28 June 2013

Somalia: Jubaland Forces Clash With Illegal Militia and Al Shabaab in Kismayo

Photo: UN
Some of the AMISOM troops atop a tank in Mogadishu.

Kismayo — Armed clashes erupted in Somalia's southern port town of Kismayo on Friday afternoon as Jubaland government forces clashed with an illegal militia, Garowe Online reports.

The armed confrontation began after an illegal militia attacked Jubaland forces in Kismayo, with local reports saying that the illegal militia was angered by the arrest of Col. Abbas Ibrahim Gurey (Abbas Dheere), who was detained by Kenyan-AMISOM troops in Kismayo on Friday morning.

Some reports tell Garowe Online that Col. Abbas was detained and transported to Wajer, Kenya, by AMISOM forces with local sources reporting that AMISOM forces suspected Col. Abbas of involvement in yesterday's roadside bombing that led to AMISOM casualties in Kismayo.

Al Shabaab connection

Col. Abbas is leader of a militia that came from Gedo region earlier 2013 and Somali Federal Government recently appointed him as commander of Jubba regions. Col. Abbas recently travelled to Mogadishu and returned to Kismayo, and was involved in "meetings against Jubaland administration of President Ahmed Mohamed Islam" sources in Kismayo tell Garowe Online.

Col. Abbas is a close ally of Col. Barre Hirale, who arrived secretly in Kismayo earlier 2013 claiming to "visit his family" and surprisingly declared himself as Jubaland president in May 2013. Political groups accuse Col. Hirale, a former warlord, of fomenting violence and destabilizing the Jubaland regions.

There were no reliable reports of casualties from Friday's armed clashes, but local sources confirmed that Jubaland forces removed the illegal militia from Kismayo and the militia was chased to the outskirts of the port town.

Some 200 Al Shabaab masked fighters were "fighting alongside Col. Abbas militia" witnesses in Kismayo reported. Jubaland Vice President Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail Fartag had previously accused the political opposition in Kismayo, "funded" by Somali federal government, of cooperating with Al Shabaab militants in attempting to fight the Jubaland administration.

Jubaland talks in deadlock

Meanwhile Jubaland's elected president, Ahmed Madobe, is currently in Addis Ababa and has engaged in meetings with Somali President's right hand man, Mr. Farah Sheikh Abdulkadir, a Kenyan citizen who is State Minister of the Presidency in Mogadishu.

The meetings, which occurred at an Addis Ababa hotel on Thursday and Friday, have "come to an inclusive end" after the Somali President's representative refused to recognize the Jubaland conference and its election of Ahmed Madobe as president, sources tell Garowe Online.

Jubaland President Ahmed Madobe has refused to engage in dialogue with the Somali Federal Government until the federal government recognizes the Jubaland process and its legitimate outcome, in line with the Somali Federal Constitution.

Since his election in Sept. 2012, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and his allies have focused on fighting against the Jubaland process and established administration.

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