- Al Shabaab lifts ban on aid agencies
- Al Shabaab blocks drought-dislpaced people from travelling to Mogadishu
- Somali Congolese refugees clash in Navikale camp
- More than 1000 Somali refugees continue to cross daily into Kenya
- Come back home President Shariff tells Somalis in Diaspora
- Al Shabaab fire on football players killing one young boy
- Kenyan military chief commissions ship to be used in anti-piracy effort
- Somalia holds key to peace in Horn of Africa
Al Shabaab lifts ban on aid agencies
06 Jul- Source: Radio Bar-kulan, Raxanreeb – 192 words
Al Shabaab have announced they are allowing humanitarian aid agencies who are willing to assist the drought-scourged Somalis to operate in the areas they control regardless of the agency’s religious affiliation. The statement was delivered in a press release in Mogadishu by the group’s spokesman Ali Mohamed Rage, Ali Dheere. Ali Dhere said they have decided to permit the operations of the aid agencies who were formerly involved in delivering humanitarian assistance to the Somali people.
The spokesman said they had formed committees who are to oversee the drought-affected people in their areas of control. The people are reported to be suffering from abject poverty in al Shabaab controlled areas after they banned humanitarian agencies from operating inside Somalia.
Ali said any entity operating under the name of helping and assisting the drought-hit people can contact the committees formed by the militias in order to assist the people emphasising that the agencies should not have any other motive.
The statement is following a country-wide fleeing of people from drought affected areas and flocking to Mogadishu where the government started to set up centres for them. al Shabaab have previously chased away aid agencies.
Al Shabaab blocks drought-dislpaced people from travelling to Mogadishu
06 Jul – Source: Shabelle – 171 words
Fighters loyal to al Shabaab on Wednesday blocked trucks full of drought displaced Somalis from reaching Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
More than 40 families, who are destitute, are now stranded in Afgoye, an al Shabaab controlled town.
The families displaced from the regions of Bay and Bakool are now facing desperate living conditions in the town of Afgoye, about 30 kilometers south of Mogadishu.
Witnesses told Shabelle that the displaced families were told they would be relocated in areas in Afgoye.
Al Shabaab said they wouldn’t allow people to seek aid from what they described as the government of apostasy, the witnesses explained.
Somali, Congolese refugees clash in Navikale camp
05 Jul – Source: Radio BBC Somali Service- 63 words
Reports from western Uganda say that Somali refugees in Navikale camp have clashed with their Congolese counterparts. The Navikale refugee is host to refugees from Somalia and Congo.
Reports say that many people were wounded in the incident and the Ugandan police was forced to intervene. A Somali refugee there told the BBC that the clashes followed misunderstandings between the two communities.
More than 1,000 Somali refugees continue to cross daily into Kenya
05 Jul- Source: Radio BBC Somali Service- 56 words
As more than 1,000 Somali refugees continue to cross daily into neighbouring Kenya, there are increasing complaints from the host communities. Residents of north-eastern Kenya say that their government has neglected them. Some of them who spoke with the BBC said that the new Somali arrivals are a burden to an already drought-hit northern Kenya.
Al Shabaab fire on football players, killing one young boy
06 Jul- Source: Shabelle- 108 words
Al Shabaab on Tuesday opened fire at a group of young teenagers playing football at an IDP camp in Elasha Biyaha just outside of Mogadishu, witnesses said.
At least one of footballers was killed and another wounded, according to eyewitnesses who asked for anonymity for security reasons.
After the shootout, al Shabaab apprehended 5 of the teens while the others reportedly escaped. Al Shabaab in the past has banned the playing and watching football in the areas under their control.
Foreign Minister; consultative conference on Somalia will be held in Mogadishu
05 Jul- Source: Somaliweyn, Somaliareport, Allpuntland- 42 words
The minister of foreign affairs, Mohamed Abdulahi Omar has announced that the consultative conference for Somalia will be held in Mogadishu in July 2011.
The conference was reaffirmed by UN special envoy for Somalia Augustine Mahiga who declared Mogadishu as safe and secure for such a conference.
Spain hails Uganda over peacekeeping
05 Jul- Source: New Vision- 244 words
THE Spanish Defense minister, Carme Chac�³n Piqueras, has hailed Ugandan government for promoting peaceful environment and deploying Uganda people’s Defence force (UPDF) on the peace keeping mission in Somalia.
