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Horn of Africa


US calls for Somalia leadership to resolve ‘dispute’

US calls for Somalia leadership to resolve ‘dispute’linkedin sharing button

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Source: AFP, Tuesday September 21, 2021

The United States called Monday on the president and prime minister of Somalia to resolve their “dispute,” so as not to further delay the country’s electoral process, with the African nation’s presidential election scheduled for October 10.

“Cooperation among Somalia’s leaders — particularly President Farmaajo and Prime Minister Roble — is essential to ensure that the country quickly completes its ongoing electoral process,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

“The dispute between President Farmaajo and Prime Minister Roble risks complicating this process and needs to be resolved immediately and peacefully.”

advertisementsThe rivalry between President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, popularly known as Farmaajo, and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble has raised concerns for the country’s stability.

The long-brewing dispute escalated this week when Farmajo suspended Roble’s executive powers, a move the premier rejected as unlawful.

Somalia is due to vote for a president on October 10, but the leaders’ spat threatens to imperil the repeatedly delayed poll and distract from efforts to confront a long-running Islamist insurgency.

The months-long delay has “concerned” Washington, Price said, stressing that any further postponement “increases the potential for violence and plays into the hands of al-Shabaab and other extremist groups seeking to destabilize the country.”

The radical Islamist group Al-Shabaab, whose insurgency was unleashed on Somalia in 2007, control large rural areas and regularly carry out attacks in the capital.

Sudan state media report ‘failed’ coup attempt

Sudan state media report ‘failed’ coup attemptlinkedin sharing button

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Aljazeera, Tuesday September 21, 2021

Sudanese authorities reported a coup attempt on Tuesday by a group of soldiers but said the attempt failed and that the military remains in control.

Sudan’s state-run television called on the public “to counter” the attempt but did not provide further details.

“All is under control. The revolution is victorious,” Mohamed Al Faki Suleiman, a member of the ruling military-civilian council, wrote on Facebook. He also called on the Sudanese to protect the transition.

The state run Sudan News Agency later tweeted that “an authorised source in the presidency of the council of ministers said that security and military authorities have thwarted a coup attempt at dawn today”.

“The situation is under control, and those involved in it [the coup attempt] have been arrested and investigations are underway,” added the statement.

advertisementsA military official said an unspecified number of troops from the armored corps were behind the attempt and that they tried to take over several government institutions but were stopped in their tracks.
Reporting from Khartoum, Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan said there “there are still a lot of questions about which group exactly is behind this and the purpose of the coup”.

Morgan said that Khartoum woke up to “what seemed like a pretty normal morning” with the exception that one of the bridges leading to Omdurman, the twin city of the capital, was being blocked.

“There were tanks on the bridge preventing civilians from crossing and there were questions from the people as to why there were tanks,” explained Morgan. “Then came the report that there was a failed coup attempt.”

She added that officials have said the coup included an attempt to take over state television, the Army headquarters, as well as the Council of Ministers and Sovereignty Council that compose the country’s transitional government.

Traffic appeared to be flowing smoothly in central Khartoum on Tuesday, including around army headquarters, where months of mass protests prompted the ouster of veteran president Omar al-Bashir in a palace coup two years ago.

Sudan has been on a fragile path to democratic rule since the military ousted the country’s longtime autocratic ruler Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, following four months of mass protests.

Sudan is currently ruled by a transitional government composed of both civilian and military representatives that was installed in the aftermath of Bashir’s overthrow and is tasked with overseeing a return to full civilian rule.

Deep political divisions and chronic economic problems inherited from the Bashir regime have overshadowed the transition.

In recent months, the government has undertaken a series of tough economic reforms to qualify for  debt relief from the International Monetary Fund.

The steps, which included slashing subsidies and a managed float of the Sudanese pound, were seen by many Sudanese as too harsh.

Sporadic protests have broken out against the IMF-backed reforms and the rising cost of living.

