Somalia: Farmaajo Government Not Serious About Fighting Al Shabaab

Published on 31st December 2019

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre are not serious about defeating Al-Shabaab. After almost three years in charge, it’s clear that neither Farmaajo nor Kheyre has the will and desire required to combat terrorism in Somalia. Instead, the pair have used and misused state resources, including security institutions responsible for combating terrorism to advance their own political agenda.  Somalia is heading to a point of no return under Farmaajo – Kheyre leadership. The nation is less secure and politically more unstable. The federal government must be pressured to prove that it’s serious about fighting Al-Shabaab, and other violent extremist groups slaughtering innocent Somalis. They don’t need hallowed “Thoughts and Prayers” from insincere leaders.

As a result of government failures, Al-Shabaab is resurging potently across Somalia and specially in Mogadishu. The group actively operates in and around Mogadishu, targeting innocent civilians, security forces, and critical infrastructure, including attack on SYL Hotel across from Villa Somalia. To deflect from government failures after the second largest terrorist attack in two years killed close to 100 people, the government is now blaming foreign government, using speculative article and tweets from discredited website.

The National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) posted on its twitter account a false claim that a foreign government was behind the X-control terrorist attack in Mogadishu. The tweet based on the speculative article and tweets is an irresponsible act and reflects the emptiness and shallowness of Farmaajo’s government. The government should present to the parliament any information pertaining to foreign government involvement if there are credible intelligence that prove their hypothesis.

According to reports, A fringe Turkish news website alleges that Turkish engineers working near the checkpoint were the target of the X-control attack and blamed foreign government. The attack in Mogadishu has the hallmark of an Al-Shabaab attack, and the government is trying to cover up, deflect and blame outsiders when the problem is internal.

NISA’s absurd claim is laughable and a sad attempt to distract the Somali people and the International Community away from the Farmaajo – Kheyre government total failure to protect the country and take the fight to Al-Shabaab. The claim is also an attempt to protect Fahad Yasin, the Director of NISA, a proxy ally of Qatar, a nation the New York Times alleged in a July 22 article “With Guns, Cash, and Terrorism, Gulf States Vie for Power in Somalia” was behind terrorist attacks in Somalia.

The article alleged that in a recording obtained by the New York Times, the Qatari Ambassador to Somalia and a businessman close to the Emir of Qatar said that the militants had carried about the May 10, 2019 bombing in Bosaso to advance Qatari interests by driving out its gulf rival.

On September 14, 2019, PM Kheyre survived an attempted assassination during visit to Marka. The bombing killed three of personal security guards and wounded many more. Allies suspect Al-Shabaab elements in NISA were behind the assassination.

On August 15, 2019, President Farmaajo after the July 24 suicide bombing that killed Abdirahman Omar Osman “Engineer Yariisow”, the Governor of Banadir and the Mayor of Mogadishu ordered the federal government to come up with a comprehensive plan to root out individuals in the government agencies, who are “aiding terrorist directly and/or indirectly.”

On June 10, 2017, President Donald Trump called on Qatar to stop funding terrorism. The international partners allege Qatar, the main secret financier of the government is the state sponsor of terrorism in Somalia, providing financial and material support to Al-Shabaab and the Islamic State in Somalia (ISS).

Somali government leaders have reportedly been warned about morphing threat of Al-Shabaab and continue to ignore it, focusing on political infighting with the federal Member States (FMS). The government views Puntland, Galmudug, Jubaland, and Somaliland as their greatest enemy, spending limited and valuable state resources to disrupt, and undermine security of federal member states. The government has prioritized political issues over urgent security needs, leaving Somalis exposed to routine and horrific assault of Al-Shabaab terrorists.

In addition, Farmaajo and Kheyre have but their loyalty to their political allies, business partners and close friends over the national security interests, safety and security of the Somali people. Over the past two years, after horrific terrorist attacks and state failure to secure Mogadishu, Farmaajo remains loyal to Fahad over the security interests of Somalia. Fahad has no background in security but remains in charge of NISA, shifting agency focus to combating the states, ignoring the morphing and resurgent Al-Shabaab insurgency.

