Gorfayn Weekly Briefs, Thursday 17 August 2023

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Dhusamareb at the 17th anniversary of Galmudug establishment | Photo: Galmudug State House Facebook

Executive Summary:
The Somali president’s Chief of Staff resigned to run for regional office. The President warned against using tribal affiliations to defend officials accused of corruption. Parliament questioned the sports minister over mismanagement allegations. Four Labour Ministry officials faced a corruption trial’s second hearing. Finance ministers reached agreements on fiscal policy and World Bank grants. Kenya and Somalia agreed to increase flight frequencies between the two countries.
     The President promised to retake the remaining Galmudug areas from al-Shabaab soon. Somalia established its first national counterterrorism centre. The Army Chief met with UN officials about transitioning security responsibilities from the AU forces. Turkish-trained elite forces attacked al-Shabaab bases. 150 Amhara peacekeepers were arrested in Somalia amid Ethiopian conflicts. Government and al-Shabaab forces battled in Bal’ad. Government forces intercepted a car laden with explosives bound for Mogadishu. Somaliland shelling in disputed Laas Aanood killed six, including children and a celebrated poet.

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Highlights of the week:
     President’s Chief of Staff resigns to vie for South West presidency
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s Chief of Staff has resigned. Hussein Sheikh Mahmoud tendered his resignation on Sunday stating that it is time for him to seek to serve Somalis in a different office. He cited his ambition of taking over as the President of the regional state of South West. In a resignation posted on his Facebook account, Mahmoud said that his resignation was informed by the growing concern over the situation in that state. Mahmoud added that South West residents and leaders had urged him to vie for that seat.

President cautions the public against tribal defence in graft trial
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has warned the public against recourse to tribal lines in defence of suspects accused of corruption whose hearing is currently underway in Mogadishu. On Monday evening in Dhusamareb, at a celebration honouring the 17th anniversary of Galmudug State, President Mohamud spoke about the ongoing investigations involving numerous government agencies. These inquiries have resulted in the identification of missing funds and the tracking of their destinations. The government’s anti-corruption initiatives go beyond lower-level employees within government agencies, President Mohamud underscored. Civil servants across all government institutions accused of corruption will face the music the President added.

Federal Parliament holds an inquiry into Ministry of Sports
Somalia’s Federal Parliament questioned the Minister of Sports and Youth, Mohamed Barre Mohamud, on 13 August. The meeting was intended to satisfy the members of the Parliament and the Somali people following allegations of mismanagement in the ministry. The session was chaired by the First Deputy Chairperson of the Lower House of the People, Sadia Yasin Haji Samatar and the second Deputy Chairperson, Abdullahi Omar Abshirow.

Second hearing of corruption cases against four officials starts
A corruption case filed against four Somali civil servants is in its second hearing. The second hearing of the case kicked off on Thursday at the Banaadir Regional Court. Two of those charged are out of the country. The other two were in court on Wednesday. All four are employees of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. The Office of the Attorney General filed the lawsuit against the four.

Somali Finance Ministers reach agreement on key financial issues
A meeting of the Ministers of Finance of the Federal Government, the Federal Member States, and the Banaadir Regional Government concluded in Mogadishu on Saturday. The ministers focused their meeting on the development of the country’s financial system, raising domestic revenue, debt relief, and the allocation of the World Bank’s budget support grant (DPO). The ministers reached an agreement. Puntland was absent from the conference and has not participated in all the recent meetings after a dispute with the Federal Government which has not yet been resolved.

Kenya, Somalia agree to increase flight frequency
Kenya and Somalia on Wednesday signed a bilateral air services agreement that will see their airlines increase the frequency of travel in both countries. In a statement, cabinet secretary for the Ministry of Roads, Transport, and Public Works, Kipchumba Murkomen, said that the designated airlines of the two countries would be allowed to operate seven weekly frequencies for passenger flights as set out in specified routes. On the other hand, cargo flights will operate at unlimited frequencies.

Somalia, Mozambique agree to boost bilateral relations
Somalia and Mozambique have agreed to enhance their bilateral relations following talks between diplomats from both countries. Somali Ambassador Abdullahi Mohamed Warfaa and Mozambican counterpart Sergio Balio discussed various issues including security, trade, and investment. They also agreed to work together to promote cultural and educational exchanges.

