Expert says Somali President has no control over security

Senior security expert has said that Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud has no control over the security forces but rather remains beholden to clan-based politics.

Dr Vanda Felbab-Brown, a Brookings Institute senior fellow, said she discovered during a trip to Somalia in March, that President does not have control over the security forces.

She said AMISOM troop-contributing countries also operate independent of, and often at odds with, each other — and without accountability to their joint command.

Dr. Brown was presenting her grim assessment on May 21, during a talk at the Brookings Institution, Washington DC, on: Counterterrorism and state-building in Somalia: Progress or more of the same?

According to Dr Felbab-Brown, the rush for “quick money” has fanned rivalry and hostility among local businesses, which she said al-Shabaab exploits. And decentralization is replicating the central government’s problems of favouritism and corruption that it was designed to cure.

She acknowledged that the security situation in Somalia is better today than four years ago, but suicide attacks continue while AMISOM remains “stuck” with troops reluctant to go after al-Shabaab fighters.

She said the national army is poorly paid and the presence of AMISOM troops are not welcomed by some Somali citizens who believe they are ineffective.

Her charge comes a week after the African Union, overseeing the foreign funded military operation, put out a statement on May 15 announcing that AMISOM troops had thwarted an al-Shabaab incursion to overrun two government bases in the Lower Shabelle region.