Uganda has the biggest number of 7500 troops deployed in Somalia to help restore peace on the Transitional Federal government of Somali led by President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
The minister, was on Tuesday, visiting the Somali Soldiers being trained by the Spain commanders under the support of the European Union at Bihanga Army training School in Ibanda district.
She hailed Museveni and the Government for their support towards the fighting of piracy and restoring peace in Somalia.
She was accompanied by her counterpart Uganda’s defense minister, Dr. Crispus Kiyonga, UPDF Spokesperson, Lt.Col. Felix Kulayigye, the Second Division Army Spokesperson, Capt. Robert Kamara among others.
Minister Kiyonga said 200 Somali forces are being trained in Uganda with the support of the European Union.
He said that Uganda’s troops have done a wonderful work in fighting piracy in Somalia and pledged that Uganda would continue with the peace-keeping mission in Somalia until peace is restored.
Come back home, President Shariff tells Somalis in Diaspora
04 Jul- Source: Nairobi Star- 675 words
Nairobi Star reporter Francis Mureithi had the opportunity to interview President Sheikh Shariff in Mogadishu. Below are excerpts of the interview:
As the president of this troubled country, do you think Mogadishu is still a dangerous place?
Mogadishu used to be unsafe. But it is true that it is now far much safer compared to the past.
Why do you think it is safer?
The problem has been the Al Shabaab, but we have been attacking them heavily. We have been attacking the Al Shabaab and their Al Qaeda friends and now they are retreating; they are moving far and far as we push them.
If that is the case, what do you think your government is doing differently compared to the past?
When I came in as the Somali president (January 2009), the organisation of the army was very poor. There was no organisation at all. This is an area where I concentrated on, to bring organisation and order in the TFG army and now we can see the results. Another reason is the good relations my government has been having with the AMISOM; we have been working hand in hand in attacking the Al Shabaab and the Al Qaeda.
Your government was recently given an extension of one year, what do you want to achieve within this period?
We are planning to extend security. Right now we are controlling over 75 per cent of Mogadishu, we want to move further, take the whole of Mogadishu in the near future and extend this across Somalia until we ensure that every Somali can live in peace.
What is your message to the Somalis in the Diaspora?
I will advise them and encourage them to come back home and start investing here. Security is now stabilizing and it is time to rebuild our country.
Kenyan military chief commissions ship to be used in anti-piracy effort
05 Jul- Source: Daily Nation – 289 words
Chief of General Staff Jeremiah Kianga has commissioned a ship to be used in the war against piracy.
Gen Kianga, who is due to retire within a few months, said the recently acquired vessel would boost surveillance along the Indian Ocean coastline and guard the country against attacks from the Somalia-based al Shabaab militants.
He was received by Navy Commandant Samson Mwathethe on Monday.
Gen Kianga went straight into a meeting with top commanders at Kenya Navy headquarters in Mtongwe soon after his arrival at Moi International Airport.
A senior Navy officer, who cannot be named because he is not authorised to speak to the press, said the Chief of General Staff told top navy officers that the visit could be his last one at the Kenya Navy headquarters.
“There are some work-related issues that he discussed with the senior officers but he seemed to be bidding them farewell. He told them to remain focused and hardworking,” said the source. His security personnel blocked efforts by the Nation team to interview or take pictures of the outgoing boss.
“Please don’t take pictures and no interviews. He is not ready to talk to you,” his personal assistant said.
Mr John Mwandikwa, who recently replaced long-serving military spokesman, Mr Bogita Ongeri, said: “He is only here to commission a new naval ship.”
Somalia holds key to peace in Horn of Africa
06 Jul- Source: Nairobi Star- 279 words
It is increasingly becoming clear that the war in Somalia is sustained by outside forces keen on entrenching the militant brand of Islam espoused by the Somalia’s al Shabaab for purely political reasons.
One of the forces mentioned is the government of Eritrea. President Kibaki has backed action by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development over the destabilising influence of Eritrea on the Horn of Africa.
If it is indeed true that Eritrea has been using al Shabaab to settle scores with its bitter enemy, Ethiopia – with which it remains in a virtual state of war despite a tenuous peace treaty – then it is directly culpable in the displacement of millions from their homes over the years, and the deaths of thousands more in a brutal civil war that so far appears to have no end in sight.
Kenya is directly affected by the constant flood of refugees and illegal small arms into the country as a result of the war.
Thousands more have fled Sudan due to renewed clashes between the north and south. Kenyan youth unable to get jobs are opting to join terrorist cells linked to al Shabaab. Due to the vast border between the two countries, known terrorists and militants are able to find safe haven by crossing into Kenya unnoticed.
