Somalia Political Tension Affects People's Life - UN

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Somalia on Thursday expressed concerns of recent clashes in Somalia's capital Mogadishu.

"Political tension in Somalia is likely to affect people's livelihoods," the OCHA said in a short statement on Twitter.

Humanitarian partners are concerned that armed clashes will aggravate the dire humanitarian situations in the country, the statement added.

The UN urged all political parties to ensure the safety of civilians.

The current political situation emerges after the Somali president's constitutional mandate expired on Feb. 8 and opposition presidential candidates called for anti-government protests defying the government's ban on public gatherings.

The opposition presidential candidates led by former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed demanded the president to resign although the government said there will not be a power vacuum.

Experts on current political climate

Abdimalik Abdullahi, a political analyst who spoke to Anadolu Agency over the phone, said the ideal situation is exercising maximum restraint and giving change to unconditional talks.

"Most importantly, Villa Somalia [the presidential palace] ought to show leadership and reach out to all dissents rather than employing provocative and exclusionary political mechanisms that will only usher in more confusion and division," Abdullahi said.

Opposition groups should also be solution-oriented and not engage in fruitless running battles with the government, he added.

Civil society and traditional elders in the Horn of African country have started mediating between the government and the opposition groups who called for fresh anti-government protests over delayed elections on Friday.

Recent clashes between the government forces and opposition security guards near the presidential palace last Friday killed at least four people including soldiers, according to security sources.

"Political crisis or election deadlocks in Somalia is not something new but what is new in this election cycle is the lack of rational thinking from some of the political leaders. In politics, it is difficult to have concord on every issue but the national interest must be pursued to have a common ground.

"It is about time for a strong statesmanship, Somalia can't bear another gridlock," Thabit Mohamed, former mayor of Mogadishu and the leader of the political party Awoodda Shacabka -- the People's Power Party -- told Anadolu Agency over the phone.

UN and government seek over $1B

Somali government and the UN earlier this month sought $1.09 billion to assist Somali people in need of humanitarian assistance this year.

The federal government of Somalia and the OCHA launched the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan, which aims to assist 4 million people out of the 5.9 million in need of assistance including IDPs (internally displaced persons), host communities, refugees, and returnees, to access life-saving assistance, basic services, and livelihood support.

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