|Join Our Mailing List|
Somali lawmakers on Wednesday exchanged blows with each other in parliament just hours after the House Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden was voted out, eyewitnesses said.
The fighting took place at the Parliament Building located in Mogadishu's Wardhigley district when the legislators were attending a session in the chambers.
Members loyal to the ousted speaker and another rival group were holding a meeting in the chambers when an argument ensued. The MPs began throwing chairs at each other, witnesses said.
One lawmaker reportedly lost one of his teeth after being hit with a microphone in the ensuing melee.
The incident comes barely a day after 280 MPs ousted the Speaker of the Transitional Parliament, who is presently on a trip to Italy.
According to the witnesses, troops from the African Union peacekeeping mission (AMISOM) intervened and whisked away both the newly-elected Speaker Madobe Nunow and deputy Speaker Abdiweli Mudey, who had served alongside Aden.
The political rivalry is likely to undermine the implementation of the Kampala Accord, which provides for a roadmap as well as the constitution-making process in Somalia.
Meanwhile the Deputy House Speaker Abdiweli Mudey held a press conference where he called on Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed to address the lawmakers concerning the current crisis.
“President Sharif must address this issue since he is the overall leader of Somalia. The president must also issue his stand on this matter or alternatively say if he is pleased with the MPs behavior,” said Abdiweli.
“The Kampala Accord was signed by the speaker and President Sharif and so it must be respected,” he added.
Meanwhile, the president issued a statement urging the politicians to put aside their disputes and work together for the good of the country.
“As we all know for the last days there were parliament meetings where several members of the parliament were carrying out mission against the former spokesman of the parliament, Mr. Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden. I did not talk about this because I was very busy with other sessions and have been looking for solutions for this dispute... This occurred at an unfavorable time and ... we are still investigating the root cause and the circumstances that compelled that decision," said the president in a statement.
"We also know that the state is facing different challenges such as the war we are in against al-Shabaab forces and seeking humanitarian aid for the people ... We are kindly calling for the parliament members to cease this dispute and to cooperate for the betterment of the state. We know that the state is based on the rules of the parliament, but the rules should also apply to the laws of the state,” he added.