At least 10 people were killed and 7 injured in Mogadishu in an explosion at a restaurant (April 22nd). A suicide bomber went into action, allegedly to attempt at the lives of 11 MPs and Police Chief Abdi Hassan Mohamed Hijaar – all of whom were in the restaurant at the time but escaped unharmed. The action of the suicide bomber was followed by a second explosion and the irruption of armed militiamen; the event was claimed by Al Shabaab terrorists.
Other security events took place in Mudug, where Special Forces conducted an operation to recapture villages in the interior. Terrorists advanced in the district of Mataban, a strategic centre along the road between Mogadishu and the centre-north of the country.
The inherent risk of new attacks by militants is raised for the coming weeks, crucial in Somali political life. Scheduled sessions in Mogadishu from April 27th for the election of the Presidents of the Parliament and of its two Houses will therefore be held in the fortified airport base, according to a request by some MPs to the interim President of Parliament. The decision is necessitated by the security situation but is a symbolic step backwards by a decade.
The institutions themselves remain divided over the next steps. The nomination process for the last of the expected deputies is scheduled for April 25th-26th, but the Supreme Court did not accept the appeal brought by Fahad Yasin for the approval of his election, a personal defeat even before a procedural one. There is a power struggle going on around President Farmajo’s advisor, pitting the presidential faction against the faction gathered around PM Roble. If it is not resolved, this tension will also affect the election of the President of Parliament and then that of the Head of State.
The problems facing the latter have been waiting for a long time for a solution. The main ones are the consequences of the drought and the famine that threatens several hundred thousand people; the increase in the national debt; relations with the Presidents of the federal states and with the African Union’s Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS); and finally, economic reconstruction in a still polarised but more dynamic framework than in the past. Security, political reconciliation, the fight against corruption and a stable foreign policy framework are the preconditions over which decisive choices need to be made.