Somalia: Insurgent Organization Assaults Law Enforcement Convoy in Northern Somalia, Fatally Injures Military Personnel
Northern Somalia’s authorities have reported a deadly attack on a police convoy by a rebel group, resulting in the killing of at least nine soldiers. This incident has further fueled the ongoing conflict over delayed elections in the breakaway region. Stakeholders are now emphasizing the need for dialogue to address the underlying issues that have led to intense political differences.
The attack took place in the mountainous Ga’an Libaah region, where the armed militia ambushed the soldiers, leaving 17 others with severe injuries. The instability in the area stems from disagreements between the regional leader, Muse Bihi Abdi, and local politicians.
General Mohamed Aden Saqadhi Dabagale, the police commander of Northern Somalia, confirmed the ambush. Additionally, thousands of locals took to the streets of Hargeisa and Erigavo in protest, indicating the government’s struggle to maintain control.
Northern Somalia’s Interior Minister, Mohamed Kahin, accused the opposition leader, Abdirahman Irro, of mobilizing the armed group. However, Irro denied these claims, emphasizing that a peaceful resolution is preferable over violence and coercion. He called on President Muse Bihi Abdi’s government to withdraw the troops from Ga’an Libaah and pursue peaceful means. Irro also urged armed civilians to lay down their weapons, emphasizing the importance of peace and stability for Northern Somalia’s international recognition.
Observers believe that the emergence of the armed group is linked to the delayed presidential elections scheduled for November 2022. The opposition strongly criticized the two-year term extension granted to President Muse Bihi by the House of Elders, leading to calls for protests.
In a recent decree, President Muse Bihi Abdi announced that the presidential elections would now take place on November 13, 2024. The initial delay in Northern Somalia’s elections was due to the slow preparations of the electoral commission.
Alongside the electoral tensions, Northern Somalia is also engaged in efforts to regain control of Las Anod, a city near the border with Puntland. This region has experienced significant violence since early January, with clashes between Northern Somalia troops and SSC-Khatumo forces. While the international community urges a ceasefire, the fighting continues.