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Majority of Somali parliament members flee abroad

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By Abdiaziz Hassan

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Scores of Somali legislators have fled violence at home to the safety of other countries in Africa, Europe and the United States, leaving the nation’s parliament without a quorum to meet.

Violence from an Islamist-led insurgency has worsened this month, with a minister, the Mogadishu police chief, and a legislator all killed. The government, which controls little but a few parts of the capital, has declared a state of emergency.

With reports of foreign jihadists streaming into Somalia, Western security services are frightened Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network may get a grip on the failed Horn of Africa state that has been without central government for 18 years.

Needing two-thirds of legislators present to meet, Somalia’s 550-seat parliament has not convened since April 25.

Officials said on Wednesday that 288 members of parliament (MPs) were abroad, with only about 50 on official visits.

The rest were in neighbours Kenya and Djibouti, European nations such as Sweden, Britain, the Netherlands and Norway, and the United States, the officials said.

“I cannot be a member of a government that cannot protect me,” Abdalla Haji Ali, an MP who left for Kenya last week, told Reuters. “In Somalia, nobody is safe.”

Parliament speaker Sheikh Aden Mohamed Madobe has urged the MPs to return, and Somalia’s Finance Ministry has blocked the salaries of 144 legislators abroad, officials said.

In Nairobi on Wednesday, plenty of Somali MPs could be seen sipping tea and talking politics in various hotels and cafes.

“As legislators, we have responsibility and every one of us should perform his duty in Mogadishu,” one legislator who has stayed in Mogadishu, Sheikh Ahmed Moalim, told Reuters.

“Before you decide to flee, you have to resign officially if you realise that you cannot work in this environment.”


Islamist rebel leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys held a news conference in Mogadishu to denounce the government’s call at the weekend for foreign forces to come to its aid.

The African Union has a 4,300-strong force guarding government and other installations in Mogadishu, but has been unable to stem violence and has been targeted by the rebels.

Kenya has said it supports international efforts to get more troops into Somalia, but Aweys thanked Nairobi for declining to send its soldiers across the border. “If they deal with us well, we will deal with them well as a good neighbour,” he said.

Nairobi expatriate circles have been awash with rumours of planned attacks by Somali militants.

“The fighting will stop when the foreign enemy forces leave the country and Somalis come together for talks,” Aweys added.

“Nothing remains of the puppet Somali government.”

The United Nations and Western powers back President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed’s government, but are increasingly frustrated over how to help him stabilise Somalia.

Ahmed, himself a moderate Islamists, was elected by parliament at a U.N.-sponsored process in Djibouti in January.

“The situation has gone from bad to worse to worst, presenting the entire Horn of Africa with a security crisis of the first order,” U.S. analyst Peter Pham said in a paper.

“If the TFG (government) is ‘fiddling’ while Somalia burns, it is doing so with a full orchestral accompaniment provided by an international community that apparently lacks either the will or the imagination (or both) to do anything else.”

Gus Selassie, an analyst for IHS Global Insight think-tank, was equally pessimistic.

“There appears to be an extreme reluctance on the part of the international community, including neighbouring countries and friendly governments such as Ethiopia, to heed the TFG’s desperate calls,” he wrote in another analysis.

“Both the security and humanitarian situation will have to worsen considerably before anyone will aid the TFG.”

14 thoughts on “Majority of Somali parliament members flee abroad

  1. I think it is time we Ethiopians who are Muslims also kick out this Orthodox church that has been subjugating us forever! we don’t have have a proplem with our Ethiopian Non-muslims who are peacefull but this Orthodox church has colonized us for centuries!

  2. Why we are wondering about the situation in Somalia? But we Ethiopians have not had proper government since 1991.

    Our nation is ruled by a bandit group that became blessing from former Bush administration of the 90’s. Since that time on our nation is partitioned into different entities, so that the interaction of the people shall deteriorate.
    This is designed and advised by foreign neo-colonialists that still have nostalgy of ruling Africa prior to Independence of 1960’s.

    The Woyane tribalist clique under the support of Agazi-Junta is still propagating hatred and animosity by its earth enemies of Ethiopian people such as Sebhat Nega(Woyane Guru)and his page Meles Zenawi.
    Our country is pursuing a dangerous path since 1991 that violates the sovereignity and diginity of our people.

