Somalia’s Army Chief Warns Troops to Stay Out of Politics

Somali army chief

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia’s army chief Odowa Yusuf Rage on Wednesday warned the armed forces to stay out of politics, days after thousands of troops loyal to the Prime Minister vacated front-lines against Al-Shabaab following an “attempted coup” by the President.

Speaking to dozens of senior military officers at the Ministry of Defense, Rage said defense forces should not pick sides in the current power struggle and must remain neutral while undertaking their duties.

Engagement in political affairs could fragment the army into rival groups and may slide the country back into another bloody civil war, the general added, in what the opposition hailed as a step taken forward.

The chair of the Council of Presidential Candidates Sharif Sheikh Ahmed noted the move could prevent street clashes between rival factions of the army similar to those witnessed by residents in the capital Mogadishu in April.

Dozens of military vehicles, some fitted with artillery weapons and heavily armed troops loyal to the Prime Minister massed near the presidential palace after he had survived a “coup attempt” allegedly arranged by the President on Monday.

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