‘Brawl’ Breaks out in Somalia’s Parliament

A scuffle broke out in Somalia’s Parliament on Wednesday as lawmakers disputed the election of the legislature’s new Speaker.

According to media reports, the brawl, which saw some parliamentarians engage in fist-fighting, reportedly sent three to the hospital.

The United Nations envoy for Somalia Augustine P. Mahiga today expressed deep concern over the country’s ongoing political disputes. Mr. Mahiga warned that if disputes are not resolved, the country could miss a rare window of opportunity to end its 21 years of conflict.

A woman carrying a child walks at a camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Mogadishu, while a peacekeeper of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) stands guard. AMISOM is an active regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the United Nations. Somalia is the country worst affected by a severe drought that has ravaged large swaths of the Horn of Africa, leaving an estimated 11 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

UN Photo/Stuart Price

“This clash is particularly ill-timed, coming at a moment when the entire region, and indeed the international community as a whole, is scaling up attention and support for Somalia to advance the recent gains on the security and political tracks.” -Mr. Mahiga

Mr. Mahiga noted that the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) would continue to support efforts “to seek a peaceful resolution to the controversy among parliamentarians” and help the country’s Government find a solution to the impasse.

“UNPOS stands ready to facilitate with good offices to end this distracting quarrel, which serves to help neither Somalia nor the Somali people and is detrimental to the peace process.” -Mr. Mahiga

Somalia has been without a stable government for 20 years now. President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown in January of 1991. Al-Shabab has gained control of southern Somalia and has been more successful than a weaker UN-backed government.

The drought has caused massive migrations to Kenya, Ethiopia, and north to the capital city of Mogadishu. The situation is not much better in these other countries. With populations doubling in the Horn of Africa over the past 30 or 40 years, the effects of this drought is much more devastating.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.