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Somali govt airlifts troops into Baidoa ahead of regional election

Hiiraan Online
Friday November 30, 2018

BAIDOA (HOL) - Somali government has deployed over one hundred soldiers in the southwestern town of Baidoa before the region holds the much-awaited regional presidential election which some have criticized as sham.

The development comes amid fears of violence and protests in the town as rival candidates have reportedly started mobilizing troops across the region, raising fears of armed violence on the backdrop of calls by the United Nations for the candidates to avoid any incitement of violence.

Meanwhile, an aircraft carrying a total of 100 police officers wearing flak-jackets and armed with automatic rifles that officials say would provide security for the election venue has landed in the town on early Friday.

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The officers would also be deployed across the town to maintain security.

However, some opposition supporters said that the deployment of the new police force was politically motivated. It has also stirred fears of possible manipulation ahead of the contest.

It comes amid controversies surrounding the election as candidates continue political campaigns in the final days before the polls, holding dozens of rallies in key battleground areas.

Somali government also faces charges of manipulation in support of its favorite candidates that have polarised the region, a scenario which experts say will likely see anti-opposition candidates and support cry fraud over the final election outcome.

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