BACK -- MARCH 2019I
vacate military bases in salary row
-- Somalia government
forces vacated three military bases to
protest non-payment of salaries, a move that may
jeopardize years of security gains, officials
and local residents said.
Security officials who declined to be named
said the Somalia National Army (SNA) soldiers
vacated three bases in middle Shebelle, stoking
fear among the residents that the al-Qaida
allied terrorist group, al-Shabab may take over
the abandoned bases.
"We are on our way to Mogadishu. The security
forces have not been paid for several months," a
security officer who requested anonymity said,
adding that the withdrawal was to protest the
non-payment of salaries.
However, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire
refuted the allegations, saying the SNA soldiers
are paid regularly and on time.
Khaire said the soldiers who have not
received their salaries refused to register
themselves under the biometric system which was
put in place to weed out fraud.
"We have paid salaries and allowances
regularly to our armed forces who have
registered in our biometric system via their
bank account," Khaire said at a forum in
Mogadishu, calling on the protesting soldiers to
register in order to receive their salaries.
The U.S., EU and the United Arab Emirates are
some of the countries which have been helping
the Somali government to pay salaries for the
Experts have warned that the move to abandon
military bases may expose the Horn of Africa
nation to al-Shabab threats.
The military group on Monday briefly captured
Bal’ad town, about 30 km north of the Somali
capital Mogadishu, burnt battle wagons and freed
detainers, but were overpowered by government
forces backed by the African Union Mission in
Meanwhile, the United Nations Assistance
Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) has refuted reports
that it was planning to evacuate its staff in
Somalia due to the current security situation.
"Rumors of a crisis meeting and evacuation of
UN Somalia staff are completely unfounded. No
such meeting has taken place and there are no
evacuation plans underway," UNSOM said on