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Puntland President calls for dialogue with opposition over election dispute

Saturday November 18, 2023

Garowe (HOL) - Puntland regional state President Said Abdullahi Deni called for dialogue with the opposition on Friday, just days after they unilaterally announced a schedule for parliamentary and presidential elections.

President Deni expressed his willingness to negotiate to prevent further clashes over the regional election scheduled for early next year. He emphasized that he is ready to comply if he is defeated in the dialogue.

President Deni also pardoned Colonel Jima'ale Jama Takar, the commander of the Danab army, and his forces who supported the opposition groups and clashed with security forces in Garowe in June.

"I confirm here that the government granted amnesty to all army forces, including Colonel Jim'ale. I am also calling on politicians with different views to sit down with us, and I am ready for anything legal and rational. We have to talk with them," President Deni said.

In response, Colonel Jima'ale Jama Takar accused President Deni of being behind the clashes in Garowe and Bosaso, where several people were killed. The colonel insisted that President Deni must apologize to the Danab commandos and the people of Puntland.

President Deni reiterated his commitment to conducting a one-person, one-vote election, which is central to the political discord between the government and the opposition. The opposition candidates believe holding a universal suffrage election is impossible due to the limited time.

However, the 28 traditional leaders and the opposition groups have stressed that the election must take place on January 8, 2024.


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