‘Undemocratic’ Somalis to face US visa restrictions

The US has announced visa restrictions against current or former Somali officials accused of undermining democratic processes.

It comes as the US pushes for credible elections in Somalia, which have been long delayed.

The visa restrictions applied to people “who have failed to follow through with their obligations to implement timely and transparent elections”, US State Secretary Antony Blinken said in a statement.

It also targets officials who have “targeted journalists and opposition party members with harassment, intimidation, arrest and violence”.

Somalia has postponed elections since the mandate of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who is also known as Farmajo, expired in February last year.

Indirect parliamentary elections started in November and were supposed to conclude by 24 December but have been marred by disputes.

Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and regional state leaders reached a deal on 9 January to complete the polls by 25 February.

The US state department says the political leaders must follow through on their commitments to complete the process by the deadline.

The sanctions follow last month’s warning against further delays on the elections.

Source: bbc

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