Somalia’s two most powerful leaders were locked in a deepening standoff on Wednesday after they named different men to head the politically unstable Horn of Africa nation’s intelligence service.
On Monday, Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble suspended the intelligence chief prompting a public rebuke from President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.
This triggered a dispute over investigations into an unsolved murder and highly contentious issue of the young female agent, Ikran Tahlil Farah, who worked in the cybersecurity department and went missing in late June.
The government last week had blamed the Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab for her death, and people through angry posts on social media said the agency itself had been involved. Al-Shabaab denied any involvement.
The Prime Minister said he had told Fahad Yasin, the director of Somalia’s National Intelligence Service Agency (NISA), to step aside for failing to deliver a report on the murder of one of the agency’s agents who disappeared in June.
Roble has appointed another man, Bashir Mohamed Jama, as Interim Head of NISA while the president who called Roble’s move unconstitutional named Yasin Abdullahi Mohamed to head the agency
The African Union, U.N. and foreign donour nations including Britain and the United States on Tuesday urged the president and prime minister to “avoid any actions that could lead to violence.”