Somalia ratified its newest regional state at the end of a two-week conference in the south-central city of Baidoa, a local official confirmed Friday.
“The South Western [State] has been born today despite the problems we faced before and during the conference,” Mohamed Nur, a representative of the Bay region – one of the new state’s three regions – told Anadolu Agency by phone.
South Western, which is now Somalia’s fifth state in accordance with the country’s federal constitution, also comprises the Bakol and Lower Shabelle regions.
The other states are Jubaland, Khatumo, Puntland and Galmudug, each of which is led by a federal government.
According to Nur, 370 delegates from the three regions were present at the conference.
“The delegates unanimously agreed that the capital of the new state should be Barawe,” Nur told AA.
The port city of Barawe was liberated from the Al-Shabaab militant group last month by African and Somali army forces.
A political tussle between President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed threatened to derail the formation of the new state.
A ministerial delegation dispatched to monitor the process was recalled to Mogadishu by the premier three days after the president opened the conference.
Mogadishu hopes the establishment of federal states will help restore stability in the Horn of Africa country, which has experienced on-and-off fighting over the last two decades.