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Somalia allows AU troops to take charge of security ahead of elections

FILE PHOTO: A Ugandan solider under AU mission in Somalia

Mogadishu, Somalia | Xinhua | Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Roble said Tuesday he has authorized the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) to take over the security of the hangar (tent) where the election of Lower House leadership is to take place Wednesday.

Roble said the directive is due to security challenges on the impending elections of the speaker and two deputies of the Lower House.

“In light of the severity of the security challenges impeding the completion of the elections, I have authorized ATMIS peacekeepers to immediately take over the security of the air force hangar as we complete the election of parliamentary leadership and prepare for the presidential election next month,” he said in a statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

Key events are being held under tight security measures in a hangar belonging to the Somali Air Force at Mogadishu’s international airport.

Roble said the ATMIS leadership will closely coordinate with the prime minister’s office, ministries of security and defense as well as parliamentary leadership to ensure peaceful elections.

He said the list of lawmakers to access the hangar will be prepared by the interim Speaker of the Lower House, compiled by the prime minister’s office and sent to ATMIS leadership accordingly.

The election of the speaker of the Upper House or the Senate was held Tuesday and analysts say the election of the Lower House could give direction in regard to who among the candidates is likely to win the presidential elections in May.

The 54-member Senate and the 275 members of parliament from the Lower House are expected to jointly elect a new president in an indirect vote in Mogadishu but no date has been set so far.



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