Gorfayn Weekly Briefs, Thursday 06 July 2023

SID
Somalia celebrates 63rd Independence Day | Photo: Villa Somalia Facebook

Executive Summary:
This week in Somali politics and security, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud praised Las Anod for honouring Independence Day after 15 years. Former president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and former Hirshabelle president Mohamed Abdi Ware held discussions on clan reconciliation in Halfooleey. The National Bureau of Statistics reported a 2.4% economic growth, largely fuelled by agriculture and the service sector. Puntland President Said Deni and VP Karaash disagreed over term extension plans, raising concerns of potential instability. The newly self-declared ‘Hiiraan State’ established its administration. Former Hirshabelle President Ware urged a peaceful resolution in Hiiraan amidst rising tensions. Somaliland is seeing progress in its fight against multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis, with Médecins Sans Frontières handing over its project to the local Health Ministry. Somalia’s Attorney General presented the annual audit reports to the Parliament. Bilateral trade discussions were held with Ethiopia, and the US pledged to strengthen its partnership with Somalia. In security, al-Shabaab attacked an Ethiopian military base in Eel Barde and a residential area in Mogadishu. Six foreign ISIS fighters surrendered in Puntland, and Somaliland forces shelled Las Anod during Independence Day celebrations.

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POLITICS
Highlights of the week:
       1. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud praises Las Anod for the 1st July celebrations
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud addressed the nation on 1st July on the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of Somalia’s independence. Celebrating unity, the aspirations of the Somali people in building a stable nation, and progress made by Somalia’s regions and districts, President Hassan Sheikh expressed his gratitude to various cities, particularly to Las Anod, which honoured Independence Day for the first time in 15 years. “The cities that marked the celebration are numerous, including Las Anod. The entire country has celebrated the anniversary, but I must say that the people of Las Anod were the first to fully embrace the commemoration, and I congratulate them on their victory. We will settle down in the coming years and we will enjoy peace and prosperity.”

      2. Former Somali Presidents comment on reconciliation between the Hawaadle and Abgaal clans
Former Somali President, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and former President of Hirshabelle State Mohamed Abdi Ware met on 4 July to discuss clan reconciliation efforts in the Halfooleey region. The two addressed the ongoing conflict between the Hawaadle and Abgaal clans, which has destabilised Halfooleey. Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed emphasised the need for comprehensive dialogue to resolve political differences that arose after the dismissal of Governor Ali Jeyte last month.

     3. Somalia’s economy grows by 2.4%
The Federal Government of Somalia’s National Bureau of Statistics has released a new report highlighting the country’s economic growth of 2.4% over the last financial year. The report, which is based on the expenditure method, provides a detailed analysis of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, including various sectors that contributed to its growth. According to the report, agriculture, which employs over 70% of the population, remains the backbone of Somalia’s economy, accounting for 30% of its GDP. The service sector, which includes telecommunications, banking, and transportation, showed significant growth, accounting for 28% of the GDP.

    4. Puntland President and Vice President disagree on term extension
Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni and his Vice President Ahmed Elmi Isman (Karaash) disagreed on the Puntland government’s term extension plan. President Deni has officially announced his intention to extend his term in office, while ensuring that elections are held within the legally mandated time frame, by January 2024. Reports indicate that VP Karaash has opposed the term extension plan but advocated for timely elections, arguing an extension could lead to political instability and renewed armed conflict in Puntland, reminiscent of the crisis that occurred during the term extension in 2001.

    5. Self-Declared ‘Hiiraan State’ establishes administration
The self-appointed President of ‘Hiiraan State,’ Ali Jeyte Osman, has announced the appointment of officials to his new administration. Jeyte has announced the appointment of governors for Hiiraan, as well as for the newly declared ‘Higher Shabelle region.’ Jeyte has appointed Abdiaziz Ahmed Adow (Jaaburi) as the Governor of Hiiraan under the ‘Hiiraan State’ administration, Gedi Ibrahim as the Commander of the ‘Hiiraan State’ Police Force, and Abdullahi Mohamed Farah Biriq as Deputy Commander. The position of Deputy Governor of the ‘Hiiraan State’ administration was given to Mohamoud Mohamed Sahane.

    6. Former Hirshabelle President calls for end to tensions in Hiiraan
Hisrshabelle’s former President, Mohamed Abdi Ware, called for an end to tensions in Hiiraan. He warned that the hostilities could allow al-Shabaab a foothold back in the region. Currently, he serves as the Special Presidential Envoy for Civilian Protection and Stabilisation. Ware’s warning referenced the differences that caused the sacking of Ali Osman Jeyte from his position as the Governor of the Hiiraan region. Following his sacking, ex-Governor Jeyte declared Hiiraan an independent region from Hirshabelle. Before his sacking, Jeyte had played a crucial role in the ongoing counterterrorism operations against al-Shabaab.

