Was Matt Bryden Wronged or Is He a Fugitive?

By Mulugeta Adematu

Nairobi (Commentary) — Matt Bryden, the owner of Sahan, a disinformation boutique specialising in Horn of Africa politics, has written a fourteen-page missive. Benadir regional court sentenced him to five years in prison for espionage. Bryden says he did not get a chance to defend himself because he is a persona non grata in Somalia. Sahan has published misleading reports on the incumbent Federal Government of Somalia.

Bryden was in charge of the wartorn societies project out of which Puntland Development Research Center and Somaliland Peace Academy were formed. He is Canadian. He was the Coordinator of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (SEMG). In his long letter he alleges that jihadists had taken over the Somali Presidency. Jihadism is a western phrase to demonize or bully any Muslim who dares to question of Sahan’s reports.

Matt Bryden had better repent and go to Mogadishu and take an appeal if it is not too late.

His Sahan colleague, Rashid Abdi, tweeted several months ago that TPLF had a dossier on Somali prisoners of war fighting alongside Eritrean forces against Tigrayan fighters. Both men claim to have a deep knowledge of Somali clans. Since western aid agencies award contracts to so-called think tanks run by men from donor countries, Bryden had been given contracts to write reports on Somalia. He used information to which he has had an access thanks in part to his past role as the Coordinator of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (SEMG).

Jay Bahadur, his compatriot who also worked for the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (SEMG), wrote reports on the basis of data stolen from Somali telecom agencies. What one can detect here is a pattern of disinformation peddled by some citizens of western countries who are born-again buccaneers tipsy with supremacy based on disrespect for Africa and its citizens. It says a lot about the subterfuge and the misleading agenda of some western countries who are only united by another attack to subjugate, dispossess and subjugate Africans. The means to that diabolical goal is disinformation and the misguided promotion of entities such as Sahan.

A long, angry missive by a man who wields the J-word (jihadist) irresponsibly.

None of the arguments in Bryden’s long diatribe makes sense to any seasoned analyst of Somali politics. When the word jihadist gets bandied, the goal is to humiliate and to label a person whom disinformation peddlers cannot influence.

In the eyes of the Somali government Matt Bryden is a fugitive. That is why he wrote a long, angry letter. He had better repent and go to Mogadishu and take an appeal if it is not too late. Banadir regional court deserves a medal for standing up to bullies who use the war on terror card to demonize Somali institutions.

Mulugeta Adematu