Somalia: Jubaland minister lands in Kenya after escaping from Mogadishu jail


NAIROBI, Kenya - Jubaland security minister Abdirashid Hassan arrived in Nairobi on Friday evening, just hours after being sighted in Kismayo, multiple sources have confirmed.

Janan was arrested in August 2019 by Somali Federal Government over what authorities in Mogadishu referred to as "serious crimes" that warrants international attention.

At the time of arrest, the regional minister, who had been blacklisted by human rights groups such as Transparency International, was heading to Addis Ababa at the time of his arrest at Aden Adde International airport, local media said.

The security forces in Mogadishu him in detention near NISA's headquaters, where he had been held for several months.

Abdirashid arrived in Nairobi on Friday

But a source told Garowe Online that Abdirashid Janan arrived in Nairobi aboard private jet which disembarked at Wilson Airport shortly after 5pm.

After arrival, Janan, a close ally of President Ahmed Madobe, was driven to a high end Nairobi hotel for brief meeting with Somali leaders.

Madobe, who had been in Nairobi for several days, is among those who met the embattled security minister, before he was taken to hospital for medical check-up, the source added.

"He was driven from Wilson to Nairobi where he briefly met Madobe and a delegation. He was then treated at Nairobi Hospital," the source said, without disclosing his subsequent movements.

Both Madobe and his Puntland counterpart Said Abdullahi Deni have been holding a series of meetings in Nairobi, majorly focusing on Somalia's troubled internal politics.

Last week, the two leaders were hosted by Kenyan lawmakers, local politicians and business people in Nairobi, although details of their meeting still remain a closely guarded secret.

Somalia yet to issue statement

Authorities in Somalia issued a red alert after the escape of Abdirashid from a holding cell in Mogadishu last week, although they did not explain the circumstances under which he sneaked out.

Zakia Hussein, the deputy Somali police commander, said "we have heightened security across the country and we are pursuing him".

Some of the areas that were manned by security forces while pursuing him include Aden Adde International Airport and airstrips in Gedo region, police said.

Prior to his escape, Abdirashid Janan had successfully negotiated house detention, with President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, who hails from his clan, brokering the deal, a source said.

Mixed reactions over his escape

But on Friday, the minister arrived in Kismayo by boat on Friday, January 31, just three days after he went missing from the house detention in Mogadishu.

According to a source who spoke to Garowe Online, he had paid some of the soldiers guarding him before escaping through a small window.

At Kismayo, he was accompanied by some of the soldiers who were guarding him, further raising questions about the security of Somalia's correctional facilities.

Possible rifts between Kenya and Somalia

But Abdirashid Janan's arrival in Nairobi could create diplomatic rifts between Nairobi and Mogadishu, should authorities in Somalia call for his repatriation.

Somalia is yet to issue any statement following the fugitive minister's arrival in Kismayo and Nairobi, although his presence would definitely cause anxiety.

Jubaland has been at loggerheads with federal government of Somalia for years.

KDF troops have been guarding Jubaland state, with Kenya using the region as a buffer zone in the fight against Al-Shabaab.

Dr. Vincent Moracha, a political analyst, says it's "unlikely" that Abdirashid Janan can be deported by Kenya "given our strong ties with Jubaland".

Tensions in Jubaland state

However, Abdirashid Janan's predicament has caused rifts within Jubaland, despite his strong grip in Gedo region, where he served as DC.

Adam Aw Hirsi, the Jubaland planning minister, resigned on Friday, claiming that "I cannot work with a government that harbours fugitives".

Both Hirsi and Abdirashid comes from Gedo, a region where the latter is accused of engineering "mass murder and genocide".

After his appearance in Kismayo, residents of Dollow and Beled-Hawo thronged into streets, chanting anti-FGS slogans.

This comes amid claims that FGS is keen to control Gedo, a region that has harbored dissent and which plays as a political base for Madobe.

Somalia government and FGS are expected to ignite the fresh bid to have sanctions imposed on Abdirashid Janan, who is also said be under Interpol watch.


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