New NISA Chief Stormed Fahad Yasin’s Residence

NISA under Mahad Salad

The new director of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), Mahad Salad, stormed Fahad Yasin’s residence, grabbed any valuables he could find there, then ransacked the place while the former spymaster was on a trip.

This incident happened yesterday. Fahad Yassin’s bodyguards, NISA agents themselves, had in their possession two armored vehicles. The vehicles and troops were taken to the agency’s headquarters in Habar Khadijo.

There was already a public outcry when outgoing Prime Minister Roble appointed Mahad Salad, an incendiary politician who, as an MP, wreaked havoc in parliament and participated in an armed rebellion setting fire to Mogadishu in April 2021.

Mahad is closely linked to Roble and has been a staunch supporter of the recently elected president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, himself calling for violence last year.

Roble heads a caretaker government and cannot legally change institutions while the new president sets up his own administration.

Hassan Sheikh opposed similar decision last year when he was in opposition. But, now, he not only kept a tight lid on the controversial appointment, he tacitly greenlighted in not intervening against a prime minister who broke all election rules to get him elected.

Mr. Mohamoud has previously said he would never retaliate against former opponents and that any wrongdoing in the previous administration would be dealt with by the court.

With this attack on the residence of Fahad Yasin, it now seems that the president has reneged on his promise after his electoral victory.

The news regarding other senior NISA officers, in particular the officer in charge of security at Mogadishu airport, who were rounded up, disarmed and then interrogated before being removed from duty and protection keep coming.

Former President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo never attempted to prosecute Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and his close aides.

Indeed, Mohamoud, who has just returned to power, was accused during his first term of massive embezzlement of public property, assassinations and disappearances of lawmakers opposed to his policies.

Appointing a politician with little experience in administration and known for urging the army to rebel against the government last year as head of a prestigious security institution seems like a taste of unprecedented political gangsterism.

According to Ali Mohamed Salah, a security expert, with Mogadishu’s volatile situation, such actions against individuals and officials with close ties to former Somali President Mohamed Farmajo would surely be met with a violent backlash if Mahad is not restrained.

Fahad Yasin was former President Farmajo’s security adviser and a key figure in Somali politics. He headed NISA for three years, catapulting the agency to 10th place among the top intelligence services in Africa.

His discipline and elusive personality have made him feared by opponents of the president but highly regarded by the masses in a country plagued by violence.

While in charge of NISA between 2019 and 2021, he ensured that the agency’s former leaders were properly compensated and provided with close protection at state expense.

Our security expert, Salah, added that Mahad Salad’s gangster-style leadership effectively barred Fahad Yasin from returning home.

He explained that in an insecure environment like Mogadishu where every politician has security details, it would be inconceivable for the former NISA chief to be left unprotected.

He added that this is a dangerous precedent set by the upcoming administration by targeting a public figure for a personal vendetta.

This is the second time that Prime Minister Roble has tried to prevent Fahad from setting foot in Somalia. This shocking development in Somali politics, however, may snowball.

Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud will soon be inaugurated but already his mandate announces a new era where reprisals and abuse of power are commonplace in the capital politics.