Senior Federal Government of Somalia officials aided estranged Jubaland security minister Abdirashid Janan to escape from detention, fresh details have emerged.
Janan left the detention center last month under unclear circumstances, throwing senior security officials into an unprecedented puzzle.
Security officers had apprehended Janan at Aden Adde International Airport in August last year for “committing serious crimes” within the Gedo region, officials said.
But in an interview with BBC Somali service, Janan for the first time explained circumstances behind his actions, dragging in senior FGS officials.
FGS officials helped him to escape
After his arrest, he says, the federal government never detained him in prison contrary to the reports circulated by the Media.
There were claims that he had been taken to prison but his clansmen negotiated for house detention with President Mohamed Farmajo.
Janan said: “I was held in different civilian houses at Mogadishu which were guarded by at least 10 soldiers. It wasn’t a prison.
But after his numerous plea to be released failed to materialize, he hatched a plan with senior officials from the federal government to escape.
However, Janan did not disclose the names of the government officials who aided his escape, but the unfolding events could escalate tensions in Somalia.
“When I realized that the FGS is not willing to let me free, I engineered a plan to escape with the assistance of senior government officials,” he said without mentioning names.
What happened after his escape?
Zakia Hussein, the deputy police commander, raised a red flag about his escape, adding that “we are pursuing him”.
Security was beefed up at Aden Adde International Airport and airstrips within Gedo, to monitor the movements, officials said.
But Janan says he spent three days within Mogadishu after getting his “freedom” before fleeing to his base in Kismayo.
From Mogadishu to Kismayo, he said, he traveled by boat. His arrival was announced by Abshir Mohamed, Jubaland Chief of Staff.
A source told Garowe Online that “soldiers who helped him escape are still with him. He’s still guarded by his accomplices.”
Why was Janan detained?
Amnesty International, which had demanded his extradition from Nairobi to Mogadishu, had accused him of “masterminding civilian murder” within Gedo.
The federal government had also blacklisted him over “gross human rights violation” in Jubaland, thus the decision to arrest him.
But during the interview, Janan refuted the claims, instead blamed the federal government for orchestrating his predicaments.
According to him, the fallout was engineered by his decision to refuse the consolidation of Jubaland forces with those of FGS.
He said: “The reason I was detained is related to my rejection to handover 1000 Jubaland Darwish soldiers to FGS and support of the re-election of Ahmed Madobe”.
Madobe was re-elected in August last yet although the federal government has refused to acknowledge his victory, over six months later.
What about the implication of his escape?
So controversial has been his escape from detention, that both Jubaland and FGS are now rocked in another supremacy battle.
In a letter issued by the police, Somalia termed him a “dangerous fugitive” whose freedom could sabotage security arrangements in Somalia.
Somalia asked Kenya to extradite him to Mogadishu to face “fair trial” for the crimes he committed, warning of a possible diplomatic row.
But Kenya is yet to respond to claims. He is said to have been sneaked back to Balad-Hawo in Gedo in a KDF chopper on Monday.
Amnesty International also called for his arrest, accusing him of masterminding atrocities in Gedo. Interpol has been asked to facilitate his arrest
Interestingly, Janan’s freedom was enthusiastically received at his Gedo backyard, where he enjoys massive support, local media reported.