Controversy over missing intelligence officer deepens constitutional crisis in Somalia

Mohamed Abdullahi FarmajoTHE SOMALI CAPITAL MOGADISHU remains tense today, after the country’s president and prime minster, who are supported by rival militias, leveled accusations at each other over an intelligence officer’s disappearance. Ikran Tahlil, 25, who works for the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), disappeared in June. She was reportedly last seen entering a government vehicle outsider her home in Mogadishu. The NISA said that Tahlil had been abducted and probably executed by al-Shabaab, an East African affiliate of al-Qaeda.

However, al-Shabaab, which usually relishes opportunities to kill Somali security and intelligence personnel, denied that it had anything to do with Tahlil’s disappearance. Reacting to this unexpected turn of events, the Prime Minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble, denounced the NISA and fired its Director, Fahad Yasin. According to the Prime Minister’s office, Yasin had failed to respond to an official request about Tahlil’s whereabouts.

On Wednesday, however, the country’s President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo (pictured), reinstated Yasin, after claiming that the prime minister was not authorized by the Constitution to fire members of the intelligence services. Farmajo also accused the Roble of “taking reckless steps that could lead to a political and security crisis” in the volatile country. Later on Wednesday, the Office of the Prime Minister announced that Roble did not intend to abide by the president’s order, because it directly violated the constitution.

President Farmajo responded on Thursday, by announcing that the prime minister’s powers to appoint and dismiss government officials would be withdrawn until the upcoming national elections. These are scheduled to begin on October 1, and end on November 25. Once again, Prime Minister Roble said he would not abide by the president’s decision, which he described as “unlawful”. He also accused Farmajo of inciting armed conflicts in the streets of Mogadishu.

Meanwhile the president has appointed a new ad hoc commission with the task of carrying out an official inquiry into Tahlil’s disappearance. But members of the missing woman’s family said they did not trust the commission and asked instead for an investigation to be carried out by the Somali military.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 17 September 2021 | Permalink

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