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EXCLUSIVE: U.S. to sanction more Somali leaders over missed March 15 deadline-ambassador

Storyline:National News

GOOBJOOG NEWS|MOGADISHU: More Somali leaders will find their way into the sanctions list tomorrow should the revised electoral deadline not be met, U.S ambassador to Somalia Larry André has said.

The newly appointed ambassador said in an exclusive interview with Goobjoog News that his country will be taking more action if the March 15 deadline set by the National Consultative Council (NCC) chaired by Prime Minister Mohamed Roble is not honoured.

“If the next NCC deadline (15 March) is not respected, then we will again take note and names will be added to the list of those restricted from traveling to the United States,” ambassador André said.

He added that he had received information from Somalis that the travel restrictions had jolted more leaders to act swiftly in accelerating the electoral process. The US diplomat did not however mention names but said those who had been sanctioned will know their fate’ when and if they apply for a visa, or when they are contacted about the cancellation of a previously issued visa.’

The ambassador’s remarks come amid a rush by the Federal Member States to meet the March 15 deadline which is hours away from now. So far, 225 MPs have been elected running short of 50 seats to fill the 275 member chamber of the Lower House.

READ FULL INTERVIEW HERE: Q & A: U.S ambassador to Somalia speaks on elections, security and ongoing humanitarian crisis

The Somaliland caucus has elected all the 46 MPs and so has the Banaadiri Community in Mogadishu which has also filled all the five slots allocated.

Jubaland remains far behind with 23 out of 43 seats filled. Critical for Jubaand is Gerbaharey where President Ahmed Madobe and outgoing President Mohamed Farmaajo are still at loggerheads over elections there. A task force formed by Prime Minister Mohamed Roble has been barred reportedly under instructions from Villa Somalia by the Gedo regional administration. There are 16 seats up for election in Gerbaharey.

HirShabelle follows with 14 seats to fill. The feuding between President Ali Gudlawe and his Deputy over the remaining seven seats in Beletweyne has also cast uncertainty over the elections there. Hiiraan region governor Ali Jeyte announced Sunday the delay of the elections there citing insecurity.  HirShabelle has already elected 24 MPs out of 38 while Puntland remains with six slots to fill having elected 31 out of 37 MPs.

South West state with 69 MPs in the Lower House has concluded the election of 62 MPs remaining with seven which it has said will fill on Tuesday.