The Cabinet has ordered the withdrawal of soldiers deployed in Beletweyne Wednesday in what could once again put Prime Minister Mohamed Roble and President Mohamed Farmaajo on a coalition course.
The Council of Ministers meeting chaired by PM Roble today decreed in a statement that the Turkish trained Haram’ad forces who were airlifted from Mogadishu Wednesday return to their bases.
“The Council of Ministers has agreed that the troops deployed in Beledweyne should be withdrawn as soon as possible and returned to their bases,” a statement from the Council of Ministers said.
The Cabinet also directed military commanders to desist from involvement in politics. However Somali National Army chief General Odowaa Rage defended the deployment noting it was in order to protect the ongoing elections.
Gen. Rage said in an Interview with VOA Somali from Galgadud that SNA forces had been deployed in Jowhar, Dhusamareb and Baidoa as part of a strategy to protect the elections from Al-Shabaab interference.
Sources said President Farmaajo ordered the deployment to secure his political interests ahead of Lower House elections in Beletwyene where 25 seats allocated to HirShabelle State will be up for contest.
Former Education Minister Abdullahi Godah Barre and leaders from Hiiraan region Wednesday night called on PM Roble to speak out and take a firm stand on the matter.
It is not clear if the SNA will heed to the directive by the Cabinet but will likely open another round of disputes between the country’s top leadership.