Gorfayn Weekly Briefs, Thursday 05 October 2023

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In ‘Guul ama Geeri’ (either victory or death) social movement, Mogadishu residents voice their objections against the group al-Shabaab | Photo: Social Media

Executive Summary:
This week in Somalia, in a movement dubbed as ‘Guul ama Geeri’ (either victory or death), Mogadishu witnessed a monumental social uprising as its people took to the streets, raising their voices in patriotic songs denouncing the group al-Shabaab. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud met with the Southwest opposition leaders to discuss the current situation in the region and how to return the territories under the control of militants to the hands of Somali security forces. Puntland’s Planning Minister accused President Mohamud of involvement in inter-clan fighting in the Mudug region, while the leaders of Somalia’s Puntland, Southwest, and Jubaland states reportedly held secret talks in Kenya to discuss forming a new political alliance. The Somali Intelligence and Security Agency arrested Sufyaan Sheikh Ahmed, also known as Taakeeye, for propagating extremist ideology. The National Union of Somali Journalists hosted a National Forum on Access to Information. Somaliland’s opposition party accused the government of undermining security institutions, and El Nino rains are expected to cause flooding in large parts of Somalia. The House of Representatives of Somaliland passed an electoral law amendment concerning the presidential and association elections.

          In security news, the five countries contributing their troops to ATMIS strongly supported a request by Somalia’s government for a 3-month delay of the drawdown of 3,000 peacekeepers scheduled for the end September. The State Department offered a reward of up to $5 million for information on Abukar Ali Adan, the deputy leader of the Somalia-based militant group, al-Shabaab. Fighting erupted between Ethiopian forces and members of Somalia’s police in the border town of Dolow. And finally, NISA apprehended Zakariya Kamal Sufi Abba-Sheikh, one of the most important figures within al-Shabaab responsible for overseeing the group’s external operations.

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POLITICS
Highlights of the week:
       Massive Uprising in Mogadishu as Citizens Rally Against Al-Shabaab
On 29 September, Mogadishu witnessed a monumental social uprising on Friday as its people took to the streets, raising their voices in patriotic songs denouncing the group Al-Shabaab. Supported by the government’s fight against Al-Shabab, hundreds of civilians, officials, and soldiers congregated to make a resounding statement against Al-Shabaab. The monumental gathering, which stretched along the main roads of Mogadishu, reached its peak in the Abdiaziz district, situated on the picturesque beach of Lido. Officials from the administration of the Banadir region addressed the impassioned crowd, expressing solidarity with their cause and emphasizing the nation’s commitment to victory.

        FGS President meets with Southwest opposition leaders
Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Saturday met the leaders of Southwest regional opposition, days after they had called for the conduct of timely regional elections. The regional opposition leaders briefed Mohamud about the current situation in Southwest state and gave recommendations about how vast swathes of territory in the region, which is currently under the control of militants, can be returned to the hands of the Somali security forces, Villa Somalia said in a statement. The two sides are also believed to have discussed efforts to pressure Southwest state leader Laftagareen to lift a ban on the opposition leaders arriving in Baidoa to participate in an upcoming presidential vote.

       Puntland accuses President Mohamud of inter-clan fighting in Mudug
Puntland’s Planning Minister Mohamed Said Faroole has accused President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of involvement in the deadly inter-clan fighting in the Mudug region. Faroole wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that the clash between two clan militias from Galmudug and Puntland signalled the onset of a third war in Gaalka’yo between the Puntland and Galmudug regional states. The dispute reportedly began over grazing land in the area.

       Three of Somalia’s state leaders hold secret talks in Kenya on forming alliance
The leaders of Somalia’s Puntland, Southwest, and Jubaland states held secret talks in the Kenyan capital Nairobi to discuss efforts to form a new political alliance, Caasimada Online news website reported on Wednesday. The talks came as the trio faces pressure from local opposition over the conduct of upcoming elections. In recent meetings, Southwest and Puntland opposition leaders called for timely regional elections, threatening that they would challenge the incumbent leaders if they attempted to stay in power beyond their constitutional mandates.

       NISA arrests infamous social media personality for spreading extremist ideology
The Somali Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) arrested Sufyaan Sheikh Ahmed, also known as Taakeeye, for propagating extremist ideology on Tuesday. The Somali National Television reported that Taakeeye has recently been promoting extremist ideas that undermine peace, stability, and the government of Somalia while also lending support to al-Shabaab militants. The intelligence agency has started investigations and interviews to examine the connection between terrorists and Sufyaan Taakeeye, a Somali citizen residing in Nairobi, Kenya, as reported by SNTV. However, the intelligence agency has not provided specific details regarding who collaborated with them in Taakeey’s arrest. It is worth noting that the governments of Somalia and Kenya have enjoyed improved relations since the re-election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud last year.