UN encourages new negotiations in dispute over Ethiopian dam

UN encourages new negotiations in dispute over Ethiopian dam

By EDITH M. LEDERERSeptember 16, 2021

Source: UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday encouraged Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to resume negotiations on the contentious issue of water availability from the dam that the Ethiopians are building on the main tributary of the Nile River.

A brief presidential statement approved by all 15 council members said negotiations should resume at the invitation of the African Union’s chairperson “to finalize expeditiously the text of mutually acceptable and binding agreement on the filling and operation of the (dam) within a reasonable time frame.”

“The Security Council calls upon the three countries to take forward the AU-led negotiation process in a constructive and cooperative manner,” it said.

The dam on the Blue Nile is 80% complete and is expected to reach full generating capacity in 2023, making it Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant and the world’s seventh largest, according to reports in Ethiopia’s state media. Ethiopia says the $5 billion dam is essential to make sure the vast majority of its people have electricity.ADVERTISEMENT

Egypt and Sudan have said 10 years of negotiations with Ethiopia have failed, and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is starting a second filling of its reservoir. They say this not only violates a 2015 agreement but poses “an existential threat” to 150 million people in their downstream nations.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the statement as a “significant push” to the stalled negotiations and urged Ethiopia to engage “seriously” in talks to achieve a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam al-Mahdi also called for resumption of the talks soon to reach “an agreement acceptable for the three parties.” She commented while welcoming a visit to Khartoum by Congolese Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula, whose nation chairs the African Union.

Ethiopia’s foreign ministry said it “welcomes” the council directing the issue to the AU-led negotiations, but then added that it regrets the council “pronounces itself over an issue of water right and development that is outside of its mandate.”

In July, Egypt and Sudan sought a legally binding Security Council resolution that would require the three countries to negotiate a legally binding agreement within six months under AU auspices “that ensures Ethiopia’s ability to generate hydropower … while preventing the inflicting of significant harm on the water security of downstream states.”

The council has not adopted such a resolution, instead approving this presidential statement.

The brief council statement encouraged observers that have been invited to attend negotiations and any other observers the three countries agree to jointly invite “to continue supporting the negotiations with a view to facilitating resolution of outstanding technical and legal issues.”

The council underscored that its statement “does not set out any principles or precedent in any other transboundary water disputes.”

President Biden’s Statement on Conflict in Ethiopia

President Biden’s Statement on Conflict in Ethiopia

 Source: The White House published on 17 September 2021 a “Statement by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on the Executive Order Regarding the Crisis in Ethiopia.”

President Biden said we fully agree with United Nations and African Union leaders that there is no military solution to the crisis in Ethiopia.  He pledged the U.S. will continue to press for a negotiated ceasefire.

The Executive Order he signed today establishes a new sanctions regime that will allow the U.S. to target those responsible for, or complicit in, prolonging the conflict in Ethiopia, obstructing humanitarian access, or preventing a ceasefire.  It provides the Department of the Treasury with the necessary authority to hold accountable those in the government of Ethiopia, government of Eritrea, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, and Amhara regional government, among others, that continue to pursue conflict over negotiations to the detriment of the Ethiopian people.

President Biden emphasized that these sanctions are not directed at the people of Ethiopia or Eritrea, but rather the individuals and entities perpetrating the violence and driving a humanitarian disaster.  

Labels: Amhara militiaAUBiden administrationcease fireEritreaEritrean Defense ForcesEthiopiahumanitarian crisisTigray RegionTPLFUNUS

Somali Crisis Poses Problem for US

Somali Crisis Poses Problem for US

 Source: The Council on Foreign Relations blog posted on 15 September 2021 a commentary titled “Somalia’s Ongoing Political Crisis Exposes Fundamental Problem for U.S. Policy” by Michelle Gavin.  

Somalia’s fragile government is again on the brink, consumed by the president and prime minister’s tussle for the control of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA).

