Ali Jeyte, the former governor of the Hiran region and the self-declared President of the unrecognised Hiran State, whom the President of Somalia recently appointed to coordinate the Civil Defense Forces (Ma’awisley), said the discussions about the Hiran State have been postponed. He stated that his new role within the Office of the President was agreed upon in early September during Hassan Sheikh’s visit to Mahaas.
During a press conference, Ali Jeyte revealed that he had agreed with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on postponing the matter of Hiran State during Hassan Sheikh’s September visit to Mahaas. The President engaged in discussions with political leaders, cultural elders, and other stakeholders during that visit.
Ali Jeyte stated that various officials representing the Hawadle community at the federal level attended that meeting. He further mentioned that President Hassan Sheikh requested to postpone discussing any issue unrelated to the fight against al-Shabaab at a later date.
“The President suggested to postpone other issues as we prioritise the fight against al-Shabaab. This is why the issue of Hiran State is still on standby. It is not solely my cause; it is a cause of the Hawadle community,” Ali Jeyte explained. He further emphasised that the Hawadle community accepted the President’s request. During the same meeting, the President named Ali Jeyte the leader of all Ma’awisley forces.
Leader of armed civilians
Regarding the leadership of the fight against al-Shabaab, Ali Jeyte recalled that during the discussions in Mahaas, the participants raised the question of who would lead the fight. “The President stated that Ali Jeyte would lead the Ma’awisley and the people present, and I agreed. As you can see, the appointment took place that day, and it [the official appointment] is now merely a formality,” Ali Jeyte explained.
He further clarified that while the national army has its own leaders for wartime operations, Hassan Sheikh entrusted him with the command of the Civil Defense Forces, popularly known as Ma’awisley. These forces comprise civilians who have taken up arms against the destructive actions of al-Shabaab. However, analysts have warned that Jeyte’s power concentrates mainly in the Hiran region, which might prove challenging for him to exert his influence in regions where his clan does not reach, such as GalMudug and Middle Shabelle.
And the Hiran State?
Ali Jeyte concluded by clarifying that the current focus is on waging war while postponing the political discussions about the Hiran State establishment. He stressed that the issue of Hiran State is a regional matter, not something that would concern solely the role of Ali Jeyte.
As the Somali Digest reported yesterday, analysts have questioned Hassan Sheikh’s real motive for naming Ali Jeyte as the Liaison Officer for coordinating the Ma’awisley. They speculate that by Jeyte’s appointment, the President aims to disrupt the efforts to form the Hiran State.