News / Africa

Bickering Continues Over Who Controls Somali Port City

Kenya Defence Force (KDF) soldiers, serving in African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), patrol past stockpiles of charcoal near the Kismayo sea port town (2013 photo)
Kenya Defence Force (KDF) soldiers, serving in African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), patrol past stockpiles of charcoal near the Kismayo sea port town (2013 photo)
— Today al-Shabab militants are nowhere to be seen in the Somali port city of Kismayo, which was once their financial hub and their last major stronghold in Somalia.  But those who united to defeat their common enemy in the city are now fighting for control of liberated areas and for who gets the big share of seaport revenue.

Much of Somalia’s two decades of brutal war was characterized by the fight for control of territories and strategic towns that produce clan pride and financial muscle.
 
The fight is still going on today over the newly created Jubaland region in southern Somalia, where at least three different men have claimed to be president of a new Jubaland state.

Kismayo is the gateway into Jubaland which consists of three regions, Gedo, Middle and Lower Juba, and the person who is able to control the city’s port will have considerable leverage to control the other areas.

An accountant who works at the port, but didn’t want to give his name for security reasons, said all the men claiming the presidency are jostling for money from the port.

"They do usually say they will take away what comes their way,” and he adds “These people have never worked for a government, and they don’t know how to manage a port. They are rebels who are stealing the resources and taking what they can get," he said.

The accountant says boats dock at the port of Kismayo carrying much needed basic commodities like milk powder and flour and later the boats leave loaded with charcoal, the only valuable export of Somalia at the present time.

He says the monthly port revenue is currently divided between the port administration led by Ahmed Madobe, who heads the militia group Raskamboni, and Kenyan forces.

Kenyan soldiers are providing security in Kismayo as part of the African Union (AU) peacekeeping force known as AMISOM, which succeeded in driving al-Shabab out of Mogadishu and other areas.
 
“In reality the port is controlled by Kenyan forces, they are the ones who divide the revenue," he said. "Kenyan forces take their own share and the other share is taken by Ahmed Madobe.”

The Somali government has accused Kenya of supporting Madobe, who is one of the men claiming to be president of the Jubaland region.

Kenyan military spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna says their relationship with Madobe is one inspired by necessity since they were confronted by the same enemy, al-Shabab, more than two years ago.

Oguna also says those accusing the Kenyan Defense Forces, the KDF, of collecting money want Kenyan troops out so that al-Shabab can take control of the port.

“KDF is out there to execute the AMISOM mandate, and those are allegations which are perhaps peddled around by people who would want KDF to move out so that they can be able to have al-Shabab back.  And certainly those are people who don’t want or even wish well for the people of Somalia.  Those are people who are inspired by self-interest,” Oguna said.

Kenyan forces initially went into Somalia in October 2011 to secure the border following a series of attacks and kidnappings in Kenyan territory blamed on al-Shabab.

But Oguna says now that the Kenyans are part of the AU force, soldiers in Kismayo receive their orders from AMISOM commanders in Mogadishu.

He says people should focus on stabilizing the region and stop all the infighting.

But the political bickering over Jubaland is likely to continue, as the federal government of Somalia has maintained that the establishment of Jubaland state was unconstitutional and has called for the process to come back under their authority.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid