Monday June 22, 2020
Mogadishu (HOL) – Somali government soldiers have blocked vital roads on Sunday in Mogadishu as they protest over unpaid wages.
The soldiers from the 27th Battalion blocked the main road that leads to the Presidential Palace said that they had not been paid in a year and nine months.
There are reports that the troops were recently involved in direct combat with Al-Shabaab militants.
The Federal Government has not yet responded to these allegations despite President Farmaajo publicly pledging to ensure that Somalia’s security forces are paid on time and in full.
In the past, soldiers in Somalia have blocked vital roads to display their frustration at government officials.
The battered military has long been under suspicion graft by international donors. In December 2017, the U.S. suspended its food and fuel aid for the bulk of Somalia’s armed forces.
Since then, the military has undergone drastic changes to its payment system by paying its troops directly to their mobile phones, bypassing army commanders. These payments are facilitated by a biometric database that contains the soldiers’ fingerprints, personal details and payment information. Officials say the exercise results in nearly 10,000 “ghost-soldiers” being removed from the records.
The protest comes as at least seven people were killed in two separate attacks by the Al-Shabab in the last 24 hours.