Somalia president reshuffles army top brass amid Al-Shabaab attacks
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has yet again reshuffled the Somali National Army [SNA], maintaining his persistent habit which is rare in functional armed forces, in the latest appointments and demotions within the country's young and fragile military forces.
Since 2017, Farmajo has either shocked the nation by making unprecedented changes or by sacking senior military officials without giving a tangible explanation. His actions have often rattled the organized, robust opposition, which has always condemned demotions within armed forces.
In the latest appointments, Farmajo appointed Gen Abbas Amin, a former ground combats boss to the position of Deputy Military Chief. Also elevated is Gen Mohamed Tahliil, who becomes SNA's infantry Commander and will be deputized by Col. Hussein Hosh.
The three were elevated at the time SNA troops are engaged in a fierce fight against Al-Shabaab militants within the country. For the last eight months, the military teams have been raiding Al-Shabaab hideouts in Lower Shabelle, Middle Jubba, and Lower Jubba regions which the group claims.
In the process, several Al-Shabaab militants have been killed, arrested, or even wounded. The operations are aided by the African Union Mission Forces and the US Africa Command, who help both with ground combats and aerial surveillance.
This comes after reports emerged that Major Ismael Abdimalik who has been in charge of the special Danab force, was dismissed from the service, just after serving for less than a year. It's not clear why he was sacked but it's understood that he's been detained at the Ministry of Defense for weeks before his dismissal.
The army boss was considered one of the most consistent members of the service and played a key role in the rebuilding of the Somali National Army [SNA] which has been undergoing a major transformation for the past decade. He leaves as a general who gained numerous success against the Al-Shabaab militants.
For instance, he guided the army in capturing crucial strategic towns within Somalia especially in Lower Shebelle and parts of the Jubba region. Further, under his command, he managed to lead successful operations against Al-Shabaab which saw some of the senior commanders die.
For the last seven years, the Danab contingent has not enjoyed stability after having a total of seven commanders. It's unusual for the army to change commanders for a short period, something which could worry about Somalia's international partners, who finance the army.