Mohamed Ware, presidential envoy on civilian protection and stabilization, has issued a warning against attempts to derail the hard-won gains against Al-Shabaab in the Hiiraan region of Somalia.
Speaking out against recent feuds between clans in the region, Ware stated that the disputes between the Hawaldle and Abgaal sub-clans were being engineered to reverse the gains made against the militant group.
“We have defeated Al-Shabaab on the battlefield. Any and every means is being attempted now to reverse the gains. Fueling hostilities between Hawadle and Abgaal communities is the latest. HirShabelle and National Leadership should stop this!” Ware stated.
Ware’s comments come in the wake of recent tensions in Beletweyne, following the removal of veteran Hiiraan governor Ali Jeyte from office last month. Jeyte, who had been the face of joint military and civilian operations against Al-Shabaab in the region, was dismissed and subsequently declared himself the president of “Hiiraan state.”
Before Jeyte’s removal, Ware had claimed that Al-Shabaab was mobilizing millions of dollars to influence the decision to remove him as governor of Hiiraan.
The tensions between the Hawaldle and Abgaal sub-clans in the region have added to concerns that these efforts could derail progress made against the militant group.
Last July, the Somali National Army and clan militia, dubbed the Community Defence Forces, launched a joint operation that saw the ejection of Al-Shabaab from many territories in Hiiraan, Middle Shabelle, and Galgadud regions.
These gains have been hard-won and have come at a great cost, making it all the more important to prevent anything that could reverse them.