Somalia’s national intelligence service says President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble face an imminent threat from Al-Shabaab militants.
The alert on Tuesday from the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) came as the country haggled over parliamentary elections that have dragged on for more than a year.
It was also significant because it came after a series of claims from the PM about security threats facing prominent personalities.
A Twitter message from NISA stated: “We have shared with the leaders of the country about a plan being orchestrated by the militant group, Al-Shabaab, aiming to target the president and the prime minister of the nation.”
“Mohamed Mahir, a top Al-Shabaab operative is leading the plan.”
The spy agency said it was acting against those involved in the plan.
Reacting to the NISA warning, Abdikarim Hussein Guled, a presidential candidate and a member of the Coalition of the (opposition) Presidential Candidates, told the media that the alert amounted to an attempted coup.
“Looking through political and security lenses, NISA’s message displays nothing but an attempt to overthrow the state institutions,” said Guled, adding that Somalis did not need new chaos and harm.
“The people need statehood and peace. Thus I advise Farmaajo and his team against any action that can cause harm to this country.”
Another opposition presidential candidate, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, a former president, cast doubt on the NISA message.
Ahmed said that NISA’s move to make public the name of an Al-Shabaab operative targeting Somalia’s top leaders proved that the spy agency and the jihadist group have links with each other.
“It is lamentable that our spy agency that is assigned to ensure our protection is promoting a notorious terrorist group that exists to frighten our nation,” he said on his Facebook page.
Former prime minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke, another presidential candidate, said on Twitter that NISA’s alert shows that the president’s political campaign, known as N&N (Nabad iyo Nolol, Peace and Life), is worried about the outcome of the upcoming election.
Neither the prime minister nor the president had officially reacted to the NISA alert by Tuesday.