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A Row Threatening to Derail Somalia’s Election Process

The Somali prime minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble, has fired the head of the country’s intelligence unit over the disappearance of a female spy. Roble accused the spy chief, Fahad Yasin Haji Dahir, a former close ally of the president, of mixing politics and security and ordered him to hand over power within three days. He said the handling of the case of the missing 24-year-old was “inappropriate”. President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, also known as Farmaajo, has issued a statement rejecting the prime minister’s decision, calling it “illegal and unconstitutional”. The situation is heightening an already tense period in Somali politics as Farmaajo instructed Fahad Yasin to remain in his role. Conflict between the leaders has been brewing for weeks as the country is engaged in a crucial electoral process. Last week the National Intelligence and Security Agency (Nisa) reported that its agent, Ikran Tahlil Farah, missing since June, had been killed by al-Shabaab militia. The group has denied abducting her and Tahlil’s mother has publicly rejected the claim, accusing Nisa of being behind the disappearance and saying the last time she spoke to her daughter she said she had been told to report to the office. The cybersecurity expert was last seen leaving her Mogadishu home at 8pm on 26 June.