    7. Somaliland recovering from multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis
After four years of caring for patients with multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis in Somaliland, Médecins Sans Frontières is handing over its project to Somaliland’s Ministry of Health Development. Diagnosing patients with MDR-TB and starting them on treatment in a timely manner have presented major challenges to the under-resourced healthcare system in Somaliland, particularly for children. Since 2019, MSF has been supporting the MOHD to improve case identification and diagnostics and to provide holistic care to 198 patients with MDR-TB in the Hargeisa General Hospital, and three regional TB centres in Borama, Berbera and Burao. Over the past four years, significant progress has been made in improving the quality of care for patients with MDR-TB, while fatality rates have dropped, and cure rates have risen. Efforts to raise awareness about TB still need to step up, as it remains a largely misunderstood disease, particularly in rural areas.

    8. AG submits annual audit reports to Somalia’sParliament
Somalia’s Auditor General (AG), Ahmed Isse Gutale, stated that he submitted the annual audit reports to the Federal Parliament of Somalia on the 3rd of July 2023. The reports contain valuable recommendations aimed at enhancing accountability in the management of public resources, according to the Office of the Auditor General.

    9. Somalia and Ethiopia discuss bilateral trade
FGS Ambassador to Ethiopia Abdullahi Mohamed Warfa met with the Ethiopian State Minister of Trade, Kassahum Gofe Balami. They discussed strengthening bilateral relations on trade, and their fight against illegal trade. Ambassador Warfa also met with the Arab League Ambassador to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Walid Hamed Shiltagh. The two discussed economic cooperation and good governance. Walid assured Warfa that the Arab League will support Somalia’s bid for a seat on the UN Security Council, for which Somalia will compete soon. 

    10. Kenya’s new military chief meets Jubaland president in Kismayo
Kenya’s Chief of Defence Forces, General Francis Omondi Ogolla met with Jubaland State President Ahmed Mohamed Islam (Madoobe) at the Presidential Palace in Kismayo on 1 July. Accompanied by ATMIS Kenya Contingent Commander Lukas Kutto, and senior officials from the Kenya Defence Forces Headquarters, General Ogolla and President Madoobe discussed the security situation and the recent ATMIS troop draw-down. Ogolla also visited ATMIS Kenya Defence Forces at the New Airport FOB located on the outskirts of Kismayo.

    11. US vows to strengthen partnership with Somalia
The US government has promised a stronger partnership with Somalia. US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken made this promise while congratulating Somalia as it celebrated its 63rd Independence Day. Blinken commended Somalia for the efforts it has put into defeating terrorism while building peace and stability. He highlighted areas the US would strengthen with Somalia, including governance, reconciliation, and inclusive economic growth. Both nations will also work closely in improving resiliency to drought among other climatic shocks.

SECURITY
Highlight of the Week:
    1. Al-Shabaab attacks Ethiopian military base in Eel Barde
Ethiopian military forces stationed in the region of Atmara engaged in battle with al-Shabaab on the outskirts of Eel Barde town in Bay region, resulting in significant casualties. This is after al-Shabaab launched a surprise attack on the military base, leading to intense fighting, and resulting in the group overwhelming the base. Both Ethiopian and South West State security forces have reinforced their position in the town of Eel Barde, which suffered significant damage from the fighting. 

    2. Suspected Al-Shabaab attack in Mogadishu
On 4 July, suspected al-Shabaab militants conducted a mortar round attack near Mogadishu’s presidential palace, killing three family members, including an infant. The casualties included a Quranic school teacher and an Imam. This attack follows a series of violent incidents in Somalia perpetrated by al-Shabaab, aiming to destabilize the country and establish an Islamic state. Despite efforts by the government and international allies to curb the group’s activities, al-Shabaab continues to pose a significant threat, evidenced by recent attacks in Mogadishu and Middle Shabelle.

    3. Six foreign ISIS fighters surrender to Puntland state
Six foreign ISIS fighters have surrendered to authorities in Puntland, the semi-autonomous regional state of Somalia. Police said the foreigners were among 12 Daesh militants that surrendered to Puntland security forces in the Bari mountainous region. Three of the foreigners came from Sudan while the other three came from Ethiopia. Major General Abdiqadir Jama Dirir, Commander of the Bari Regional Police, confirmed that the men surrendered in different areas. One of these men was identified as Muhamad Abdullahi Abdirahim. He said he was from Sudan in a video broadcast by Puntland government television. Abdirahim said that the Ballidhidhin district administration had welcomed him and provided him with food and clothes.

    4. Somaliland forces shell Las Anod during Independence Day celebrations
On 30 June, Somaliland forces fired artillery into Las Anod during a ceremony marking the 63rd anniversary of Somalia’s independence. Former Speaker of Somaliland’s House of Representatives, Abdirisak Khalif Ahmed, condemned the attack. It was the first time in 15 years that Laas Anod hosted a ceremony commemorating the day Somalia gained independence from Italy.

    5. President Ruto says KDF will remain in Somalia beyond scheduled ATMIS drawdown
Kenya’s President, William Ruto, has affirmed that Kenyan troops will remain in Somalia despite the scheduled drawdown of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). This move is aimed at continuing the fight against al-Shabaab militants and preserving the progress made. ATMIS has begun transferring Forward Operating Bases to the Somali National Army, with about 2,000 soldiers expected to depart by July’s end. Despite recent al-Shabaab attacks in Kenya, Ruto insists on maintaining open borders to prevent the group from profiting from smuggled goods.


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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