Beledweyne, Hiran, HirShabelle, Somalia –
A group of HirShabelle police officers in Beledweyne have joined the self-proclaimed Hiran State following a protest on Sunday over unpaid wages. The officers, who allegedly had not received their salaries for four months, blocked the main road of Beledweyne, causing hours of traffic disruption.
They also threatened to close other crucial locations, such as the Liqliqato and Bundaweyn bridges in the Hiran region’s capital. Initial reports indicated that the officers had staged a “mutiny” due to unpaid salaries, resulting in road blockades and business closures.
Expressing their frustration, one of the protesting police officers stated, “HirShabelle is [like] a restaurant owned by Ali Gudlawe [the President of HirShabelle State]. Let him find someone to work there. We have been missing our salary for four months. … We declare that we join the administration of Ali Jeyte, the [self-proclaimed] President of the Hiran State.”
The group comprised 250 soldiers from President Gudlawe’s administration, all complaining about not receiving their salaries for four months. Their decision to flee to the self-declared Hiran State holds significant implications, considering the number of security personnel involved.
HirShabelle internal tensions
This development can further escalate the already tense rivalry within HirShabelle, which occurs along the lines of clan affiliation. The Abgal of Middle Shabelle and the Hawadle of Hiran have a longstanding rivalry, serving as a persistent undercurrent shaping the region’s politics.
The recent disputes come in the context of the former governor of Hiran, Ali Jeyte Osman, establishing a new state named Hiran State. While this new entity is not recognized by the Federal Government of Somalia or other Federal Member States, it enjoys the support of Hiran residents, who currently control Beledweyn, the regional capital.