Labels: AfghanistanelectionsgovernanceMohamed Abdullahi FarmajoMohamed Hussein RobleNISASomaliaUS

Debate on Potential US Sanctions for Ethiopia

Debate on Potential US Sanctions for Ethiopia

 Source: Aljazeera‘s “Inside Story” ran a half hour program on 18 September 2021 titled “Will Threat of Sanctions End the Conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray?” with Imran Khan.

Following a lead-in by Aljazeera, the program was a discussion with Zelalem Moges. international lawyer and commentator on Ethiopian politics, William Davison, senior analyst for Ethiopia with the International Crisis Group, and myself.  The focus of the discussion was the rationale for and likely impact of potential sanctions recently announced by the United States. 

Labels: Abiy AhmedAfar RegionAmhara RegionBiden administrationcease firecounterterrorismEritreaEthiopiahumanitrian crisisnegotiationsOromiasanctionsTigray RegionTPLFUS

UN Council urges restraint, dialogue in Somalia’s leadership feud

UN Council urges restraint, dialogue in Somalia’s leadership feudlinkedin sharing button

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Source: UN, Sunday September 19, 2021

The United Nations Security Council on Saturday expressed “deep concern” over a spiralling feud between Somalia’s president and prime minister and called for both restraint and fresh talks.

The long-brewing dispute between the two leaders escalated this week when President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, popularly known as Farmajo, suspended the executive powers of Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, a move the premier rejected as unlawful.

The pair have clashed over high-profile appointments this month, and their spat threatens to imperil repeatedly delayed elections in the Horn of Africa nation and distract from efforts to confront a long-running Islamist insurgency.

The UN Security Council urged “all stakeholders to exercise restraint, and underlined the importance of maintaining peace, security and stability in Somalia.”

The statement comes a day after an emergency closed-door Council meeting called at Britain’s request.

“The members of the Security Council urged all parties to resolve their differences through dialogue for the good of Somalia and to prioritise the peaceful conduct of transparent, credible and inclusive elections,” the statement said.

Somalia has been struggling to hold elections for months.

Farmajo’s four-year mandate expired in February, but it was extended by parliament in April, triggering deadly gun battles in Mogadishu, with some rivals viewing it as a flagrant power grab.

Roble cobbled together a new timetable for elections, to be held on October 10, but the process has fallen behind.

Analysts say the impasse has distracted from Somalia’s larger problems, notably the Al-Shabaab insurgency that was unleashed in 2007.

Somali Shenanigans

Somali Shenanigans

 Source, The International Crisis Group (ICG) published on 14 September 2021 a statement titled “Somalia’s Politicians Play with Fire – Again.”

Tension between Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” have burst into the open, triggering another clash between rival branches of the federal forces.  They follow the unexplained murder of a national intelligence agent and Roble’s subsequent suspension of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) chief.  The murdered NISA officer was apparently poised to blow the whistle on the training of Somali troops in Eritrea, most of whom have not returned to Somalia. There is speculation they were sent to the front lines in Ethiopia’s war in Tigray Region.  

Labels: al-ShabaabelectionsEritreaEthiopiamilitaryMohamed Abdullahi FarmajoMohamed Hussein RobleNISASomaliaTigray Regiontraining

Ethiopia: Human Rights Violations by All Sides

Ethiopia: Human Rights Violations by All Sides

 Source: UN News published on 13 September 2021 an article titled “Multiple Reports of Alleged Human Rights Violations in Tigray.”

UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, deplored “multiple and severe reports of alleged gross violations of human rights, humanitarian and refugee law” committed by all parties to the conflict in Tigray.

Labels: Afar RegionAmhara Regionatrocitieschild soldiersEthiopiaEthiopian Human Rights Commissionhuman rightsIDPsOHCHRrefugeesTigray RegionWHO

11 killed as suicide bombing hits Somalia’s Mogadishu

 11 killed as suicide bombing hits Somalia’s Mogadishulinkedin sharing button

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Source: Daily Sabah, Wednesday September 15, 2021

At least 11 people, including soldiers and civilians, were killed and several others wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a tea shop in Mogadishu’s Wadajir neighborhood on Tuesday evening, said the police.

