Gorfayn Weekly Briefs, Thursday 13 July 2023

Somalii Leaders
Somali leaders, past and present, meet in Mogadishu to discuss the country’s affairs. Photo: Villa Somalia Facebook

Executive Summary:
This week in Somali politics, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud chairs a national consultative meeting with former leaders. Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre reshuffled the cabinet, appointing a new Minister of Finance and State Minister of Interior and Federal Affairs. A meeting on Somalia’s accession to the East African Community was chaired by the PM, emphasizing Somalia’s potential for political and economic development. Mogadishu witnessed protests urging the repatriation of soldiers stranded in Eritrea. Jubaland politicians formed an opposition union in Nairobi, opposing the Federal Government’s “intervention”. The Somali Diaspora Conference was opened in Mogadishu, focusing on the diaspora’s role in reconstruction. Kenya’s Intelligence Chief visited Mogadishu to strengthen anti-terrorism efforts.

On the security front, al-Shabaab ambushed an Ethiopian military convoy, leading to confrontations. Heavy fighting between Somali government forces and al-Shabaab militants took place in the Beledweyne area. Al-Shabaab started an extortion campaign targeting private schools and universities in Mogadishu. Anti-al-Shabaab operations have resumed in the Hiiraan region, led by the newly appointed governor. Kenyan forces killed 23 al-Shabaab fighters near the Somali border. US airstrikes killed 10 al-Shabaab members near Afmadow.

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Highlights of the week:
    1. President chairs a national consultative meeting in Mogadishu
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has invited current and former political leaders to a consultative meeting set to commence in Mogadishu on Wednesday 12 July. The meeting, which will last for two days, will be attended by former and current presidents, prime ministers, and speakers of parliament of Somalia. The meeting will focus on the country’s current affairs as part of the government’s plan for idea sharing in the national interest.
    2. Somali PM reshuffles Cabinet
Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre reshuffled his cabinet on 8 June, appointing a new Minister of Finance, Bihi Iman Egeh, to the Federal Government of Somalia. Sadaad Mohamed Nur Aliow was appointed State Minister of Interior and Federal Affairs, succeeding Ilyas Ali Hassan. Abukar Jelani Sheikh was also appointed State Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowments.
    3. Prime Minister chairs meeting on East African Community application
Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre chaired a meeting discussing Somalia’s ongoing accession process to the East African Community organisation. This meeting was attended by various government officials, highlighting the importance of Somalia’s integration into EAC to realise the country’s political and economic development potential. The meeting addressed various aspects related to Somalia’s application, including steps towards achieving membership.
    4. Protesters urge president to repatriate soldiers from Eritrea
Parents of Somali National Army soldiers stranded in Eritrea for 5 years staged a protest in Mogadishu on Saturday 8 July, calling on Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to repatriate them. Some parents accused HSM of failing to deliver on his promise that he would bring the soldiers home. HSM’s government has returned hundreds of soldiers to Mogadishu but has not disclosed the number remaining in Eritrean training camps.
    5. Jubaland politicians form opposition union in Nairobi
Jubaland Politicians have announced the formation of Union of Presidential Candidates for the Jubaland Regional State following a meeting held in Nairobi on Saturday. The Union of Jubaland Presidential Candidates elected Abdiqani Qasim Gabow as the union’s chairman. The members issued a statement accusing the Federal Government of unlawfully supporting President Ahmed Mohamed Islam (Madoobe). Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail Fartaag, a member of the union and the former Vice President of Jubaland and Senator in the Upper House, stated that the federal government is exerting pressure on the authorities in the Gedo region to collaborate with Ahmed Madoobe’s administration. Fartaag claimed that the Federal Government has threatened to withhold salaries from those who refuse to cooperate with the newly appointed administration in the Gedo region. The candidates strongly objected to the recent appointment of a new administration by Jubaland President Ahmed Madoobe in the Gedo region.
    6. Somali Diaspora Conference begins in Mogadishu
Minister of Foreign Affairs Abshir Omar Jama opened the Somali Diaspora Conference in Mogadishu on Monday 10 July. The conference was attended by federal ministers, members of both houses of parliament, civil society representatives, and Somali diaspora members. Jama emphasised the role played by the diaspora in the country’s reconstruction. The conference will focus on how the Somali diaspora can help develop the government, contribute to the economy, and address the needs of the diaspora.
    7. Kenya’s intelligence chief arrives in Mogadishu amidst rise in terror attacks
Kenya’s Intelligence Chief, Noordin Mohamed Haji, arrived in Mogadishu on 7th July for a high-level visit aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism.  Haji was warmly welcomed by his Somali counterpart Mahad Mohamed Salad upon his arrival. During his stay, Haji met with top Somali leaders to discuss joint Somali-Kenyan efforts to combat international terrorist activity and the threat posed by the militant group al-Shabaab. The discussions centred on intelligence sharing and the coordination of security operations along the two countries’ shared border.

