Somalia: Gorfayn Weekly Briefs, Thursday 12 October 2023

Firdhiye at OPM
Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre, receives in his office the President of SSC-Khaatumo, Abdikadir Ahmed Aw-Cali (Firdhiye) | Photo: OPM FB

Executive Summary:
The presidents of Somalia and Eritrea met in Asmara to discuss enhancing bilateral ties and regional developments. Somalia continues military training programs in Eritrea for new cadets to fight al-Shabaab. In Mogadishu, the Somali PM met with the leader of the newly founded SSC-Khaatumo transitional administration to emphasise national unity through dialogue. Puntland’s VP accused Somaliland of deploying troops to Sanaag’s largest city and called for withdrawal to avoid escalation. Several Puntland presidential candidates plan to form an alliance against the incumbent leader in upcoming elections. Protests erupted in Hargeisa over government land acquisitions, leading to clashes with police.

       The African Union mission devised strategies with Jubaland officials to counter al-Shabaab and ensure community safety. Somalia’s Southwest State launched a new offensive against al-Shabaab in its regions. The Somali president met top military chiefs to finalise plans for the second phase of operations against al-Shabaab with frontline states. Border communities from Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia sealed a cross-border peace agreement for collaboration and stability. Kenya received $17 million in the past five years from the UN for its Somalia peacekeeping contribution.

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POLITICS
Highlights of the week:
       Eritrean president welcomes Somali President in Asmara
The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, arrived in Asmara on Sunday for a working visit. The Somali President and his high-level delegation were accorded a warm welcome by President Isaias Afwerki and other senior officials on arrival at Asmara International Airport. The two leaders of Somalia and Eritrea will discuss the enhancement of bilateral ties as well as regional developments and matters of mutual interest, according to the presidency. Eritrea trains thousands of Somali soldiers, who were visited by President Hassan Sheikh at their training camps three times since last year after he came back to power. The first batch of several thousand Somali troops that were sent to Eritrea for training in 2019 and 2020 have arrived back in Mogadishu. The returned Eritrea-trained soldiers are now on the frontline against al-Shabaab and they made gains since joining the offensive which was launched in August last year.

       Somali PM receives SSC-Khatumo leader in Mogadishu
The Prime Minister of the Federal Government of Somalia, Hamza Abdi Barre, received in his office the President of SSC-Khaatumo, Abdikadir Ahmed Aw-Cali (Firdhiye). Prime Minister Barre discussed with the SSC-Khatumo leader the situation and the living conditions in the regions he leads. Prime Minister Hamza emphasised that the Federal Government of Somalia is committed to preserving the unity and solidarity of the Somali people and resolving any conflicts through dialogue. The leader of SSC-Khaatumo arrived in the city of Mogadishu following an invitation from Prime Minister Hamza Barre, with high-level hospitality.

       Somaliland accused of deploying troops to Sanaag’s largest City
Puntland VP Ahmed Ilmi Osman (Karaash), accused Somaliland of deploying a fresh set of troops to the largest city in Sanaag. He stated that Somaliland troops had been deployed to Eerigaabo, the administrative capital of Sanaag. Vice President Kaarash called upon Somaliland to withdraw its troops from the region with immediate effect to avoid an escalation of the situation. Somaliland is yet to respond to the issues Vice President Karaash raised.

       Puntland opposition candidates to announce alliance against regional president
Several candidates vying for the presidency of the Puntland regional state have converged in Garowe to announce a political alliance to challenge the incumbent regional leader, Said Abdullahi Deni. According to the candidates and their supporters, they intend to meet in Garowe on Tuesday despite facing pressure from security forces. They have accused President Deni of failing to bring about any meaningful change in his tenure. The former finance minister of Puntland and one of the prominent candidates, Hassan Shire Abgaal, asserted that President Deni’s term has ended and that his leadership has placed Puntland in a precarious position.

       Protests rock Hargeisa for second day over land acquisitions
There are ongoing protests in Hargeisa, which has led to tensions and clashes between the police and protesters. The clashes erupted after reports that the government had confiscated land in the Police District near the central market of Hargeisa to sell it to prominent businessmen. The area earmarked for commercial development, which is home to many police officer families, was met with resistance as residents refused to vacate the location. The protests against the government’s decision, have resulted in various casualties, including one death and injuries to at least two other individuals. Reports suggest that several police officers are among the arrested residents in the affected area following orders from the authorities. The government’s decision to sell the land for commercial use has also drawn significant criticism from opposition parties in Somaliland.

SECURITY
Highlight of the Week:
       AU troops devise security strategies to defeat al-Shabaab in southern Somalia
The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) said its troops held a meeting with security committee officials in Jubaland State to strategise on how to ensure the safety and welfare of the local community. The AU mission said the meeting, which was held over the weekend, also discussed the threat posed by the al-Shabaab and how to counter the militant group’s activities in the area that borders Kenya.

       Southwest launches offensive against al-Shabaab
The leaders of Somalia’s Southwest State has announced the beginning of a new offensive against al-Shabaab fighters in its three regions. Somali federal government and its member states have been amassing military forces to wage second phase operations dubbed Black Lion Operations. The frontline countries are also expected to take part in these operations. The agreement was reached at a summit hosted by Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and attended by the Heads of State of Kenya, Djibouti, and Ethiopia. On Saturday, while addressing participants of a meeting for the anti-al-Shabaab operations in Baidoa, Southwest state leader, Abdiasis Hassan Laftagareen made public that his forces will launch the second phase of operations against al-Shabaab, vowing that they will hunt down al-Shabaab fighters and destroy military bases of the group.

       Somali president meets with top military chiefs ahead of offensive
The president of Somali Hassan Sheikh Mohamud held a meeting with the top commanders of the country’s armed forces in Dhusamareeb. The president was briefed on the current military operation against al-Shabaab in the central regions, where the SNA is trying to complete the first phase of the all-out war. Also, the meeting focused on ways to verify the plan to eradicate al-Shabaab from the country in the planned second phase of the operation, in which front-line states will take part. According to sources privy to the talks, the head of the state praised the SNA for their self-reliance and pride in defending the nation selflessly from inside and abroad enemies. The government has a clear plan for the completion of the needs of the army and their training and urged the officers and the army as a whole to increase their role in overcoming the insurgency that harms the people and the country.

       Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia border communities strike peace deal
Communities along Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia borders have sealed a deal to enhance peace, security, trade, and movement of people. Mandera Triangle Cross-Border agreement signed by the three countries seeks to provide an opportunity for collaboration, growth, and stability. The deal was reached during a consultative forum of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) states and the county government of Mandera in partnership with Interpeace. The meeting, which concluded on Thursday brought together 60 delegates and focused on reviewing and revitalising the Conflict, Prevention, Management and Resolution (CPRM) platform.

       Kenya received $17m for Somalia’s security mission
Kenya has received $17 million in the past five years for its contribution to the Somalia peacekeeping mission (now known as the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia) whose mandate is set to end in December next year. Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale told parliament this week that the money was sent to the National Treasury in tranches of $3.3 million annually.


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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