Dadir Hassan, a police officer in the capital Mogadishu, told Anadolu Agency (AA) over the phone that the suicide bomber targeted a busy tea shop near a major military base in Mogadishu.

“The preliminary investigations confirmed that the attack was a result of lone suicide bomber who blew himself at a teashop where security forces and civilians frequented and we can confirm that at least 11 people, including soldiers, were killed and several others wounded,” Hassan said.

Several people, most of them civilians, were also wounded in the suicide bombing and they were rushed to hospitals for treatment, he said.

The police officer added that security forces from different agencies of the government rushed to the scene and investigations are currently underway.

General Dhagabadan military training facility is located hundreds of steps away from where the suicide bomber detonated and there were a large number of security forces present in the area, according to residents who spoke to AA over the phone after the attack.

Somali-based al-Qaida affiliated terrorist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the suicide attack in Mogadishu on Tuesday evening, saying it had killed 11 soldiers and wounded 16 others.

Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble has condemned the “indiscriminate” terrorist attack.

“This barbaric act shows how al-Shabaab terrorists are thirsty for the indiscriminate bloodshed of the Somali people, forcing us to cooperate in fighting terrorism,” Roble said.

Al-Shabab has been behind hundreds of terrorist attacks over the years, including a 2017 bombing in the capital Mogadishu that took some 600 lives, the worst attack in the country’s history.

U.S. spy chief: Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Iraq pose greater terror threat than Afghanistan

U.S. spy chief: Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Iraq pose greater terror threat than Afghanistanlinkedin sharing button

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Source: Yahoo news, Tuesday September 14, 2021

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said Monday that terrorist groups operating in Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Iraq currently pose a greater threat to the U.S. homeland than those in Afghanistan.

Why it matters: The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan has prompted new warnings from military and intelligence officials about the possibility that al-Qaeda will reconstitute.
advertisementsBut as top Biden officials have repeatedly warned, the terror threat has “metastasized” to the point that militant groups based in Afghanistan are no longer the top threat facing the U.S.

    Al-Qaeda’s offshoot in Yemen, al-Shabaab in Somalia, and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — though it has been severely degraded in recent years — are among the terrorist groups that are currently higher on the U.S. priority list.

    ISIS-K, an offshoot of the Islamic State responsible for the bombing at Kabul’s airport that killed 13 U.S. service-members and scores of Afghan civilians, is viewed as the top threat in Afghanistan.

What they’re saying: “In terms of the homeland, the threat right now from terrorist groups, we don’t prioritize at the top of the list Afghanistan,” Haines said at the annual Intelligence and National Security Summit. “What we look at is Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Iraq for ISIS. And that’s where we see the greatest threat.”

    Haines stressed, however, that the U.S. “will want to monitor any possible reconstitution of terrorist organizations” in Afghanistan, and acknowledged that the Taliban’s takeover has made counterterrorism more challenging.

    “Our intelligence collection is diminished and that is something that we have to prepare for and that we have been preparing for, frankly, quite some time,” she said.

World Bank upbeat on Somalia’s economic recovery, says growth to reach 2.4% this year

World Bank upbeat on Somalia’s economic recovery, says growth to reach 2.4% this yearlinkedin sharing button

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Source: Hiiraan Online, Tuesday September 14, 2021

NAIROBI (HOL) – Economic growth in Somalia is set to rebound to 2.4 per cent this year following the adverse effects of COVID-19, locust infestations and extreme flooding, the World Bank has said.

The global lender said Tuesday during the launch of the 6th Somalia Economic Update that the Horn of Africa nation held out against the triple effects and only shrunk by 0.4 per cent in 2020, less severe than the 1.5 per cent contraction projected at the onset of the global pandemic.

The report notes that Somalia had higher than expected aid flows and remittances which coupled with the government’s fiscal policy measures and social protection cushioned the economy from the adverse effects of the triple shock.
advertisementsWorld Bank country manager for Somalia Kristina Svensson said this stability must be safeguarded through job creation and other forms of productivity.

