The African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) is planning to cut 1,000 troops from its peacekeeping mission in the Horn of Africa country in February, and later completely withdraw.
Somali National Forces are expected to take over the responsibility of securing the country from al Shabab militants once Amisom complete its withdrawal.
Amisom draws its troops from Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. Allowances for the troops are paid by the EU, and logistical support – from food to medical supplies – is provided by the UN.
Under a transition plan agreed in 2017, Amisom is required to conduct gradual handover to Somali security forces, secure main supply routes, reduce the threat posed by al Shabab and conduct targeted offensive operations that support the transition plan.
When President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo was elected in February 2017, he promised to rebuild and reform the country’s military which has been crippled by corruption and lack of modern equipment. Three years later, a lot has been achieved but much needs to be done.
Amisom troops are in Somalia for 12 years now helping the government battle al Shabab and expand its authority outside Mogadishu.
Amisom plans to withdraw complete from Somalia by December 2020, and, if this happens, there would be security vacuum. The Somali army is not yet ready to take over the responsibility of securing the country.
Security gains by Amisom and the parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled in late 2020 and early 2021 respectively could be in jeopardy if Amisom goes ahead in its withdrawal plan.
Although the Farmajo administration undertook some reforms within the military, like paying soldiers regularly and increasing their pay, eliminating middlemen and cutting out commanders who siphoned soldiers’ meager salary, lack of capacity and basic supplies and weapons will hinder its performance against al Shabab group which has been weakened but still capable of conducting high-profile attacks against civilians as well as state installations.
When the African Union (AU) troops complete their mission in Somalia, a UN Security Council resolution was that a United Nations peacekeeping mission replaces them. That plan has now been scrapped. The AU troops will hand over the responsibility of securing the country directly to Somali forces. Already, some places like Warsheikh Forward Operating Base, Mogadishu Stadium, Somali National University and Jaale Siyad Military Academy were handed over to Somali forces.
Farmajo names committee of inquiry to investigate disappearance of former spy Ikran Tahlil
Somali president Mohamed Farmajo has appointing a five-member committee to investigate the disappearance of former spy agent Ikran Tahlil.
“I hereby appoint a five-Member Commission of inquiry Chaired by the Attorney-General and deputized by Head of Military Court to expedite investigations on the case of IKRAN TAHLIL and to hand over the findings and evidence to responsible legal institutions for the execution of Justice.”
In the presidential decree, Farmajo appointed the Attorney-General to lead the fact-finding mission. The Armed Forces Court Attorney General is also a member of the committee. The three committee members will be nominated later by the Somali Police Force Commander, the Commander of the Somali National Army and Col. Yasin Abdulahi Mohamud, his new appointee Director-General of the National Intelligence and Security Agency.
The statement added that Ikran’s case was a “sensitive one that needs a thorough investigation.”
Farmajo instructed the commission to submit its investigative reports to the relevant authorities, although there will undoubtedly be demands to make the findings of any report public. There will also likely be apprehension to Somalia’s intelligence agency being a part of the investigation. Many lawmakers have called on an independent inquiry into Ikran’s murder.
Farmajo declared that the decree came into effect immediately after he signed it.
Qorqor and Laftagareen try to bring Farmajo and Roble together
The presidents of Galmudug, Ahmed Abdi Karie Qoor Qoor his South West State counterpart and Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed Laftagareen have taken the role of mediators to find a solution the wrangle between President Mohamed Farmajo and his Prime Minister Mohamed Roble.
The two met with Farmajo and Roble separately, and urged both parties to refrain from further action that would escalate the tense situation.
Reports indicate that the president and the prime minister have accepted the mediation, although each has developed conditions attached to the talks.
Prime Minister Roble insisted that Commander Bashir Goobe was the commander of NISA, and President Farmajo emphasized that the steps taken by the Prime Minister were invalid.
The meeting is expected to continue on Friday. The two presidents are hopeful that the two top officials will finally be reconciled so that their differences do not affect the election process.
The intervention comes amidst heightened political tensions between Farmajo and Roble which could threaten the fragile security of the Horn of Africa nation.
Finland swears-in its first Somali-born member of parliament
Suldaan Said Ahmed has been officially sworn in as a Member of Parliament, becoming Finland’s first Somali-background MP, according to Finnish news oulrt Yle News.
The Helsinki city councillor replaces party colleague and outgoing MP Paavo Arhinmäki (Left), who left Parliament to take up a role as Helsinki Deputy Mayor.
Said Ahmed told Yle News that he still “cannot quite believe” he is now an MP.
“If someone had told the refugee-background, single-mother raised, teenage Suldaan, that you would one day become a Finnish legislator, I would not have believed it,” he said.
“There were no people like me in Parliament when I was growing up.”
He added that he intends to help “build a better Finland” during his time in Parliament.
“I want a Finland where every young person, regardless of their background or starting point, can pursue their dreams. I hope that my selection here will send a message to young people that anything is possible,” he added.
Said Ahmed and two other incoming MPs — Atte Kaleva (NCP) and Jari Kinnunen (NCP) — were officially announced as Members of Parliament by parliamentary speaker Anu Vehviläinen (Cen) at a plenary session on Thursday afternoon.
Kaleva and Kinnunen are replacing party colleagues Anna-Kaisa Ikonen and Juhana Vartiainen, who became mayors of Tampere and Helsinki respectively.
Said Ahmed was born in Somalia in 1993 and moved to Finland in 2008. He was elected to Helsinki City Council at the municipal elections in 2017, garnering over 1,000 votes, and was re-elected to the council at the last municipal election in June, increasing his vote count to 1,634.
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