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In Somalia, the dangerous escalation between President and Prime Minister continues

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In Somalia, the dangerous escalation between President and Prime Minister continues

The crisis between the Somali president and his prime minister took a further step on Thursday, September 9, raising fears of an escalation of violence in this country in the Horn of Africa, already in difficulty by a postponed electoral process and by the jihadist insurgency chabab.

Read also In Somalia, president calls for elections and return to dialogue

On Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Mohamed Roble announced the sacking of security minister Hassan Hundubey Jimale and replaced him with Abdullahi Mohamed Nur, a critic of incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, says Farmajo. This decision was rejected by the head of state on Thursday morning.

The day before, Roble had accused the president of“Hinder” an investigation into the disappearance of a young employee of the Intelligence Services Agency (Nisa), Ikran Thalil. He had felt that his decisions posed “A dangerous existential threat to the country’s governance system”.

“Unconvincing” survey

The already strained relations between the two men had deteriorated this weekend after Mr. Roble announced the dismissal of the director of Nisa, Fahad Yasin, an intimate of Farmajo, judging the investigation of the agency into this disappearance. – who accuses the Chabab jihadists – “Not convincing”.

The presidency canceled this decision on Monday “Illegal and unconstitutional”, then announced on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday the appointment of Fahad Yasin to the post of security adviser to the president, appointing his own replacement at the head of Nisa. But on Wednesday evening, the prime minister fired the security minister in order to “Revitalize” this powerful ministry, which covers all the security and intelligence agencies.

Read also “Somalia is on the verge of collapse”: political crisis in Mogadishu raises fears of the worst

The president rejected early Thursday morning this decision judged “Invalid” constitutionally.

The outgoing minister accused the head of government, Mohamed Roble, of “To precipitate the country in a new conflict”.

An atmosphere of tension gripped the upper echelons in the capital Mogadishu. A unit closely linked to the presidency was seen guarding the Nisa buildings on Wednesday morning, as Fahad Yasin’s successor took office.

Capital under tension

The division wins the senior officers of the agency. “The situation remains tense and the people at the agency are confused now. Some of the senior officers seem to have taken sides ”an agent told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Journalists from several state media also told AFP that they had been ordered not to broadcast Farmajo’s communications.

“The Minister told us to stop reporting on the affairs of the President’s Office related to the political conflict”, an employee of the Ministry of Information, who also wished to remain anonymous, told AFP.

Read also: From al-Qaida to ISIS, the bloody legacy of bin Laden

This escalation worries the international community, less than five months after the last armed clashes in Mogadishu.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, the United Nations, the United States, the European Union (EU) and the East African organization Igad (Intergovernmental Authority for Development) have “Urged the Somali leaders to defuse the political confrontation”, calling in particular for “The completion of the electoral process without further delay”.

The announcement in mid-April of the two-year extension of Farmajo’s mandate, which expired in February without new elections being held, sparked armed clashes in the capital, reviving the memory of decades of civil war that ravaged the country after 1991.

Electoral process in danger

In a gesture of appeasement, Farmajo had tasked Mr. Roble, his prime minister since 2020, to organize the elections. The latter reached an agreement on an electoral calendar, with the horizon of a presidential election on October 10. A process that is already behind schedule.

The appointment of members of the Lower House, the last step before the election of the Head of State according to the complex Somali indirect electoral system, must now take place between 1er October and November 25.

Today it appears more and more threatened. Mohamed Roble has already accused Farmajo of wanting to recover “Electoral and security responsibilities” that he had entrusted to her.

Many observers believe that the electoral stalemate has diverted attention from other issues crucial to Somalia, including the jihadist Shabab insurgency.

Although ousted from Mogadishu in 2011, the Chabab still control large rural areas of the country and regularly carry out attacks in the capital.

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