As Somalia embarks on the road to recovery from the triple shocks, policy interventions that raise productivity, create jobs and expand pro-poor programs will be key,” said Svensson. “Creating jobs and ensuring that the most vulnerable are supported throughout the crisis need to be at the center of policy action and private sector response.”

The 6th Edition of the Somalia Economic Update which focuses on investments in health for growth notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the sector under sharp focus and put investing in Somalia’s health system as an urgent political and economic consideration that is foundational to reducing fragility

The report also notes that strengthening Somalia’s health system is one of the biggest direct influences on improving human development and enhancing economic development in the country.

The report recommends opportunities in the areas of health financing, health service delivery and stewardship to improve Somalia’s health sector.

Incoming funding from the World Bank is aimed at helping Somalia focus on high-impact, cost-effective interventions that target the primary burdens of disease.

Russia Is Building Military Influence in Africa

Russia Is Building Military Influence in Africa

 Source: CNBC published on 13 September 2021 an article titled “Russia Is Building Its Military Influence in Africa, Challenging U.S. and French Dominance” by Elliott Smith.

Russia is trying to expand its presence in Africa.  The second Russia-Africa summit is scheduled for 2022.  It recently signed security cooperation agreements with Nigeria and Ethiopia.  

Labels: Africaarms salesCape VerdeCAREthiopiaFranceGERDLibyaMaliNigeriaRussiasecurityUSWagner Group

Madaxweyne Farmaajo oo guddi u magacaabay baaritaanka Kiiska Ikraan Tahliil Faarax

Madaxweyne Farmaajo oo guddi u magacaabay baaritaanka Kiiska Ikraan Tahliil Faaraxlinkedin sharing button

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Source: Hiiraan Online, Isniin, September, 13, 2021 (HOL) – Madaxweynaha dowladda Soomaaliya Maxamed Cabdullaahi Farmaajo ayaa magacaabay guddi qaran oo baaritaan ku sameeynaya kiiska Ikraan Tahliil Faarax.

Madaxweyne Farmaajo ayaa magacaabay guddi uu guddoomiye u yahay Xeer Ilaaliyaha Guud ee Qaranka, ku xigeena uu ka yahay Xeer Ilaaliyaha Maxkamadda Ciidamada Qalabka Sida.

“Madaxweynaha Jamhuuriyadda Federaalka Soomaaliya Mudane Maxamed Cabdullaahi Farmaajo oo mudnaan siinaya in baaritaan daah furan lagu sameeyo Kiiska Sarkaal Ikraan Tahliil Faarax ayaa u magacaabay Guddi Qaran oo ay hoggaaminayaan Xeer Ilaaliyaha Guud ee Qaranka iyo Xeer Ilaaliyaha Guud ee Maxkamadda Ciidamada Qalabka Sida” ayaa lagu yiri qoraal lagu daabacay bogga Madaxtooyada Soomaaliya.

Magacaabista guddigan uu magacaabay madaxweyne Farmaajo ayaa waxay imaaneysa xili isla kiiskan uu guddiga baaritaanka u magaacabay ay isaga iyo Raysal wasaarahiisa isku khilaafeen, lamana oga waxa xiligaan kusoo dhaliyay in madaxweyne Farmaajo uu magacaabo guddigan sameynaya baaritaanka qaran ee kiiska Ikraan Tahliil Faarax.

Hoos ka akhriso qoraalka kasoo baxay Madaxtooyada Soomaaliya.

Jamaal Cali Cabdi, Hiiraan Online

Shun political discord for stability, UN tells Somali leaders

Shun political discord for stability, UN tells Somali leaderslinkedin sharing button

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Source: Xinhuanet, Monday September 13, 2021

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed on Sunday called on Somali political leaders to shun political discord which may jeopardise the gains made in the country.

