BAIDOA, Somalia Feb 14 2013
(Garowe Online) – Heavy fighting between Al Shabaab fighters and Somali
government forces in Baidoa district left 5 dead and 10 injured in a string of
attacks, that coincided with the Somali Federal Government’s reshuffle of the
regional administration in Bay region, Garowe
Bay, Bakool and Hiraan regions of
south central Somalia have seen a resurgence of deadly explosions and attacks
waged by Al Shabaab fighters in recent weeks after a long period of calm. This
resurrection of attacks is mainly concentrated in Baidoa, the administrative capital
of Bay region. The attacks have escalated since last week’s executive decision
decreed the replacement of the Governor of Bay region Mr. Abdifatah Ibrahim
Some Bay residents regarded the
decision as a move by the Somali federal government to control and influence
the outcome of the state formation process in the regions of Bay and Bakool.
The move comes as regional authorities and residents of those regions were
mobilizing constituents for a state formation conference.
Former Governor Geesey stated to the
media that he was still the governor of the region despite a decree from the Somali
Federal Government replacing Governor Geesey with Governor Abdi Adan Hasow.
According to local sources, the new administration is worried of former
Governor Geesey’s authority in the region and mediation talks were initiated.
Last Monday, new regional
officials assigned to Baidoa were unable to work due to the dispute between the
previous and current regional administrations. A delegation from Mogadishu was
sent to smooth things over.
According to confidential
sources, talks between the two sides broke down once before but were again renewed.
The source says that the tension is not stemming solely from former governor
Geesey’s refusal to step down but also from issues regarding state formation
Ethiopian troops stationed in Baidoa, liberated
the city from Al Shabaab last year
attacks have steadily increased over the past weeks.
Is the move by the Somali Federal
Government and the recent insecurity in the region linked? GO asked one analyst
if that was the case.
“I believe that it’s too early to
tell, terrorist cells like Al Shabaab, always take advantage of disputes
between administration. That being said the central government needs to settle the
issue as soon as possible or the situation may get out of hand,” said Abdinasir
Ahmed Mohamed a senior Somali political analyst.
Meanwhile, Speaker of Parliament
Mohamed Osman Jawari traveled to Ethiopia on Wednesday and will meet with
Ethiopian officials. In his first foreign trip, Speaker Jawari received an invitation
to the country to discuss coordination and cooperation between the two
countries’ parliaments and other issues. Sources tell GO that the other issue
Speaker Jawari will discuss with Ethiopian officials is the new administration
in Bay region, which the government supports.