The United States on Tuesday announced visa restrictions against current or former Somali officials and others accused of undermining the democratic process in Somalia from travelling to the United States. The visa restrictions will apply to those who have encouraged and engaged in violence against protesters, intimidation of journalists and opposition members, and manipulation of the electoral process, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
“Somalia’s national and federal member state leaders must follow through on their commitments to complete the parliamentary process in a credible and transparent manner by February 25,” he added.
Somalia, where no central government has held broad authority for 30 years, is in the midst of a protracted indirect election process to choose new leadership. the country has postponed elections since the mandate of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed expired in February last year.
In April last year, an attempt by the president to extend his four-year term by two years led army factions loyal to each man to seize rival positions in Mogadishu.
The raging, months-long dispute is widely seen as distracting the government from fighting an Islamist insurgency.
The sanctions follow last month’s warning against further delays in the elections.