Based on his record, there is no question that President Culusow is playing more the role of a clan leader than a national leader. Ever since he came to office in September 2012, Mr. Culusow has spared no effort in thwarting and frustrating the aspirations of Jubbaland inhabitants in forming their own regional state. To achieve his goals of preventing the formation of a regional state, Mr. Culusow has recruited the Al-Shabaab terror group in the region as well as despicable former warlords, most notably, Barre Hiiraale. The Culusow-Alshabaab allies have since launched several joint attacks on Kenyan and local forces in Kismaayo which resulted in hundreds of casualties.
One might have thought that Mr. Culusow would give up his vicious obsession of driving millions of Somalis from their homes in the Jubbas and Lower Shabeelle when the international community forced him to sit and sign a peace deal with the Jubbaland administration about a year ago in Addis Ababa. However, that was not to be the case. Recently, Mr. Culusow has clashed with Prime Minster Abdiweli when the latter tried to bring Hiiraale to Kismaayo. Since he wants to use Hiiraale as a possible future springboard on launching attacks on Kismaayo, Mr. Culusow came out strongly against the premier’s peace efforts.
Mr. Culusow has recently dispatched hundreds of militia men from his clan who were armed with government supplied arms and equipment to Lower Shabeelle. The Lower Shabeelle is inhabited mainly by a hodgepodge of unarmed clans. However, the Biyo-Maal clan, one of the few armed clans in the area, took up arms and has risen against the new occupiers. However, Mr. Culusow’s well supplied clan has since overrun the defenders of the region and now occupy most of the towns and cities in the region.
Mr. Culusow is not done yet, though. According to press reports, he recently sent men and equipment to Hiiraale in preparation for attacks against the city of Kismaayo. Moreover, the president’s militia is also planning to officially take over from the remaining towns of the Lower Shabeelle from their Al-Shabaab allies in order to link Mogadishu and Kismaayo and facilitate the movement of men and equipment to and from Kismaayo.
In light of the evil plans that are currently afoot which may descend the country in a renewed turmoil, the international community must put pressure on Culusow to withdraw his forces from the Lower Shabeelle region. Furthermore, the international community should not provide equipment to the so-called Somali government forces who currently hail almost exclusively from the president’s clan and who will not hesitate (as happening in Lower Shabeelle) to use their weapons against rival clans. If the international community keeps supplying Culusow’s forces, they must know that they might be inadvertently contributing to a possible future genocide in Somalia.
In addition, Somalis from all walks of life, from regional administrations such as Puntland and Jubbaland to civil society community leaders, must come out against this barbaric behavior by supporting the Biyo-Maal freedom fighters in every way they can. The success of the Biyo-Maal resistance is critical in the containment of Culusow’s expansionist ambitions.