Somalia: Gorfayn Weekly Briefs, Thursday 9 November 2023

Most of Gaalka’yo became under water due to heavy rains that flooded many regions of the country | Photo” Social Media

Executive Summary:
This week saw several important political developments in Somalia. The government is preparing for COP-28 and aims to tackle climate change impacts. It also declared an emergency in flood-hit regions where over 700,000 people have been affected. Puntland is proceeding with direct voting for its elections despite opposition, causing delays. The federal government called for an end to recent clan violence that has caused dozens of deaths. It announced Mogadishu will hold universal suffrage elections for district commissioners in 2023, a first step towards one-person, one-vote polls. On the economic front, Somalia reached a preliminary $100 million funding deal with the IMF to support reforms. It also announced its UN Security Council seat candidacy for 2025/26. Biden nominated a new ambassador to Somalia.
           Regarding security, two businessmen and two youth leaders were killed in Galgaduud and Hiiraan. Mogadishu ordered firearm registration to improve security. The ATMIS force commander denied plans to deploy troops in the tense Laas Aanood region. A military court arrested Hodan district officials for alleged al-Shabaab links. The defence ministry is probing a clash between Danab forces and Hirshabelle troops. Finally, NISA intercepted suspected al-Shabaab recruits travelling to join the militant group. 

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Highlights of the week:
           DPM Salah Chairs a Meeting That Discusses COP-28 Preparations
The Deputy Prime Minister of the Federal Government of Somalia, HE Salah Ahmed Jama chaired a meeting that discussed the preparations for the COP-28 which will be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The meeting focused on the Government’s plan for COP-28 and how Somalia can attend with a clear plan to tackle the effects of climate change in Somalia.

           Somali Government Declares Emergency in Flood-Hit Areas
The Somali government has declared an emergency in areas where torrential deyr rains have triggered floods. In a statement by the Somalia Disaster Management Agency (SoDMA), the heavy rains fuelled by El Nino, have intensified particularly in Puntland, Galmudug, South West, and Hirshabelle states and in areas along the Juba River in Jubaland State. Partners estimate that as of 6 November, over 706,100 people have been temporarily affected, with over 113,690 people temporarily displaced from their homes across the country. South West and Jubaland states are the worst affected, with an estimated 268,243 and 268,365 people affected, respectively. In Hirshabelle, at least 145,800 people are reportedly affected, with 11,700 displaced following heavy rains on 5 November. Up to 400 families (2,400 people) are believed to be trapped by floods in Luuq and efforts are ongoing to urgently evacuate them. In Baardheere, local authorities are appealing for urgent support for more than 14,000 families that have been cut off from the main town and are unable to replenish their domestic supplies.

           Puntland Government Proceeding With Direct Voting Despite Opposition
Puntland’s Minister of Interior, Abdi Farah Said (Juha), spoke to reporters in the city of Garowe and discussed the ongoing political dispute in Puntland, which is affecting the regional elections. Juha emphasized that they have successfully passed the first stage of the electoral process, which involves selecting the district council members. He also expressed confidence that the government has made significant efforts to ensure transparency and the participation of voters in the elections. He also clarified that their decision was not to repeat the mistakes of the previous elections, which were marred by irregularities and allegations of fraud, and concluded that they needed to be different this time. He also indicated that the current situation has led to significant delays in the electoral process, and the political factions are still at odds. However, the political dispute persists, and there is still significant debate surrounding the decision of the regional government.

           Federal Government Calls for an Immediate End to Clan Violence
The Federal Government of Somalia has called for an immediate end to clan violence that has recently been experienced in various parts of the country. Addressing a press conference in Mogadishu Thursday, Interior Minister Ahmed Ma’alin Fiqi blamed the al-Shabaab militants for inciting the conflicts so as to disrupt the government’s efforts to stabilise areas that have been liberated from the militants’ control. The Minister condemned the recent killings in Dhusamareeb where dozens of people lost their lives in clashes between two clan militias following a feud over land. Fiqi noted that the incident did not conform to the teaching of Islam and also negated the spirit of nationalism and the dignity of the Somali people and appealed to the warring sides to stop the bloodshed and seek peaceful solutions. He also expressed concern over the ongoing clashes in Hanan Buuro and other areas bordering the Mudug region, where armed groups have been fighting over grazing rights and water sources.

           Somalia Prepares Universal Suffrage Elections for Mogadishu’s District Commissioners
Somali government is peppering for a one-person, one-vote election process to elect Mogadishu’s district commissioners by June next year, months after the National Consultative Council agreed to reshape the country’s political system. Minister of Interior Federal Affairs and Reconciliation Ahmed Moallim Fiqi has announced that the Banaadir region will be the first area where universal suffrage elections will be held, with elections for the South West state to follow. Minister Fiqi stressed the government’s commitment to resolving the ongoing land disputes that have persisted for over three decades now.

           Somalia, IMF Reach Preliminary Deal on $100mm in New Funding
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has inked a staff-level agreement with Somalia for a $100 million loan tied to economic reforms supported by a new 36-month Extended Credit Facility (ECF), subject to IMF Executive Board approval. The deal was spearheaded by IMF mission director Laura Jaramillo, who has praised Somalia’s efforts in rebuilding its economy and vital institutions under an ECF-supported programme since 2020.

