Hiiraan lawmakers rally behind sacked governor, weighing separation from Hirshabelle state


A pivotal shift that could dramatically alter Hirshabelle State’s political terrain is underway as federal legislators from the Hiiraan region rallied around Ali Jeyte, the recently dismissed governor. They voiced approval for his leadership and his agenda to set up a separate regional state known as Hiiraan State.

This move surfaces a mere day after Hirshabelle State President Ali Guudlaawe unexpectedly removed Jeyte from his governorship, prompting worries about the continued military campaign against the extremist group al-Shabab in the region.

On Sunday, in a joint press briefing held in Mogadishu, the Hiiraan legislators issued a firm endorsement of Jeyte, denouncing his dismissal as “illegitimate.”

The lawmakers’ backing of Jeyte reverberated among the populace, igniting widespread indignation and sparking demonstrations in the town of Beledweyne. Hundreds of residents marched in protest on Sunday.

Malik Abdalla, a legislator from the region, underscored their support for Jeyte’s recent proclamation pushing for increased autonomy for the Hiiraan region, potentially leading to a complete split from Hirshabelle State.

Jeyte has received substantial domestic and international support for spearheading the first public rebellion against al-Shabab in Somalia. In recent months, his leadership has led to the militant group’s near-total eviction from the Hiiraan region.

Jeyte’s abrupt removal has fueled doubts about the continuation of the military campaign against al-Shabab.

In a bold statement, Jeyte announced his region’s split from the federal state and detailed plans to form Hiiraan State. He argued that the secession would allow the region to chart its independent path, free from what is viewed as interference and neglect by the existing state administration.