Gorfayn Weekly Briefs, Thursday 10 August 2023

President H, S. Mohamud in Dhuusamareeb met with clan elders. | Photo: Villa Somalia Facebook
President H, S. Mohamud in Dhuusamareeb met with clan elders. | Photo: Villa Somalia Facebook

Executive Summary:
This week saw several important political developments in Somalia. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud met with clan leaders in Galmudug ahead of a renewed offensive against al-Shabaab. Meanwhile, the Director General of the Somali Disaster Management Agency met with the Chinese ambassador, who pledged financial support for humanitarian efforts. On the domestic front, Somalia reopened its National Blood Bank for the first time in 30 years to address critical shortages. The speakers of parliament also held discussions on the constitutional review process and pledged greater cooperation. However, a concerning development was the auditor general’s claims of financial mismanagement at Somali embassies abroad. On the economic front, market prices rose following Russia’s suspension of the Black Sea grain deal. In Somaliland, a UK Member of Parliament met with parliament leaders and was lauded for advocating Somaliland’s independence.
     On the security front, Somalia launched the second phase of its anti-al-Shabaab offensive in Galmudug and Hirshabelle states. The National Intelligence Agency also arrested 10 alleged al-Shabaab spies, though 2 remain at large. The Somali National Army destroyed a militant stronghold in Mukalye and liberated areas in Galgaduud and Middle Shabelle from al-Shabaab control. The wives of al-Shabaab leaders also went on trial for allegedly concealing their husbands’ affiliations. Regional cooperation against al-Shabaab was strengthened as AMISOM and frontline states agreed to enhance joint efforts. Finally, al-Shabaab banned 35 centres of the Hormuud telecom company in protest of its alleged cooperation with government forces.

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POLITICS
Highlights of the week:
     President meets clan leaders ahead of offensive
Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has met with clan leaders from the central regions of Galgaduud and Mudug amid mobilisation for the renewed offensive against al-Shabaab. The President, currently in Galmudug’s capital Dhuusamareeb, is reportedly set to give the green light for military operations aimed at completing the first offensive phase against AS, Deputy Minister of Information Abdirahman Yusuf said HSM will stay there to boost force morale and travel to several towns during the offensive. In the past few days, authorities have released images showing hundreds of clan militias ready to participate in the offensive.

SODMA Director General meets with Chinese ambassador
The Director General of the Somali Disaster Management Agency (SODMA), Mahamud Ma’alim Abdulle,  has met with the Chinese Ambassador to Somalia, Fei Shengchao, in Mogadishu. The Chinese ambassador reportedly pledged to provide financial support for humanitarian relief, particularly for those affected in al-Shabaab-controlled areas and communities displaced by floods.

Somalia reopens National Blood Bank to address critical shortage
Somalia reopened the country’s National Blood Bank on 5 August for the first time in over 30 years, in a move to address the shortage of blood supplies in the country. Prime Minister Hamza Barre, who inaugurated the reopening in Mogadishu, called it a crucial achievement for the nation, which has been grappling with frequent disasters and violent incidents that require adequate blood supplies.

Speakers of Somali Parliaments Hold Discussions on Constitutional Review Process
Speakers of both houses of the federal parliament met on Tuesday to discuss the constitutional review process in the country. Speaker Sheikh Adan Madoobe and Speaker Abdi Hashi of the House of Representatives and the Senate respectively discussed priority tasks of parliament too. They agreed on the need for strengthening cooperation between their two houses of parliament. Madoobe and Hashi were open to the idea of the Lower House and Upper House working together to address important issues affecting the nation.

Auditor General claims mismanagement of funds in embassies
Auditor General of the Federal Government of Somalia, Ahmed Isse Gutale on Monday said that Somali embassies in Kenya, Turkey and Germany were involved in financial mismanagement related to the revenue collected and was not added to the annual financial report in 2022. He said that the Office of the Auditor General learned this by conducting investigation related to mistakes of financial management at our diplomatic missions.

Market prices rise after Black Sea grain deal terminated
Market prices in Somalia have reportedly risen following Russia’s suspension of its participation in the Black Sea grain deal. In Africa, 25 countries currently rely on Russia and Ukraine for over one-third of their imported wheat. During the Russia-Africa Summit on 27 July, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that his country would provide free grain to 6 African countries, including Somalia, in the next three to four months.

UK MP in Meeting with Leaders of Both Houses of Somaliland Parliament
A Member of Parliament (MP) from the United Kingdom held discussions with the leadership of both houses of the Somaliland parliament. Sir Gavin Williamson met with Suleiman Mohamud Adan and Yasin Haji Mohamud Hiir Fartoon. Adan is the Speaker of the Senate while Fartoon serves as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Mr. Williamson received much acclaim upon his arrival for the leading role he plays in the UK parliament to advocate for Somaliland’s recognition as an independent nation from Somalia. He then attended a bicameral session of both chambers of parliament where his efforts were lauded further. The UK MP then expressed gratitude to his hosts for the warm welcome accorded him.

