MOGADISHU, Somalia  – As the election atmosphere heats up across Somalia, presidential candidates are demanding the resignation of National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) director Fahad Yasin, accusing him of election interference.

“Fahad Yasin Haji Dahir should resign as the head of NISA, since he is the chief campaigner for the re-election of presidential candidate Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, whose term of office is about to end, to ensure the impartiality of NISA,” they said in a communique released Thursday after a five-day meeting in the capital, Mogadishu, accusing Fahad of acting as Farmajo’s re-election campaign manager.

They have also called for the dissolution of the electoral commission and the withdrawal of government-appointed forces from the southwestern Gedo region to reduce tensions during the election period.

The aspirants are also calling on the federal government to allow the speaker of the Senate, Abdi Hashi Abdullahi, to appoint a committee for the election of members of parliament from Somaliland, noting that he has the legitimacy to do so.

They noted that to ensure maximum credibility, election observers and lawyers must be included in the exercise.

The 14 presidential candidates, which include former presidents Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, have accused the country’s electoral commission, the Federal Indirect Elections Team (FIET), of being full of NISA agents masquerading as electoral officials.

The government and NISA are yet to respond to the 18-point communique issued by the candidates.

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