Gorfayn Weekly Briefs, Thursday 03 August 2023

President convenes terrorist finance meeting | Photo: Villa Somalia Facebook
President convenes terrorist finance meeting | Photo: Villa Somalia Facebook

Executive Summary:
Somalia and Turkey discussed strengthening bilateral trade and investment cooperation during a meeting between senior officials. Somalia’s parliament approved a revised $917 million national budget for 2023 to support debt relief efforts. South West State’s president appointed new regional Ministers of Education and Agriculture and discussed security. A preliminary report on the recent plane crash at Mogadishu airport attributed it to heavy winds causing the pilot to miss the runway.
Puntland’s electoral commission announced 8 officially recognised political parties for upcoming regional elections, following constitutional changes allowing more parties. The special forces Danab ended a unilateral ceasefire in Puntland after failing to reach consensus with elders, threatening to respond to the Puntland president’s actions. The World Bank granted Somalia $75 million in debt relief to bring it closer to full debt forgiveness. In security news, Somalia and Kenya agreed to intensify joint operations against al-Shabaab following bilateral talks. A landmine explosion injured a soldier in Mogadishu. The SNA said it drove out militants from areas of Baraawe town. ATMIS concluded a meeting on the withdrawal of forces from Somalia. Finally, clashes erupted between militia and security forces in the Somaliland region over proposed election timelines.

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     Highlights of the week:

Somalia, Turkey discuss trade cooperation
Senior officials from Somalia and Turkey met on 1 August to discuss cooperation in trade and investment projects. Isaak Mursal, Somalia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ibrahim Mete, Turkish Ambassador to Somalia, discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries.

Parliament approves revised 2023 Budget
Somalia’s Federal Parliament on 31 July approved the revised 2023 National Budget in a joint session in Mogadishu. It passed the USD 917 million financial budget for the year. Somalia’s Minister of Finance, Bihi Iman Egeh, thanked lawmakers for approving the budget, saying it will support the final element of the country’s debt relief process.

South West State president swears in new ministers
South West State President Abdiaziz Laftagareen has sworn in the region’s new Ministers of Education and Agriculture. In their first cabinet meeting, the cabinet discussed the overall security situation in the Federal Member State.

Somalia issues report on plane crash at Mogadishu airport
A preliminary report on the recent crash at Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle International Airport has been released. In a statement, the Ministry of Transport and Aviation said the crash was triggered by heavy winds making the pilot to miss the runaway. “Thank God, no one died in the plane crash, but there were minor injuries to two passengers of the plane,” the statement said.

Puntland Electoral Commission announces official political parties
The Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission has officially announced the names of 8 political organisations officially recognised for the upcoming regional elections. The TPEC issued a statement explaining that these parties met the necessary conditions after the announcement that Puntland’s regional parliament had confirmed changes to Puntland’s constitution. The previous constitution allowed only three parties, but the new changes mean all organisations that participated in the previous election can become political parties.

Danab Command ends unilateral cease-fire
Puntland’s Danab Command has announced that traditional elders in Puntland failed to reach a consensus on the security situation and existence of Puntland. The Command, in opposition to Puntland’s leadership, declared that the unilateral ceasefire, which they announced weeks ago, has officially ended. It further threatened to respond to any action taken by Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni, accusing him of preparing to extend his term. The forces urged Puntland’s political organisations not to take any actions that may undermine the scheduled Puntland elections in January 2024.

World Bank grants Somalia USD 75 million in debt relief
The World Bank said on 31 July that it had provided a USD 75 million grant to Somalia to bring the country closer to debt relief. The financial institution said the grant is the second of two grants helping the country’s progress to qualifying for full and irrevocable debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.

Yasin Warsame elected chairman of SSC-Khaatumo
Jama Yasin Warsame has been elected chairman of SSC-Khatuumo. Of the 45 council members who participated, 25 voted for Jaama Yaasiin, while the remaining 20 voted for Mahamuud Yuusuf. SSC-Khatumo is a unionist group fighting Somaliland forces in and around Laas Aanood.

     Highlight of the Week:

President convenes terrorist finance meeting
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud met with the National Committee for Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing to discuss the country’s plan to counter al-Shabaab’s illicit financial activities. The National Committee presented an assessment of the impact of terrorism financing on the country, highlighting how the militant group exploits the country’s ports and businesses. 

Somalia, Kenya to intensify operations against al-Shabaab
Somalia and Kenya have agreed to intensify operations following talks between officials in Nairobi. Somalia’s National Security Advisor, Hussein Moalim, held discussions with his Kenyan counterpart, Monica Juma. The officials reportedly discussed ongoing operations against al-Shabaab and border security. Juma welcomed the meeting, saying, “This first official visit was an opportunity to hold extensive bilateral discussions on the state of our strategic relations, our region, and the influence of global trends on our national and regional security.”.

Landmine explosion in Mogadishu
An explosion reportedly occurred in the Wadajir district of Mogadishu on 1 August after a vehicle carrying Somali National Army soldiers triggered a landmine in the Buulo Huubeey neighbourhood. One soldier was reportedly injured in the blast, and the bombed vehicle was heavily damaged. No one has yet claimed responsibility, but the incident follows several recent AS attacks in the capital.

ATMIS concludes meeting on force withdrawal
Senior commanders of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia have concluded a four-day meeting to evaluate the first phase of ATMIS force withdrawal from Somalia. They reportedly discussed Somalia’s general security situation and the threats posed by al-Shabaab. They also discussed the transition, mainly the phase one drawdown and its impact and capacity for subsequent operations.

Clashes erupt in Ga’an Libaah
Clashes between opposition clan militia and Somaliland security forces reportedly occurred in Ga’an Libaah, about 80km from Hargeisa. The fighting reportedly lasted several hours, with potential casualties unknown. This follows ratcheting tensions in recent days over the proposed electoral timeline.

With our keen focus on accurate, insightful, and comprehensive coverage, Gorfayn Weekly Briefs aims to keep you well-informed on the shifting dynamics of power, policy reform, security measures, and peacekeeping efforts, delivering a clear-eyed understanding of the complexities shaping the nation’s progress.

Copyright: Gorfayn (2023). This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC-BY-NC 4.0) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work’s authorship and initial publication in this publication.

The Gorfayn Team
The Gorfayn Teamhttp://gorfayn.org
Gorfayn is your home for fact-based analysis on Somali politics, public policy, and security.

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