7 November 2012

Somalia: Kismayo Authorities Deport Unannounced Mogadishu Delegation

Kismayo, Somalia — A delegation consisting of Somali government and security authorities from Mogadishu who unexpectedly arrived in Kismayo were deported from airport, Garowe Online reports.

According to Kismayo authorities, an eight-member delegation that was sent by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud without notification was deported from Kismayo airport on Wednesday by Kismayo authorities.

The delegation included AMISOM Spokesman Col. Ismail Hamud former Jubba Valley Alliance (JVA) militia leader Col. Mohamed Roble Goobaale, and other officials.

Col. Goobaale, under the political leadership of Col. Barre Adan Hiraale and Col. Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail, is alleged of committing war crimes during the seven-year when bloody clashes over control Kismayo occurred. In early 2007, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) drove the JVA out of Kismayo.

According to government sources, the delegation was sent to Jubaland regions to investigate the resurging charcoal trade in Kismayo, which has been banned by the Somali government and UN Security Council resolutions.

A journalist delegation of 10 Somali and foreign journalists that accompanied the Mogadishu delegation was left stranded at Kismayo airport after they failed to get a return flight to Mogadishu.

Kismayo authorities stated that they were disappointed that neither the President nor his government notified authorities in Kismayo about the visit by the delegation, which President Hassan assigned earlier this week.

The delegation from Mogadishu was expected earlier this week but cancelled on two different occasions before arriving in Kismayo on Wednesday.

According to local sources, authorities in Kismayo did not welcome President Hassan's nomination of former militia leaders - who are alleged to have committed war crimes in Kismayo in the past - as the investigating committee into the charcoal allegations.

Some Kismayo residents told local media that the local administration's decision to deport the Mogadishu delegaion was consistent with the local people's right and aspirations to form an inclusive state administration that is representative of local clans.

According to Kismayo authorities, the original delegation included Yusuf Mohamed Said Inda'ade a former warlord who has a record of brutalizing local populations in Lower Shabelle region in the early 2000s.

Government analysts, who spoke to GO on condition of anonmity, believe the issues that the Somali Federal Government has to tackle is larger than a return of the charcoal trade in Kismayo and local officials say the Somali government is intereferring in the local process to establish Jubaland administration, in line with the Provisional Federal Constitution of Somalia.

Analysts suggest that there is friction between President Hassan's government and the Jubaland state process being led by Kismayo local leaders and facilitated by IGAD regional bloc that has also been supported by the Kenyan government.

"I believe that President Hassan desires to be very involved in the state formation of Jubaland and could be a blunder for his government if handled incorrectly," said Mohamed Jama an analyst of Somali politics.

The Jubaland state process began during the Transitional Federal Government's (TFG) tenure months ago and was supported by Roadmap signatories who signed the Provisional Federal Constitution of Somalia promotes the formation of federated states such as Jubaland.

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