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Somalia: Safiya Hassan Sheikh Ali Jimale Becomes the First Woman Mayor of the Country

For the first time in history, Somalia has elected a woman mayor, Safiya Hassan Sheikh Ali Jimale, to head the great and famous city of Beledweyne.


Beledweyne is the capital of Hiiran Province, located in the Shebelle Valley, near the border with Ethiopia, about 210 miles north of Mogadishu.

During the 2006-2009 civil war, the city was under the umbrella of the Union of Islamic Courts (UTI) before the group reorganized and regained control in 2008 under the aegis of the al Shabaab militia.

In December 2011, Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers and about 3,000 Allied Ethiopian Army soldiers arrived in the city, capturing it after several hours of fighting.

On May 7, 2012, Beledweyne held its first municipal elections since the beginning of the civil war in the early 1990s. More than 200 delegates took part in the elections which were overseen by the Hiran region election chief, Sadaq Omar Sabriye.

Safiya Hassan becomes the second mayor of the city which has more than 1.7 million inhabitants. In an interview with VOA Somali, after her election, she stressed that she will not hesitate to tackle her mandate head-on.


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