BELETWEIN, Somalia May 9 (Garowe Online) – A notorious warlord in central Somalia has returned to his former seat of power at a provincial capital after being forced to flee in April by Islamist guerrillas.
Yusuf Daboged, the former governor of Hiran region, told reporters by telephone that he is the « legitimate » governor of Hiran.
Mr. Daboged said he is in the outskirts of Beletwein, the capital of Hiran, although hundreds of Ethiopian soldiers backed by armored trucks entered the town early Friday for the first time in weeks.
The former governor appealed to the residents of Hiran to remain calm and to cooperate with authorities in improving local security.
Beletwein residents said Ethiopian troops moved into the interior of the city and immediately took positions at all important government buildings, including the State House and police stations.
Other soldiers were seen standing guard along the town’s main roads.
Last week, Somali Prime Minister Nur « Adde » Hassan Hussein issued a decree replacing former Hiran Gov. Daboged with a new regional administration led by Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed.
But many officials of the new Hiran regional authority have refused to accept their posts, citing insecurity and lack of resources. [ Full story]
It is not clear why the Ethiopian army has returned Mr. Daboged to Beletwein, especially in light of the Prime Minister’s decree.
Ethiopian troops backing the Somali transitional government invaded Somalia in December 2006 to dislodge an Islamist militia that was ruling the capital Mogadishu at the time.
The Islamists then withdrew and began a costly insurgency targeting Somali and Ethiopian troops and allies, with thousands of civilians killed in the crossfire.