A former rebel fighter in Somalia has been re-elected to lead Jubbaland, one of the country’s richest regions with the lucrative port of Kismayo as its capital.
Ahmed Mohamed Islam, known by his nickname “Madobe”, won the controversial election, gaining 56 votes out of a total of 74 cast by local MPs.
Andab Mohamed Dahir, who was the only female aspirant, came second with 17 votes. Security has been tight in Kismayo and the city has been in lockdown since Tuesday.
The UN and the central government had wanted the vote to be postponed, but the regional authorities refused.
Madobe was immediately sworn in after he was announced the winner by the parliamentary speaker: Some opposition politicians had complained that the local electoral commission was not independent and have held a parallel election.
According to the privately owned Jowhar news website, the rival group has elected Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig as Jubbaland’s president.
On Wednesday, UN Special Representative to Somalia, James Swan, warned that without a single, agreed-upon electoral process, a contested outcome might plunge the southern region into instability.
Madobe is a former Islamist – he was a member of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) that ruled Somalia in 2006.
Afterwards he was a commander in the Ras Kamboni militia that seized Kismayo in 2012 from the control of Islamist al-Shabab militants – with the backing of the Kenyan army.
He was one of the politicians to set up an administration in Jubbaland six years ago.
His election means he will serve for another four years.