Al-Shabaab intimidating Somali villagers
The al-Shabaab movement is stepping up its threats to the people of Somalia as this eastern African country goes through a tough political test because of the failure of the authorities to hold the presidential and parliamentary elections earlier this month as was scheduled.
Tensions escalated on the Somali political stage and on the streets of Mogadishu in the past few days, against the background of attempts by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo to outstay his term, which came to an end on 8 February, in power, getting backing from Doha.
The presidential elections were scheduled for 8 February. However, they were postponed amid fears that the Somali president wants to keep staying in the presidential office. There are, meanwhile, fears that Somalia can slide into violence.
The al-Shabaab movement gave the residents of ten villages near Mogadishu 72 hours to leave their homes.
The Qaeda-leaning group killed a large number of villagers and torched down their homes in the past few days.
Al-Shabaab tries to occupy villages near the Somali capital with the aim of blocking supplies and the movement to the capital.
According to media reports, President Farmaajo's postponement of the elections threatens to reignite tensions inside Somali, which at the end will serve the best interests of al-Shabaab.
This will compound tensions between Somalia and some neighboring countries, the reports said.
They added that the heads of some of Somalia's states do not welcome Farmaajo's continued presence in power beyond his presidential term, especially given close links between the Somali president, on one hand, and Qatar and Turkey, on the other.