27 December 2012

Somalia: Kismayo Leader Welcomes Federal Ministers From Mogadishu

Kismayo — A delegation of Somali federal government traveled to the southern port city of Kismayo on Thursday, where local leaders received them, Garowe Online reports.

Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Islam (Ahmed Madobe), the leader of Ras Kamboni group, welcomed the Somali government delegation, which included Somali Interior Minister Abdikarim Hussein Guled, Defense Minister Abdihakim Mohamud Haji Fiqi, Information Minister Abdullahi Ilmoge, Justice Minister Abdullahi Ebyan, and Somali Army commander Gen. Abdulkadir Ali Diini, accompanied by deputy ministers and federal parliamentarians.

The federal delegation met with local political leaders, army commanders, and briefly toured Kismayo port. Local sources say the federal delegation is scheduled to hold a meeting with community elders on Friday.

Speaking on VOA Somali Service, Somali Interior Minister Abdikarim Hussein Guled said: "We are happy to be in the Somali city of Kismayo. We have received a warm welcome. We are visiting to assess the security and ground conditions."

Asked if the federal delegation was in Kismayo to establish a local administration, Minister Guled said: "No we are not here to establish a local administration."

Sheikh Ahmed Madobe, the leader of Ras Kamboni group that liberated Kismayo with assistance of Kenyan-AMISOM peacekeepers last September, told VOA Somali Service that the Kismayo administration supports the federal system in Somalia.

"Somalia has adopted federalism and the country now has a Federal Constitution. Today we have welcomed the visiting federal delegation who delivered a message from the Somali leadership in Mogadishu," said Sheikh Ahmed Madobe, adding: "It has been agreed that Kismayo and the Jubaland regions will establish an administration supported by the local people and the local people will elect their leadership."

Since Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected in September, the federal government has been accused of interfering in efforts to establish Jubaland administration. But Interior Minister Guled toned down reports of friction between the federal government and Kismayo political leaders during his VOA interview.

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