Leadership Tussle Escalates as Somalia Sacks Spy Chief

The Somali prime minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble has fired Somalia’s Spy Chief who heads of the country’s intelligence unit, over the disappearance of a female spy.

Roble accused the spy chief, Fahad Yasin Haji Dahir, a former close ally of the president, of mixing politics and security and ordered him to hand over power within three days. He said the handling of the case of the missing 24-year-old was “inappropriate”.

“That is a dangerous existential threat to the country’s governance system,” said Roble, who described a pattern of interference in the investigative remit of Somalia’s justice agencies.

But in a row threatening to derail Somalia’s election process, president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, also known as Farmaajo, issued a statement rejecting the prime minister’s decision, calling it “illegal and unconstitutional”.

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The situation is heightening an already tense atmosphere in Somali politics as Farmaajo instructed Fahad Yasin to retain his role.

Somalia's President Farmaajo

Conflict between the leaders has been brewing for weeks as the country is engaged in a crucial electoral process. Last week, the National Intelligence and Security Agency (Nisa) reported that its agent, Ikran Tahlil Farah, missing since June, had been killed by al-Shabaab militia.

While the Spy Chief has denied any complicity in the murder of Farah, the cybersecurity expert was last seen leaving her Mogadishu home at 8pm on June 26.

The group has denied abducting her and Tahlil’s mother has publicly rejected the claim, accusing Nisa of being behind the disappearance and saying the last time she spoke to her daughter she said she had been told to report to the office.

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