Thursday, October 11, 2012

Somalia in row with militias in captured town

By ABDULKADIR KHALIF, NATION Correspondent, MOGADISHU

Mr Aden Ahmed Hersi alias Rufle, the spokesman of the Somali government forces in Juba region has told the media that a clan-based grouping is disturbing the attempts to stabilise the town of Kismayu, 500 kilometres south of Mogadishu.

Kismayu, the main port town in Jubaland in Southern Somalia, was seized from Al-Shabaab, the Al-Qaeda linked radical Islamist group in Somalia, in late September by an alliance made of Kenyan troops serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), Somali government forces and Ras Kamboni Brigade, a largely clan-based militia loosely allied with the other forces. 

Mr Hersi stated that Ras Kamboni Brigade built an association with ONLF (Ogaden National Liberation Front), a rebel group mainly active in Eastern Ethiopia.

He added that the two militias were trying to get control of Kismayu. 

Talking to Shabelle Radio, an independent broadcaster in Mogadishu, Mr Hersi said, “Somali government forces in Jubaland are finding themselves increasingly uncomfortable as Ras Kamboni Brigade and ONLF extend their illegal control over Kismayu.” 

A legislator in Mogadishu, Mr Dahir Amin Jessow, refuted the very existence of a militia group operating alongside the Somali government forces in Kismayu. 

“An accepted force can cooperate with the Somali government force, but militants in competition with the government are unacceptable,” said MP Jesow on Tuesday.

“There is no logic in chasing Al-Shabaab fighters out (of Kismayu) to have other militants challenging the policies of the Somali government in,” he added.

He reiterated that the security of Kismayu falls primarily on Somali government forces and Amisom peacekeepers in the Jubaland.

He added that unruly militia in the region will create an unnecessary crisis. 

“The Somali government cannot accept an armed political grouping operating in parts of the country,” remarked the legislator. He added that such arrangement was illegal.

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