On January 18th, a new attack rocked Mogadishu, hitting a restaurant near the Turksom base frequented by civilians and military personnel; 4 people were killed by the blast and 14 wounded. The Al Shabaab network claimed the action of a suicide terrorist. The intensification of attacks in the capital, which had been ongoing since January, was confirmed.

The base is a symbol of Ankara’s commitment to government forces, which are also trained in anti-terrorism functions. Mohammed Ibrahim Moalimu, the government spokesman injured in an attack on January 16th, was also transported to Istanbul to receive specialist medical treatment. The incident thus underlines and reaffirms the strong bilateral ties, following contacts between the Somali Government and Emirati counterparts and the accreditation of the new Saudi Ambassador Bin Mohammed. Turkish NGOs will offer free health services to the population in Somalia.

5 MPs from the South West Stet were elected and the process of appointing some of the Puntland MPs has started in Garowe. In Kismayo, in Jubaland, talks also took place between regional President Madobe and the new Chairman of the FEIT (Federal Electoral Implementation Committee) Guelleh. The resumption of the electoral process is a positive sign, which also the opposition – for example former President Sheikh Mohamud – welcomed. More speed is still expected. The Somaliland elections in particular could be a test of eventual progress. It is announced that the voting process for local MPs will be resumed – but others dispute this.

Finally, the debate in the British Parliament (January 18th) on the possible full diplomatic recognition of Somaliland beyond economic cooperation and on security issues is worthy of note. The Government continues to deny this formal step, preferring the existing formulas of reinforced cooperation and pointing at dialogue between internal institutions as the solution to this political knot.

Nevertheless, pressure towards a real recognition does not cease, as it is deemed useful also to compete with other influences on the secessionist path that the Somaliland region is pursuing. The external support is, in this phase, less open on the Kenyan side, but taking advantage of the good results of the direct railway connection, President Bihi of Somaliland went to Addis Ababa, for talks with the Ethiopian Premier Abyi.

The game is therefore not yet over.


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