           Somalia Announces Candidacy for UN Security Seat
The Federal Republic of Somalia has announced candidacy for the United Nations Security Council non-permanent seat, a move which comes two years after Kenya battled out with Djibouti, in a contest which was closely monitored. According to the state media, Somalia is keen to battle out for the 2025/26 slot, terming the move as “critical” and “timely” for the country. The Horn of Africa nation has been battling insecurity for a long time, but a lot of progress has been made in the batting of the vice.

           Biden Picks Veteran Diplomat Richard Riley As Next Ambassador to Somalia
U.S. President Joe Biden has picked career diplomat Richard H. Riley as the next ambassador to Somalia, becoming the fourth ambassador to Somalia since the resumption of diplomatic relations in 2013. Riley has been in the foreign service since 1986 and has served in 12 countries in Asia, Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, including two tours in Iraq and three in Afghanistan. He replaces Larry André Jr. who served for one year between February 2022 and July 2023.

Highlight of the Week:
           Two Businessmen, Two Youth Leaders Shot Dead in Dhusamareeb and Matabaan Districts
Two prominent businessmen and two other youth leaders were gunned down in separate incidents in Galgaduud and Hiiraan regions Tuesday. In Matabaan district of Hiiraan region, two youth leaders identified as Gallad Abdi Qawle and Farah Ali Towle were shot dead by armed assailants who immediately fled the scene. The circumstances surrounding the killings remained unclear but some sources claimed it was related to clan disputes in the area. In Dhusamareeb district of Galgaduud region, two prominent businessmen identified as Sheikh Hassan Diirshe Adde and Sa’iid Tahliil Mohamed were shot dead by armed men. There was no word yet from authorities regarding the murders. Following the killing of the businessmen, residents of Dhusamareeb flocked to the streets to protest the killing of the businessmen.

           Ministry of Internal Security in Somalia Orders Registration of Weapons in Mogadishu
The Ministry of Internal Security of the Federal Government of Somalia has issued a directive, calling on all companies, organizations, and individuals possessing weapons within the capital city, Mogadishu, to register their firearms. This decision comes as part of the government’s efforts to maintain security and control over the proliferation of arms within the region. The official statement from the Ministry of Internal Security has set a 15-day deadline for registration, commencing from November 1, 2023, and concluding on November 16, 2023. The statement emphasized the importance of this registration process for both companies and organisations operating in Mogadishu.

           ATMIS Force Commander Denies Plans for Troop Deployment in Laas Aanood
In response to a query posed by CBA TV, ATMIS Force Commander, Lieutenant General Sam Okiding, has refuted claims of intending to deploy troops in Laas Aanood, where conflicts have persisted for eight months, leaving the region in a state of tension. Lt. Gen. Okiding characterized the ongoing strife in Laas Aanood as inter-clan conflicts rooted in power struggles and border disputes. He emphasised that ATMIS troops cannot serve as a universal solution for every crisis but reiterated their support for peaceful resolutions between the conflicting parties. This declaration followed shortly after the Government of Somaliland rejected any assertions from the UN Security Council implying ATMIS’s jurisdiction over Somaliland.

           Military Court in Somalia Arrests Hodan District Officials Over Alleged Al-Shabaab Connections
A military court in Somalia has apprehended several officials from Mogadishu’s Hodan district, suspecting their involvement with the al-Shabaab group. The court convened on Sunday to hear statements from the defendants. The Attorney General has levelled accusations against 11 individuals, including senior officials within the Hodan district administration, citing their alleged establishment of connections and provision of services to al-Shabaab, a group engaged in a decades-long conflict against the government. Also, it was disclosed by the Attorney General that a security personnel, who had been working alongside district officials until recently, defected to al-Shabaab upon learning about the apprehension of some colleagues by security agencies.

           Somali Defence Ministry Launches Probe Into Intra-Army Clash in Jowhar Town
The Somali Ministry of Defence has launched an investigation into Saturday’s clash involving the Somali military commandos, known as the Danab, and Hirshabelle security forces near Jowhar airport. The Speaker of Hirshabelle Parliament, Abdihakiin Luqmaan, stated on Saturday night, Danab commandos forces had attacked a convoy escorting him as he was en route to Jowhar airport, which resulted in the death and injuries of the Hirshabelle Presidential guards. The Ministry of Defence emphasized that once the investigation is completed, the soldiers responsible for the incident will be swiftly brought to justice. Tensions have been escalating in Jowhar between the federal government and Hirshabelle authorities since Friday.

           NISA Intercepts Al-Shabaab Recruits
The National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) has intercepted suspected al-Shabaab recruits following a tip-off from members of the public, the state media reports, in one of the milestones in the fight against the militants. According to reports, the 25 people were intercepted while travelling on a mini-bus, and among them were minors, who is said to have been on a mission to join the group as child soldiers. The incidents happened near Afgooye District, about 30kms west of Mogadishu. Security teams who arrested the suspects have also detained a driver and two people believed to be accomplices and will be arraigned to answer to charges of recruitment of people on behalf of the terrorist group which is wreaking havoc in the country.

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 Team
Gorfayn is your home for fact-based analysis on Somali politics, public policy, and security.

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