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Concerns raised over ex-Jubaland militia's presence in Kenya

Monday June 19, 2023

Ibrahim Ogle-the Jubaland interior minister

Earlier this month, Jubbaland President Ahmed Madobe appointed a new governor for the Gedo region which has been the epicentre of a multi-faceted political dispute.

Madobe named Abdullahi Abdi Jama as the governor of the Gedo region, while Osman Noor Haji Moalimou became his deputy on security and politics, and Nasteh Ahmed was assigned to serve as the deputy governor of finance.

Last week, a plane carrying the new administration was allegedly denied landing rights at Garbaharey airstrip.

On Saturday, the VOA Somali reported that the political tension has been rising since Abdullahi Farmajo, the immediate former president of Somalia, left the office in mid-last year.

In a joint statement by Jubbaland's First Vice-president, members of the Cabinet Steering Committee and members of the Jubbaland Legislative Assembly, the leaders condemned the rising tension in the area.

"A group of politicians with ulterior motives have lately been trying to make the Gedo region ungovernable and we would not accept it," said Ibrahim Ogle, the Jubbaland Interior minister.

He added that the group have been circulating a piece of fake news against the newly appointed administration and the situation in the area.

Ogle further stated that almost all the leaders representing the Gedo region in both the Federal and local level government are supporting the establishment of the new administration.

"Jubbaland has 25 members of the assembly from Gedo, a Vice President and 17 members in the Cabinet. At the Federal level, 98 percent of the elected leaders are behind Ahmed Madobe and his appointment of new administration and commissioners for Gedo Region," Ogle noted.

"The politicians serving the interest of the former president won't be allowed to deny the people of Gedo a chance to get an administration that is led and served by the residents. The administration is there to cater for their rights to basic social services. They had their time and there's nothing to show for it. This is our time and we have the mandate to serve what the people expect of us," Ogle said.

A former militia leader and one of the figures suspected to be behind the impeding armed conflict is alleged to be spending nights in Mandera town amid reports that he's spearheading the destabilisation plan in Gedo Region.

Among the team leaders are a Nairobi-based lawyer, a Kenyan Senator and a former Jubbaland Interior minister.

The former militia leader's alleged arrival in Mandera comes barely three days after the Jubbaland administration raised concerns over a growing threat of insecurity and a surge in insurgency activities in the Gedo Region.

The ex-militia leader was ousted from Jubbaland more than a decade ago by fighters led by President Ahmed Madobe and Kenyan forces.

He was also the chairman of the now defunct Juba Valley Alliance, which controlled Southern and Southwestern Somalia, including the nation's third-largest city, the strategic port town of Kismayo.

On Monday last week, police in Garissa town suspended a meeting organised by the members of Jubbaland opposition factions.

Shortly, a press conference by the community leaders condemned the botched meeting, saying "Kenya won't be the launching pad to destabilise Jubbaland security and political arrangement".

Local political analysts believe that the latest political and conflict-ridden activities in Gedo Region could not have come at a worse time.

It comes against the backdrop of plans to reopen the Immigration operations in the Mandera border post and the ongoing heightened anti-al Shabab onslaught by the Jubbaland administration.

It is also believed that the hosting of the former militia in Mandera could cause a diplomatic row between Kenya and Somalia which normalised after five years of frosty relations during the Farmajo-era.