Somalia replaces army chief amid Al Shabaab resurgence

Tuesday June 20 2023

Brigadier General Ibrahim Sheikh Muhydin, the new commander of the Somali National Army, nominated by the council of ministers and endorsed by Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud by signing a decree on June 19, 2023. PHOTO | OFFICE OF SOMALIA PRIME MINISTER


Somalia has fired its army chief, Maj-Gen Odowa Yusuf Rage, as the country faced a resurgence of Al Shabaab attacks, months after it had raised its tempo against the militants.

Rage, 44, who had trained in Uganda and Turkey, had been the youngest army chief named in modern Somalia, having been appointed by former President Mohamed Farmaajo in 2019.

He will now be replaced by Brig-Gen Ibrahim Sheikh Muhydin as chief of the defence force Somalia National Army (SNA).

A dispatch issued after the Council of Ministers meeting that was chaired by Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre said it had accepted a proposal by the Ministry of Defence, which nominated Muhydin as the new SNA commander.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud endorsed the nomination by signing a decree, officially appointing Brig-Gen Mohydin to the post.

The change comes at a time President Mohamud is pushing for what he termed as ‘the second phase’ to push Al Shabaab extremists out of the territories under its control.


Read: Shabaab attack: Rebirth or fight for survival?

In the first phase of the war against the militant, the pro-government forces, including SNA and local vigilantes supported by African Union peacekeepers (Atmis) and the US Africa Command (Africom) managed to liberate vast territories in central Somalia.

But lately, the group has rebounded to launch some of the deadliest attacks on key installations. And in spite of fleeing from key territories, the group has also been able to attack neighbouring Kenya in recent weeks, including last Sunday when security forces were injured in a landmine planted, and claimed by Al Shabaab.