Horn Dispatch Weekly Security Brief 01.02.24

The memorandum of understanding was signed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi. / Photo: Reuters

Al-Shabab Joins the Somali Government to Condemn Ethiopia, Somaliland Port Deal 

Somali militant group al-Shabab has joined the Somali government and politicians in condemning the signed memorandum of understanding between the landlocked Ethiopia and self-declared Somaliland that gives the African nation access to the port of Berbera.

The insurgent group said the agreement violates Somalia’s territory and sovereignty.  

Al-Shabab spokesman Ali Dheere said the deal is unlawful and invalid and threatened to fight it.

Somalia has recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia for consultation. Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre said his country is determined to protect its sovereignty, and no one could violate any part of the country’s air, land, and sea.

Ethiopia signed an agreement with Somaliland that gives it access to a port and a military base, a deal that the Somali government in Mogadishu believes Hargesa does not have such powers to sign an agreement that gives its territory to another country. 

In a statement, Somaliland said it is leasing 20 kilometers of a stretch of land that gives Addis Ababa access to the sea. Ethiopia will give it recognition it has been fighting since 1991, when the central government collapsed.  

ATMIS Set Sight on Defeating al-Shabab, Improving Somali Forces 

The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) says flashing out al-Shabab and improving Somali forces capabilities will be top priorities in 2024.

“Our primary task next year will be the degradation of al-Shabab. Al-Shabab must be defeated so that the people of Somalia can live in peace and harmony,” the ATMIS Force Commander declared. 

ATMIS Force Commander Sam Okiding said the AU forces completed 236 military operations last year, conducting 97 security operations with the Somali security forces. 

The AU force noted the military operations were instrumental in securing population centers, safeguarding main supply routes, liberating key towns and villages, and facilitating the distribution of humanitarian aid to communities.  

Somali Forces Kill Two al-Shabab Commanders, Seven Fighters

The Somali government says it killed al-Shabab commanders and several militants in coordinated operations with the National Army and international allies.

The two commanders and at least seven fighters were killed in the Lower Shabelle and Mudug regions.

The first operation, in the Nuun-Garre area of the Awdheegle district in Lower Shabelle, resulted in the deaths of two leaders Umarani Mohamed Malak, the leader of the Barrie area, and Sabir, who was responsible for extorting money from farmers. The two commanders were wanted for committing terror attacks against the Somali people.

In another operation, also carried out with the National Army and international support, seven terrorists were killed at a base on the outskirts of the Caad district in the Mudug Region.

The government of Somalia said with the support of its people and international partners, it remains committed to eliminating the remaining terrorists.

Somali Spy Agency Nabs Passengers, Equipment Destined for al-Shabab Controlled Areas

The Somali National Security and Intelligence Agency forces seized three vehicles loaded with electronic goods and eight people including a Ugandan.

 The goods and the people were arrested in Afgoye some 50 kilometers north of Mogadishu.

The Intelligence Force suspect that this group, which they captured, were heading to al-Shabab controlled territories and the seized goods were to be delivered to the group to be used to carry out attacks against the population.

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