The African Union (AU) has raised concern over the rising political tension in Somalia, which has led to a deteriorating security situation.
This comes just a day after Somali government troops and opposition supporters exchanged gunfire in Mogadishu in street clashes that broke out during a protest march over delayed elections.
AU Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat in a statement condemned all forms of violence, calling on Somali stakeholders to refrain from acts that might jeopardize peace and security in the country.
The AU chief said this as he urged political actors to seek a consensual solution that will break the current political stalemate.
“The people of Somalia have suffered for too long, and the current violence poses a serious threat to the Somali transition plan (STP), at the precise moment it is being finalized,” Mahamat said in a statement.
Lawmakers were due to select a new president on February 8, but the process was delayed after the opposition accused President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who is seeking a second term, of packing regional and national electoral boards with supporters.
Mahamat stressed the vital importance of holding free, fair, timely and credible elections, along the lines of the 17th September Agreement and, to this end, called on all the relevant Somali stakeholders to refrain from undertaking unilateral measures that might further deepen the current political crisis and undermine efforts to effectively confront and degrade Al Shabaab and other terrorist groups.