Saudi Arabia Requests Use Of Somali Airspace For Houthi Attack
26 March – Source: Radio Dalsan – 165 Words
Sources have confirmed to Radio Dalsan that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has officially requested the Somali government to use its airspace and territorial waters to carry out operations against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Somali Foreign Minister Abdulsalam Omer is on his way to Riyadh from the United Arab Emirates to discuss the possibility of more cooperation with regional power Saudi Arabia. Somalia and Yemen share a border along the Red Sea which makes it strategic position for attack. The rebel-held port city of Aden, which is also significant target for the Saudi led coalition, is a three hour boat journey from the Somali port city of Bosaso in the northeast. Air traffic across the Middle East and the horn of Africa has been affected by the operation. Gulf States and other Muslim countries such as Sudan and Pakistan have joined Saudi Arabia in efforts to halt the rebel advance in Yemen in an effort to protect the legitimate government of President Abdul Rabu Al Mansour Hadi.
- Saudi Arabia Requests Use Of Somali airspace For Houthi Attack (Radio Dalsan)
- Somalia President Clan Elders In Fresh Squabble Over Convention (Garowe Online)
- Jubbaland Forces Along With AMISOM In Operations To Liberate Villages Under Al-Shabab Control(RBC Radio)
- Somali Pirates Hijack Vessel For First Time In 3 Years (Horseed Media)
- Ahlu Sunnah Accuses Government Of Breaking Accord (Radio Goobjoog)
- Uganda Confirms Al-Shabaab Threat (New Vision)
- Fears Al-Shabaab Is On The Verge Of Joining Forces With Islamic State (ENCA)
- Sierra Leone News: Soldiers Who Die In Somalia Were Heroes CDS (Sierra Leone Times)
- Somali Entrepreneur To Launch Scheme To Ease Cash Transfer Fears (Reuters)
- Innovation In Somalia: Launch Of E-Transfer Cards In Bossaso (WFP)
Jubbaland Forces Along With AMISOM In Operations To Liberate Villages Under Al-Shabab Control
26 March – Source: RBC Radio – 129 Words
Interim Jubba Administration forces along with African Union troops are carrying out heavy fighting against the Al-Qaeda affiliated militants Al-Shabab in the Jubba regions, RBC reports. Earlier in the week, the joint forces seized the strategic Kudhaa Island from the militants. The Interim Jubba forces and AMISOM troops are also advancing to areas under Al-Shabab control, vowing to liberate them soon according to the second deputy president of Interim Jubba Administration, Gacmadheere. Jubbaland forces have reached Kulbiyow village in Lower Jubba and are proceeding to towns under Al-Shabab control according to Mohamed Ismael, the mayor of Kulbiyow. The joint forces are expected to liberate the remaining Al-Shabab hideouts and safe havens in Jubba region.
Somali Pirates Hijack Vessel For First Time In 3 Years
26 March – Source: Horseed Media – 299 Words
Somali pirates have hijacked an illegal fishing trawler in the first successful hijacking in the region in three years, reports and UN officials said on Thursday. According to the Agence France-Presse (AFP), the Somali gangs seized an Iranian illegal fishing vessel off the coast of Somalia, especially the waters close to Mudug’s Ceel Huur village, citing a UN official. “An Iranian vessel, fishing illegally in Somali waters, was hijacked earlier this week,” Head of UN’s office on Drugs and Crime, Alan Cole, was quoted by the French agency. Authorities in Somalia are yet to confirm on the hijacking of the unidentified Iranian vessel, which might lead to the revival of Piracy in the war-ravaged nation’s sea and leaves concern on the maritime bodies.
The UN senior official went on to warn over the resurgence of the pirates. The number of attacks by Somali pirates dropped sharply since 2012, largely because of an international naval effort. One of the other major factors that led to the decline of piracy was the growing lack of support or even resistance to piracy operations by local communities. As much as many Somalis along the coast resented the international navies, they resented the effects of piracy on their communities even more. Relative stability in Somalia in the past last three years after 20 years of chaos and war has raised hopes that it could lead to a more permanent solution to a problem that has driven up shipping insurance rates, but it has yet to solve the issue. This first hijack of Somali pirates in three years comes as Somali fishermen have continuously complained of illegal fishing trawlers, leading them to lose their economic opportunities and opted to quit their jobs for safety reasons.
