Somali police announce curfew in capital ahead of Sunday’s presidential election

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed addresses delegates during Somali election negotiations in Mogadishu, Somalia May 27, 2021 REUTERS/Feisal Omar/File Photo

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MOGADISHU, May 14 (Reuters) – Somali police have announced a 33-hour curfew on the capital Mogadishu that will keep nearly all residents at home in a presidential election by lawmakers on Sunday, in which the incumbent leader Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed is looking for a second term.

Police spokesman Abdifatah Aden announced at a press conference on Saturday a full curfew in the city, covering both traffic and people, from 9 p.m. (1800 GMT) on Saturday until Monday. at 06:00.

Lawmakers, security personnel and all other officials involved in voting are still free to move during these hours.

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The indirect election, in which lawmakers will choose a president, will take place in an airport hangar behind blast walls to help fend off possible Islamist attacks or interference from factions within the security services. security. Read more

Mohamed faces 37 opponents in the vote, including two former presidents, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who analysts consider the frontrunners.

Originally there were 39, but between Thursday and Friday two candidates announced they were dropping out of the race.

The polls are due to start early on Sunday and take place late into the night amid an unstable security atmosphere in which police fear the Islamist group al Shabaab may seek to carry out attacks to disrupt the event.

The Al Shabaab insurgency has gripped Somalia for more than a decade, and a promise made by Mohamed during his inauguration in 2017 to “end” the group has not been kept.

Al Shabaab says it wants to overthrow the Horn of Africa country’s central government and establish its own regime based on its strict interpretation of Islam’s Sharia.

Somalia’s next leader will inherit an impressive list of challenges, including the worst drought in 40 years, violent conflict entering its fourth decade, clan feuds and a power struggle between the government and federal member states.

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Written by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Jan Harvey

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