The recent declaration by State President Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed Laftagareen of the South West region of Somalia has ignited a heated debate regarding the composition and impartiality of the Somalia National Army (SNA).

Laftagareen’s assertions have raised concerns about the dominance of a particular clan within the army and its implications for equitable representation and national security.

Hawiye Dominance in the SNA

President Laftagareen has alleged that the SNA is predominantly composed of members of the Hawiye clan. He pointed out that key positions in Somalia’s political and military structures, including the presidency, foreign ministry, NISA agency directorship, and national army command, are held by individuals from this clan. This structural alignment, according to Laftagareen, has resulted in a disproportionate representation of Hawiye clansmen within the army.


Implications for Impartiality

Critics argue that Hawiye’s dominance in the SNA undermines the army’s impartiality and ability to serve as a truly national institution. They contend that the army is being used to advance the interests of a particular clan, rather than to protect all citizens of Somalia. This, they say, has contributed to the ongoing conflict in Barawe, where Hawiye-aligned SNA forces have been accused of suppressing indigenous populations.

Navigating Impartiality Unpacking President Laftagareen's Claims About SNA Composition
Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed, President of the South West State of Somalia

Allegations of Ethnic Cleansing

Laftagareen’s accusations come in the wake of an assault by SNA forces on Barawe, a coastal city inhabited by the non-ethnic Somali Baravanese people. Laftagareen has accused the Somali provisional president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, of unleashing ethnic cleansing against his people.

International Concerns

The allegations of ethnic cleansing and tribal dominance within the SNA have raised concerns among international observers. European and US governments, which provide substantial funding to the Somali regime, have expressed concerns about the potential for human rights abuses and the impact on regional stability.

Addressing the Concerns

The Somali government has denied the allegations of ethnic cleansing and tribal dominance within the SNA. It has maintained that the army is composed of members from all Somali clans and that it is committed to protecting all citizens. However, the government has acknowledged the need for greater diversity within the army and has promised to take steps to address the concerns raised by Laftagareen and other critics.


The allegations of tribal dominance and ethnic cleansing within the SNA have highlighted the challenges facing Somalia in building a truly national and impartial military force. These concerns must be addressed through transparent and inclusive reforms that ensure equitable representation and accountability. Only then can the SNA fulfill its mandate to protect all citizens of Somalia and contribute to the country’s stability and development.

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