Somalia President, Clan Elders In Fresh Squabble Over Convention
26 March – Source: Garowe Online – 194 Words
Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is in Dhusamareb, the regional capital of Galgadud for the third day of a regional convention on the formation of central state, Garowe Online reports. Independent sources tell Garowe Online that President Mohamud locked horns with clan elders over the central town that would host the regional convention. “President Hassan wants that the second phase of reconciliation conference be held in Adado in favor of Himan and Heeb local administration,” a source said on condition of anonymity. On Tuesday, Mohamud arrived to a warm welcome in Dhusamareb, and praised traditional leaders and politicians for their role in the state formation process. Earlier on Monday, a group of clan elders shifted away the gathering from Adado to Dhusamareb in a move backed by the paramilitary group Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a. Analysts warn that it may take a long time for the federal state stakeholders to reach communal consensus on the standing differences. In early March Ahlu Sunna signed a peace deal with the UN-backed weak central government in Mogadishu after weeks of fighting between the two.
Ahlu Sunnah Accuses Government Of Breaking Accord
26 March – Source: Radio Goobjoog – 110 Words
The Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a group has accused the government of breaking the accord it reached with them after the Guri El clashes. Sheikh Mohamed Shakir, the Chairman of Ahlu Sunnah’s Central Command told Goobjoog that the government has failed to implement the accord it signed last month. He threatened to withdraw from the agreement and take necessary steps to enhance their cause. He further accused the government of interfering in the affairs of central regions and the state formation process. “Administrations in the regions should have been the ones to determine the venue of the conference, not the government,” the Sheikh said.
26 march – Source: New Vision – 396 Words
Uganda said Thursday it was boosting security over threats by Somalia’s Al-Shabaab militants, hours after the US embassy in Kampala warned its citizens of a possible imminent terror attack. In an emergency warning issued late Wednesday, the US mission in Kampala said it had “received information of possible terrorist threats to locations where Westerners, including US citizens, congregate in Kampala, and that an attack may take place soon.” Ugandan defence spokesman Paddy Ankunda said the warning was “absolutely” linked to the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamists, who have carried out major attacks in Kampala in the past. “We’ve always known there’s a threat and we’ve warned the public,” he said, adding the militants appeared to have “have identified vulnerable points” as possible targets and that security had been stepped up in response to the threat. Uganda is a key contributor to the African Union’s AMISOM force battling the Al-Shabaab inside Somalia. Ankunda insisted the threat was “low level”, although a Western diplomatic source also described it as “serious” and “based on concrete information”. “Out of an abundance of caution, the US mission has cancelled some non-essential events scheduled at local hotels in the coming days,” the US embassy warning said, telling US citizens they “should expect increased security sweeps and delays when entering or exiting hotel areas.”
The US embassy in Kampala last issued an emergency warning in September 2014. Ugandan and Western security sources later revealed they had intercepted a transfer of explosive suicide vests by suspected Al-Shabaab members. US officials said at the time that the militants were determined to avenge the killing of their leader Ahmed Abdi Godane in a US airstrike carried out earlier that month. In 2010 the Al-Shabaab carried out twin bombings in Kampala targeting a restaurant and a club where football fans were watching the World Cup final between the Netherlands and Spain, killing 76 people in the region’s worst attacks in more than a decade. The Islamists were also behind the September 2013 attack on the Westgate shopping mall in neighbouring Kenya’s capital Nairobi which left at least 67 dead, and recently issued a call for fresh attacks against such locations. The US has continued to strike the militants from the air, and last week announced it had also killed a senior Al-Shabaab figure, Adan Garar, who was linked to the planning of the Westgate mall attack.
26 March – Source: Sierra Leone Times – 280 Words
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Maj. Gen. Samuel Omar Williams has told the spouses of the six soldiers who died in action in Somalia that they were heroes. He made this statement last Friday at the Defence Headquarters.The CDS said Sierra Leone government sent 850 soldiers to help bring peace in Somalia and six of them perished there in different times. “These soldiers went to help Somalians enjoy peace as it was what other nations did for us in Sierra Leone when we had our own civil war. Unfortunately these six soldiers died in the process, but we will never forget them and that is why we have called you all to show our respect to them.”He encouraged them to take heart and always remember that their husbands, father, son, brother served Sierra Leone diligently until their death.
