Beledweyne is the capital city of Hiiran province situated in Shebelle valley near the border with Ethiopia, some 210 miles north of Mogadishu.
During the 2006-2009 civil war, the city was under the outlawed Islamic Courts Union (ICU) before the group reorganised itself and again took control in 2008 under the al-Shabaab militia. In December 2011, Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers and around 3,000 allied Ethiopian army troops descended on the city, capturing it following several hours of fighting.
Today, Safiya Ali, makes history as she becomes the first female mayor to big & famous city in central Somalia. Safia was officially nominated as the mayor of #Baladweyne. To elect a woman a male dominated position like a "Mayor" inspiration to many. Kudos #HIRSHABELLE pic.twitter.com/U8h5NpRWHV
— Sahra Abdi Ahmed (@SahraCabdi) May 27, 2019
On May 7, 2012, Beledweyne held its first mayoral elections since the start of the civil war in the early 1990s. Over 200 delegates took part in the contest which was overseen by Hiran region’s head of elections, Sadaq Omar Sabriye. Safiya becomes the second mayor of the city that has over 1.7 million people.