Robow was kidnapped and KDF bombs Gedo due to bad politics, says Hassan Sheikh
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has yet again taken swipe at the administration of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, citing a series of issues that he believes were triggered by bad decisions made by the government.
In a Twitter Space conversation organized by Garowe Online dubbed "Democratization and post-conflict state-building process in Somalia", Mohamud who served as president from 2012 to 2017, evoked the arrest of Mukhtar Robow, terming it as one of the worst decisions made by the government.
According to him, the 2018 arrest has made it difficult for the Al-Shabaab senior leaders to defect, describing his detention as “kidnapping for political purposes”. Robow was arrested in December 2018, was under house arrest since June 2019.
Before his arrest, Robow had defected from the Al-Shabaab where he served as deputy leader and had announced his candidature for Southwest presidential elections. The government blocked by my arresting him through Ethiopian troops, leading to clashes that left 11 people dead.
The Al-Shabaab continues to control huge sections of Central and Southern Somalia thus making it impossible for the government to bring order and stability in Somalia. The militants have been targeting innocent civilians and security forces in their cowardly attacks.
But according to Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, "For the past four years, Al-Shabaab has been given an opportunity to collect taxes and extort business. In my tenure, Al-Shabaab was on the run." The group controls parts of the Port of Mogadishu.
Previously, most members of the group defected openly and joined government troops but in recent months, not many of them have defected. The former president believes Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo's administration has done little to encourage defections.
Farmajo, he noted, has also been misusing security forces for "transient" political gains, which he claims would set "bad precedence" in the country's political institutions. He now wants security forces to at times "tame" Farmajo.
"During my tenure in office, my team never interfered with Judiciary or politicized the security sector. The security forces need to prevent the president from doing that is against the law," Sheikh Mohamud said.
Also, the former president took a swipe at the administration of Farmajo, arguing that he has failed to encourage a good relationship with Kenya leading to the persistent bombardment of the Gedo region through the Kenya Defense Forces [KDF].
Last week, Somalia blamed KDF for waging indiscriminate airstrikes in the Gedo region, leading to the deaths of civilians. However, AMISOM has pledged to investigate the incidents before giving a report, but Somalia insists KDF must ask for permission before bombarding regions in pursuit of Al-Shabaab.
"Gedo is being bombed by Kenya due to bad politics and sending condolences isn’t necessary," said Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. "My admin had established a strong and viable foreign policy based on zero outside enemy since Somalia is fragile and can't tolerate foreign interference,"
Further, the former president also backed the United Nations report on Eritrea which implicated Somali soldiers in the ongoing war at Tigray. According to the report, Somali soldiers training in Eritrea crossed over to Tigray where they participated in genocide.
"I stand for a transparent electoral process so that to elicit an acceptable outcome. I believe in the UN report that Somali soldiers fought in Tigray and FGS can disprove or bring the boys back," he said.
The government through Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble has appointed a commission of enquiry which would investigate the comes. Despite denying involvement in the Tigray war, Mogadishu admits that there are soldiers training in Eritrea.
So dire has been the situation that even members of the opposition have been demanding answers. Four people among them Farmajo and NISA boss Fahad Yasin are said to have organized the training in Eritrea.