Mohammed, who made a day-long visit to Mogadishu, said Somalia has achieved considerable momentum with its ongoing electoral process and urged the leaders to de-escalate the political tension in the country.

“I was encouraged to hear the commitment from all I met with to ensure that this momentum is sustained and that critical elections move forward as scheduled,” said the UN official who also met President Mohamed Farmaajo and Prime Minister Mohamed Roble.

“I have confidence in Somalia’s leadership to de-escalate any tensions and avoid action that could lead to violence and further delay the elections or undermine its credibility,” she added.


Somalia is currently holding elections for its Upper House and is preparing for elections for its Lower House.

The international partners have been heavily engaged in supporting national efforts to advance the country’s elections.

During the visit, Mohammed expressed solidarity with Somali women’s calls for full and equal participation in political life, and expressed the support of the international community for timely, inclusive, peaceful and credible elections.

She highlighted the country’s parliamentary elections as an opportunity to build on the progress made in women’s political participation and emphasised that women’s full inclusion in all sectors of society will contribute to greater resilience, peace, and stability.

“Somalia achieved a milestone at its last elections in 2016/17 with 24 per cent of parliamentary seats filled by women, and I am hopeful that the country will build on this by expanding women’s participation even further — ensuring the 30 per cent quota is met is an important first step to full representation and an inclusive society. The peace dividend will not happen without women,” Mohammed said.

PM Roble orders finance ministry not to disburse funds without his approval

PM Roble orders finance ministry not to disburse funds without his approvallinkedin sharing button

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Source: Sunday September 12, 2021

Mogadishu (HOL) – Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble has issued a new directive to the Somali finance ministry on Sunday not to disburse any funds without his consent during this transition period.

In a letter addressed to the heads of the Ministry of Finance, the  Central Bank Governor, and the National Treasurer, the Prime Minister instructed the ministry not to disburse any funds from the treasury without his signature.advertisements


The PM cited the IMF’s recent Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocation – unprecedented in history- as the key motivator in his decision.

“Given the country’s transition and the need to pay more attention to the DDS disbursement process and the use of the IMF’s SRD’s, the FGS Prime Minister instructed the Ministry of Finance and those addressed in this letter that no expenses, of any kind, may be made without the consent of Somali PM.”

Somalia was allocated $US156.6 million worth of SDRs under the IMF plan to boost liquidity in the global financial system.

The Prime Minister said that the Ministry of Finance could not withdraw any funds from Somalia’s allocation of IMF funds without his approval. He added that his office must clear all major expenses before approval.

“The salaries of soldiers and personnel, military rations, projects and any other expenses necessary for the service of the government, when the officials of the Ministry of Finance have performed their duties, must be approved by the Prime Minister before the ministry can make any payment.”

The letter ordered those addressed in the letter to “act accordingly,” noting that his directive would be in effect immediately and would be lifted at the end of the transition period.

The SDR is an international reserve asset created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement other reserve assets of member countries. The value of an SDR is based on a basket of the world’s five leading currencies – the US dollar, euro, yuan, yen and the UK pound. While it can’t be used as money, countries can trade their SDRs for hard currencies with other, typically wealthy, IMF members. SDRs are the IMF’s official unit of exchange.

The largest allocation of SDRs, equivalent to about US$650 billion, became effective on August 23.

The new SDRs were credited to IMF member countries in proportion to each country’s participation in the IMF capital. The amount typically correlated to their economies’ size.

The SDR allocation is not a loan and can be used freely to weather the global financial storm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The IMF’s Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, said it would provide regular updates on all SDR holdings, transactions, and trading to ensure accountability and transparency.

This latest directive comes on the heels of a failed meeting between the PM and the President aimed at solving the current constitutional crisis.

The PM chaired an NCC meeting on Sunday with Amina J Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, to discuss the latest political standoff, the elections and the “peaceful and legitimate transition of power.”

The President also met with Mohammed during a meeting in Villa Somalia. Farmajo said that they discussed Sustainable Development Goals and the need for timely and inclusive polls.

