MP’S Assassination Points at the President of Somalia
December 13, 2013
On December 6, 2013, Mohamed Warsame Mohamed (a.k.a. Faisal), who was a member of the Somali Federal Parliament was brutally assassinated in front of the presidential palace (Villa Somalia) in Mogadishu. Reports suggest that an explosive device was taped in his car which blasted shortly after leaving the Palace. Mr. Faisal dead minutes after the attack.
Reliable sources say that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed called Mr. Faisal and requested him to come to the presidency for discussion; the MP accepted the President’s suggestion and drove to the palace. The source say MP’s car was checked in three heavily guarded security check points on the road to the presidential palace, some of them run by Amisom (AU peace keeping mission in Somalia.) We do not know what the two men discussed, but we do know they were staunch political rivals. The explosion took place after the meeting had ended and Mr.Faisal drove just few miters outside the main gate of the heavily guarded presidential compound.
Mr. Faisal, who hails from the semi-autonomous region of Puntland where the Islamist groups have less political influence, was dubbed as “liberal” and “federalist” and he had been staunchly opposing what he called ”damul-jadiid power grab.” (Damul-jadiid is the Somalia branch of the Muslim Brotherhood) and the inner circle of President Hassan Shelkh Mohamud.
But the important clash of ideas between ”Damul jadiid” and MP Faisal and his colleagues has been escalated by the recent political infighting between president Mohamud and the outgoing Prime Minster Abdi Farah Shirdon, Mr. Faisal, who was the chairman of an important parliamentary committee, and a good debater, spread-headed MPs who were against the motion to oust the Prime Minster; because of his role in saving the ousted Prime Minister, he had become the media man of Shridon’s camp.
He attracted media and gave a plenty of interviews to international media outlets including BBC Soamali and VOA Somali in the run up to the parliamentary session that Shirdon was voted out. The most interesting debate on the political bickering between Mr Faisal and his rivals was held by BBC Somalia service on November 29, 2013. In that debate he made several accusations against the president and his “Damul jadiid” group, he openly accused the president of power grab and unconstitutional steps. He also warned that “Damul jadiid” was taking the country into a dark path, may be like that of Egypt.
Mr. Faisal explicitly warned his colleagues at the parliament that that president Hassan will use his security forces called (Alfa group) to intimidate or harm the MPs who oppose his plan to impeach the Prime Minister. That foretelling is very important for the investigation of Faisal’s assassination, if there will be one. Some sources say that the MP was verbally threatened by his opponents.
Interestingly, Al shabaab terror group did not so far claim the responsibility of this killing. As demonstrated by the recent Wastage Mall attack, Al shabaab do not mince at its words in such occasions and always rush to claim their heinous acts. To kill an MP in front of the Presidential palace would be major publicity for Al shabaab. The lack of claim by Al shabaab will understandably fuel the suspicion that the MP was assassinated by the security forces he foretold.
9_DEC_2013AAlthough one can’t rule out that Al shabaab was involved in this bombing, some Somali MPs, the outgoing Prime Minister, Puntland and relatives of the slain MP all explicitly or implicitly point fingers at President Mohamud being behind this assassination. Some security experts to whom the author spoke suggested that this is not necessarily the work of Al shabaab. The former central bank governor Yusuf Abrar has reportedly resigned because of fear of her life after she refused to sign up corruption deals, and some source say that she was threatened by some of the president’s close aides..
The election of Hassan Sheikh Mahamoud as president in Sept. 2012 was applauded by Somalis and the West as a major success and important step toward peace and stability in the troubled Horn of African nation, some analysts suggested that Somalia may recover from its number one failed state status. Unfortunately these assumptions soon turned to be elusive and the president did not live up to the expectations. He did not came up with strategies and policies that can bring the country back together and end the 23 -year- long catastrophe. His authoritarian style of rule reminds the Somali people about the days of Siyad Barre, the former military ruler of Somalia, and even some claim Mr Mohamud is dictator in the making.
Ironically, President Mohamud stood in front of the UN General Assembly in last September and criticized Bashar Al Assad of Syria for killing his own people; he was right because Assad’s slaughter is contemptible. But if it turns out that Mohamud was behind the killing of his own MP, then President Mohamud joins ranks with the likes of Asad of Syria.
The recent political infighting, the dramatic resignation of the central bank governor, the assassination of MP Faisal, the strained relations with the regions of Puntland/Jubbaland/Somaliland, unabated rape scandals, and the quarreling with the EU for direct aid, all point out that the high hopes put on Mohamud’s government are dashed and the credibility of the President himself is seriously damaged if not destroyed.
By Daahir Sheikh,
Daahir Sheikh is Somalia political analyst
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