Gorfayn Weekly Briefs, Thursday 07 September 2023

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Aadan Yabaal to reorganise the troops. Photo: Villa Somalia FB

Executive Summary:
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and former Hiiraan governor Ali Jeyte reached an agreement to ease tensions in Hiiraan region after negotiations facilitated by the Hawaadle clan chief Ugaas Yuusuf. This is seen as progress towards restoring unity in Beledweyne. President Mohamud stated military operations against al-Shabaab will continue until final victory, denying the group’s claims of killing 178 soldiers in Owsweyne. Presidential envoy Mohamed Abdi Ware cited differences with Defence Minister Abdulkadir Mohamed Nuur over the war on terror, accusing Nuur of overstepping. Somali clerics voiced support for the anti-terror campaign and urged public participation. Somaliland opposition parties Waddani and UCID welcomed mediation efforts to resolve election dispute. ICPAC forecasted a wet October-December period, with over 80% chance of above average rainfall in parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia due to El Niño. Russia started grain deliveries to six African countries including Somalia. Somalia and EAC concluded negotiations in Nairobi regarding Somalia’s potential accession to the bloc. Fierce battle occurred between al-Shabaab and SNA in Qoryooleey town. U.S. airstrike in Mudug killed several al-Shabaab militants. AU to withdraw 3,000 troops from Somalia by next month.

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Highlights of the week:
       President Mohamud and former Hiiraan governor reach deal to ease tensions in Hiiraan Region
       President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and former Hiiraan Governor Ali Jeyte Osman have reportedly reached a breakthrough agreement. After several days of intense negotiations, facilitated by Ugaas Yusuf Ugaas Hassan, the influential clan chief of Hawaadle, a deal has been struck to ease political tensions in the Hiiraan region. Sources close to Villa Somalia, the presidential palace, have confirmed this momentous news, shedding light on the efforts made to restore political unity in Hirshabelle. The roots of this political dispute can be traced back to July when Ali Jeyte Osman was removed from office, triggering his rebellion. Since then, tensions have remained high, posing a significant challenge to regional stability. However, the recent negotiations have brought a glimmer of hope for a resolution to this prolonged conflict.

War on al-Shabaab will continue until ‘final victory’, says Somali president
       Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said military operations against al-Shabaab will not stop until final victory is achieved. He was speaking Tuesday, a day after government troops retreated from several towns following a setback in Owsweyne village on Saturday. He praised government soldiers who dislodged the militants from vast areas since the offensive was launched last year, and paid tribute to those soldiers and local fighters who participated in the operations. President Mohamud denied al-Shabaab’s claim that 178 soldiers were killed in the Owsweyne attack. Instead, he said that al-Shabab lost the most, killed their wounded, and buried their dead in mass graves.

Somalia’s presidential envoy cites differences with the Defence Minister in the ongoing war on terror
       A presidential envoy has cited his differences with the federal Minister of Defence in the ongoing war against terrorism. Mohamed Abdi Ware, the Special Presidential Envoy for Civilian Protection and Stabilisation, opened up on the differences that he has with Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur, the defence minister. Over the last few weeks, he has repeatedly labelled Nur “an impediment” to the war on terror. Ware claims that Nur “overstepped” his role when he interfered with troops and army commanders responsible for liberating the country from al-Shabaab’s control. The Special Envoy added that Nur continuously issues orders to the troops. He asked the minister to focus on setting policy.

Somali clerics voice support for war on terrorism, urge public participation
       Religious leaders in Somalia have reiterated their support for the ongoing campaign against terrorism in the country and called on all Somalis to play an active role in ending the scourge of terrorism. Speaking during a gathering in Mogadishu hosted by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the clerics said they stand by the President’s efforts to rid Somalia of terrorism. One of the clerics, Sheikh Bashir, said the war against al-Shabaab is a national duty that ought to be heeded by every Somali.

Somaliland Opposition parties welcome electoral dispute mediation
       The opposition parties of Somaliland, Waddani and UCID, have separately announced their acceptance of the decision made by the mediation committee regarding the electoral dispute in Somaliland. Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi Irro, the Presidential Candidate of Waddani, stated that his party is in agreement with the mediation committee’s decision. Irro also extended an olive branch to President Muse Bihi Abdi, suggesting they both accept the elders’ proposal since they had both urged the involvement of elders for a fair solution. The other opposition party in Somaliland, UCID, has al so welcomed the decision made by the electoral dispute mediation committee. UCID Party Chairman, Faysal Ali Waraabe, who spoke to the media with military uniform on, stated that as a party, they have accepted the committee’s decision regarding the electoral process.