Highlight of the Week:
     President assures Galmudug of the liberation of entire regionPresident Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said that his government will retake the last areas in Galmudug from al-Shabaab. The imminent Somali National Army offensive, he said, will start before the launch of the second phase of the offensive, in which the frontline countries of Kenya, Djibouti, and Ethiopia will reportedly participate. Speaking at the commemoration of the 17th anniversary of Galmudug’s establishment, HSM announced that government forces are now heading to Eelbuur and Galhareeri in the Galgaduud region.

Somalia establishes first national counterterrorism center
Somalia’s Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre on Sunday established Tubsan, the first national counterterrorism centre in the Horn of Africa nation, amid an ongoing fight against the Al-Qaeda-aligned militants, his office said. The Premier named Abdullahi Mohamed Nur as the director of the new centre and Ibrahim Nadara, who defected from al-Shabaab in 2016, as his deputy.

Somali Army Chief engages UN officials to boost security transition
General Ibrahim Sheikh Muhyiddin, the Commander of the Somali National Army, recently held a crucial meeting with senior officials from the United Nations Office in Somalia. The meeting, which took place in the capital city, Mogadishu, focused primarily on the second phase of the reduction of the African Union Transition in Somalia (ATMIS) forces. During the discussions, the head of the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), Akayira, reaffirmed the UN’s unwavering commitment to providing crucial logistical support to the armed forces of Somalia. This commitment aims to enhance the capabilities of the Somali National Army in its ongoing efforts to improve security and stability in the country.

Turkish-trained Gorgor elite forces target Al-Shabaab bases
In conjunction with clan militias, the national army has dislodged al-Shabaab from swathes of central Somalia, marking a breakthrough in the 16-year war. An official confirmed to Radio Shabelle that the Turkish-trained elite forces from the Gorgor brigade of the national army (SNA) swept into key areas between Gal’ad and Towfiiq towns. The operation has yielded territorial gains after the government troops forced al-Shabaab fighters to flee from their base, without showing resistance during the military advances. The government of Somalia under the leadership of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud plans to resume offensive, even though it has not fully consolidated its hold in the previously liberated areas.

At least 150 Ethiopian peacekeepers from Amhara region arrested in Somalia
Ethiopia arrested at least 150 peacekeepers from Amhara region in Somalia this week amid escalating conflict with Fano militias, Caasimada Online news website reported on Thursday. The soldiers were disarmed in Ethiopian military bases in the towns of Diinsoor, Buurhakaba, and Baidoa in south Somalia’s Bay region due to security fears following clashes between Amhara militias and the Ethiopian defence forces. Among those disarmed is a high-ranking commander and they were all airlifted to Ethiopia where they will face prosecution.

Fierce battle erupts between al-Shabaab and govt forces in Bal’ad district
A fierce clash between government forces and al-Shabaab militants has erupted in the Basra area between Bal’ad and Afgooye, according to reports emerging from the Bal’ad district. Local sources indicate that the confrontation was initiated by al-Shabaab fighters who launched an attack on a government army base in the area. Several security forces are actively engaged in combat. The Haram’ad forces, National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), and the Military Police forces, recently entrusted with a significant portion of the capital’s security responsibilities, are all participating in the conflict.

Government forces intercept a car laden with explosives bound for Mogadishu
Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) intercepted an explosives-rigged vehicle in Eelasha Biyaha, located about 15 km south of Mogadishu, on Wednesday following a security operation. This interception comes two days after the Somali National Army (SNA), with the support of international partners, targeted an oversized garage in the Mukayle area of the Bulaburte district in the Hiiraan region where the militants were preparing explosive devices. However, the federal government did not disclose the precise number of militants killed during the operation yet.

Somaliland army shelling leaves six dead in Laas Aanood
At least six people, including children and a traditional elder named Amir Jama Mohamed Digale, have been killed in a Somaliland shelling of Laas Aanood. The shelling also killed Jama Kadiye, a renowned poet on Wednesday. The SSC-Khatumo forces responded to the mortar bombings of Somaliland which led to sporadic fighting taking place in the east of the city, according to residents. The Somaliland forces stationed at a base in the eastern suburbs of Laas Aanood carried out an indiscriminate bombardment in the key city, which caused damage and deaths to civilians.

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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