“They were brave and even in death they fulfilled their dreams of making Sierra Leone Army respected and proud.”CDS S.O. Williams presented to the six spouses the Medals of Bravery and certificates to them and told them that the soldiers that were with their husbands in Somalia have contributed from their allowances to give them the sum of $1,554 each as their own way of showing gratitude to the wives.The wives received the packages and in tears said they are happy that the military is still thinking of them and the way they have treated them with respect. Sobbing somewhat uncontrollably, one of the widows said her husband loved the Army so much and he was happy to go and serve in Somalia to help.
26 March – Source: ENCA – Video – 8:29 Minutes
There are fears that Somali insurgents al-Shabaab are on the verge of joining forces with the Islamic State. eNCA has obtained part of a new secret constitution written by a faction of the militant group.
25 March – Source: Reuters – 425 Words
A Somali businessman is betting on a biometric fingerprint system to keep alive vital money transfer firms which face closure after Western banks cut ties due to fears remittance cash may be channelled to militant groups. Somalia’s leaders say the closure of money transfer companies would be disastrous for a nation where millions depend on remittances from family members abroad to buy food, pay for schools and set up businesses. Banks in the United States, Britain and elsewhere are increasingly wary of facilitating transfers to Somalia because of tighter regulations aimed at stopping cash reaching insurgent groups such as Islamist al Shabaab. Prominent entrepreneur Liban Egal plans to launch a technology in May to help remittance firms track transfers and identify who picks up the cash, using fingerprint, photo and other identification. “We are betting that if we show this system to a (foreign) bank and say ‘now we know who is sending the money’, then the risk assessment people (at the bank) might look twice,” he told Reuters on Thursday in Nairobi.
Egal, 45, is chairman of First Somali Bank (FSB), which was set up in 2012 but has yet to secure a full commercial banking licence from Somalia’s central bank. He also runs a technology and other firms. With very few Somalis owning passports, remittance firms use the traditional trust-based clan system to identify customers. But banks in the West say this informal system leaves them vulnerable to regulatory fines, as they cannot prove who exactly picks up the money inside Somalia. Egal’s biometric platform relies on a fist-sized fingerprint scanner, bought from a firm in India, and a CamelCash smartphone app that is owned and developed by FSB. Customers would have their photos, fingerprints and an image of any other form of identification stored via the app. Egal, who spent decades in the United States before returning to Mogadishu in 2011, said he had presented the idea to U.S. embassy staff in Nairobi, who were putting him in touch with U.S. Treasury officials. FSB will start using the technology in May at some hotels, shops and restaurants in Mogadishu. Egal said he plans to lease the system to remittance firms for a fee.”If they do not (buy) that, I’m willing to go all the way and open a money transfer company in the U.S. and showcase this to American banks,” Egal said, adding he was in talks with three U.S.-based firms facing closure due to transfer restrictions.
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“Using the SCOPE cards makes duplications impossible and gives us the assurance that our programmes reach exactly those people they are intended for…It also helps us better tailor or programmes to peoples’ needs by giving us valuable information about when people use the cards, what they buy with the money they receive and where they shop for food.”
24 March – Source: WFP – 643 Words
The conference room bustles as 150 young people are chatting and giggling nervously. A sense of excitement fills the air. The youth – who come from internally displaced and other vulnerable families – are all enrolled in a vocational skills training programme implemented by WFP in partnership with the Norwegian Refugee Council in the port city of Bossaso, in Puntland, northern Somalia. The programme teaches the youth marketable skills like tailoring, tie-dying of clothes, carpentry or electronics, which will help them find jobs and earn sustainable incomes to support their families. Among the many young men and women in the audience is 22-year old Qadra. Wearing a long black robe and shiny headscarf, Qadra dressed up for the occasion. She is about to be among the first people in Somalia to receive the World Food Programme’s new electronic transfer card.
This was the scene at a ceremony in Bossaso on 11 February 2015, when Somalia became the second country worldwide (after Bangladesh) where WFP launched its innovative new assistance management platform, known as SCOPE. The SCOPE information system allows WFP to manage all its transfers – including in-kind food distributions in places where food is not available, as well as cash and voucher transfers in places where markets are functioning – electronically and in near real time. SCOPE also allows WFP to register beneficiaries, store information on the amount of food or money they are entitled to and – in the case of cash or vouchers – transfer the specific amount onto the cards. “These cards are the start of a new era for WFP’s assistance in Puntland,” said Puntland’s Minister of Interior Ahmed Elmi Osman. “For me, they are a social safety net that will give the beneficiaries the confidence that even in times of shocks, they will be able to meet their food needs and access assistance when they need it.”