Somalia’s Jubbaland Vice-President Mohamud Sayyid Adan is holed up at a Mandera hotel for his safety after Ethiopian forces are said to have prevented him from visiting Bula Hawa, a border Somali town.
Mr Adan and his entourage were booked at the hotel five days ago by Kenyan security agencies in Mandera and their security immediately taken over by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF).
“We have a VIP from Somalia who was prevented from visiting Bula Hawa by some military forces but you can get much information from Nairobi,” a security source in Mandera told media.
But KDF spokesperson, Major Paul Njuguna failed to pick several phone calls as we sought to confirm the military’s role in the stay of the Jubbaland VP.
Somali Democratic Council (SDC), a lobby group, has accused the Ethiopian troops of preventing the VP from visiting the city of Beled-Hawo (Bula Hawa) in Gedo, Jubbaland state.
SDC said the incident was “a clear and unmistakable invasion” by the Ethiopian government.
In a protest letter dated November 20, 2019 and addressed to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the US-based group accuses Ethiopia and the federal Somalia government led President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo of meddling in Jubbaland affairs.
“Mr Secretary General, We the Somali Democratic Council would like to make you aware of the grave and deeply disturbing events that are unfolding in the Jubbaland State of Somalia where non-Amisom Ethiopian troops are wreaking unimaginable havoc by detaining duly elected officials in the cities of Beled-Hawo, Dolow, and Luuq [all in Gedo],” reads the letter signed by Abdikarim A. Omar, the council’s chairman.
Mr Omar adds that “unfortunately, the Federal Government of Somalia is in cahoots with Ethiopian government forces to create chaos in Jubbaland.”
Jubbaland State stretches from Gedo in the south to the Indian Ocean and borders the entire Kenyan frontier with Somalia.
Both Kenyan and Ethiopian troops are deployed in Jubbaland under the UN-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) to combat Al-Shabaab militants. Kenyan forces cover Lower and Middle Jubba, while Ethiopian soldiers are in Gedo and Bay and Bakool in South West State.
SDC is seeking the intervention of the UN Security Council to force Ethiopia to withdraw its troops from Gedo.
“It is high time the UN Security Council take decisive action against the government of Ethiopia to withdraw immediately its forces from the Gedo region of Jubbaland,” Mr Omar said in the protests in the letter.
He accused President Farmajo and the Ethiopian government of engaging in a proxy war in Jubbaland.
“The UN should come out with a clear statement that the international community will no longer tolerate the continuation of Mr Farmajo’s government’s misguided policies and the usage of foreign troops to subjugate and suppress the will of the Somali people,” he said.
The Federal Government of Somalia under President Farmajo does not recognise the August re-election of Jubbaland President Ahmed Madobe, who is backed by Kenya.