Somalia’s president accused of planning to seize power in a coup


MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has been accused of planning a coup to take over power and disband the government, in what opposition leaders and former officials say is an attempt to derail ongoing parliamentary polls.

Somalia’s spy agency, in a tweet on Tuesday, warned of a plot by the Al-Qaeda-aligned militant group Al-Shabaab to assassinate the President and Prime Minister, who have recently been at loggerheads over efforts to conclude ongoing elections. The move drew criticism from political stakeholders, some labeling it a pretext for coup attempt. read more

Leader of Wadajir opposition party Abdirahman Abdishakur said the statement was aimed at undermining ongoing elections, which are scheduled to be completed within weeks. He called on the Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble to call off upcoming celebrations set to be held to mark the National Army Day on April 12, citing concerns that the President and his allies could execute their plan during the day.

As information I have received indicates, the message published on NISA Twitter Page had been ordered by the term-ended president, with the intention of obstructing the election,” Mr Abdishakur said in a Facebook post.


Former Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke voiced concern that the spy agency could become a theater for activities to impede an upcoming presidential vote should the government fail to carry out needed measures.

Be that it may, the last twitter alert from NISA only indicates N&N’s (Somali President’s party) panic mood towards the conduct of the elections,” the former two-time Premier tweeted. “If no adequate measures are introduced to contain NISA’s hierarchy, the agency will be the theater to plan sinister activities that will endanger the election.”

Former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed accused the spy agency of creating propaganda that further emboldens “terrorists” and pointed out that its report was evidence of growing concerns about possible collusion between the security institution and militants.

It is unfortunate that the warning by the NISA agency came at a time issuance of certificates to members of the 11th parliament was in progress while the swearing-in of MPs is scheduled for the 14th of this month,” Sharif, who is also among presidential aspirants challenging Farmajo in an upcoming vote, said.

Therefore, I warn the President of FGS and security agencies under his command against anything that could plunge the process of the country’s election into chaos.”

Former President of Hirshabelle state Mohamed Abdi Waare told Universal TV that Farmajo was mobilizing troops for a possible showdown with Al-Shabaab and Ethiopia backing his intention had amassed troops on the border with Somalia.

He continued to add that the President was not preparing for re-election and rather continued meetings with military officials and promoting the ranks of officers he deemed were loyal to him ahead of an upcoming operation. The former official has not given evidence for his claim and Somaliguardian has not been able to verify it.

The warning by the spy agency came hours after the Prime Minister sacked two members of the electoral body, who were allied with the President and allegedly became involved in activities intended to undermine last-ditch efforts to conclude ongoing polls.

Roble indicated there were foreign and local coalitions formed to obstruct the election process steered by his government and called on Somali political stakeholders to unify their stance to counter an “invasion” on the strife-torn nation. read more

Senior military officer General Yusuf Mohamed Siad (Indho-adde) warned of ongoing preparations made by the incumbent president to seize power on April 12, when the President is expected to attend celebrations for the National Army Day. He called on military officials to disengage attempts by Farmajo to take over power and suspend the constitution.

Former Minister of Security Abdikarin Hussein Guled, who is now running for President stated that the warning by the spy agency was a precedent for a coup plot by the incumbent President to further tighten his grip on power.

If we look at the NISA report with security and political eyes, it is a new coup attempt aimed at sliding the country back into fresh unrest and chaos. [The move] is aimed at obstructing the process of elections which is at a final stage,” Mr Guled said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Al-Qaeda-aligned militant group Al-Shabaab mocked the report by NISA, saying the agency has never been able to forewarn attacks by its fighters and added that it would not accept to be dragged into internal political wrangling between the Horn of Africa country’s most powerful leaders. read more

Hours after the controversial tweet, Somali Premier attended a meeting held at his request with foreign ambassadors in Mogadishu to discuss latest developments. He also raised plans on a shakeup of armed forces institutions at the meeting, in order to prevent a possible coup attempt.

Premier’s attempts to stop Fahad Yasin, the former head of the spy agency, and the right-hand of Somali President, from joining the new parliament have escalated months-long power struggle. The electoral body on Wednesday ordered a re-run of a vote that had handed victory to Mr Yasin, citing irregularities and failure to comply with election procedures earlier set by the National Consultative Council.

Somali Prime Minister, speaking at a prayer ceremony held last week for late opposition MP Amina Mohamed, said he had received threats from Farmajo allies days before she was killed in an Al-Shabaab-claimed attack and blamed Mr Yasin and other former spy officials for the assassination. read more

Dozens of military vehicles entered the capital on Wednesday in a sign of intensifying rival buildup of troops. Reports by local media suggested that the security of the Prime Minister’s office had been beefed up, with hundreds of additional peacekeepers and government forces deployed.

There is fear of possible return of clashes between rival factions of the army that followed an attempted term extension by Farmajo in April last year. The infighting racked the city of more than four million residents which has already been struggling to recover from decades of civil war.

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