Nairobi, March 22, 2022 – There a growing concern in the Horn of Africa region amid heightened insurgency activities, particularly along Kenya’s porous border with Somalia.
Security analysts and government agencies in Kenya and Somalia have reportedly been probing the surge in terror activities. However, all indications are pointing at a fall-out at the Somalia spy agency, the National Security and Intelligence Agency (NISA).
According to several sources, the current head of NISA, a close aide of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, has been conducting “unlawful purge and victimisation campaign against” top officials who served under his predecessor, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.
One notable top official who has since been victimised and forced into exile is Colonel Abdullahi Dheere. As per Somali media reports, Mahat Salat has ordered the arrest of Dheere’s staff members led by his driver who’s still in custody at NISA holding facility in Mogadishu.
“He’s been held without a charge and all attempts to have him released or produced in court have been in vain,” lamented a family member who sought anonymity.
A brief statement by NISA said the “driver is in custody pending determination of an ongoing investigations,” a remark local political analysts believe is an extention of the victimisation campaign by the spy agency against the Farmajo-era lead operatives and a dent on the reputation of NISA.
“When President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took over the reigns, he said his administration would not be engaged in which-hunt and policies that are anchored on revenge, but NISA’s latest trend defies his inauguration speech,” Ali Mursal, a governance and security analyst, noted.
Abdullahi Dheere was the lead intelligence officer of a team of detectives that were facilitors of cross-country intelligence cooperation. Their mission was to help neighbouring countries of Kenya and Ethiopia against the threats of Al Shabab. However, the threat of Al Shabab attacks has been on the increase over the last six months. Reliable sources at NISA believe the new spy boss, Mahat Salat is seeking a closer partnership with Egypt at the cost of “completely degrading the existing cooperation with Kenya and Ethiopia.”
While speaking in Mandera town during the announcement to open the border between Kenya and Somalia at the Mandera border post, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Administration, Prof Kithure Kindiki said the Kenyan security agencies “have noted an increase in movement of Al Shabab militants in the area.”
The communities in Jubbaland and Northeaster corridors of Wajir, Mandera and Garissa counties share identity and at this period of prolonged drought, movement across the border is heightened as pastoralists seek water and pasture for their livestock.
An unstable political situation, a growing threat of Al Shabab and the free flow of pastoralists is a recipe for disaster interms of cross-border terrorism activities.
The same was cited by several reseach groups who stated that the group has now deviced new tactics to recruit, operate and launch attacks particularly along the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) project which has since been stalled due to the frequent attacks targeting the engineers of the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA).
In the last two weeks, local media reported two instances where a multi-agency security team deployed to comb the area found hideouts, neutralised militants, arrested others and recovered materials used by the terror group, particularly in Garissa’s Fafi Constituency.
Since September last year, more than 25 lives were lost along the corridor where the ambitious project is ongoing.
The donor community that supports NISA such as the European Union are concerned about ripple effects and it’s ramifications on the regional security and stability.