Two Somali-owned websites posted reports on made-up meetings in Galka’yo and Bosaso. The first report appeared in Radio Shabelle website associated with a Mogadishu-based radio notorious for fanning intra-clan hostilities. It alleged that a meeting was held in Galka’yo attended by elders purportedly to denounce UAE for its involvement in Puntland. The meeting did not take place.
The other website, Somali Affairs, associated with a Somali politician, Abdirahman Abdishaskur, posted a report on a meeting that never took place in Bosaso city to “call out” UAE and its role in Puntland economy. Abdishakur, to be fair to him, is on the record for describing Qatar as a country that funds rebels but never genuine state-building endeavours.
People working on the orders of the Qatari government have appointed some Somali website owners to post fake news in order to turn away attention from the Gulf country accused of masterminding bombing campaigns in Bosaso, according to New York Times.
The latest campaign to wage disinformation against Puntland State will hardly succeed. It exposed the gullibility of Somali websites and how easy it is to trace who pays them to spread disinformation and for what purpose. If an award for purveyors of fake news were ever created, Somali Affairs and Radio Shabelle websites would vie for the first place. They may even share the award given how shamefully they stooped so low as to spread lies about their fellow countrymen.
Hersi D. Gamadid
Bosaso, Puntland State