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AU chief in Somalia and Ethiopia asked to answer who carried out Al Shabaab founder’s detention

MOGADISHU, Somalia –  The ousted UN chief in Somalia, Nicholas Haysom has purportedly sent to a letter to African Union mission (AMISOM) chief and Ethiopian Ambassador to Somalia, about the “credible and corroborated information” indicating that Ethiopian troops under AMISOM  carried out the arrest of former al Qaeda linked Al Shabaab founder, Mukhtar Robow in Baidoa town, about 250km southwest of the capital of Mogadishu.

Haysom says he was informed that Ethiopian troops arrested Robow, who was South West State (SWS) presidential candidate within the AMISOM-protected area in Baidoa town.

It is understood that Robow was briefly detained at AM1SOM Sector 3 Headquarters before he was handed over to Somali security forces, he said.

Heysom added the arrest occurred at the entrance of the second gate of the South West State Presidential Palace which is located within the AMISOM protected area in the town.

Mukhtar Robow was invited to come to attend a meeting by the acting SWS President Abdikadir Shariif Shekuna Maye.

“I take note of the press release of the Federal Ivlinistry of Internal Security (Mo(S) issued on 13 December 2018 which states that the “government arrested Mukhtar Robow”. I also take note of the pre. release issued by AM1SOM on 15 Demnber 2018, which states that “AM1SOM had no part in the arrest of Muklitar Robow and his subsequent transfer to Mogadishu”, he said.

Haysom added that he had received the annexed letter dated 15 December 2018 from certain Members of Somalia’s Federal Parliament addressed to the Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, requesting clarification on the role of the Ethiopian forces in Mukhtur Robow’s detention.

“Further to this, 1 received credible and corroborated information that indicates that AMISOM ENDF carried out the arrest of Mukhtar Robow after his vehicle had been stopped at thc entrance of the presidential palace by the AMISOM ENDF. According to the reports, two AMISOM ENDF soldiers insisted that passengers in Makin. Robow’s vehicle open the doors. The passengers ,entually opened the doors and Mukthar Robow was reportedly forcibly removed from his car by the two soldiers and his shirt WAS used to blindfold him. Sources said that another five or six ENDF soldiers were also present in the vicinity”, he added.

Mukhtar Robow was reportedly taken in an African Union (AU) marked vehicle. One of the ‘Bale passengers accompanying him was reportedly beaten by the ENDF soldiers when he and other male passengers attempted to prevent the arrest. They were then reportedly shot at when they followed the car in which Mr. Robow had been placed.

Additional information suggests that Mukhtar Robow was briefly held at AMISOM Sector 3 Headquarters. l‘vo vehicles were later seen coming from the AMISOM Sector 3 Headquarters and driving towards the airfield.

The Director of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) for Baidoa reportedly drove one car while the other was driven by an AMISOM ENDF soldier at the Baidoa airport According to credible sources, Mukhtar Robow was seen being taken out of the car driven by the NISA Director for Baidoa and handed over to unidentified Somali security forces.

The SWS Police Commissioner was reported to be also present at the airfield in Baidoa when Mukhtar Robow was put on a commercial plane to Mogadishu where he remains in detention.

Following Mukhtar Robow’s arrest, there were protests by civilians in Baidoa during the period between 13 and 15 December 2018. Somali security forces were reportedly involved in the dispersion of the protestors during which 15 civilians were killed, including a member of the SWS regional assembly and at least two civilians were injured.

There were some reports of AMISOM ENDF troops present during the demonstrations. Successive UN Security Council Resolutions, which set out the mandates UNSOM and AMISOM, state that UN support to AMISOM and the Somali security sector must be provided in compliance with the UN’s FIRDDP.

The IIRDDP requires UNSOM and UNSOS to immediately investigate and bring to the attention of both AMISOM and the concerned Troop Contributing Country (TCC) upon receiving allegations of incidents identified by the policy.

“I am therefore writing to you in this regard and have addressed a similar letter to the Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in Somalia (FDRE) communicating these allegations”, Haysom said.

The letter requested information on what actions have been carried out to investigate the allegations and to provide feedback on the findings of any inquiry that the FDRE should undertake in this regard.

“Taking into consideration AMISOM ENDF’s alleged participation in the arrest of Mukhtar Robow and its presence during the subsequent protests, I request you to investigate the allegations regarding AMISOM’s involvement in the arrest of Mukhtar Robow and its role in the response to the demonstrations on 13, 14 and 15 December 2018 and to share the findings with UNSOM”, Haysom said in a statement.


Abdi Aziz Hassan Ibrahim is , a somali veteran journalist based in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Twitter @mareegonline