While aiding Kenyan security personnel in manning the borders, the most certain way to bring security to the Horn is to end the conflict in Somalia.
While cutting off military and financial supplies to the militants has been difficult because of the lack of infrastructure in the country and the porous borders, leaning on countries like Eritrea to change their ways can make a big difference.
Al Shabaab lifts ban on aid agencies operation in Somalia
06 Jul – Source: Xinhua, France 24 – 376 words
Somalia’s Islamist insurgent group of Al Shabaab on Wednesday announced they were lifting a ban imposed last year on humanitarian agencies operating in the drought-hit Horn of African nation, according to the spokesman for the group.
The move comes as thousands are fleeing areas in drought- stricken southern Somalia to neighboring Kenya and the Somali government controlled part of the restive capital Mogadishu. “We ask anyone be it Muslim or non-Muslim who wants to aid the drought-affect people can come from now on and they have to contact the movement on ways of helping the people,” Ali Mohamoud Rageh, spokesman for the extremist insurgent group told reporters in Mogadishu.
The group said it has formed a high level commission for the drought and asked humanitarian agencies to contact the commission’s head Sheikh Hussein Sheikh Ali Fidow, a senior Al Shabaab official.
The announcement from the radical militant group is unprecedented and shows the gravity of the drought situation in the southern and central parts of the country where the group has been controlling for the past three years.
Somali charged with supporting Al Qaeda, US says
06 Jul- Source: Reuters – 284 words
A Somali man was brought to a U.S. criminal court on Tuesday to face charges of assisting al Qaeda and a militant Somali group, although his questioning abroad for over two-months without being advised of his rights might raise problems at trial.
The man, identified as Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, appeared in a New York court on Tuesday morning and pleaded not guilty to providing material support to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Somali group Al Shabaab, U.S. prosecutors in Manhattan said.
But when Warsame was arrested in April by the U.S. military in the Gulf, he was questioned about anti-terrorism “for intelligence purposes for more than two months” before being read his Miranda rights, the prosecutors said in a statement.
Miranda rights entitle suspects to a lawyer and the right to remain silent.
He was questioned by interrogators from the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group and the U.S. military, according to an administration official.
Refugees helping new arrivals in Dadaab
05 Jul- Source: IRIN – 651 words
With hundreds of new Somali refugees arriving daily at the congested and overcrowded Dadaab refugee camps in northern Kenya, incumbent refugees are going around the camp with loudhailers appealing for help for the newcomers, most of whom lack food, clothes, and blankets.
“As the numbers [of new arrivals] kept increasing and more people kept coming, we decided to organize and pool our efforts,” Abdiwali Hussein Mohamed, a member of the refugees’ committee, told IRIN.
“We must do what we can, even if it is one pair of shoes.”
The new refugees arrive in a deplorable state, Mohamed said. “In some cases, they can barely stand up; the children look so weak they are not even playing. Some are barely clothed, with no shoes.”
Mohamed, a resident of Dagahaley camp in Dadaab since 1994, said: “When we arrived, we were not in good shape but got help immediately and we were not in as bad a condition as these people are and they are not getting much help.”
To cope with the influx, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, had by 6 June opened three emergency centres in Dadaab.
“Since then, a further 27,000 people have approached the reception centres at these sites,” the agency said in a statement on 1 July.
Somalia needs more resources to offer protection
06 Jul- Source: British Forces News- 73 words
The commander in charge of the EU naval force off the coast of Somalia, says he needs more resources to offer the level of protection required by the shipping industry.
Major Gen Buster Howes says there are now 11 highly organised Somali pirate groups, who are costing the world economy up to fourteen billion dollars a year.
At the briefing at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Kenya on alert as Injured al Shabaab official seeks treatment, Nation Says
06 Jul – Source: Bloomberg – 105 words
Kenya placed its security agencies on high alert on suspicion that an aide to the former commander of Somalia’s al-Shabaab terror group travelled to the country for medical treatment, the Daily Nation reported.
Bilal El Berjawi, a British national of Lebanese descent, may have suffered head injuries in a U.S. air attack at the weekend, the Nairobi-based newspaper said, without citing anyone. Kenyan police rank Berjawi as second to Fazul Abdullah, the al-Shabaab commander who was killed last month, it said.
Nine senior al-Shabaab operatives may have been killed or injured in the U.S. bombardment on July 3, the newspaper said.