News / Africa

Politics Hinders Capture of Somalia's Kismayo

A Somali government soldier holds his weapon in the port of El-Ma'an a few hours after Somali and African Union forces ousted al-Shabab fighters from the area 32km northeast of Mogadishu, Somalia, Sept. 4, 2012. Elsewhere, the Kenyan Navy shelled Somalia's port town of Kismayo, the remaining stronghold of the al-Qaida-linked militants, in preparation for ground forces to capture the town.
A Somali government soldier holds his weapon in the port of El-Ma'an a few hours after Somali and African Union forces ousted al-Shabab fighters from the area 32km northeast of Mogadishu, Somalia, Sept. 4, 2012. Elsewhere, the Kenyan Navy shelled Somalia's port town of Kismayo, the remaining stronghold of the al-Qaida-linked militants, in preparation for ground forces to capture the town.
NAIROBI, Kenya — For months, the media have used words like “looming” and “imminent” to describe a long-anticipated, concerted military assault on Somalia's coastal city of Kismayo, the last remaining stronghold of militant group al-Shabab, and the financial hub for its operation. 

Somali government forces and African Union (AU) troops are currently positioned in Miido, a village 80 kilometers west of Kismayo. But clan rivalry and political wrangling my be hindering operations to capture the city, analysts say.

The AU force in Somalia, known as AMISOM, has repeatedly expressed plans to liberate the city from the insurgents and Kenyan and Ethiopian troops have also been approaching the city.

Abdirashid Hashi, of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, notes ground troops can move in if there is a political mechanism in place.

“I think the number one reason is a political issue, Hashi said. "I think if they don’t have a consensus amongst those actors and stake holders, I think it could backfire, it could create a problem for African Union forces.  So I think its very important to have some sort of political understanding, what will happen next, the morning after they got to Kismayo."

On the political front, sources familiar with political talks going on behind the scenes say that one of the key issues major clans agree on is to make Kismayo a business city, but not the capital of a proposed new state in and around Kismayo called Jubaland.  

But where should the capital of Jubaland will be?  

Members of the Marehan clan are suggesting Bardhere in the Gedo region and members of the Ogaden clan want Buale to be the capital.

Ahmed Madobe the head of the Ras Kamboni faction, aligned with the government forces and AU troops in their fight against al-Shabab, says his group wants to see an inclusive federal state no matter where the capital is located.

He says in the political meetings they want to move away from clan divisions and want people to identify themselves with the regions, cities, districts and villages they hail from and not to identify themselves with their clans.

Jubaland would consist of three regions, Gedo, Middle and Lower Juba.  The three regions consist of 15 districts.  How to share the positions and what clan should get what territory is another problem.

Abdirashid Hashi says there is the need to organize some sort of temporary administration to govern Kismayo itself before the city is taken.
 
“They shouldn’t go to Kismayo unless they have a plan who will administer the city and who will provide service to the people," he said.  "They need services and its very important.  You know this is not fighting over spoils of war; these are human beings, they have needs.”

Hashi also stressed that the national government has to be involved in the process so that people stop saying this is a foreign process led by Kenya and Ethiopia.

Somalia is in the process of ending an eight-year political transition to establish the first stable central government since 1991.  The government already has its hands full negotiating power between the various federal states that make up Somalia, which may one day include Jubaland.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jareer
September 08, 2012 3:42 PM
Gedo, Middle Juba and Lower Juba are all ethnically Bantu dominated regions. The pastoralist Marhehan and the Ogaden clan leaders are just warlords looking to foricibly exploit the farming Bantu people and their productive agricultural land in these regions. Should any ethnic group beside the Bantu take control of "Jubaland" after the departure of AlShabaab,we can predict that other pastoralist clan warlords - probably from the Darood and Hawiye clans - will violently compete for this area. This violent competition between the pastoralist clan warlords for southern Somalia's farming regions started right after the fall of Siad Barre and continued with the Juba Valley Alliance, the Islamic Courts Union, and now Al Shabaab. These so-called Ogaden and Marhehan political leaders are merely the next wave of Somali pastoralist warlords seeking to illegally sieze control of Bantu lands.
In Response

by: Darod King from: USA
September 25, 2012 2:30 AM
The Bantu Minority that use to live in jubaland have being relocated to Mozambique and the USA ,they are welcome to comment on the news that regard jubaland state online but that's all they are allowed to do so
In Response

by: Somali Jareer from: USA
September 11, 2012 9:24 AM
Gedo, Middle Juba and Lower Juba are all Somali lands and every Somali is entitled to live there. This area is rich enough and large enough for all those who want to settle there. The inhabitants of these areas are traditionally peaceful farmers. We can come to a political solutions without resorting to violence. The country is ready for that. The people are ready for that. May peace reign in Somaila.
In Response

by: Somali
September 09, 2012 11:12 AM
"Jareer," you're out of your mind if you think those regions are Bantu lands. Extraordinary claims need Extraordinary proof.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs