Kismayo — The newly elected president of Jubaland state in southern Somalia has nominated Gen. Abdullahi Ismail Fartaag as the state's new Vice President in accordance with the adopted State Charter, Garowe Online reports.
Jubaland President Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Islam (Madobe) nominated Gen. Fartaag as Jubaland Vice President after consultations with community elders, politicians and intellectuals, according to sources in Kismayo.
Gen. Fartaag took the oath of office Friday afternoon in Kismayo in front of community elders and other sectors of Jubaland society, witnesses reported. Speaking to the media, Gen. Fartaag said the Jubaland election of Ahmed Madobe as the new state's first president was "right and legitimate".
Asked about Col. Barre Hirale, Gen. Fartaag, who like Barre Hirale also hails from Gedo region of Jubaland state, said that Gedo region's clan chief took part of the Jubaland constitutional conference. Col. Barre Hirale, a former Kismayo warlord, suddenly declared himself as Jubaland president on May 15, moments after Madobe's election.
Speaking on BBC, Ahlu Sunna militia leader Sheikh Mohamed Yusuf Libah, a politician from Gedo region, also said the Jubaland conference delegates' election of Ahmed Madobe was legitimate after a consultative community process.
Some 870 delegates adopted the Jubaland State Charter in April 2013, while 500 delegates took part in electing Ahmed Madobe as Jubaland president on May 15, 2013.
Speaking on Puntland-based Radio Garowe on Friday, Mr. Abdinasir Serar spokesman for Kismayo's former interim administration accused the Somali Federal Government of "fomenting community violence" in Kismayo. He said the Federal Government has "failed its national duty" and stated that, "political groups are backing Barre Hirale's self-declared presidency".
"Barre Hirale came to Kismayo [in April] claiming to visit his family. This is a surprise that he suddenly declares himself a 'president'," he said.
Somali Interior Minister Abdikarim Hussein Guled held a press conference on Thursday in Mogadishu, claiming that Jubaland has "two presidents", warned against clan violence, and advised Federal Government troops and AMISOM peacekeepers to be "neutral" in the event of violence in Kismayo.
Minister Guled also said that the Federal Government does not recognize the outcome of the Jubaland conference, with reports in Mogadishu noting that Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon who hails from Gedo region refused to read yesterday's prepared statement in Mogadishu, whereby the Federal Government rejected the Jubaland conference's outcome.