Gorfayn Weekly Briefs, Thursday 24 August 2023

Former military captain Sheegoow shortly after being captured | Photo: Social Media images

Executive Summary:
This week in Somali politics, a Somali MP was detained in Mandera over false identity charges. Protests erupted in Mogadishu demanding the release of ex-military captain Sheegow Ahmed Ali. The Upper House passed the first reading of the Auditor General bill. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud appointed a new Chief of Staff, Abdihakim Yusuf, after Hussein Sheikh Mohamud resigned. South West State fired the Barawe district commissioner and deputy over cooperation issues. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi emphasized adhering to new election timelines despite opposition claims.
          On the security front, the US conducted an airstrike killing 5 al-Shabaab militants in Ali Heele. Al-Shabaab is accused of arming residents in Eelbuur ahead of an assault. Fresh clashes erupted in Garowe amid political tensions. Renegade General Sheegow was arrested after a deadly clash with police in Mogadishu. Mortar shells landed at Mogadishu airport injuring two. A car bomb exploded near a stadium in Mogadishu. The Somali government announced amnesty for al-Shabaab members. Officials confirmed neighbouring countries will participate in operations against al-Shabaab. Finally, Somali forces captured the strategic Wabho district in Central Somalia from al-Shabaab.

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Highlights of the week:
       Somali MP detained in Mandera on false identity charges
A member of parliament from Somalia’s Jubaland state finds himself spending a second night at the Mandera police station after being arrested at a bus checkpoint on Monday. Yussuf Mohamed Gurhan was apprehended while allegedly in possession of a Kenyan identity card acquired under false pretences, according to a charge sheet. The charge sheet states that in 2006, Gurhan presented himself as a Kenyan citizen to the registrar of persons at the Ruqa division in Ijara Sub-county of Garissa County and intentionally obtained a Kenyan identity card bearing the name Yussuf Mohamed Gurhan, knowing it to be false.

Protests rock Mogadishu as supporters demand release of ex-military captain Sheegow Ahmed
       Thousands of supporters of former Somali military Captain Sheegow Ahmed Ali took to the streets of Mogadishu on Sunday, expressing their discontent over his recent arrest by the Somali police in the capital.  The demonstrators, who began their march from Dharkenley district, made their way towards Sayid Junction, located near Villa Somalia, the Presidential Palace.  Tensions escalated when security guards at the Palace resorted to using live ammunition to disperse the protestors, although no casualties have been reported thus far.  The protest caused a temporary disruption in the traffic flow along Maka al-Mukarrama, Mogadishu’s busiest street, as participants voiced their grievances against the detention of Captain Sheegow Ahmed Ali. The former military captain was apprehended by Somali police forces, along with 25 armed individuals, following an extensive security operation on Friday night.

Upper House of Somalia passes first reading of Auditor General’s bill
      The Upper House of the Federal Parliament of the Republic of Somalia passed the first reading of the Auditor General’s bill on August 19 at their 5th session. The session was chaired by the chairman, Abdi Hashi Abdullahi together with his Deputies. The Deputy Minister of Finance, His Excellency Abdikadir Elmi Hange, gave a detailed explanation of the draft law of the Auditor General and its importance. At the end of the session, the Chairman of the Senate urged the members of the Finance Committee to work to perform their constitutional duty regarding this law.

Villa Somalia appoints new chief of staff following the resignation of Hussein Sheikh
       President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Friday named Abdihakim Yusuf as the new Chief of Staff. Mr Yusuf, an experienced international development professional replaces Hussein Sheikh Mohamud who quit on August 13 to run for state presidency, having served for just fifteen months. Villa Somalia said on Friday he brings a cumulative experience of close to two decades in the areas of institutional development, good governance, and capacity building in fragile and conflict-affected states.

South West State sacks Barawe district commissioner and his deputy
      The Ministry of Internal Affairs for South West regional state has fired Barawe district commissioner Liiban Abukar Osman and his deputy, Ms. Sahro Abukar Ali. In an announcement on Sunday, the Ministry stated that dismissing the commissioner stemmed from his failure to cooperate effectively with the Barawe district council and its administration. The removal followed a recent district council motion to oust the commissioner and his deputy. The Ministry of Interior has temporarily appointed Omar Sheikh Abdi Shafana as the commissioner of Barawe District.