    Therefore leaders of all opposition forces must unite together to save our motherland from chaos and anarchy when those tribal cliques unable to rule the country and before things become out of control.

  3. May God may be with the people of Somalia who are not able to escape these blunder by Melese Seytanawi. Meles is psychopath who will do anything to stay in power. Don’t be surprised if he marches back to Mogadishu.Go G7

  4. Hayfe,

    Very easy to say let the Somalis solve their own problems. The problems are nor or will not be theirs only for very long. Whether we like it or not, we are neighbors and the problem is going to spill over in to our side very shortly.

    Let us recognize that radical Islamists are finding Pakistan and Afghanistan too hot and confining,Therefore, they are flocking in to Somalia as we speak.

    The honorable and honest question we should ask is “what should Ethiopia do?”

  5. Leave the Somali to sort out thier problems. Out side interference will only worsen the problems. Take the example of Woyanne thugs who have been in Somalia for two years and achieved nothing.

  6. Getachew,
    Why are you repeating the old and outworn Bush slogan “The Terrorists Are Coming” which the Weyane regime perfected to lengthen its power and sway public’s attention from internal matters? I’m not saying that there are not a few Somalies who sympathize with “Al-Quida” But all this talk that Somalia is on the verge of becoming a safeheaven for Terrorists that Foreign figheters are coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan to train the Islamists is nothing but a propaganda to establish a “puppet” regime and subjugate the Somalie people. There should have been a way to identify the few Somalies with Alquida link and deal with them than calling on neighbouring countries to fight for them. Let’s not fool ourselves. As far as Terrorism is concerned, Somalia was never a threat to Ethiopia. Of course, they had unsettled border issues. After the 2006 invasion by Weyane, things are different and Somalies have a deep anger topwards Ethiopian regime for its reckless and inhumane acts agianst its neighbour.
    Again,Yes!! No matter how long it should take, let the Somalie people solve their own problem.

  7. Observer (TeAzabi)

    If we are not going to be intellectually honest and admit that there is a terrorist threat looming in Somalia then there is no sense to this discourse at all.

    One cannot disregard this notion by assigning this number to a “few Somalies who sympathize with “Al-Quida””. All it took was a few people to bring down the twin towers in New York. All it took was one Somali immigrant, one Pakistani immigrant and an African American convert to hatch up a plot to destroy the Holland Tunnel in New York and the biggest shopping center in Columbus, Ohio.All it took was one Somali from Minnesota to kill and dismember close to twenty people in Somalia not too long ago.

    Other objective onlookers of the drama that is unfolding in our part of the world are saying that Al Queda is slowly losing its footing in the Pakistan-Afghanistan tribal areas. The most logical place for them to go to would be nowhere but Somalia, given the present circumstances.

    Please, let us be reserved from making harum-scarum judgments on the existence of Ethiopia based on the idea that in totality we should be polar opposites of the weyane regime.

    Regimes may come and go, but Long Live Ethiopia.

  8. Majority of so called Somali Parliament members not only flee abroad but they live abroad with thier families and properties. They do not feel the pain,the sorrow, the destuctons and death of ordinary Somali. They are stooges and represent the interest of US and Europeans.
    In sending arms to so called Somali government that does’nt exist even in Mogadishu, Obama an intelligent man, is behaving like Bush. There is no point in resacitating a dead person.

  9. Dear Getachew,
    I don’t think anyone here is making a reckless judgement on this issue. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not condoning terrorism. What I have a problem with is the way terrorism is being exploited by the Weyane, which is itself a terrorist regime, and the likes to achieve their narrow, self-centered and expansionist ambitions. The sad thing is that all the financial and military assistance provided to these rague regimes is being misused. It’s being used to silence the oppositions. It’s being used to subjugate and humuliate the people of Ogaden and Somalia. Whatever is left of it is being deposited at the Swiss Bank. If there’s any thing the TPLF gangs accomplished by invading Somalia, it’s that it created more extremist ideology amongst those with modern stand.
    Again, the People of Somalia must be allowed to come up with a common ground and reconcile. They should also say with one voice: “NO!!!” to any form of foreign interference, whether from West or East, extremists or the so called “friends” interest groups.

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