Opposition-aligned Forces Withdraw from Somalia’s Capital

Somalia

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Opposition-aligned troops have withdrawn from Mogadishu on Friday, just a few days after an agreement was signed to demilitarize Somalia’s capital where clashes over outgoing president’s term extension racked and forced tens of thousands of residents to flee their neighborhoods.

Dozens of military vehicles mounting anti-aircraft guns were seen heading north after troops emptied neighborhoods they had captured during recent confrontations against supporters of the embattled president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed – better known as Farmajo.

Military officials speaking to the soldiers in the northern outskirts of the capital urged them to return to their bases to continue fight against Al-Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabaab, which controls vast swathes of territory in south and central Somalia.

Somali prime minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and opposition leaders agreed on Wednesday to pull back troops from the streets and neighborhoods of the capital in the first step taken to deescalate tensions sparked by an extension of outgoing president’s term. The agreement required that soldiers complaints over salaries and ranks be immediately addressed.

Parliamentarian Mahad Salad, who is one of the officials who spoke to the army mutineers said they had implemented the deal reached with the prime minister and stressed that there are individuals within the government trying to undermine efforts to restore hope in the strife-torn Somali capital, though he did not mention their names.

Mr Salad urged the prime minister to be wary of the plots designed to jeopardize the agreement aimed at defusing tensions and building trust among rival army factions, who had fought in the capital over delayed polls.

Road blocks and defense lines set up by the opposition-aligned forces have been removed on Thursday and the prime minister observed the work in one of the positions earlier held by the mutineers.

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