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Kenya under pressure to arrest minister, hand him to Somalia for trial

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

NAIROBI, Kenya - Authorities in Kenya must arrest embattled Jubaland security minister Abdirashid Janan, Amnesty International has said, adding that "this should be immediate".

Self Magango, the Deputy Director for Amnesty International, East Africa, said Abdirashid has evaded "attempts" to bring him to justice.

The powerful minister, who escaped from detention last month in Mogadishu, is accused of committing "serious crimes" within the Gedo region.

Born in Gedo, Western Somalia, Abdirashid is one of the popular politicians from the region and has been serving as Jubaland's security minister under President Ahmed Madobe's administration for years.

Amnesty International's statement

Last week, Abdirashid arrived in Nairobi shortly after escaping from detention on a private jet, before joining Jubaland President Ahmed Madobe, sources said.

“The Kenyan authorities must immediately arrest and hand him over to the Federal Government of Somalia," Amnesty International said.

The group added: "Somalia should conduct his trial in a manner that meets international fair trial standards, without any further delays."

His escape, Amnesty International says, "has left many victims of his alleged crimes, doubtful as to whether they would ever get justice."

How he escaped from detention

First arrested at Aden Adde International Airport in August last year, Abdirashid was detained in one of the prisons within Mogadishu.

He was arraigned at Banadir Regional Court in Mogadishu on 6 October 2019 and thereafter detained until his escape last week, officials said.

Zakia Hussein, the deputy Somali police commander, last week said that "the convict escaped from prison and we have intensified crackdown to rearrest him".

To this effect, police said, security was beefed up at Aden Adde International Airport and airstrips within the Gedo region to monitor his movements.

But according to a source who spoke to Garowe Online, Abdirashid was "aided by soldiers guarding him, whom he had paid to sneak him out".

It's after this arrangement was made to fly him to Nairobi, where Madobe has been holed up for the last couple of weeks, sources said.

Madobe vs Farmajo standoff

His predicaments are directly linked to the standoff between President Farmajo and Madobe, who have been at loggerheads for months now.

Last year, Madobe accused Farmajo of "persistent inference" of Jubaland internal affairs, including a plot to "manipulate" August polls.

Janan, who is popular in Gedo, is also accused of using his powers to block an Ethiopian plane with FGS delegation prior to Jubaland polls.

Before his escape, his clan brokered a deal with Farmajo to have him put under house detention instead of prison, a source told Garowe Online.

The Somali President was under pressure to pardon him given the fact that the two come from the same clan, the source added.

Madobe warned against shielding him

But despite backup at his Jubaland backyard, Amnesty International now wants the administration to "desist from shielding him from facing justice".

Abdirashid is a critical political mobilizer for Mr. Madobe, one of the strongest regional leaders in troubled Somalia, reports indicate.

“Ahmed Mohamed Islam, who has repeatedly called for Abdirashid’s release from detention, must desist from shielding him from facing justice upon his return," Amnesty said.

The regional minister is also under the surveillance of Interpol and a warrant of arrest has been purportedly issued, Police said.

The possible challenge in extradition

While it's not clear whether or not Kenya will comply with the orders, Nairobi is one of the key allies of Jubaland where Abdirashid serves.

KDF troops who operate parts of Jubaland in the fight against Al-Shabaab have been part of the African Union Mission in Somalia known as AMISOM since 2012.

During Madobe's inauguration last year as president, Aden Duale, Kenya's senior parliamentary leader, said: "Jubaland is our special buffer zone".

At Gedo, thousands thronged to streets to support Abdirashid, a move that could further complicate calls for his extradition.


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