Ethiopia mediates Gedo leadership conflict in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Authorities in Ethiopia successfully mediated a leadership dispute in the Gedo region of Somalia, it has now emerged, months after federal authorities in the country clashed with local leaders in Jubaland, and was almost degenerated into bloodshed.
The government of Somalia then under the stewardship of Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo deployed elite soldiers to the Gedo region where local leaders loyal to regional leader Ahmed Islam Mohamed Madobe were dethroned, leading to endless conflicts which almost dismantled coordination.
Reports from Gedo indicate that a number of officials from the Somali region of Ethiopia crossed over the border where they mediated differences between regional Governor Ahmed Bulle Gared and spy chief Bakal Koke, who have been tussling over sharing revenue from road taxations in the region.
Taxation in Somalia is not centralized given years of civil war thus lack of coordination between the national and regional governments. In fact, even the Al-Shabaab militants manage to collect colossal amounts of money from the locals, which helps them to finance their illegal activities.
In a ceremony held in Dolow on Wednesday, both officials promised to work together and end internal strife hampering the administration’s ability to deliver essential services to residents in the region. Gedo region is strategic to Ethiopia's interests in Somalia.
For a long time, the Ethiopian authorities have been using Gedo as a buffer zone in the fight against Al-Shabaab, with the most recent being in August when Al-Shabaab raided Eastern Ethiopia. Authorities in Addis Ababa reported that Somali regional troops and Ethiopian forces managed to neutralize the group.
To improve the security situation in the country, Ethiopia has since managed to establish the buffer zone and Wednesday's decision to reconcile local leaders is believed to be a strategy to further neutralize infiltration of Al-Shabaab, who usually take advantage of leadership disputes to commit crimes.
Although details about the meeting remain scarce, the Ethiopians just like their counterparts from Kenya have for a long time been fighting for the stability of Jubaland which borders them. Both Kenyan and Ethiopian troops are stationed in various towns across Jubaland where they have managed to dislodge Al-Shabaab.