Somalia: Mogadishu is calm after fears of conflict soar

On Wednesday evening, Mogadishu was on the verge of erupting into fighting between government forces and those led by General Sadiq Omar John, who was recently ousted as Benadir regional police commander.

General Sadiq, who was fired after announcing that he had suspended a two-year extension session by the Somali parliament on Monday, moved into the Shirkole neighbourhood of Hodan district, where General John’s clan is predominant.

The government has deployed heavy forces in the Shiirkole neighbourhood amid fears of fighting in the capital.

Who prevented the fighting from occurring?

Galmudug President Ahmed Abdi Qoorqoor, from the same clan as General Sadiq John, went to the presidential palace and persuaded the Somali prime minister to withdraw troops from Shirkole. Instead, he also convinced General Sadaq to move out of Shirkole and return to his home in Wadajir district.

Sources close to General Sadiq said he moved to Shirkole after learning that government forces were preparing to attack and capture him from his Wadajir home.

The source added that as the general has now received assurances that the government forces will not attack him, he will return home.

On Monday, General Sadiq John announced that he had ordered the Banadir regional police force to stop a meeting Monday afternoon with members of the parliament’s lower house. He said extending the term of government institutions would undermine the country’s security and lead to a civil war.

Hours later, the Benadir regional police chief was fired.

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, whose term expired on February 8th, Tuesday, issued a decree stripping General Sadiq of his police rank and his rights within the police forces.