Somalia, Ethiopia spy agencies to share intel on terrorism

Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency

The Director of Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency Mahad Mohammed Salat (left) and his Ethiopian counterpart Temesgen Tiuneh when they reached an agreement on exchanging information and joint counterterrorism cooperation following discussions in Addis Ababa.

Photo credit: Courtesy | @HSNQ_NISA

Somalia and Ethiopian intelligence agencies have signed a formal deal to exchange information on counter-terrorism, activating channels to tame the scourge of al-Shabaab.

The deal between the Somali National Intelligence and Securiy Agency (NISA) and the Ethiopian National Security and Information Service (NISS) means the two sides can warn one another of impending threats.

It also means that NISA can benefit from Ethiopia in training facilities in intelligence gathering.

The Ethiopian spy agency stated that the MoU was signed by its Director General Temesegen Tiruneh with Mahad Salad Mohamed, NISA’s Director General signed for the Somali agency on Friday.

Mr Mohamed said “the threat posed by Al-Shabaab group to the Horn of Africa is growing as seen in its assaults cross Somalia’s borders with its neighbours.”

He acknowledged Ethiopia’s experience and capacity in combating terrorism, preventing and foiling their activities.

“To eliminate the threat created by the terrorist group in the Horn of Africa, security and intelligence institutions in Somalia and Ethiopia must collaborate to clear the leaders and cells of the terror group in both countries,” remarked NISA’s DG Mohamed, envisaging such cooperation will result a more peaceful and stable region.

Following the signing of the MoU, Ethiopia’s spy boss Tiruneh, expressed his sadness at the suicide bombing in late October orchestrated by Al-Shabaab in the Somali capital Mogadishu that ‘killed over 100 persons and wounded over 300.’

“NISS has been studying the communication networks of the terrorist group (Al-Shabaab) as it is not only a source of threat to Ethiopia and Somalia, but also to the rest of the Horn of Africa region,” remarked Tiruneh.

The signing of the MoU in Addis Ababa was the outcome of a couple of day’s talks between NISS officials and a delegation led by NISA’s director general.

The two security agencies also hailed the ongoing nationwide military campaign against the militants.

The Addis meet comes two weeks after the two security chiefs met in Mogadishu where they signed an agreement on cooperation and exchange of information after the neighbouring countries agreed to collaborate in a bid to snuff out terrorism in the region.

The series of meeting comes a month after a terrorist attack in Mogadishu left scores dead, and  hundreds injured.

The Somalia government has retaliated to the attacks by among others, closing several media outlets it says are used by terrorist groups to manifest their agenda.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Ethiopian Prime minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed have already agreed to improving security conditions around the border of the two countries.

The Somali National Security and Intelligence Agency has increased vigilance of the agency's security officers and the connection between them and the community thus enabling the country's intelligence officers to get information about Al-Shabaab more easily than before.