Saturday February 8, 2020
NAIROBI (HOL) - Embattled Jubbaland Security Minister Abdirashid Janan has claimed he was aided by Federal Government officials to escape custody in Mogadishu adding his arrest was a vendetta by Mogadishu over the September 2019 elections in Jubbaland.
Janan said in an interview with BBC Somali Service the Federal Government used claims of civilian killings in Gedo region as an excuse. “The Federal Government demanded that I turn over 1000 Jubbaland soldiers to its command but I declined,” said Janan. “To my understanding, the reason I was arrested was in relation to the elections in Kismayu.”
The Federal Government declared it would not recognize Ahmed Madobe’s election as Jubbaland president following a controversial parliamentary election in August 2019. Janan said he was aided by Federal Government officials after being in detention for five months adding he was first kept in a house in Hilwaa district and subsequently transferred from one house to another. A week prior to his escape, Janan says he was taken to a house in Shibis district in Mogadishu.
“I stayed in Mogadishu for three days before boarding a boat on day light for 500 kilometres to Kismayu,” Janan said.
The minister whom the Federal Government issued an international warrant of arrest last week said the soldiers who were guarding him had been instructed to ‘harm me but they didn’t.’ They said Madobe ‘will join you soon’.
The Federal Government deployed hundreds of soldiers to Belet-Hawo and neighbouring districts in the past one week in what is seen as a move to tame Madobe administration amid ongoing row between Mogadishu and Kismayu.
Addressing claims he had marshalled soldiers in Belet-Hawo against the Federal Government, Janan said he was ‘reorganizing the soldiers who has been interfered with during my detention.’
Unverified pictures on the social media shows Janan, clad in military wear addressing some soldiers.
Amnesty International accused Janan of human rights violations and civilian killings during his stint as district commissioner in Gedo but he dismissed the claims noting any deaths may have been ‘collateral damage’ in clashes between Jubbaland forces and Al-Shabaab,
He also claimed Amnesty had stationed two officials in Mogadishu working with the Federal Government.