17 Jun 2011 – Daily Monitoring Report

Key Headlines:

  • TFG’s Minister for Defense releases officers from jail
  • Cabinet ministers convene for high priority meeting
  • Former Somaliland Minister says UN envoy is behind political crisis in Somalia
  • Ahlu Sunna accuses al shabaab of bothering civilians
  • Rawlings holds talks with Sudan’s Al Bashir on Somalia

Titres Principaux:

  • Le Ministre de la Défense du GFT libère des officiers de prison
  • Des ministres se réunissent pour une discussion de haute priorité
  • Un ex-ministre du Somaliland affirme que l’envoyé de l’ONU pour la Somalie est responsable de la crise politique en Somalie
  • Ahlu Sunna accusent al Shabaab de harcèlement envers les civils
  • Rawlings tient des discussions avec al Bashir du Soudan sur le sujet de la Somalie


TFG’s Minister for Defense releases officers from jail

17 Jun – Source: Radio Mogadishu – 105 words

The TFG’s Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Defense of Abdihakim Mohamed Haji Fiqi have confirmed that they succeeded in releasing more than 13 Somali officers and government officials from the Ethiopian jails after government soldiers confronted the Ethiopian soldiers. The minister added that the officers are now free.

The Minister said that after a long discussion, they managed to cone to an agreement, adding that they are making every effort to release Barre Hiiraale who is currently in the hands of the Ethiopians officials. The deputy prime minister has been in Gedo recently where he was mobilizing the government forces.

Cabinet ministers convene for high priority meeting

16 Jun – Source: Radio Mogadishu – 114 words

In a meeting headed by the Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, the cabinet minister discussed the issues of security, the killing of Fazul Abdullahi and current politics among other issues. Among the speakers was the minister for Defense who shed light on the current affairs of the security operations in Gedo, Hiiraan and the killing the al Qaeda leader in East Africa.

The cabinet ministers agreed that there is possibility of al Shabaab carrying out other deadly attacks. The speakers also emphasized the importance of tightening security. The cabinet ministers agreed to appoint Mohamed Omar Nuur to be the permanent secretary of the ministry of Women and Family Affairs after Maryam Kasim tabled his name.

Ahlu Sunna accuse al Shabaab of bothering civilians

17 Jun – Source: Shabelle – 103 words

Ahlu Sunna Waljama today accused the al Shabaab movement of bothering the civilian people in Gedo region in southern Somalia. The spokesman of Ahlu Sunna Waljama in Gedo region says that al Shabaab fighters started to put checkpoints in parts of the region robbing the buses and passengers. Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, the spokesman of the moderate Sufi group noted that al Shabaab fighters set alight two cars loaded with goods. The torched cars were heading towards Luq town. He said Ahlu Sunna is trying to prevent any vandalism activities by the terrorists against innocent civilians.


Former Somaliland Minister says UN envoy is behind political crisis in Somalia

17 Jun – Source: Somali Channel TV, Horn Cable TV – 80 words

The former Somaliland Aviation Minister, Ali Mohammad Waran Adde, has accused the UN special envoy to Somalia, Augistine Mahiga, of fuelling the political turmoil in Somalia. He said the UN envoy is responsible for the political crisis in Somalia and wants to put it under a colony governed by the international community. The former minister also said the envoy wants to cause political instability in Somaliland and called on Somaliland authorities to ban him from visiting the country.

Uganda warns Somalis of harboring terrorists

17 Jun – Source: Radio Bar-Kulan – 119 words

The Ugandan government warned the Somali people of giving safe haven for members of terrorist groups. The government accused the people of making close ally and helping them to infiltrate the country.

The lady responsible for the security issues of the office of the president of Uganda Rose Kimbira gave the stern warning in a meeting that was held in Kampala and attended by hundreds of Somalis. The meeting was also held to show support for the premier Farmajo.

Rose said cooperation between the Ugandan security agencies and the Somali people will pave the way for a total counteraction to threats of terrorist. Rose described al Shabaab as the ‘enemy’ of Somalia and people of East Africa at large.

Death toll rises to 50, military movements continue in parts of central Somalia

17 Jun – Source: Mareeg Online – 141 words

Heavy fighting between al Shabaab, Shabelle valley and al Shabaab fighters that continued in parts of the region for the past two days has left 50 dead, as military movements continue on the frontlines in El-gal, Burta-qowled and Kalabeyrka village in Hiiraan region.

Locals in Beledweyne town, the centre of Hiiraan region told Mareeg’s reporter that more people started abandoning their houses in the region due to possible clashes near the town. More than 45 people, most of them from the warring sides, were killed while 50 others were wounded in the latest clashes which lasted for three days. Latest reports from the region indicate that the situation was normal this morning.


Eritrean volcanic eruption disrupts flights to parts of Somalia

17 Jun – Source: Hiiraan Online – 373 words

A volcanic eruption in Eritrea has affected flights to and from Northern Somalia as ash clouds devastated the air space in some parts of the East African region, regional authorities said yesterday.

The Transport Minister for Somaliland, Mohamud Hashi, said volcanic clouds have affected flights to the tiny nation, although the few domestic flights in the territory were minimally affected.