El Niño likely to bring heavy rain to Horn of Africa – ICPAC
       The Nairobi-based IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre has said that its October to December forecast shows “high chances of wetter-than-usual conditions across most parts of the Greater Horn of Africa” with the current El Niño. The forecast includes a greater than 80 per cent chance of above average rainfall in southern Ethiopia, eastern Kenya, and southern Somalia, but also probable dry conditions for parts of Uganda and South Sudan, according to the ICPAC scientists, who provide climate services to 11 East African nations. The heavy rainfall across much of the region from March to May this year may combine with increased precipitation in the last quarter of 2023 to cause floods, they add. ICPAC Director Guleid Artan said that the region has entered El Niño conditions which, for Eastern Africa, are synonymous with wetter conditions during October, November, and December.

Russia starts grain deliveries to Africa
       Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday that “the practical work” on supply of Russian grain to six African countries has already begun. Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Eritrea, Mali, Somalia, and Zimbabwe will each get 50,000 tons of grain free of charge in the coming months, he said at an event in Moscow. Russia will also pay the related expenses, he added. Touching upon Ukraine, he said Saudi Arabia informed Moscow that the meeting that took place on August 5-6 in Jeddah was organized “to convey to the Western participants and to Ukraine itself the idea” that the peace settlement between Moscow and Kyiv could not move forward without Russia’s participation.

Somalia and East African Community Conclude Negotiations in Nairobi
       After nine days of intense negotiations in Nairobi, the Federal Republic of Somalia and the East African Community (EAC) have concluded. The talks covered a wide range of subjects including political, legal, security, social, and productive sectors, infrastructure, economic and trade affairs. The results of the negotiations will be presented to the heads of state of the EAC at their upcoming summit in November this year. At this summit, the leaders will evaluate the report and are expected to make a decision regarding Somalia’s accession to the EAC. With the ultimate goal of Somalia joining the EAC, both negotiating teams were able to clarify issues that were raised during the verification process. This marks a significant step forward in enhancing regional collaboration and integration.

Highlight of the Week:
       Fierce battle between al-Shabaab and SNA in QoryooleyA fierce battle between al-Shabaab and the Somali National Army (SNA) took place in Qoryooley. The militants launched the assault from the Farsooley side, trying to overrun the city and capture it from the government forces. The fighting was intense and continued for about two hours. Al-Shabaab falsely claimed to have captured the city and has driven out government troops and Ma’awiisleey militia. The group often exaggerates its battlefield claims. The government denied this claim.

‘Several’ Al-Shabaab militants killed in U.S. airstrike in central Somalia
       A U.S. airstrike hit al-Shabaab targets in Mudug region killing several militants, military sources said. According to reports from Mudug region, the airstrike targeted a forest in Dumaaye area in Harardheere district where al-Shabaab militants were gathering.

3,000 AU troops to exit from Somalia by next month
       The African Union peacekeeping mission’s leadership said on Tuesday that the mission will withdraw 3,000 additional troops from Somalia, to pave the way for Somalia’s government to take over the security of the Horn of African nation. Lt. Gen. Sam Okiding, ATMIS force commander, told journalists in the Somali capital Mogadishu that AU planned to draw down 3000 uniformed personnel by 30 September 2023 to reduce military personnel from 17,626 to 14,626 by 30 September this year.

Somali army repulses al-Shabaab attack in Darulnaim village
       Heavy fighting erupted in Darulnaim village of the Middle Shabelle region on Monday, as Somali army forces, supported by local militia, clashed with al-Shabaab militants. The Infantry Commander of the Somali National Army, Brigadier General Ahmed Aden Ali, stated that the joint army repelled the al-Shabaab attack and inflicted casualties on the militants.

Somali Govt deploys elite forces to frontlines as the war takes new shape
       The government of Somalia has deployed elite troops to the front lines of the war, especially in the east of the Galgaduud region, after army retreats. A total of 1,500 soldiers have been sent to the central region from the coastal town of Adale in the Middle Shabelle region, where President Hassan Sheikh is making mobilisation. The head of state is in Mahaas town, eastern Hiiraan region, where he’s holding talks with local clan militia leaders and officials to help the government in the final push against al-Shabaab.

Somali army chief calls SNA’s retreat from areas in Galmudug a ‘war strategy’
       The commander of the Somali National Army, General Ibrahim Sheikh Muhuddiin, broke the silence over the SNA’s recent unexpected retreat from newly captured areas in Galmudug state. Muhuddiin speaking along with Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre during a troop visit in Aadan Yabaal said that the government forces withdrew from five key villages as a tactic of war.

Somalia arrests army officers for vacating frontline towns, president says
       Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Tuesday said officers had been arrested for pulling out from a number of frontal towns after setbacks in an offensive against al-Shabaab. Speaking to members of the Somali army in Mahaas town in the central region of Hiiraan, the President said soldiers should consolidate the gains made in the fight against al-Shabaab and those who retreat from the frontline will be brought to justice.

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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