Roble had previously warned that budgeting for the upcoming elections was scarce and was at the top of the agenda during last month’s NCC meeting between the Prime Minister and Somalia’s Federal Member States’ leaders.

Somalia feud threatens to unleash renewed turmoi

Somalia feud threatens to unleash renewed turmoillinkedin sharing button

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Source: AFP, Thursday September 9, 2021


With a long-running Islamist insurgency and elections delayed for months, Somalia is no stranger to instability, but the country now faces the risk of renewed violence because of an increasingly bitter stand-off between its president and prime minister.

Here is a look at why relations between Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, alias Farmaajo, deteriorated so quickly and what lies ahead for the volatile Horn of Africa nation.

Was their relationship always difficult?

Not quite. A Swedish-trained civil engineer, Roble was plucked out of political obscurity by the president, better known as Farmaajo, who appointed him premier last September.

The technocrat generally took a backseat to the politically savvy Farmaajo, who worked in the Foreign Affairs ministry and served as premier himself before becoming president.

After the head of state extended his mandate in April without holding elections, triggering the country’s worst bout of political violence in years, he turned to Roble to help defuse the situation by asking him to organise the parliamentary polls.

What went wrong?

As Roble’s profile rose, he began to challenge Farmaajo on several issues, angering the president.

He visited Kenya last month, flagging a thaw in diplomatic ties, days after Farmaajo banned government institutions or officials from entering into agreements with foreign countries or entities until elections were held.

Roble then took on Somalia’s powerful National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) last week, criticising its handling of a high-profile investigation into the fate of a 25-year-old officer, Ikran Tahlil, whose disappearance prompted an outcry.

Tahlil’s family has accused NISA of murdering her — a view backed by many Somalis who have taken to social media to denounce the agency and demand justice.

When Roble suspended the agency’s director, Fahad Yasin, a close associate of Farmaajo, the president reacted swiftly, first reinstating and then promoting his old friend to the position of national security adviser.

The prime minister responded by accusing Farmaajo of “obstructing” the probe, and said the developments signalled “a dangerous existential threat to the country’s governance system”.

Where do things stand now?

The public spat has raised tensions in Mogadishu, where military units close to Farmaajo’s office were seen stationed outside NISA headquarters Wednesday.

The infighting has also had a knock-on effect on various government bodies, with one NISA officer telling AFP that senior officials had apparently picked sides in the row.

A Ministry of Information staffer told AFP that journalists at state-run media outlets were being instructed not to broadcast messages from Farmaajo.

On Wednesday night, matters escalated further when Roble sacked Internal Security Minister Hassan Hundubey Jimale and replaced him with a Farmaajo critic, saying the move would “revitalise” the key ministry, which oversees all security, police and intelligence agencies.

The president wasted no time in firing back Thursday, calling the decision unconstitutional, while the dismissed minister accused Roble of dragging the country “into a new conflict”.

What lies ahead?

Many fear the spat will throw an already fragile electoral process into deeper peril.

The next phase of the election, which follows a complex indirect model of voting, is set to kick off for the lower house of parliament between October 1 and November 25.

But it is not clear when parliament will elect a new head of state.

“This conflict, if not resolved amicably, will complicate every other ongoing political effort including the election process, which will be delayed if not completely stopped,” Abdikani Omar, a former high-ranking civil servant, told AFP.

Roble has already accused Farmaajo of trying to reclaim “the election and security responsibilities” entrusted to him earlier this year.

Why does it matter?

With Al-Shabaab jihadists controlling large areas of the country, Somalia is in no position to cope with a full-blown political crisis.

Somalia’s intelligence agency is an essential weapon in its fight against the Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents, who will be quick to exploit any sign of weakness.

The militants have already waded into the row, issuing a swift — and unusual — denial when NISA said its young officer had been murdered by the group.

The international community is worried, with the United Nations, the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), the United States, the European Union and East African bloc Igad among those urging the two men to stop bickering and focus on the country.

