AminaWehelieBlog (11of September, 2018): An apparent leaked intelligence document accuses some of Somalia’s highest-ranking intelligence officers of secretly undermining counter-terrorism efforts in the Horn of Africa.
After serving six years as the deputy director of the Somali National Intelligence and Security(NISSA), General Abdullah Abdullah’s last day in office was a busy one.
The document dated to September 2nd and posted online includes accusations from Abdullah, that implicates Somali intelligence officials in abiding Al-Shabab, the terrorist group they are ostensibly committed to fighting. In the letter, Abdullah announces plans to turn over the information to Somali military authorities.
A copy of the document was also shared with AMI.
The revelation comes as the U.S. is trying to build stronger ties with the government of Somalia as it increases its regional counter-terrorism efforts. Despite ongoing international stabilization efforts in the country since 2008 terrorist groups remain active. Both the terrorist group Al-Shabab and ISIS operate in the country.
The Trump Administration has dramatically increased the number of drone strikes carried out in Somalia. President Trump authorized twice as many drone strikes in 2017 than President Obama did in Somalia in 2016. Trump also increased the number of American forces operating on the ground to 500 as it seeks to equip and train the Somali armed forces. In June, a U.S. special forces officer who was part of that mission was killed in Somalia under-scoring the increased perils of the fight against terrorism.
Abdullah held his post for six years before sacked and stripped of his former military rank by orders of Somali President Mohamed Farmago on September 1. Abdullah was one of several senior members of Somalia’s government replaced in a cabinet shake-up in recent weeks.
This week Al-Shabab carried out a car bombing in Mogadishu that killed six. Next month Mogadishu will mark the first anniversary of the October 24th car-bombing in Mogadishu that left over 500 people dead and is by most estimates the fifth bloodiest terrorist attack in history.
The memo accuses Fahd Al-Yassin of being behind a tweet that announced his sacking.
“the [Government] found that he was unworthy of being part of the NISA and can not be trusted with a national sensitivity,” the tweet read in part.
Fahd Al-Yassin is the new deputy director of intelligence. He was also the former campaign manager to Somali President Farmajo. Yassin is the former Somali bureau chief for the state-owned Qatari media outlet Al-Jazeera. The politician reportedly arranged a visit from the Qatari foreign minister to Somalia last year.
Yassin is also reportedly under investigation from the government of Kenya due to holding multiple passports. Those passports list him as being born in Kenya while most sources suggest he was been born in Somalia. Kenya is home to a large Somali population.
The long-term effect of the cabinet reshuffles for Somali’s counter-terrorism efforts remains to be seen. NISSA has yet to respond to the allegations but, when they do it will likely be on Twitter.