Wednesday September 6, 2017
A cabinet meeting chaired by the Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre. FILE PHOTO
Mogadishu (HOL) - The Somali government broke its silence on Wednesday over the extraordinary rendition of Abdikarim Muse “Qalbi Dhagax” justified its actions by saying it had agreed to cooperate with Ethiopia on fighting terrorist groups like the ONLF and Al-Shabaab.The Somali government has said that the extradition was done under an obscure agreement signed between the two East African countries under the Hassan Sheikh Mohamud administration. The letter also attempted to draw a connection between Qalbi Dhagax and Al Shabaab - a claim the militant insurgent group strongly denied.
Cabinet ministers and key officials were called into a tense eleventh-hour meeting in Villa Somalia before releasing a strongly worded press release defending its actions. A planned parliamentary session for Wednesday was also rescheduled as a result of the political crisis.
"Abdikarim Muse is a top leader of an armed group (ONLF) and carried out dangerous acts in Somalia whilst maintaining a working with Al-Shabaab terrorists."
Pointing to a pair of agreements signed on June 7, 2015, and May 2, 2016, the Somali government said that it had entered into a security agreement with Ethiopia aimed at dismantling Al-Shabaab and ONLF operations in both countries. The documents also identified the two groups as “enemies” of Ethiopia and Somalia. The government said that the documents were signed by three former ministers - Mahad Mohamed Salad, Mohamed Jama Mursal Geelle, Abdikarim Guled before adding that they would be reviewing any agreements signed by the previous administration.
However, during his own press conference, Mahad Mohamed Salad, the former State Minister for Presidency rebuffed the government claims saying that security pact was a regional agreement between Galmudug and the Somali region of Ethiopia. The former President of Galmudug state agreed with the ex-minister and said it was an agreement ratified between two clans and not a legally binding document that allowed individuals to be “handed over”.
Abdikarim Muse was captured and transferred to authority while visiting a town in the Galmudug region early last week. Reports of his arrest and rendition have created arguably the biggest scandal this young administration has faced so far.