Several newly elected lawmakers in Somalia have asked the government to open channels of dialogue with the armed Islamic insurgent group al-Shabaab to explore peace in the African country.

“Most Somali people believe reconciliation is important. If you can’t defeat al-Shabaab at least you have to open a dialogue, if you do not have to have any alternate solution,” Sadiq Abdullahi Abdi, former public works minister and current member of parliament told Anadolu Agency.

Somalia is holding its long-delayed presidential vote on Sunday, with 39 candidates vying for the post, including incumbent Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, two former presidents, several top officials, and one woman – Fawzia Yusuf Haji Adam, a legislator who once served as Somalia’s foreign minister.

Abdi said a friendly government including Turkiye needs to assist Somalia to improve security.

“Not only African Union, but we also need friendly countries like Turkiye. Most Somalis believe Turkiye is the only country that genuinely 100% supports Somalia’s security,” he added.

Omar Ibrahim Hashi, another member of parliament supported opening a dialogue with the al-Shabaab.

He said Somalia is not ready to be in a permanent state of insecurity.

“I think we have tried military options for quite a long time, so it is good to try other things,” he said.

“This is the moment we can exploit; we can finalize a proper working strategy towards al-Shabaab,” Hashi said.

The current government led by incumbent president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed succeeded to bring several al-Shabaab members including number two and spokesman Mukhtar Robow known as Abu Mansour. But the government put him under house arrest after he contested for Somalia’s South West State presidency.

Politicians from South West and elsewhere in the country called his arrest “illegal” and demanded his release.

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