Somalia: Ahlu Sunna Fighters Demand Share of Political Power

Somalia’s armed sufi militia are emerging as the latest challenge to the long list of problems the country has faced conducting elections.

Last week, militia group — Alhu Sunna Wal Jamaa (ASWJ) — clashed with government forces in Galmudug state, one of the regions yet to complete its run of elections for the Senate.

Photos the group shared showed they had seized some government equipment as they entered towns such as Guri-el.

It was unclear how far the battle could go, but electoral disagreements were being fronted by the group’s leaders as the reason they were challenging the government.

ASWJ was not always hostile to the government.

In the last four years, the group was influential in helping to route Al Shabaab out of major regions in Galmudug, allowing for the conduct of elections and formation of a new government early last year.

However, the group says it was shortchanged on powers sharing arrangements promised by the federal government. Some of its members were targeted as others fled into exile. Still, some local clans subscribe to the movement and want their leaders involved in the leadership.