       NUSOJ launches National Forum on access to information
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), in partnership with the US Embassy in Mogadishu, is hosting a National Forum on Access to Information today (28 September). Its theme is: “Realising Access to Information in Somalia” and it brings together government officials, media professionals, civil society organizations, and international partners. They will consider how to achieve access to information legislation consistent with Article 32 of the Constitution of Somalia. Its comprehensive guarantee of freedom of information has yet to be given proper legal effect. The forum is the culmination of a long-standing campaign by the IFJ affiliate that has included messaging on social media channels to raise awareness of the issue.

       Somaliland’s Waddani party accuses the President of insecurity
Somaliland’s opposition party WADDANI has spoken about the recent clashes in the Eel Afwayn and Ali Saahid regions and accused the government of Muuse Biihi of undermining security institutions. The party’s Secretary of Information, Mahmoud Adam Jama “Galaal,” stated that the government needs to quickly deploy armed troops to these regions, including the National Army, Police, and the Ministry of Interior. He emphasized that there is an urgent need for comprehensive security measures to bring peace to these areas. The secretary who held a presser recently added that the President of the Republic and the security institutions have failed in their duties, and they can no longer be trusted.

       El Nino rains will cause flooding in large swathes of Somalia
El Nino rains will cause flooding in large parts of Somalia, Mahamud Moallim, the Somali Disaster Management Agency (SoDMA) Commissioner, has warned. Moallim urged the public to be vigilant and prepare for the imminent storms. El Nino is expected in Somalia and other nations in the Horn of Africa between October and November 2023.

       Finance minister says government can pay salaries without support
FGS Minister of Finance, Bihi Iman Egeh who spoke with SONNA said that our government’s budget has increased by 25% indicating that the Government can pay the staff salary without the need of support. The Minister said that the Government has paid the last two months of salary without support which Somalia mostly depended on in the past.

       Somaliland MPs amend electoral law
The House of Representatives of Somaliland has passed an electoral law amendment concerning the presidential and associations elections. Representative Abdinaasir Qodah, a member of the committee tasked with proposing changes to the electoral law, presented the amended provisions for approval in the House, which were accepted without significant alterations. This marks the first time that a law governing presidential and political associations elections held together is being established, and it introduces the procedures for organizing these elections. The law also grants authority to an election commission and provides a framework for the new electoral system. The law emerged from discussions held among various stakeholders in Somaliland, including traditional elders, and it will become effective once it is endorsed by the House of Elders (Guurti) and signed by the President.

SECURITY
Highlight of the Week:
       ATMIS troop-contributing countries support Somalia’s request for delay in peacekeeper drawdown
The five countries contributing their troops to ATMIS on last Thursday strongly supported a request by Somalia’s government for a 3-month delay of the drawdown of 3,000 peacekeepers scheduled for the end of this month. In a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres, the five ATMIS troop-contributing countries mentioned “recent setbacks” in the military offensive against al-Shabaab militants in Galgaduud region, including an attack in Owsweyne area. It comes following reports that the African Union rejected the request by Somali authorities for a 3-month suspension of the troop drawdown to prevent militants from taking over areas vacated by ATMIS peacekeepers.

       US offers $5 million reward for info on al-Shabaab’s no. 2 leader in Somalia
The State Department on Thursday offered a reward of up to $5 million for information on Abukar Ali Adan, the deputy leader of the Somalia-based militant group, al-Shabaab.

       Fighting erupts between Ethiopian forces and Somalia’s govt troops in Dolow town
Fighting between Ethiopian forces and members of Somalia’s police erupted in the border town of Dolow in the restive region of Gedo, Caasimada Online news website reported on Tuesday. The gun battle came after the Somali police had ignored orders by the Ethiopian troops to remove a security checkpoint in Dolow. Casualties have not been immediately known. Meanwhile, tensions have been simmering in the region after Ethiopian forces ordered a former Somali warlord Barre Hiiraale to leave the region. The move caused a rival build-up of troops as residents feared a possible breakout of clashes.

       NISA naps al-Shabaab smuggler
Somalia’s NISA has reported that they have apprehended Zakariya Kamal Sufi Abba-Sheikh, also known as “Saki,” who was one of the most important figures within al-Shabaab responsible for overseeing the group’s external operations, including importing weapons. According to NISA’s statement, Zakariya Kamal, a 28-year-old Somali national, had been under surveillance for some time, and they finally managed to apprehend him. NISA has succeeded in preventing him from carrying out his plans, which included aiding al-Shabaab militants who operate within Somalia’s borders.

       EU and Somalia agree to up security cooperation
Top European Union’s (EU) Political and Security Committee (PSC) officials and Somali government have agreed to enhance their security cooperation amid setbacks in the fight against the al-Shabaab terror group. The Chair of the European Union’s (EU) Political and Security Committee (PSC), Delphine Pronk visited the headquarters of the Somali Police Force in Mogadishu last week to hold talks with Somali security officials. During her visit, Ambassador Pronk discussed with State Minister of Internal Security Mohamed Ali Haga and Deputy Police Commissioner Gen. Osman Abdullahi regarding the EU’s support for the SPF.


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.

Rights
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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