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Somalia’s Warring Sides are Preparing for a Fight

After months living at an upmarket inn close to Mogadishu’s airport, Somalia’s opposition leaders, including two former presidents and their armed teams, have decamped, spreading across the capital in what is seen as a strategic move. The sitting president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmaajo”, meanwhile, returned last night from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he was reportedly hoping to win support for an extension of his presidential term from the African Union. The two ex-premiers are reportedly sleeping a few kilometres apart, embedded within residential neighbourhoods, better placed to mobilise the public. Somalia had modelled a federal system that was believed to be the best structure for a society of historically independent nomads with deep clan ties. Farmaajo vowed to unite the country and defeat al-Shabaab, the fundamentalist terrorist militia that had risen to control swaths of the country amid the power vacuum. But under his tenure the states and the seat of government have become further entrenched, blaming each other for Somalia’s problems.