Somalia’s Opposition Appeals to Turkey Not to Send Arms to Police Unit

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia’s opposition said on Wednesday it had written to Turkey urging it not to send shipment of weapons to Haram’ad police unit that they fear will be used to “hijack” upcoming elections.

Tensions over delay in elections have been building up in Somalia’s capital over the past few weeks. The polls for both chambers of parliament were initially planned for 10 December but that plan was scrapped following heated dispute over the composition of the electoral commission.

Opposition leaders sent a letter addressed to Turkey’s ambassador in Somalia, saying they had learned that Turkish government was planning to deliver 1,000 G3 assault rifle and 150,000 bullets to Haram’ad special police unit, between 16 December and 18 December.

Opposition presidential candidates stated that they were “worried about this amount of weapons … flooding the country at this sensitive election time.”

In addition, opposition leaders stressed that President Farmajo had “already used Harma’ad forces for coercion and rigging of regional elections, and so there is no doubt the same Harma’ad forces and the weapons from Turkey will be used to hijack the upcoming elections,” it said.

There was no immediate comment from Turkish officials but the police unit has surrounded the homes of several opposition presidential candidates on Thursday morning and deployed dozens of soldiers at opposition headquarters near Mogadishu’s international airport.

The letter comes a few days after anti-government protesters hit the streets of Somalia’s capital, chanting slogans against the incumbent President, whose term expires within six weeks, before the Turkish-trained police unit used live rounds to disperse the crowd. Several civilians were killed and a number of others wounded as a result of the incident.

Opposition leaders urge Ankara to delay the delivery of weapons and ammunition until after the delayed elections have been held.

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