Highlight of the Week:
    1. Al-Shabaab ambush Ethiopian convoy in Somalia
Al-Shabaab fighters ambushed a military convoy carrying Ethiopian forces in besieged Bakool region on Saturday, authorities said. The attack started with an IED which hit one of the pickup trucks in the convoy, leading to a confrontation between the attackers and the ENDF soldiers, which raged on for an hour. Details of the casualty figures on both sides were not immediately clear as the area of the attack between Wajid and Rabdhure towns in Hudur is inaccessible with no communication.
    2. Heavy fighting erupts between security forces and Al-Shabaab in Beledweyne
Heavy fighting erupted between Somali government forces, supported by local clan militia, and al-Shabaab militants in the Bardhere area, 22 km south of Beledweyne in the Hiiraan region. The fighting follows the resumption of joint anti-al Shabab operations in Southern Hiiraan, especially in the Tabantab and Mohamed Hassan villages. The self declared president of the Hiiraan State administration, Ali Jeyte Osman, two members of the Lower House of the Parliament, Mohamed Abduqadir Mohamed and Mohamed Abdullahi Buralle, and the commander of the 5th battalion of the 27th division of the Somali army, Mohamud Hassan Ibrahim Baakay, were leading the troops engaged in the operations. The number of casualties remains unknown, and local officials have refrained from commenting on the situation. The clashes in Southern Hiiraan come shortly after another confrontation between al-Shabaab militants and government forces, supported by local forces, erupted in the Bera Yabal area, part of the Buulaburte district in the Hiiraan region on Friday night.
    3. Al-Shabaab targets private schools and universities near Mogadishu for extortion
Al-Shabaab has reportedly begun an extortion campaign targeting private schools and some universities in the capital. The targeted regions include Galka Salimow, Eelasha and Jaziira districts on the outskirts of Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab has reportedly ordered each institution to pay a monthly sum ranging from USD 200 to 300.
    4. Designated Hiiraan governor announces resumption of anti-al-Shabaab operations
The newly appointed governor of Hiiraan region, Abdullahi Ahmed Sufurow, announced the resumption of anti-al-Shabaab operations in the region on Monday 10 July. The move comes after former governor Ali Jeyte Osman, reportedly assumed as the interim President of the self-declared Hiiraan State administration, re-started operations in southern Hiiraan on Saturday 8 July. In a press conference in Beledweyne, Sufurow said federal forces and local militia will soon expand operations to the east and west of the Hiiraan region to combat al-Shabaab.
    5. Kenyan forces kill over 20 Al-Shabaab fighters
At least 23 al-Shabaab fighters were killed in fierce fighting with a Special Operation Group (Sog) in Mandera county near Kenya’s border with Somalia. According to the police statement, eight security officers were also injured. Dr Resila Onyango, the National Police Spokesperson said the security agencies responded ‘successfully’. “There was an incident in Mandera and preliminary investigations indicate that the resulting heavy gunfire exchange between our officers who were on patrol, and the militants, left 20 militants fatally injured,” she said by phone. Police also recovered assorted weapons from the scene including a sub-machine gun and an RPG among other items recovered, according to Dr Onyango. Dr Onyango said none of the 23 killed suspected militants has been identified by the locals but investigations were underway to know their origin.
    6. US airstrikes kill 10 al-Shabaab members
US Africa Command has conducted three airstrikes in a remote area near Afmadow, approximately 105km north of Kismayo, against al-Shabaab in support of Somali National Army forces. The SNA and AFRICOM’s initial assessment was that the airstrike killed 10 AS fighters with no civilians injured or killed.

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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