Kheyre has also prioritized his personal and economic interests over the security interests of Somalia, keeping his close friend and business partner Abukar Islow Duale in charge of the Ministry of Security, despite disastrous failures over the past three years. In each case, Farmaajo and Kheyre have put their personal and economic interests a head of the Somali people and the national security interests of Somalia.

After second a major terrorist attack in two years, it’s clear Somalia is heading in the wrong direction.  The government has failed the Somali people and has become a great part of the problem and not the solution for what’s ailing Somalia. NISA is no longer viable institutions under the failed leadership of Fahad and requires significant changes and re-organization. Somali people need serious leaders to bring security and stability to the nation. They don’t need hallowed “Thoughts and Prayers” from insincere leaders.


  • Dismiss Abukar Islow Duale, the Minister of Security and replace him with active or retired military general with leadership, experience in security, counterterrorism, and organizational management.
  • Dismiss Fahad Yasin from NISA and replace him with active or retired senior intelligence officer with years of experience in security and counterterrorism operations.
  • Refocus NISA to counterterrorism and security. NISA should not be involved in political issues or supporting government election efforts. The government should Instead shift NISA assets back to Mogadishu to protect civilians and for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations.
  • Establish the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) within Somali Special Forces Danab as a branch of Somali National Armed Forces (SNAF). Somali is facing insurgency and terrorism and requires Somali National Army (SNA) and Danab to take the lead in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations. Without DMI, neither SNA nor Danab will not have the Human Intelligence capability to combat Al-Shabaab and other violent extremist groups.
  • The Federal Government (FG) should expeditiously stop the political war against the Federal Member States (FMS) and reestablish strong cooperation with FMS to rebuild the country
  • The Federal Government and Federal Member States cooperate and build strong ties on Security and Intelligence sharing to compat Al Shabab if Fahad Yasin is removed and NISA reformed.
  • Parliament pass legislation that establishes National Security Court to prosecute terrorism cases.
  • Parliament should pass legislation that criminalizes providing material support to Al-Shabaab or any other extremist groups in Somalia and punishes terrorists and their supporters with death.
  • Parliament should pass legislation to fast track death penalty for terrorism, and/or murder of security forces. Terrorist and their supporters must pay high price to deter others from joining.
  • Somali government change the execution method for terrorists from firing squad to public hanging.

In conclusion, Somalia is at risk because of federal government failures and requires urgent correction to mitigate terrorist attacks that are killing many of Somalia’s brightest and innocent civilians. It’s time to get tough with terrorists and their supporters. The people must rise up and demand more from their leaders and stand up for their human rights to have safety, security, democracy and prosperity.

The time has come for the people to retake back their government and country from the corrupt and the elites and “Change Somalia!”

By Mohamed Fatah

Email: [email protected]

The author is a Somali-American executive with over 15+ years’ experience in foreign policy, national security, banking, and regulatory compliance. Mr. Fatah previously served as a Senior Advisor to President Farmaajo and the First Director – General of the National Security Office (NSO) at the Office of the President of Somalia in 2017. Mr. Fatah chaired the Technical Committee of the National Security Council (NSC) in the 3rd and 4th National Security Council (NSC). He is the leading US authority and subject matter expert on Somalia and the region. Mr. Fatah advised current and past Somalia governments on public diplomacy, national security and engagement with the international community.

Prior to that, Mr. Fatah had a distinguished career in the U.S. Government where he served as Senior Advisor and Policy Coordinator to the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House. He routinely analyzed global issues of concern, resulting in clear, concise, analysis and briefings for the President of the United States, Vice President, Senior Policymakers, the National Security Council (NSC), the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Cabinet Secretaries and Combatant Commands.  Mr. Fatah brings to any discussion an unparalleled depth of expertise, advising the Pentagon and the United States Congress foreign affairs, defense, and appropriation committees on political and security matters in Somalia and the region.

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