Somalia president’s inner circle torn over Ethiopia and Egypt


MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia’s government officials are locked in a bitter dispute on where to stand with two rival Nile powers, Ethiopia and Egypt, Africa Intelligence has reported, as the two African countries continue to vie for keeping diplomatic foothold in the war-torn nation.

Pressure is mounting on Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud ahead of an upcoming Arab League summit. Powerful members in his inner circle are among those pressing him to take sides with Egypt while ignoring Ethiopia’s fury.

The president’s right-hand man Mahad Salad, the director of Somali Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) had studied in Cairo and lived there between 2004 and 2012.

In his visit to Cairo in July, Somali President was accompanied by Mahad Salad, the Minister of Defense Abdulqadir Mohamed Nur and the Minister of Justice Hassan Moalim. The trio is believed to be the most powerful close associates of the Somali leader.

According to the Newspaper, the three powerful men pushed for restoring ties with Egypt immediately after Mohamud’s re-election following years of diplomatic hiatus due to the former President’s decision to side with Ethiopia in the Nile dam tensions.

Unlike Mohamud’s visit to Egypt in the first weeks of his term, it took him four months to depart on a trip to Ethiopia and paid a visit to Addis Ababa on September 28.

In his Ethiopia trip, Mohamud was accompanied by the State Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Bal’ad, State Minister of Presidency Abshir Bukhari and his advisor Aweys Haji Yusuf. The officials proposed to the Somali President to strengthen relations with neighboring Ethiopia.

Africa Intelligence said it seems that the wing within Mohamud’s inner circle favoring Ethiopia was overwhelmed.

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