Somalia is in a new political and security stalemate

Somalia faces a political and security impasse on Wednesday, as it is paralyzed due to a dispute between the president and the prime minister over the replacement of the director of the intelligence service, in the midst of a major controversy in recent days over the disappearance of an employee of the agency.

Tensions are exacerbated between President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, nicknamed "Farmago" and Prime Minister Mohamed Robley, over the disappearance of this intelligence employee, Ikram Tahlil, 25, who works in the Information Security Department of the National Agency for Security and Intelligence (Nisa), who was kidnapped from the capital, Mogadishu, in 26 June.

The Prime Minister stressed on Wednesday that the president is “obstructing the investigation” and his recent decisions constitute a “serious existential threat to the country’s ruling system.”

This new rift between the president and the prime minister, this time centered on the main body in the fight against the jihadist al-Shabab insurgency, is causing concern at a time when the country is still waiting to organize the presidential elections that were supposed to take place before February.

On Sunday, Robley announced the dismissal of intelligence director Fahd Yassin, who is close to President Farmajo, and appointed another director in his place. The prime minister considered that the intelligence investigation into the disappearance of Ikram Tahlil, who accuses Al-Shabaab jihadists, was "unconvincing and lacking evidence."

On Monday, the presidency canceled Robley’s decision, considering it “unconstitutional and illegal.” Then, on Tuesday night, it announced the appointment of Fahd Yassin as a security advisor to the head of state, and assigned Colonel Yassin Abdullah Mahmoud, who is close to Fahd Yassin, to run the intelligence agency on behalf.

The intelligence agency announced on Wednesday morning that its new acting director, Colonel Yassin Abdullah Mahmoud, had assumed his duties at the head of the agency.

Several sources told Agence France-Presse that security was reinforced around the headquarters of the agency, whose senior officers were divided.

"The situation is still tense and the staff at the agency are now confused," said a member of the intelligence service, without revealing his name. Looks like some of the officers took a side.”

Sources said that members of the intelligence service's special "Duvan" unit, which is closely linked to the presidency, were seen guarding the building on Wednesday morning with armored vehicles.

Reporters in state media told AFP that they had received an order not to publish any statements issued by the prime minister.

An employee in the Ministry of Information, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed to AFP that "the minister requested to stop reporting on the affairs of the president's office related to the political dispute."

For months, Farmajo, whose term expired in February without being able to organize new elections, and Robley, who was appointed in September 2020, have faced each other in a feud that is becoming more and more open.

In May, President Farmajo commissioned Robley to organize elections, to try to calm the tensions generated by the announcement of his two-year extension. These tensions culminated with armed clashes in Mogadishu, reviving memories of decades of civil war in the country after 1991.

Muhammed Robley reached an agreement on the electoral program, with the presidential polls to be held by the tenth of October.

This process was in fact delayed by the program. It is assumed that the appointment of members of the House of Representatives, the last step before the election of the head of state according to the complex indirect electoral system of Somalia, between the first of October and 25 November.

In a joint statement Tuesday, the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) urged Somali leaders to defuse the political standoff. It also called for "a credible investigation into the disappearance of Ikram Tahlil and the completion of the electoral process without further delay."

Many observers consider the electoral impasse to distract attention from other important issues in Somalia such as the jihadist insurgency led by Al-Shabab.

Although they were expelled from Mogadishu in 2011, al-Shabaab still control large rural areas of the country and regularly carry out attacks in the capital.

التعليقات والاراء

اضافة تعليق