Controversy in Somalia after female spy goes missing

Published: September 7, 2021

There is a growing rift between Somalia’s president and prime minister over the disappearance of a female intelligence agent, Ikraan Tahliil, in the capital, Mogadishu.

Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble publicly suspended the head of the intelligence agency over his handling of the case – only for President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known by his nickname Farmajo, to re-instate him.

The agency last week said that Ikran Tahlil was kidnapped and killed by al-Shabab, a claim that was dismissed by the militant group.

The case of Ms Tahliil is causing confusion – and controversy – across Somalia.

The 25-year-old was last seen at the end of June, leaving home in a government vehicle. But that seems to be all that people can agree on.

Fahad Yasiin, who leads the intelligence agency, put out a statement saying that al-Shabab had kidnapped and murdered her.

But, in a dramatic twist, the militant group denied any involvement.

As a result, Mr Yasiin was suspended by the prime minister – before being told to stay in office by the president.

Meanwhile, some opposition groups are claiming that Ms Tahliil disappeared because she had sensitive information about Somali soldiers who were taken to Eritrea for training – or even to fight in neighbouring Ethiopia.

All the while her mother is calling for the return of her daughter or justice for her killers.

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