NAIROBI (Somaliguardian) – Former Security Minister of Jubaland regional state has surrendered to Somalia’s federal government on Wednesday, following months he has been waging a bitter war against troops loyal to the current administration, who are currently in control of cities in the strategic Gedo region.
Janan accompanied by dozens of militias arrived at the village of Najah near the border between Somalia and Kenya on Tuesday morning where he was later escorted by government officials including the state minister of transport and deputy information minister to Balad-Hawo – a town he had contested for its control with federal forces in ferocious battles over the past months.
Rights groups including Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Janan of committing “serious crimes”, including extrajudicial killings of civilians in the town of Dolow and other cities in Gedo region after he had been detained on August 31 2019 by Somali security forces at Adan Adde Airport in Mogadishu.
But the rights group expressed disappointment after Abdirashid Hassan Abdinur (Janan) escaped from an unofficial jail in Mogadishu in what authorities said was the most high-profile prison-break incident in Somalia’s history. He fled to the town of Kismayo where continued to plan military operations against federal forces in Gedo. Human Rights Watch said his escape “undermines Somalia’s flight for justice”.
In a televised remarks, Somalia’s deputy Information Minister Abdirahman Al-Adala noted that Janan’s defection was important for Somali security forces efforts to maintain security in Gedo region and praised him for choosing to support his nation.
Jubaland president Ahmed Madobe relieved Janan of his responsibilities as region’s security minister after reports of his arrival on the outskirts of Balad-hawo had circulated on social media on Wednesday morning.
Abdirashid Janan has been fighting government troops in the town of Balad-Hawo since early 2020 after forces loyal Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo took over its control on February 2020. He and his militias made several attempts to recapture the strategic town, though their efforts later came to no avail.
The former regional minister has been at the epicenter of deteriorating relations between Somalia and Kenya. Somalia had accused Kenya of arming rebel militias in the town of Mandera where Janan had been based on December 2020 and Mogadishu severed ties with Nairobi in the same month.
The government of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta gave UNHCR a 14-day deadline to shut down Dadab and Kakuma refugee camps hosting Somali refugees in what regional analysts say was a response to reports of Janan’s defection to Somalia.
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