Somalia’s Leaders Agree to Deploy Peacekeepers to Presidential Palace

Somalia National Consultative Council

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia’s Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and regional Presidents on Sunday struck a deal demanding the deployment of fresh African Union peacekeepers to the presidential palace in Mogadishu to deter troops allied with Farmajo from attacking a rival faction of the army guarding the Premier’s office.

Roble said last month he had survived a coup attempt orchestrated by the President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, sparking a buildup of forces inside the capital and troops with dozens of military vehicles, including some fitted with artillery weapons gathered outside his office, threatening that they would remove the President from the palace.

Following days of talks between members of the National Consultative Council, a communique was issued on Sunday, detailing the terms of a new agreement including the completion of polls before February 25, warning troops to stay out of politics and stopping election manipulation and fraud activities, among other issues.

The Prime Minister has failed in his bid to take full charge of the country’s security, a move that the opposition leaders and some of the regional presidents are looking up in favor, though it has met a stiff opposition from state leaders allied with Farmajo, risking the breakdown of election talks.

In a statement issued on Sunday night, the Council of Presidential Candidates, a conglomerate of opposition parties welcomed the new agreement and asserted that the Premier and his cabinet are responsible for the national security and that Farmajo is one of the contenders for the upcoming presidential vote.

AMISOM troops will guard both the President and Premier’s offices where troops separately allied with each men occupy rival positions on the rooftops of buildings inside the compound. The peacekeepers will not take orders from the two men and will force the rival Somali forces to dismount from the rooftops of Villa Somalia and are mandated to deter any attack by both sides in possible clashes in the heavily fortified zone.

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