MOGADISHU, Somalia – Soldiers affiliated with the National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA], Somalia’s spy agency, organized a mutiny in the streets of Mogadishu on Wednesday, citing lack of payments and responsiveness from the government as some of the underlying factors that necessitated their actions.
The about 100 soldiers marched in the streets of Mogadishu, causing a temporary traffic jam as they criticized their employer, the Somali federal government, for deliberately shifting resources to political campaigns despite not yet being paid their dues.
Some who spoke to the local news reporters said they have been going for over three months without pay despite offering services. They accused the authorities of not addressing their concerns and added that they will shut down their tools until they receive full payment.
The soldiers, mostly chosen among the spy agency, blocked major roads leading to the city as they expressed their anger at the delay in their salaries. However, their march was orderly as no one was firing or even harassing civilians carrying out their routine business.
“We can not work and go unpaid all these months. It is time that we work together as a team and respect our rights. When you work, you expect to pay, but in our case it is different and we do not know why they will not pay our dues, ”argued one of the soldiers, who did not reveal his name.
According to the soldiers who later blocked the main road leading to Villa Somalia, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, the official residence, they suspect the commanders have embezzled funds intended for payment of their salaries and have since given ultimatums for approval.
The NISA team under the management of former Al-Jazeera journalist Fahad Yasin has not yet responded to the allegations. FGS, which normally responds through the Ministry of Information, has also not yet issued a statement on the incident, which could create ripples in the security sector.
NISA is responsible for the collection of intelligence services, whether political, social or economic, which directly affect the country’s security. For several months, opposition leaders have called for the resignation of Yasin, a trusted lieutenant for President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, accusing him of abusing his “privileges.”
This is not the first time security forces are mutinying over unpaid wages. Earlier this year, members of the SNA in Mogadishu protested over similar demands, but General Odowaa Yusuf Rageh, the chief of defense, said those affected had not been caught in the biometric registration.
As the country fights for the effects of the civil war and the endless Al-Shabaab attacks, the government relies only on international lenders and partners for help. For example, SNA troops are mainly funded by the EU, the US and other partners who have pushed for peace and stability.