Somalia: Deni making alliance to undermine Hassan Sheikh’s administration
GAROWE, Puntland – As relations are at low-point, Puntland state president Said Abdullahi Deni started a behind-the-scenes campaign to "undermine" the new Somali government, sources said.
Deni, who faced a devastating loss on May 15 presidential vote in Mogadishu to Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, is said to be allying with the Federal States to win the war against Villa Somalia.
The reliable sources added that apart from Ahmed Madobe, Jubaland president, Deni makes constant phone talks with the heads of other FMS leaders about failing the new government.
“He frequently speaks with FMS leaders, except Ahmed Madobe, about Hassan Sheikh’s government, the fight against Al-Shabaab, and the 2026 election,” added the sources.
Deni has not yet openly expressed his support for the nationwide campaign to fight Al-Shabaab as he does not want Hassan Sheikh's administration to get credit for eliminating the terror group.
"It is not his support for terrorism, but politics, and it seems that he has already started his campaign for the presidential election in 2026," said one of the sources, who spoke to GO on condition of anonymity.
After winning the race for Puntland presidency in January 2019 election, Deni started a stiff political war against the Farmajo government on the pretext of protecting Puntland interests.
But later, his hidden agenda was discovered. Deni was preparing for the 2022 election in which he vied for the country’s top seat; however, he failed to unseat Farmajo at any cost – time and cash.
Deni left Mogadishu disappointed and returned to Garowe while there was political tension and a power struggle created during his absence from Puntland with vice president Ahmed Karash.
Hassan Sheikh arrived in Garowe shortly after his inauguration in June and stayed for days to spend time on the improvement of the cooperation between his new government and Puntland.
During lengthy talks, Deni spoke with the president about personal interests, including reimbursement of millions he lavishly bribed the MPs and positions in the government, according to the sources.
Fall-out with Madobe
The May 15 election has politically divided former long allies after Deni missed the support he expected from Madobe as most MPs from Jubaland have voted for his rival candidates.
“This is the reason that Deni is getting in touch with Madobe. He is counting on other Federal States’ leaders to help his journey to the 2026 election,” said the sources.
Deni did not attend in person the last month’s consultative forum between the leaders of the Federal States and the central government, and a move soared his bad relations with Villa Somalia.
Back at home, Deni was accused of creating a political crisis in Puntland after declaring a plan to hold a controversial local election instead of working on a presidential vote since his term ended.