24 February 2013

Somalia: Somali Gov't Says It Will Host Convention to Create Jubaland State

Kismayo — One day after the community led Jubaland state convention was postponed prior to clashes in Kismayo, the Somali Federal Government announced that it would be holding its own Jubaland state convention, Garowe Online reports.

Interior Minister Abdikarim Hassan Guled spoke to media on Sunday and stated that the government wasn't involved in the Jubaland state convention that was intended to convene on Saturday.

"We had heard about the Jubaland state convention that said it would form a state for the regions, but we weren't involved or contacted at all," said Minister Guled.

Moallim Mohamed Ibrahim, spokesman for the Jubaland convention organizing committee said that the convention was pushed back so Somali Federal Government officials could send representatives to the conference.

Horn Air Aviation Services, the airline that was supposed to take delegates to the conference was grounded in Mogadishu and their license was revoked by the SFG for "unknown reasons" on Saturday, according to an airline official.

Continuing his press statement on Sunday, Minister Guled said that the Somali Federal Government (SFG) would be holding its own Jubaland state convention that would be more "inclusive".

"We [SFG] are holding a state formation convention for the people of Jubaland and we are inviting all parties to attend this conference," said Minister Guled.

Although the Minister did not mention a date, the SFG planned conference will coincide with the Jubaland state conference slated for the 26th of February.

The Jubaland state formation conference was backed by IGAD regional bloc and has been in the works for a few years. The regions of Lower Jubba, Middle Jubba and Gedo would form Jubaland state. The interim administration in Kismayo told media earlier this month that they had planned a Jubaland state convention for later this month and had invited all SFG officials to take part.

The SFG has publicly stated its disdain for the Jubaland state process although it had been backed by IGAD and was lawful under the Somali Federal Constitution.

Local sources told GO that it could be perceived that Somali officials in Mogadishu were "sabotaging" the Jubaland state process in a bid to have more control.

Jubaland state officials have still not commented on the announcement of a state convention by the SFG as of yet.

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