SECURITY
Highlight of the Week:
     Somalia Launches Second Phase of Anti-al-Shabaab Offensive
Somali Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre announced the commencement of the second phase of the anti-al-Shabaab operation in the country on Sunday, a day after President Mohamud relocated to Dhuusamareeb to expedite the military operation. Prime Minister Barre stated that the operation against al-Shabaab in Galmudug and Hirshabelle States would conclude shortly, with the subsequent operation slated for Jubaland and the South West regions. Prime Minister Hamza also disclosed that the government has readied approximately 10,000 soldiers who will participate in the second phase of the operation aimed at eradicating al-Shabaab.

National Intelligence and Security Agency arrests 10 spies for Al-Shabaab
The Somali government has confirmed that the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) has arrested 10 individuals who were spying for the militant group Al-Shabaab. The announcement was made by Information Minister Daud Aweys on Friday, who stated that the arrests were made following a thorough investigation by NISA. Aweys also revealed that two government officers who were involved in spying for al-Shabaab are currently on the run and urged the public to provide any information they may have regarding the whereabouts of Abdisatar Abdulkadir Isse and Ayanle Mohamed Ali. The arrests come as the Somali National Army (SNA) and its international allies continue to carry out successful operations against al-Shabaab.

SNA Destroy al-Shabaab Stronghold in Mukalye
An operation by the Somali National Army (SNA) led to the complete annihilation of an al-Shabaab stronghold in Mukalye. SNA undertook the operation on Monday in Mukalye and Bulo Burde. The military discovered a large garage that the terrorists used as their storage for deadly explosives. Furthermore, reports by sources within the military added that the SNA forces discovered and destroyed four minibuses that were rigged with explosives. Several militants were killed though the exact number remains unclear.

SNA conducts operations to liberate more territories from al-Shabaab
The Somali National Army with the local forces conducted operations that led to the liberation of more areas from the al-Shabaab including Maraay Suuleey, Shiikhoow Gaab, Hilowle Gaab, Ciid Kuus, and Hussein Ageey which are located in the Galgaduud and Middle Shabelle regions. The Army cleared the areas between Ruun Nirgood and Eeldheer destroying the bases of the militants. Officials of the National Army and the liberation forces told the National Media that the operation will continue until the areas controlled by the terrorist militants are cleared and peace is restored.

Trial begins for al-Shabaab wives
The wives of prominent al-Shabaab leaders appeared before the armed forces court in Somalia. The women faced charges of concealing their husbands’ affiliations with the notorious extremist group and providing false information to security agencies. During the proceedings, the accused women openly admitted that their husbands were indeed associated with al-Shabaab. However, some of them claimed to have had limited knowledge of their spouses’ activities initially. They vehemently denied any involvement in supporting or collaborating with their husbands’ extremist agenda. The prosecution team presented evidence suggesting that these women had been coerced into accompanying their husbands to remote forest hideouts.

ATMIS and Frontline States discuss al-Shabaab
The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) met with Somalia’s neighbouring countries, to enhance security and stability in Somalia, and have agreed to intensify cooperation in the fight against Al-Shabaab insurgency. A meeting was convened in Mogadishu attended by Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Souef, the Head of ATMIS, Brigadier General Okiding, and the Commander of neighbouring countries’ forces, Major General Mohamed Bariise. In the past year, Somalia and the surrounding countries (Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya) have agreed to collaborate closely in a concerted military offensive against the significant threat posed by al-Shabaab, known as “Operation Black Leopard,” which aims to dismantle the group’s footholds across the Horn of Africa region, ensuring peace not only for Somalia but also for the entire region. The agreement was reached during a high-level meeting chaired by the President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, attended by the leaders of Kenya, Djibouti, and Ethiopia.

Al-Shabaab bans Hormuud telecoms company centres
Al-Shabaab has issued a ban on 35 centres operated by the Hormuud Telecommunication Company in several regions under their control. The group has reportedly instructed residents in these areas to distance themselves from the company’s services and switch to alternative providers. Additionally, all vehicles belonging to the telecom company have been halted from operating within the affected regions. While there has been no official confirmation of a complete shutdown of Hormuud’s services by al-Shabaab, reports indicate that tensions have been escalating between the company and the al-Shabaab leaders. Allegedly, the group has been pressuring Hormuud to cease providing services to the government forces especially salary payments through their mobile phones. However, the company has expressed difficulties in implementing such a measure.


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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