SOMALIA: Soldiers Protest Non-Payment of Salaries

Somalia’s plans to cater for its own security needs without the backing of the African Union peacekeeping mission have been hit by striking action by government soldiers in at least three of their bases located in the critical Shabelle region.

Residents and a military officer told Reuters the soldiers are protesting over months of missed pay.

The Horn of Africa nation’s weak central government relies on the support of the military and African Union-mandated AMISOM peacekeepers against al Shabaab, which aims to carve out a realm based on strict sharia (Islamic law).

The vacated bases are in Somalia’s Middle Shabelle region, one of the troops’ commanders Col. Abdi Mohamed Ahmed told Reuters, adding that the move was to protest about non payment of salaries for four months.

“The military soldiers here have not taken salaries for four months. We are now on (the) way to Mogadishu,” Ahmed said.

“It is painful to be in the frontline and fighting al Shabaab while your wife and kids are starving.”

Ahmed added he understood troops were also deserting more bases but that some of those garrisons had not been completely abandoned because some Somali troops and others from peacekeeping force AMISOM remained.

Source: Africa News

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