Somalia’s leaders travel to regional capitals as Mogadishu remains tense

25.8.2022: Mogadishu, Somalia

Leaders of the Somali Federal Government have made trips to regional states as part of a political endeavour to gain support for the new government and its various nationwide programmes including security and reconciliation.

Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre made his first domestic trip since his appointment to Beledweyne, the regional capital of Hiran to observe the drought situation in the region and the on-going security operations against Al-Shabab in the area according to State Media.

This comes after a trip led by Somali Defence Minister, Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur and Chief of Somali National Army, Odowaa Yusuf Raage to SNA troops and local militia at the frontline against Al-Shabab in the outskirts of Beledweyne and rural areas in Hiran.

PM Barre lands in Beledweyne

On Tuesday, the Somali government dispatched four planes carrying food aid to the Beledweyne and Bulaburte districts of the Hiran region in response to the drought. Bulaburte is one of the districts most affected by the current severe drought in Somalia. Additionally, the district has been under siege by Al-Shabaab for almost ten years.

Following a welcoming event held for the PM by the Hirshabelle leadership, PM Barre accompanied by the Defence Minister and Hirshabelle State President Ali Gudlawe visited SNA army bases in Beledweyne. He commended the bravery of the SNA and the local militia known as ‘Macawisley‘ who are currently conducting offensive operations against Al-Shabab positions in the region.

The PM also visited the IDP camps in Beledweyne where many people who lost their livestock in the drought.

Frosty Welcoming in Garowe

While PM Barre lands in Beledweyne, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud travelled to the Garowe, the regional capital of Puntland State this afternoon on a three-day visit.

This comes after reports emerged from Garowe that the Puntland leadership rejected a planned visit by PM Barre to the Federal state.

Puntland leader Said Abdullahi Deni, who supported Hassan Sheikh in the run-off round of last May’s presidential election, was expected to be appointed Prime Minister but the President decided to pick Hamza Abdi Barre as his Prime Minister which some believe is the reason behind Deni’s cold shoulder towards the Federal Government as of late.

Deni travelled to Addis Ababa to partake in a secretive meeting with the Ethiopian leadership and an Ethiopian military delegation visited Garowe recently which has angered Mogadishu and has demonstrate the political rift between the two.

According to Villa Somalia, the President’s visit will aim to enhance cooperation between the Federal Government of Somalia and Puntland state.

Mohamud and Deni at Villa Garowe

President Mohamud and Deni will reportedly have a closed-door meeting before the delegation is expected to travel to Bosasso where fighting raged earlier this year when Puntland leader Deni waged an assault on the Puntland Security Force (PSF) led by General Mohamud Osman Diyano which resulted in dozens being killed and damages to the private property.

Additionally, rival security forces clashed near the airport over a humanitarian plane carrying the first deputy Speaker of the Somali Lower House Parliament, Sadia Yasin Samatar last month which saw a number of soldiers killed.

Local reports indicate that the Federal Government agreed to pay compensation to the soldiers who died in the fighting.

Wrong Priorities?

Many have criticised the President for his travel to Garowe at a time where Mogadishu residents are still mourning the lose of fellow citizens killed in last week’s Al-Shabab attack in which militants besieged Hayat Hotel.

Analysts have described the speech made by the President as weak and lacking the strong response needed from the President against Al-Shabab but also his lack of sympathy to the victims as well as the lack of details on how the attack unfolded.

The capital is facing major security situation as reports are emerging of Al-Shabab militants are still roaming the city. Yesterday, Nabadoon Mohamed Nur Diriye was assassinated Bakaara Market in Mogadishu by the group.

AUN Nabaddoon Maxamed Nuur Diiriye

The reality is that the President should focus on the immediate issue facing Somalia and Somalis which involves severe droughts and a dire security situation across the country and more specifically the capital rather than trying to settle political mistakes.

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