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Al-Shabaab officials told Somalia Report that the head of security was detained by a member of the organization's assassination squad, the Amniyaat, who had arrived from Afgoye.
Sheikh Abdirahman Filow has long been suspected of having a connection to his former boss, Barre Hirale, under whom he served as a Kismayo police officer when Mr. Hirale administered the city for the now defunct JVA. Mr. Filow hails from the same clan as Mr. Hirale, the Marehan.
When the JVA was ousted by the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) in 2006, Mr. Filow was persuaded to remain behind and join the ICU. When the ICU was evicted from Kismayo by combined TFG and Ethiopian troops in 2007, Mr. Filow remained behind in no official capacity, until al-Shabaab insurgents in turn overran TFG forces, commanded by then defence minister Barre Hirale, one year later.
In the course of recent operations against the Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) in Gedo, Mr. Filow fell under suspicion by certain al-Shabaab officials, who accuse him of having held several meeting with members of his own clan in Kismayo, advising them to throw down their weapons in the event that the city undergoes a change in administration.
When reached for comment, Mr. Hirale refused to discuss his current relationship with Mr. Filow, citing security issues.
Early this morning Somalia Report managed to get in touch with Mr. Filow himself.
"I know the there was a lot of talk about my whereabouts yesterday, and some reports stated that I had been detained. I'd like to clarify to you that I was not detained, but questioned on several matters concerning the administration of the city and other issues that cannot be mentioned to the media," Mr. Filow said.
Mr. Filow was curiously unperturbed by the fact that his questioners had been members of al-Shabaab's assassination squad.
"I was questioned by the Amniyaat sent from Afgoye by the head of al-Shabaab operations, Mr. (Ahmed Ali) Godane. I was questioned about how we are going to deal with matters related to the al-Shabaab administration of Kismayo," he added. Speaking about his relationship with Mr. Hirale, Mr. Filow was careful to toe the company line.
“Barre is a man I have worked with and I have known for some time. Since he refused to join al-Shabaab we have had no communication. I know that many people, including some al-Shabaab officials, believe that we have some relationship, but I proved this wrong."
This is not the first internal shake up Kismayo has seen in recent days, as the al-Shabaab administrator of the city, Sheikh Hasan Yakub, was replaced by Sheikh Abdurrahman Mudey earlier this month. Mr. Filow headed the committee that chose Mr. Yakub's replacement.
The new governor has held several positions in al-Shabaab administrations, including serving as the head of preaching (Da'awa). He also served on al-Shabaab's committee to address the famine in Gedo and Lower Juba regions.
When asked about how he felt about the change in administration, Mr. Filow was equally politic.
“I am grateful for these new administrators and I welcome them with an open heart, and promise to work with them," he said.