Southern regional authorities: the Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA) (July 2004)
UNDP Somalia, 2001, p.34:
- The RRA sets up an autonomous administration over Bay and Bakool regions of south and central Somalia since 1999
- A faction of the Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA), Mr. Hasan Muhammad Nur Shatigadud was proclaimed president of the ‘State of Southwestern Somalia’ with Baidoa as capital in March 2003
- This move makes the RRA an established opposition party and might prove deleterious for the Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC)
- Power clashes between senior ranks of the RRA over control of Bay and Bakool displaced thousands in 2002-2003
- Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA) militias reconcile and unify bringing calm in Bay and Bakool regions (2004)
- Al-Ittihad al-Islamiyya (AIAI) is the most prominent radical Wahabist goup, ousted of Luuq in 1996 by Ethiopian forces following a AIAI terrorist atacks against Ethiopian government targets
- AIAI favours a strong central Islamic government, supports the TNG however is greatly divided internally among its top figures
"Since 1999, the Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA) has begun to establish an administration in the two southern regions of Bay and Bakol that have been chronically insecure for most of the past decade."
UNDP Somalia 2001, p.53:
"Better security since then has improved the food security situation and access for international adi agencies. Although the RRA participated in the Arta peace conference, some of the leaders withdrew their support soon after it was concluded. Since then the RRA has sought to consolidate its own regional administration. While certain civil structures have been established, the RRA has yet to transform itself into an aeffective civilian admnistration."
IRIN, 1 April 2002:
" This is the third regional administration to be set up in Somalia, following the establishment of Somaliland (northwestern Somalia) and Puntland (in the northeast).
The decision was reached at a meeting of the RRA central committee and over 70 elders from the Digil and Mirifle clans. The meeting, which had been in session in Baidoa, the capital of Bay Region, 240 km southwest of Mogadishu, since 22 March, elected Colonel Hasan Muhammad Nur Shatigadud, the chairman of the RRA, as president on Sunday. "He was inaugurated in Baidoa today, and will serve an initial four year term," Qalinle told IRIN on Monday. Baidoa will be the capital of the new state.
Shatigadud was a colonel in the notorious secret police, the National Security Service (NSS) of the former dictator Muhammad Siyad Barre,
The move to establish the autonomous region now is seen by Somali observers as a way for the RRA "to come to the talks as an established administration as opposed to a faction". It may also sound the death knell of the Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC) said one observer. The SRRC is grouping of southern factions opposed to the Transitional National Government."
UN, November 2002, p.3:
“As a result, the second quarter of the year  was marked by considerable internal and cross border displacement. In February, for example, fighting broke out in Bardera between the Juba Valley Alliance (JVA) and the SRRC. Then further north in Gedo, inter-clan fighting in May, which included the laying of landmines, hampered access to seriously drought-stricken pockets of the region. Finally, in Baidoa, a formerly stable humanitarian base, internal division within the Rahanwein Resistance Army (RRA) erupted into heavy fighting in late July and early August. International staff have yet to return to the area.”
IRIN, 17 January 2003:
“Tension had been rising in the town as a result of a deepening split within the senior ranks of the RRA, which controls much of the Bay and Bakol regions of southwestern Somalia. The split originated from a power struggle between the RRA chairman, Hasan Muhammad Nur Shatigadud, and his two deputies, Shaykh Adan Madobe and Muhammad Ibrahim Habsade. Baidoa, which changed hands at least three time between July and December, is now in the hands of Shatigadud's rivals. Hundreds were killed and thousands displaced by the fighting.”
OCHA, 22 July 2004:
“Meanwhile, the RRA militia groups in Baidoa have unified. The unification took place when all key RRA leaders were away in Nairobi attending the Somali Peace conference. The leaders are yet to reveal their plans for the region. Traditional elders who participated in a peace process, supported by UNOCHA and other agencies, largely drove the unification. Insecurity and lack of administration has affected the security conditions of the different sub'clans in Bay region, as well as limiting humanitarian aid agencies access to vulnerable populations such as the IDPs. Peace in Baidoa is hoped to result in improved security in other parts of the Bay and Bakool region. Reports from Baidoa suggest that the Dabarre and Lu'way conflict in Dinsoor has been resolved.”
OCHA, 31 July 2004:
“However, the attainment of peace in Baidoa is likely to have a positive impact on the neighbouring areas. The unification of RRA militias has resulted in a reduction of roadblocks and food prices
Further peace talks have been reported going on in Baidoa and Nairobi between political and militia leaders from the two RRA factions. Though the talks mainly revolve around security issues in Bay and Bakool, it is believed that formation of a unified RRA administration, and the issue of leadership are also under discussion.”
Menkhaus, UNHCR; August 2003, p.13:
“Islamist groups have been the subject of intense scrutiny in Somalia since the 11 September 2001 attacks. The most overtly political, and radical, Islamist group is Al-Ittihad al-Islamiyya (AIAI), which embraces a strict Wahabist interpretation of Islam. AIAI is dedicated to the establishment of an Islamic government in Somalia and in Somali-inhabited portions of Ethiopia, and has been implicated in terrorist attacks against Ethiopian government targets. From 1991 to 1996 AIAI controlled the southern city of Luuq, but was subsequently driven out of the town by Ethiopian forces. Since then, AIAI has opted to integrate into local communities and establish itself in key sectors – business, local courts, schools – rather than attempt to assume direct political control. It is decentralized and not able to overcome clan divisions, and some of its top figures, such as Hassan Turki and Mohamed Aweiss, are fierce rivals. No hard evidence has emerged of intimate AIAI links to Al Qaeda, but that possibility remains an enduring concern. AIAI members supported the establishment of the TNG and sought to gain positions of influence within it, leading Ethiopia unfairly to accuse the TNG of being a front for AIAI. The general consensus today is that AIAI is weak and fragmented, but its capacity to draw on external sources of funding makes it a potentially important actor.”
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