Soldiers in the Somali capital Mogadishu have ended their protests against unpaid wages. They blocked city roads on Saturday, and some said they hadn’t been paid more than a year. Local television footage shows troops blocking vehicles of African Union peacekeepers.
The soldiers fighting against the Islamic militant group Al Shabab, which carried out one of two attacks this weekend and killed at least seven people. Three fighters blew themselves up in a car at a military checkpoint in the central city of Galmudug, killing three soldiers.
The militants detonated a bomb when soldiers opened fire on the vehicle after those in ignored the order to stop at a military checkpoint, Major Abdullahi Ahmed, a military officer in the nearby town of Galkayo, told Reuters.
Two bombs went off separately in front of the home of a military official in Wanlaweyn, northwest of the capital, Mogadishu, killing four people.
“At first we heard an explosion at home. Until then, military officers were not there. The guards and residents came to find out what caused the explosion and then the second explosion broke out,” said Mohamed Noor, a Wanlaweyn police officer. Reuters.
Al-Shabab wants Islamic law, known as Sharia law, to be upheld in Somalia and is struggling to overthrow the government.
Troops blocking the streets of Mogadishu are reported to have been fighting al-Shabab fighters in the Shebel area recently.
The BBC’s Will Ross reports that trying to protect the population from Al Shabab attacks makes the soldier’s complaints even more alarming.
Last year, under pressure from international donors, the Somali government began paying troops directly through banks to prevent commanders from illegally taking wages for personal aggrandizement.
Officials also found thousands of names of soldiers who did not exist or had long left the army to receive salaries.