MOGADISHU, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Somali and Ethiopian forces have cordoned off parts of Baidoa town in South West State, Somalia as they imposed tight security in the area ahead of the regional state presidential elections on Wednesday.
Five candidates, among them former minister and Somali intelligence chief, are contesting for the state presidency.
The security forces could be seen at strategic points in the town and the presidential palace where the elections will take place.
"Our security forces are stationed in every corner of the city with support of AMISOM (the African Union Mission in Somalia) forces. We hope the elections will take place peacefully," Ali Aden, a police officer in Baidoa, told Xinhua.
State lawmakers have been streaming to the venue of the vote which had generated disputes between the regional state leaders and the federal government.
Former al-Shabab deputy leader Mukhtar Robow was arrested and withdrawn from the race last week by Somali government which said Robow was still under international sanctions.
A total of 149 legislators are expected to cast their vote for the second president since the South West State was formed four years ago.