Ahmed Moalim Fiqi, Somalia’s Minister of Internal Affairs and Reconciliation, admitted that Al-Shabaab is a key impediment to holding direct elections in Somalia.
The Minister added that millions of Somali civilians residing in territories controlled by the group were unable to vote in municipal, regional, or national elections.
“Millions of people live in Al-Shabaab-controlled territory, and they have no voice. Al Shabaab frequently threatens residents who desire to participate with death. They (Al Shabaab) have already slain persons who had previously engaged in Somalia’s indirect electoral process “Minister Fiqi stated.
He also stated that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is devoted to his strategy to eradicate Al-Shabaab and hold direct elections for the first time in over 60 years.
This declaration comes as the federal government of Somalia prepares to launch “phase 2” of its military attack against Al-Shabaab, an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist rebel group. The mission focuses on Jubbaland and the South West regions, where the gang still controls huge swaths of territory and has significant power over the population.