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Interior Minister suspends Police Chief ahead of Lower House Speaker election

The federal Minister of Interior, Abdullahi Nor, announced on Wednesday morning that he suspended the Police Commissioner, General Abdi Hassan Mohamed Hijar, effective immediately, for “using force to stop the planned (parliamentary) sessions.

The announcement comes hours before federal MPs are expected to vote in an election for Lower House speakers.

“The Federal Police Commissioner has repeatedly violated the federal constitution, persistently misused the authority, and today the Commissioner attempted to obstruct the parliamentary proceedings by using force to stop the planned sessions while endangering the representatives of the Federal Parliament. The Police Commissioner, General Abdi Hassan Mohammed, is suspended from his position as the police chief effective April 27, 2022. “

General Hijar has faced several accusations in recent days by lawmakers who were tasked with organizing the house leadership elections.

On Monday, the interim speaker of Parliament, Abdisalam Dhabanad, accused Hijar of leading government forces used to obstruct the swearing-in-ceremony for the 16 Gedo MPs elected in Elwak. 

The chairman of the committee to elect the House Speakers, Abdirizak Omar Mohamed, levelled similar accusations against General Hijar and the Somali Police Force but said that lawmakers would not be “intimidated” by Villa Somalia. MP Abdirizak said that the police commissioner and Villa Somalia’s security chief evicted parliamentary staff from Villa Hargeisa on Tuesday. The staffers use Villa Hargeisa as their temporary home and office while in Mogadishu for parliamentary leadership and presidential elections. 

General Hijar denied the allegations against him.

In a separate televised statement on Tuesday, Hijar suggested that the election commission postpone the election, saying that the Somali Police Force was not given the necessary details to secure the polls and thus guarantee its security.

The General’s suspension comes as Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble instructed the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) to assume security responsibility of the Afisiyoni tent, where the election of the Lower House Speaker.

Roble said that the list of accredited MPs will be submitted to ATMIS by Abdisalam Dhabanad, the interim speaker of the parliament.

Somalia’s President Mohamed Farmajo, who is among the candidates seeking re-election in Somalia’s long-delayed national poll, immediately rebuffed the Prime Minister’s directives and ordered ATMIS to defer to the Somali Police Force, which is responsible for securing the election venue.

 

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