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Somalia security reshuffle amid terror uptick

August 16, 2018 at 3:21 pm

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo [AMISOM Public Information/Flickr]

Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has reshuffled key security officials in a move to counter an ongoing threat from Al-Qaeda’s affiliate Al-Shabaab.

Farmajo appointed Dahi Adnan Ilmi as the new commander of the Somali National Army (SNA), and Fahad Yasin as deputy director of the National Intelligence Security Agency (NISA). Adding to the reshuffle, Farmajo appointed Amina Saiid Ali as the director of presidential security, marking the first woman to head up security in the country – a major precedent.

‘Corruption within’

In early July, 14 Somali security officers were arrested over alleged collusion after a deadly Al-Shabaab attack on the headquarters of the Ministry of Interior in the capital Mogadishu.

The security officers were responsible for guarding the checkpoints, but Al-Shabaab managed to enter the site, detonating two bombs and killing at least 20 people, injuring a dozen. The arrests came after Al-Shabaab fighters were found with security guard uniforms and identity cards, insinuating some cooperation and collusion.

Early this year, President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo told his parliament that “it’s undeniable that there is corruption in the government committed by some of us. It’s obvious that there is a lack of trust.”

The United States (US) last year suspended aid and funding to the SNA over corruption concerns, after food and fuel were spent without any accountability jeopardising the peacekeeping mission. Washington has spent $66 million on stipends over the past seven years but has halted the programme several times, concerned the money was not going to frontline soldiers.

Somalia was ranked amongst the world’s most corrupt, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2017 report. The country suffers from weak public institutions and instability which directly impact basic governance.

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