Top government official pictured with Al-Shabaab convict
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The credibility of the federal government of Somalia could be yet again questioned after a top government operative was sighted with an Al-Shabaab convict, who has been under NISA custody since 2014.
Ali Yare, who is the deputy governor of Banadir region and a close associate of outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo was pictured with Hassan Dahir Aweys, a former Al-Shabaab leader who is currently under house arrest within Mogadishu.
The deputy governor is also in charge of security in the administration led by Mayor Omar Filish, something which has now raised questions about the government's commitment to the fight against Al-Shabaab militants, who still control large swathes of rural central and southern Somalia.
Interestingly, Hassan Dahir Aweys has never denounced Al Shabaab and occasionally supports Islamist groups. Contrary to the military pronouncement, the operative is always seen on social media, further showcasing possible protection by the federal government of Somalia.
The senior government official's close relations with Hassan Dahir contradicts the Somali government approach to fighting terrorism. FGS has often insisted that it's committed in the fight against the militants, who continue to wreak havoc in the country.
At some point, there were claims that the federal government of Somalia is harboring Al-Shabaab militants, with some even being placed in strategic positions within the government, especially in the National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA].
The Al-Qaeda-linked group has been identified as one of the security risks in the country with the United States and other allies promising to crush them. The militants have lost ground in their traditional strongholds following a concerted effort by allied forces.