Kenya’s second intervention in southern Somalia

Drs Fatuma Lamungu Nur (Keydmedia) - In 1991 Kenyan army under the leadership of General Mohamud Mohammed from Ogaden clan crossed the border to Jubbaland regions in southern Somalia to help his clan mate warlord General Morgan in massacring thousands of Somali Bantu Wagosha Community.
Article Keydmedia Online
Kenya’s second intervention in southern Somalia

Now the history repeats its self as Kenyan heavily armed troops cross the border to pursue Al-Shabab militants, who are accused of kidnapping foreigners in Kenyan territory. As this intervention takes place the Kenyan defence minister is Mohamed Yusuf Haji, who hails from Ogaden clan.

According to reliable sources the Kenyan intervention has the blessing of western and regional blessing, but on the other hand it can be misused by clan interests of some Kenyan individuals of Kenyan of Somali origin.
Kenya declares war against Al-Shabab

On 15 October, Kenya’s security minister George Saitoti told the media that the country as going to pursue Al-Shabab insurgents inside Somalia. During the declaration, the Kenyan defence minister, Mohamed Yusuf Haji was there, and instead of him making the announcement Saitoti did it. Many analysts believe that this was because of Haji’s failure in pursuing clan agendas in Jubbaland.

Although Kenya is claiming that its attacking Al-Shabab because of kidnapping foreigners, its believed that the recent abduction of Spanish aid workers may have been carried out by local Somalis who live at the border.

Kenyan militants of Ogaden clan in collaboration with their clan mates in Somalia have in the last two months targeting innocent Somali refugees, looting their properties and even killing them. So in this case its likely that the same militants took the advantage of Kenyan army laxity to upgrade their banditry by abducting these foreigners to get millions of dollars as ransom.

Kenyan Somali politicians with clan interests

Despite, Kenya’s legitimate rights to defend its territories from invaders, many people fear that its Haji again who is playing his clan cards to use Kenyan forces in Somalia’s clan fighting.

Haji is the campaigner of clan based regional state to be formed in Jubbaland led by an Ethiopian refugee, who also hails from Ogaden clan, Mohamad Abdi Gandi.

His dreams could not bear fruits because of opposition and resistance from the genuine and real owners of Jubbaland.

Kenyan Somali politicians with clan interests

Mohamed Yusuf Haji, Kenyan defence minister, his son Nuradin Yusuf Haji, who is a senior intelligence officer in Kenya, Farah Moalim, the deputy speaker, Ilyas Barre Shil, Safiya Abdi Torey and others have long been linked with hidden clan agenda of supporting clan regional state to be formed in southern Somalia.

All these politicians belong to Ogaden clan and have been lying to Kenyan government that their plan of supporting creation of Jubbaland state will serve the interest of Kenya, while they actually backing this hoax administration for clan interests.

The man who declared himself as president of so called Azania state in southern Somalia, Mohamed Abdi Gandi, belongs to Ogaden clan and he is Ethiopian citizen from a region called Zone Five.

When Mohamed Abdi Gandi was appointed as Somalia’s defence minister, in 2009 a clan party was held in Nairobi attended by Mohamed Yusuf Haji and his colleagues to celebrate what they termed as historic victory to their clan in Somalia. It was during that meeting that Yusuf Haji announced plan to expand the influence of Ogaden clan in the region.

From that time the relationship between Kenya and Al-Shabab started to deteriorate, because Yusuf Haji and his clan members launched campaigns of recruiting Kenyan Ogadeni youths to join militants that were supposed to go to Somalia to liberate Jubba regions from Al-Shabab and other clans.

Yusuf Haji succeeded to convince his long time friend President Kibaki, that creation of buffer zone was needed to protect the country from Al-Shabab, but he did not tell the president the truth that his clan members are actually the leaders of Al-Shabab in Somalia.

Al-Shabab and clan interests

Al-Shabab despite being an Islamic organization with religious principles, it deeply depends on clans, who form the structure of the group. This is another factor that was always there and used by Al-Shabab to defend it from any plan to destroy the group completely.

Al-Shabab is formed by clans like Ogaden [from Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia], Isaaq, Majerten, Hawiye and others who are there to protect their clan interest in the name of religion. Despite having foreign elements in it, the group sees clan card as the best tool to reach its goals, since every clan in the group is satisfied with the share it gets in the system.

Clans that form Al-Shabab were not happy with Kenyan initiatives for Jubbaland led by Ogaden clan members, and they launched fierce campaigns against the so called Azania activities.

In this process Ogaden clans in Kenyan army crossed the border several times to kill members of other clans in Al-Shabab, but maintained their relationship with Al-Shabab members from Ogaden clan in the region.

Kenya’s reputation tarnished

The image of Kenya has bene badly damaged by the clan activities of Mohamed Yusuf Haji and other Ogadenis in Kenyan government. People like the seasonal politician Ilyas Barre Shil was given a task as the advisor on Somalia affairs to Kenyan prime minister.

As Yusuf Haji and his son pursue their clan interest through Kibaki, Shil also uses the prime minister to achieve the Ogaden goals on the expenses of Kenyan taxpayers.

The most shameful act is the launch of an Ogadeni clan Radio within the premises of Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC). This radio serves the interests of Ogaden clan and is funded by Kenyan government. Many people would ask what Kenya is benefitting in its involvemnet of Somalia’s clan affairs, while its people are dying for hunger. All the staff of this clan radio station are from Ogaden clan except one lady who was given the opportunity because of her radio experience.

Kenya with Ogadeni’s Ras Kiamboni group

Sheikh Ahmed Madobe, former Islamic Courts senior official, who turned to pro Ethiopian warlord, decided to defect from Al-Shabab and formed an Ogadeni clan group called Ras Kiamboni with the support of Ethiopia. Madobe and Gandi were not in good terms and that is the reason regional efforts toward Jubbaland always failed. Kenya supported so called Azania of Mohamed Abdi Gandi, while Ethiopia supported Ahmed Madobe.

Both men belong to Ogaden clan, as well as coming from Ethiopia’s Zone Five Region, but they never shared a common goal in their dream of conquering a land that does not belong to them.

When Kenya realized that the so called Azania is going no where and lacks the support of the people in the region, Nairobi authorities changed policy and supported Ahmed Madobe, providing him with weapons and other military logistics.

Ahmed Madobe’s plan is not clear, but after the seizure of Jubbaland he will definitely pursue clan politics to favour his Ogaden clan.

Role of international community in Jubbaland

The military initiative of Kenya in Jubbaland can only be positive if there is lasting political solution for these regions. Kenyan army should avoid siding with rival Somali clans as they did in 1991, when thy took part in killing innocent Somali nationals.

The US and other regional countries that have interest in these regions should bear in mind that their role of resolving this crisis will positively serve their objectives. These are regions where several clans live, and also with thousands of refugees from Ethiopia, Kenya and other regions in Somalia.

The clans in Jubbaland need lasting peace after two decades of civil war and other atrocities committed by warlords and their militants. The international community considering this fact should ensure that every clan is respected in its land, as a way to prevent future conflict in the region.

Also there is a need to form an international court that will prosecute the criminals who committed abuses against humanity in Jubbaland for the last twenty one years of civil war in the country.

Drs Fatuma Lamungu Nur
Drs Fatuma Lamungu Nur is a PhD holder in International Politics and lives in New York, USA.

Article 21 May 2021 10:14

I read your article on Foreign Policy with keen eyes and interest. While whining from public officials does not deserve response from any sensible citizen of the Republic of Somalia, I felt compelled to counter false narrative with more objective analysis.