Somalia: Fahad Yasin makes 'secret' trip to Ethiopia to mend ties

By Staff reporter , GAROWE ONLINE
Fahad Yasin, the Chief of Staff at Villa Somalia and a close ally to Qatar

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Fahad Yasin, the powerful Chief of Staff at Villa Somalia, the country's presidential palace in Mogadishu has this week made an unannounced rare trip to neighboring Ethiopia, Garowe Online reports.

Garowe Online learned that information about Yasin's visit was kept a secret to prevent being tracked by the security agents. He traveled under the cover of Somali foreign minister's delegation visiting Addis Ababa.

After the national Intelligence Agency discovered his presence, the foreign ministers of both countries were reported to have been asked questions about the arrival of the Chief of Staff in Ethiopia without notification.

Sources revealed that Yasin has taken advantage of the strong relations that Somalia's Minister of Foreign affairs Ahmed Awad maintains with his Ethiopian counterpart to visit Addis Ababa.

The former Al Jazeera Arabic bureau chief in Mogadishu who is regarded as one of the most influential officials in the current Somali Federal Government has a close relation with Qatar which is in dispute with the Arab States.

"The motive behind Villa Somalia's Chief of Staff visit to Addis Ababa may be that he wants to mend ties with Ethiopian National Intelligence and security service and fix his flawed image," said an analyst based in Mogadishu.

The sources added that the officials of Ethiopian security agencies have rejected the meeting with Fahad Yasin, with some reports that they had asked him to leave the country immediately due to his past links to 'Islamic extremists.'

During his stay, Yasin failed ambition to see security executives, he expected to meet. Instead, he met Ethiopian regional state officials said to be hailing from his sub-clan, whom he requested to help him fix his issues.

- Why did this happen? -

Prior to taking on the post of Chief of Staff, Fahad Yasin became once a vital member of armed terrorist groups operating in Somalia, who took arms against the invasion of Ethiopian forces of the Horn of Africa.

In 2006, Ethiopians entered Somalia and installed the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Mogadishu, where it had hardly made its presence felt since coming into being in 2004 after two years of talks in Kenya.

In the course of his involvement in Somalia-based jihadist movements that tarnished his reputation in the politics, Yasin continued close ties with Eritrea, a long-time foe, and arch-rival of Ethiopia.

In June last year, Fahad Yasin was appointed as the Chief of Staff at Villa Somalia by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, third director to be named within 3 months.

The source disclosed that the kingmaker was behind the strained relations between Addis Ababa and Farmajo.

Meanwhile, Garowe Online has tried to reach out to the Chief of Staff, but attempts were unsuccessful.

Last November, Garowe Online published a leaked confidential report that shed light on Yasin's biography and his link to terror groups in Somalia, including the now-defunct Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya and Islamic Courts Union.


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