Somalia: ousted warlord back in Kismayo

The routing of Somalia’s Islamist forces from their last stronghold in the southern port of Kismayo is being portrayed in the Western press as a victory for order and civilization against extremism and terrorism. A look at the local press reveals that the forces of the so-called “Federal Transition Government” which have taken the city are led by exactly the same warlord whose misrule had resulted in the populace rallying to the Islamic Courts Union in the first place. From Garowe Online, Jan. 1:

KISMAYO – The ex-governor of the Kismayo region returned to the southern Somali port city on Monday after allied Somali and Ethiopian troops rolled into town.

Col. Barre “Hirale” Adan Shire, the government’s defense chief, was preceded by his clan militias, who took control of strategic centers in Kismayo yesterday, including the air and seaports. The militias also took over weaponry left behind by the retreating Islamic Courts militia.

Hirale governed Kismayo and the Jubba regions under the now-defunct warlord coalition, the Jubba Valley Alliance, until Islamist militias advanced on the city last September and Hirale’s militias withdrew without a fight.

Residents in Kismayo contacted by Garowe Online expressed worry over the return of Hirale, since the JVA was a clan-based administration that did not share power with all local clans.

See our last post on the struggle for the Horn of Africa.