Kismayo — A delegation consisting of a technical committee charged with the formation of Jubaland state in southern Somalia arrived in the port town of Kismayo on Saturday to boost state-building efforts, while some members of the technical committee are stranded in Mogadishu overnight Saturday, Garowe Online reports.
Around 30 members of the technical committee consisting of Somali officials and representatives from IGAD regional bloc arrived in Kismayo, while a second 9-member delegation of the technical team arrived in Mogadishu to visit Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. The delegation received a warm welcome at Kismayo airport.
Kismayo authorities said the technical committee is tasked with ongoing process to establish Jubaland state consisting of Lower Jubba, Middle Jubba and Gedo regions.
The state-building process led by local communities began in neighboring Kenya and is now transferring its work to Kismayo, after the port town was seized by Somali local forces aided by Kenyan contingent of AMISOM peacekeeping force in September.
Mr. Abdinasir Serar, spokesman for Ras Kamboni group that has been fighting against Al Shabaab militants since 2009 in the Jubaland regions, told the BBC Somali Service that the state-building process is going well.
"This technical committee is making preparations for the expected convention to form Jubaland state, but I cannot say how long the process will take," said Serar, while rejecting media reports that Kismayo airport was attacked by Al Shabaab militants as the delegation's airplane landed at the airport.
Mr. Serar blasted the Somali Federal Government, saying that Somali local forces expected to be praised for seizing Kismayo from Al Shabaab militants instead of criticism from Somali government officials in Mogadishu.
Stranded in Mogadishu
Also on Saturday, nine members of the same technical committee that arrived in Mogadishu consisting of Somali and IGAD officials and the delegation met with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
Confidential sources tell Garowe Online that President Hassan exchanged heated words with the committee members and demanded that "IGAD stop supporting the process" and that reiterating his position that the Jubaland administration should be nominated from Mogadishu.
IGAD officials flew back to Kenya on the same day, while Somali members of the technical committee are "still stranded in Mogadishu" due to pressure from President Hassan, sources added.
President Hassan has strongly opposed the formation of Jubaland state by local communities and demands to appoint an administration from Mogadishu, which political leaders in Jubaland say is a violation of the Somali Federal Constitution.