The Anatomy of Kismayu’s Terror Attack and It’s Political Ramifications
The terror attack that was claimed by the terrorist group Alshabaab at Hotel Madina formally known as Cascasey has so far claimed 26 lives from different nationalities including Chinese, Canadians, Kenyans, Americans and Tanzanians. The attack has also caused 56 injuries many of them serious. According to reliable sources who spoke to NFD DISPATCH on condition of anonymity, the attackers were 7 in number. Two arrived in Kismayu about 5 weeks before the attack to plan and prepare the explosives. They were holed up in a house for 4 weeks preparing the explosives and planning with their co-conspirators. They purchased a car for $5500 and are believed to be not long term Alshabaab fighters but hit and run contract-killers for warlords and were associated with senior Federal Government officials. The house the attack was planned has been disclosed to the investigative agencies of Jubbaland by some of the attackers who are now in custody. 5 of the remaining attackers arrived in Kismayu 4 days before the attack and contacted the owner of the house who has never been suspected of extremist or political affiliations. They informed the owner ( name withheld for legal and security purpose) that they are ready to attack. As interrogations and investigations continue, the President has summoned his top security officers to understand and explain the serious security lapse at a time the Jubbaland and Amisom security forces have been praised for making Kismayu the safest city in Somalia. There are reports that the security manning the Hotel have been infiltrated before the attackers who were wearing the presidential guide uniforms stormed the hotel. The Jubbaland authorities are said to be conducting investigations as to how the terrorists got hold of the uniforms and have already arrested some officers following intelligence leads. Fingers of blame are already pointing at the Federal Government of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, a staunch opponent of Jubbaland’s current President who is the favourite to win the upcoming August elections. The rift between the Federal Government President and the regional head Ahmed Mohamed Islam whose supporters including elders, politicians and professionals were meeting at the Hotel at the time of the attack is likely to deteriorate. President Farmajo and his administration who are said to be fronting another candidate has failed to persuade the current president from pursuing a second term in office. Sources within the Federal Government’s Planning Ministry confirmed to NFD DISPATCH that Ahmed Islam (Ahmed Madobe) declined $17 Million as a sweetener from the President to step down, a gesture said to have infuriated Ahmed Madobe who has since intensified his campaigns to recapture the seat. Few days before the attack, the incumbent has been endorsed by his Kumade clan, comprising of almost all the Darod clan who are the majority of the voters in the region, as their sole representative, a move said to have shocked the Federal Government and its preferred candidates.
Intelligence reports indicate that the attack was a Federal Government attempt to stop the incumbent from ascending to power again. This is said to have turned the eyes of the international community on the Federal Government of President Farmajo who is facing a general election next year. Sources within the international community including diplomatic sources are said to be concerned with the cosy relationship between the terrorist group Alshabaab and President Farmajo’s administration. President Farmajo has been at loggerheads with many of the Regional governments chiefs and has had some success in replacing them after he planted his loyalist in the elections. This is thought to have failed in Jubbaland after many of the various clans living in the region chose to cast their lot with the current regional head. According to many of his confidants and critics, Ahmed Madobe is credited with defeating the terrorist group Alshabaab and his good relationship with neighbouring countries such as Kenya, an important ally in the fight against terror in the Horn.
As the death toll rises and information gathers pace, the terror attack appears to have had the opposite effect of uniting the people of Juballand who are turning a new leaf after the decades long civil war. It appears to have failed, according to political analysts, to divide the supporters of the incumbent. Analyst say it will have huge ramifications for President Farmajo, who until recently was a popular choice of the Somali nation, who is facing the polls next year.
The attack which is now believed to have been instigated by political forces within the Federal Government and with the blessings of the President was aimed at discrediting Ahmed Madobe pundits claim. The attack so far appears to have had the opposite effect according to polls carried with focus groups and has galvanized support for the incumbent as his Kumade clan sees it as an attack against their unity and candidate.