives during clashes between security forces and clan militias in the capital city.

Reports suggest that the conflict ensued due to security forces guarding election materials clashing with clan militias that oppose the upcoming local elections. However, despite the rising discord, direct local council elections are still scheduled to occur on May 25, 2023.

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Despite the heightened tensions, Garad Jama Garad Ismail, representing the SSC regions, remains steadfast in his intention to help mediate a resolution. He affirmed his commitment to the effort on Friday and stated, “Garowe has made notable progress in terms of security and peace. We held discussions with President Deni in Qardho City and reached agreements. While the president is supportive, further deliberations on the elections will be conducted.”

Garad Jama’s statement is a beacon of hope in a sea of confusion, but it comes in the wake of the Puntland administration issuing arrest warrants for four individuals, including former Finance Minister Hassan Shire Abgaal. The accused parties stand accused of having a role in the recent violent clash in Garowe that claimed two lives, and their actions have only served to heighten existing political tensions in the region.

In addition to Hassan Shire Abgaal, the other wanted individuals include Khadar Abdirahman Faroole, the Somali Presidential envoy overseeing economic affairs, and politicians Mohamud Shiddo and Mohamed Jama Farah (Laysar). If the situation continues to devolve, what lies ahead for Garowe remains to be seen.

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