GOOBJOOG NEWS|MOGADISHU: All armed groups involved in the recent conflict in Mogadishu must vacate the city within 48 hours starting today, a joint meeting between Prime Minister Mohamed Roble and opposition leaders have resolved.
A communique from the meeting which brought together the PM and the 15 member Council of Presidential Candidates (CPC) set out a raft of measures to ensure the new electoral talks slated for May 20 take place in a conducive environment.
In what could be seen as a reprieve for opposition allied Somali National Army soldiers who vacated their fronts to back the opposition in Mogadishu, the two sides resolved that they will not be punished.
“That the rights of these forces, such as salaries, ranks and responsibilities, are not affected by the violence in Mogadishu and that no action can be taken against that incident,” the communique read in part.
There had been concerns that the soldiers, most of whom left their bases in the Middle Shabelle region will be punished for deserting the military.
The PM also warned the army against being involved in politics and not issue orders that could lead to unrest. It was however not clear if former Banadir regional police boss General Sadaq John who was fired last month will be reinstated. Sadaq John was sacked by outgoing President Mohamed Farmaajo after he ordered MPs to end business and head home until a new parliament is elected.
All military vehicles and weapons seized during the fight must be returned, the leaders noted.
The agreements are a major concessional step in confidence-building towards the May 20 talks which are expected to unlock the long-running electoral crisis in the country.
In an earlier meeting with representatives of the international community, Roble said he was ready to lead the country to elections following consultations with regional states.
“After discussion with the relevant Federal Member States, I have taken the decision to prepare the country for elections based on the 17th September agreement,” the PM said.
Roble said the finalisation of the September 2020 agreement was the only remaining roadblock to holding elections in Somalia.
“For the sake of Somalia’s long-term stability and prosperity, the only conceivable impediment to the holding the election remains the finalization of the 17th September agreement through the Baidoa technical agreement.”