Somalia’s president denies alleged plans to oust Southwest state leader


MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said on Wednesday night that there was no “mobilization” aimed at ousting Southwest regional leader Abdiasis Laftagaren, in the first gesture aimed at soothing fears by local authorities since a new administration had come to the helm last month.

In a speech at a ceremony held in the town of Baidoa, Mohamud promised that his government would not take any action that may stoke tensions in the region and urged residents to strengthen their peaceful cohabitation.

Mohamud arrived in Baidoa on Tuesday in the first leg of his “peace train” trip, in what analysts say is aimed at forging cooperation with Laftagaren, who was a staunch ally of the former President Hassan Sheikh.

In a number of meetings held since then, both officials discussed ways to cooperate on a number of forefronts, with Laftagaren proposing that the new President take an immediate stance against an alleged mobilization by some of his allies and that former senior Al-Shabaab commander Mokhtar Robow remain under house arrest if both sides were to start a sincere cooperation.

It is not clear if the new President, who had earlier criticized the arrest of Mokhtar Robow, bowed to the regional leader’s terms. Laftagaren enjoys the support of Ethiopian troops who are in control of a number of towns in Bay and Bakool regions, including his administration’s seat of power.

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