The African Horn nation of Somalia has large mineral and hydrocarbon reserves, including petroleum and uranium, but decades of brutal war and civil war have largely blocked multinational firms from extracting them until fairly recently, when the pro-US government began signing offshore gas exploration deals.
After the lower house of the Somali parliament voted earlier this month to settle an ongoing dispute over election rules and extend President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s term by two years, dissident groups have moved to oppose him, taking up positions around the capital city.
Mohamed, better known as simply “Farmaajo,” was due to address the nation on Tuesday after Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble sided with two federal states that disagreed with the term extension and some military units took up guard positions in parts of Mogadishu, not all of which are loyal to Roble.
One commander and potential election challenger to Farmaajo, Abdulkadkir Mohamed Warsame, told Agence France-Presse the president “is a dictator” who “wants to stay in power with force.”
“We need a government, not a dictatorship defying the norms of the land,” Warsame said. “We are against that, we will continue fighting until he leaves … We will not stop our fighting – we can stop only when we die.”
The news outlet reported that the soldiers were directing residents in certain communities of the capital to leave town ahead of likely fighting. After gunshots rang out the previous night and three security officers were killed, many families had already arrived at the same decision.