Somaliland President Emphasizes Adherence to New Election Timelines
       Somaliland President, Muse Bihi, has underscored his unwavering commitment to the forthcoming elections, asserting that the electoral process will be conducted in strict accordance with the recently published election timelines established by the National Electoral Commission. Addressing attendees at the opening ceremony of the Kulmiye’s central committee convention, President Bihi affirmed that the only valid election timelines are those officially promulgated by the electoral commission, a stance he subsequently endorsed. Notably, the timeline in question was met with strong disapproval from the UCID party, while the Waddani party neither affirmed nor rejected it.

Highlight of the Week:
       US says air strike kills 5 al-Shabaab militants 
The US military conducted an airstrike killing five al-Shabaab militants on Tuesday, US Africa Command said in a statement.
The airstrike was carried out in support of Somali National Army forces “in a remote area near Ali Heele, approximately 244 kilometers Northeast of Mogadishu, Somalia.” The initial assessment showed that no civilians were killed in the airstrike, AFRICOM said.

Al-Shabaab accused of arming residents in central town 
       A leading Somali elder said al-Shabaab started to arm local residents in the central town of Eelbuur ahead of an imminent military offensive. In an interview with Radio Shabelle, Mohamed Hassan Haad accused the al-Qaeda-linked group of putting pressure on the civilians, forcing them to fight. The elder added that the government of Somalia with the support of the clan fighters is committed to liberating the city from al-Shabaab in the coming weeks.

Fresh clashes reported in Puntland capital, Garowe amid political tension
       One police force officer was injured, after a clash on August 19 between a group of gangs and police forces in Puntland capital, Garowe. The confrontation that lasted for more than an hour involved the use of various types of weapons, including machine guns, which greatly disturbed the stability of the city. The deputy commander of the Nugaal police force, Mohamud Bile Fardaful, accused the forces from Danab commando under Colonel Jim’ale Takar, of being behind the act.

Deadly clash ends in Mogadishu as police arrest renegade soldier
       Renegade military office General Sheegow who engaged police officers in a deadly fight in Mogadishu that lasted into the following morning has been arrested. Police sources said General Sheegow was arrested alongside 25 soldiers loyal to him on Saturday morning ending the heavy exchange of fire that displaced local residents. Fighting broke out at about 9pm Saturday night after police officers arrived at Kaawo Godey area in Mogadishu following reports that the Sheegow group had caused a security breach in the area. Other sources said the fighting broke out after police arrested two soldiers allied to Captain Sheegow sparking the fighting. The two sides trade fire which lasted into Saturday morning. The Somali Police Force is yet to issue a statement about the incident.

At least two people injured in mortar shell attack at Mogadishu airport
       At least two people were injured when mortar shells landed at Aden Adde Airport in Mogadishu on 19 August. One mortar shell reportedly landed inside the airport, while two others landed outside. There was no immediate statement from airport authorities about the incident. Al-Shabaab has previously claimed responsibility for mortar attacks on the airport and the adjacent UN compound.

Car bomb explosion near stadium in Mogadishu
       An explosion occurred near Mogadishu Stadium on Tuesday, the latest in a series of attacks in Somalia as the government is now at an active war with al-Shabaab. An explosive-laden vehicle was targeted at a main checkpoint near Ifka Halane which is manned by paramilitary police forces who are in charge of the capital’s overall security.  There are reports of the death of an official working for the Banaadir regional administration.

Somali government announces amnesty for al-Shabaab
       The Somali federal government has offered amnesty to al-Shabaab militants amid an ongoing military offensive in central Somalia. The offer is reportedly part of a widening approach by the government in its fight against AS. Villa Somalia has deployed security forces, targeted financial networks, and waged an ideological battle against the militant group. The announcement by the National Counter Terrorism Centre follows President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s remarks that AS leadership was not willing to negotiate. 

Neighbouring countries will participate in war on al-Shabaab, official
       Troops from Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya will take part in the war against al-Shabaab fighters in south and central Somalia, Somalia’s information ministry confirmed. Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Information, Abdirahman Yusuf Sheikh al-Adaalah said that the neighbouring countries are making strong preparations ahead of the commencement of second phase operations against al-Shabaab.

Somali forces captured a strategic district in central Somalia
       Somali National Army (SNA), supported by local clan militia forces, successfully captured Wabho, a strategic district located in the Galgaduud region. The country’s Ministry of Defence spokesman, General Abdullahi Ali Anod, confirmed the liberation of the district and several adjacent villages after a rigorous military operation. Wabho had remained under the control of the extremist group al-Shabaab for several years.

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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