Somalia's National Constituent Assembly (NCA) convened in Mogadishu on Wednesday (July 25th) after many delays, while the government has tightened security in the city.
"All 825 delegates [selected] to ratify the constitution are present," Technical Selection Committee Chairman Abdullahi Osman told Sabahi. "Government leaders are also present, including President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and Speaker Sheikh Sharif Hassan Aadan."
"Also present are UN Special Representative for Somalia Ambassador Augustine Mahiga and representatives from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the African Union, the Arab League and all the diplomatic missions in Mogadishu," Osman said.
The NCA, held at the former Somali police academy in Mogadishu, is expected to continue for eight more days, during which the delegates will discuss and officially ratify the draft constitution. The opening of the assembly comes after tribal leaders tasked to choose the delegates failed to meet several deadlines.
Officials from the Somali government, United Nations, European Union and African Union are scheduled to address the delegates, and the names of the 825 delegates will soon be publicly revealed, Somalia's Hiiraan Online reported.
Meanwhile, special security forces have been deployed across Mogadishu to keep the city safe as the NCA convenes, the Somali National News Agency reported Tuesday.
The security forces are positioned primarily on the road leading from Mogadishu airport to the presidential palace, in particular at the KM 4 and 5 junctions, and surrounding the site where the NCA is gathering.
Security forces have set up checkpoints for vehicles entering and leaving the city, and are checking on cars parked illegally near security blockades.
African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) spokesman Colonel Ali Aden Hamud told Risaala Media Corporation that AMISOM troops have secured the venue where the delegates are meeting.
Source: Sabahi Online