One of Somalia’s most brutal and well-known warlords held a press conference Monday in the national capital Mogadishu, speaking in public for the first time since the Ethiopian invasion of December 2006.
Yusuf « Indha Ade » Mohamed Siad, who ruled Lower Shabelle region and was instrumental in the rise of the Islamic Courts in mid-2006, spoke in person with a group of reporters and allowed TV cameras to record his press conference.
The former warlord of Lower Shabelle condemned recent comments attributed to Mr. Andrew Mwangura, who is the East Africa Coordinator of Seafarers’ Assistance Program.
Mr. Mwangura accused Indha Ade of using ransom money collected by pirates to buy new weapons and capture towns to strengthen the anti-Ethiopia insurgency.
In his defense, Indha Ade distanced himself from piracy links and said the « accusations are aimed at destroying my reputation, » while blaming piracy on Puntland President Adde Muse.
Indha Ade, who is security chief for the Eritrea-based opposition group Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia, cited a BBC interview where President Muse admitted that pirates « own big homes » in Puntland, but that local authorities cannot due anything about it.
Further, Indha Ade suggested that the Puntland leader is planning to use money collected from ransom payments to fund his bid for re-election. Puntland presidential elections are scheduled to be held in January 2009, with President Muse declaring his candidacy for a second term in office.
On the Djibouti Agreement, which was signed by ARS Chairman Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and called for a ceasefire, Indha Ade said Sheikh Sharif is « still our leader, » but was critical of Sheikh Sharif’s decision to sign a peace deal with the Ethiopian-backed Somali interim government.
He condemned recent overtures to deploy a joint force of Somali government troops and Islamist fighters loyal to Sheikh Sharif to towns controlled by the Islamic Courts, including Jowhar. [ Full story]
Many in Somalia believe that Indha Ade is a clan warlord and is not fighting for an Islamist cause. During his reign in Lower Shabelle, Indha Ade used loyal clan fighters to suppress the region’s unarmed clans into submission.