Somalia’s Government Airlifts Troops and Military Equipment to Drought Hit Region

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia’s federal government has airlifted hundreds of troops and military equipment to a drought-hit region in the south of the country where people are desperate for humanitarian aid.

Several planes carrying troops and military equipment have landed at airports in Gedo region on Saturday for the second day in a row as tensions over who should control the strategic region continue to simmer between the government of Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Jubaland regional state.

The deployment has come days before a new round of talks between federal and regional leaders, who will discuss issues including the presence of troops loyal to Farmajo in the region whose stay has been deemed as a security threat and an effort to rig elections by Jubaland authorities.

Withdrawal of the troops from Gedo as Jubaland demands is among key sticking points that led to the collapse of last round of electoral talks held in Dhusamareb last month.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Jubaland described the government’s airlifting of weapons to the drought-stricken region as deplorable, saying people were in need of urgent humanitarian assistance but not military equipment.

It said Farmajo’s administration will be held responsible for the consequences of its decision to move forces, weapons and military equipment to the region in defiance of previous agreements.

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