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Somalia: Spy chief Fahad Yasin sacks Mogadishu intelligence boss

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA] has changed it's top leadership within Mogadishu, a move that could ignite undercurrents within the US-funded spy agency, Garowe Online reports.

Ibrahim Moalim Abdullahi was relieved of his post and replaced with Isse Mohamed, a low-ranking officer within NISA as the head of intelligence for Somalia capital, Mogadishu on Tuesday, March 3.

It is not immediately known the underlying reasons and details about the shocking changes to NISA's top brass. 

Abdullahi, who is said to be a veteran spy operative within Mogadishu has been in office for barely a year and his dismissal following an undisclosed dispute with his boss, Fahad Yasin, according to the sources. 

Yasin, a former Al-Jazeera Arabic journalist and former Chief of Staff for Villa Somalia, has been struggling to stamp his authority within the intelligence agency since taking over, and it's not immediate why he executed the unprecedented changes in Mogadishu.

Since assuming office in August 2019, the right-hand man of President Farmajo has reshuffled the US-funded Intelligence Service by fired several undercover agents and senior officials, including his deputy, Abdalla Abdalla Mohamed in 2018.

Mohamed was also removed from NISA membership and struck off the database.

Although Al-Shabaab militants were flushed out of the capital in 2011, the Al-Qaeda linked group has been waging sporadic attacks within Mogadishu and other strategic towns, leading to immense condemnation towards NISA.

For instance, Al-Shabaab unleashed a suicide car bomb at Afgoye junction in Mogadishu in December last year, leading to the death of over 90 people. Yasin was quick to blame the "foreign" country on the attack.

But Al-Shabaab militants would later take responsibility, claiming that it "targeted Turkish convoy", a move that dealt a blow to Mr. Yasin and his team, following criticism from a section of politicians.

Opposition chiefs led by Forum for National Parties [FNP] leader Sharif Sheikh Ahmed have previously dismissed him as "grossly incompetent", often linking him to political persecutions and harassment which is synonymous with President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo's administration.

Although he rarely gives rebuttals to mounting allegations, Yasin was also accused last year of "compromising" journalists by demanding that they give opposition "blackout" during reporting.

Last month, a section of Mogadishu businessmen raised fears about Al-Shabaab penetration within the capital, said me claiming that NISA had been infiltrated by the terror group's sympathizers.

The businessmen, who spoke in Nairobi, said: "Even sharing of intelligence is a problem. We no longer trust NISA. Some of them work with Al-Shabaab militants".

Early this week, authorities in Kenya also seized 11 legislators at JKIA - Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after a brief trip to Mogadishu were intelligence sources indicated that they met Mr. Yasin. They, however, denied the claims.

So powerful is the spy chief within Villa Somalia, that he is also linked to the decision to deploy SNA soldiers to Gedo, where clashes were witnessed for the better part of Monday against Jubaland forces.

The Somali Federal states have also been blaming him for working with Farmajo to forcefully "impose regime friendly" candidates ahead of December elections.

The latest changes in Mogadishu could have been informed by the supposed security lapses which have paved way for the reemergence of Al-Shabaab militants in the capital, pundits say.