A decade after the Al-Qaeda-linked militants were ousted from Mogadishu, the government controls only a small portion of the country, with the crucial help of some 20,000 soldiers from Amisom.

“We saw back in April how quickly Mogadishu can become a theatre for opposing military forces amid a wider political breakdown,” said Omar Mahmood, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group (ICG).

“Depending on how events unfold in the coming days, a repeat situation could be in the offing.”

BREAKING: President Farmajo reinstates Fahad Yasin, declares PM sacking “illegal

BREAKING: President Farmajo reinstates Fahad Yasin, declares PM sacking “illegal”linkedin sharing button

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Source: Hiiraan Online, Monday September 6, 2021

Mogadishu (HOL) – Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo issued a directive on Monday morning that declared Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble’s dismissal of Somalia’s spy chief “illegal” and “unconstitutional.”advertisements

“The decision of the Prime Minister of the Federal Government of Somalia, His Excellency Mohamed Hussein Roble, is illegal and unconstitutional.”

The decree also reinstated Fahad Yasin as the director of the National Intelligence & Security Agency (NISA).

“The Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Mr. Fahad Yassin Haji Dahir, is instructed to continue to lead the National Security and Intelligence Agency, in accordance with the Constitution and the Presidential Decree.”

The decree from Villa Somalia came just hours after PM Roble dismissed Fahad over his agency’s handling of the disappearance of Ikran Tahlil.

The PM appointed a former spy chief, Lieutenant-General Bashir Mohamed Gobe as the agency’s interim director.

President Farmajo instructed NISA to present the National Security Council (NSC) with its report at the next meeting. The President did not give a specific date on when that meeting would be held. He also directed PM to continue managing the upcoming elections.

“The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia instructs Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and the Council of Ministers to fulfill their responsibility to complete the electoral process effectively.”

President Farmajo conceded the election management duties to PM Roble in early May after intense domestic and international pressure forced the President to walk back an attempt to extend his mandate by two years.

The Council of Presidential Candidates supported the PM’s dismissal of Fahad Yasin as the head of NISA, accusing Farmajo of prioritizing his personal relationship with the spy chief over his duties to protect the constitution. 

Both leaders have cited the same articles in Somalia’s Provisional Constitution to legally justify their actions.

It is not the first time PM Roble has directly clashed with the President over his legal powers and duties. In early August, the PM rebuffed a presidential decree issued by Farmajo that ordered all federal government officials to disengage from any agreements until a new government was seated.

Both Somalia’s President and its Parliament are without a constitutional mandate.

The PM ordered his cabinet to proceed with business as usual.

Observers worry whether this latest twist could trigger a second constitutional crisis in 2021.

BREAKING: PM sacks Fahad Yasin after meeting with Ikran Tahlil’s family

BREAKING: PM sacks Fahad Yasin after meeting with Ikran Tahlil’s familylinkedin sharing button

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Source: Hiiraan Online, Sunday September 5, 2021

Mogadishu (HOL) – Somalia’s Prime Minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble, has sacked Fahad Yasin, Director General of the National Security and Intelligence Agency (NISA), on Sunday and has appointed Bashir Mohamed Gobe as the agency’s interim director.advertisements

The sacking comes barely a day after the PM gave Fahad Yasin a 48hr ultimatum to produce a report on the death of a female spy, Ikran Tahlil.

Fahad Yasin reportedly called for a National Security Council shortly before he was sacked so he could properly explain how Ikran Tahlil went missing.

Tahlil was a cybersecurity expert with NISA. The intelligence agency announced on Friday that Ikran was murdered by the militant insurgency group Al-Shabaab.

Al-Shabaab immediately denied the government’s claim.

The PM met with Tahlil’s family earlier on Sunday, including her mother Qali Mohamud Guhad, and reportedly promised the family justice.

The PM”s directive instructs everyone at NISA to assist Gobe as he takes over leadership. The PM also asked Somalia’s Attorney General, Suleyman Mohamed, to open a formal investigation into Ikran’s demise.