“The volcanic eruption in neighboring Eritrea instigated some form of fear over the last two days; luckily Somaliland was not affected badly. We have some problems with the town of Berbera where ashes have been gathering in the skies” Minister Hashi told the BBC Somali Service.

“We are trying to monitor the situation on ground. There were no flights to and from neighboring Djibouti; however flights from our side to the Arab world were not affected”. The Minister said Somaliland’s ill-equipped and incapacitated air transport infrastructure can barely predict in the atmosphere situation to allow normal airline operations to resume in such circumstances.

“We do not have adequate equipments and technology to predict the weather as of now, but the ministry of transport is trying its best to give some accurate information to the airline industry with the help of some partners” the minister said. Hargeisa had already suffered from a two-day flight disconnections from neighboring Djibouti, where the Eritrean eruption had a profound impact.

http://www.hiiraan.com/news2/2011/Jun/eritrean_volcanic_eruption_disrupts_flights_to_parts_of _somalia.aspx

Al Shabaab welcomes the new leader of al Qaeda

17 Jun – Source: Radio Andulus – 109 words

Al Qaeda selected Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri as the top leader of the Islamist movement, after Bin Laden was killed by Americans.

The militias al Shabaab’s spokesman Ali Dheere has welcomed the move by al Qaeda to appoint a new leader for the group. Ali Dheere said they have taken solemn oath with al Qaeda that they will continue the fight. The new leadership congratulated him and pledged to committed support to al Shabaab mujahidins in Somalia and others Islamic nations.

The statement by the spokesman comes at a time when the groups have been faced with economic crisis and fierce counterattack from the government forces and the peacekeeping forces.


The following story, which appeared yesterday in this report, has turned out to be false and unfounded. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this mistake.

Museveni sneaks into Somalia

15 Jun – Source: the Observer (Uganda) – 839 words

President Yoweri Museveni secretly visited Somalia on his way to South Africa last weekend, The Observer has established. A reliable State House source has told us that the commander in chief rushed to war-torn Mogadishu on Saturday to reorganize and boost the morale of Ugandan soldiers following an attack by al Shabaab fighters that left a lieutenant colonel and 12 other soldiers dead.

The attack angered the President because it came on the heels of major gains on the part of TFG forces and African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM), comprising Ugandan and Burundian troops. We have been told that the President had to skip the Bunyoro Empango celebrations to be able to make a stop-over in Mogadishu before proceeding to Pretoria in South Africa for the second tripartite meeting of regional trading blocs. Lt Col Felix Kulayigye, the army spokesman, said he was not aware of President Museveni’s brief trip to Somalia.

http://www.observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=13879:musevenisneak s- into-somalia&catid=78:topstories&Itemid=59

The hidden cost of piracy

17 Jun – Source: Al Shahid – 1201 words

The growth of piracy off the coast of Somalia from an occasional nuisance to shipping into a multi-million-dollar criminal enterprise has another, often deliberately overlooked cost: the worsening violence meted out to thousands of captured crew members.

“There definitely has been a change, and we don’t know why,” Pottengal Mukundan, Director of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), told a June meeting on the subject in London. “It may be to do with the fact that there is now a different kind of people looking after the captives. These are just gangs of thugs; they have never been to sea and they have no empathy with the seafarers,” said Mukundan.

Statistics from 2010 (taken from The Human Cost of Somali Piracy, unless otherwise indicated) illustrate the scale of piracy’s expansion in the western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden: 4,000-plus seafarers attacked with firearms, including rocket propelled grenades 400 piracy attacks, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 1,016 crew members taken hostage (up from a worldwide 188 in 2006 – IMB) Over 400 hostages were used as human shields, five months was the average duration of captivity US$111m paid in ransoms (UNODC report:

The illicit financial flows linked to piracy off the coast of Somalia) until recently, Somali pirates were known for treating their captives well. But now, according to The Human Cost of Somali Piracy, a report published this month by Oceans Beyond Piracy, hostages are severely beaten, dragged underwater, have had wires tightened round their genitals, and have undergone elaborate mock executions.

“Both successful and unsuccessful attacks expose seafarers to dangerous experiences, with the potential for long-term physical and psychological trauma,” said the report. Crew members, who seek refuge in a “citadel”, or safe room, might spend several terrifying days locked in a confined space while attackers fire heavy weapons at the door, light fires under the ventilators, or even use welding equipment to try to break through the walls.


Rawlings holds talks with Sudan’s Al Bashir on Somalia

16 Jun – Source: Ghana News Agency – 267 words

Ghana’s Former President and African Union (AU) High Representative for Somalia, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings has called on Sudan to support the peace process in Somalia. He said Sudan could play this role by providing counseling to the Somali leadership on how best to address their challenges.

Former President Rawlings said unity of purpose was required in order to bring peace to Somalia. Flt Lt Rawlings said he was consulting leaders of IGAD (Six-nation East African Intergovernmental Authority on Development) countries and all troops-contributing countries to ensure that there was consensus on how to tackle the Somalia problem. President Bashir said Sudan has been preoccupied by the Somali problem since its eruption 20 years ago and had played a positive role in trying to control the problem. He said he was pleased by ex-President Rawlings’ visit and acknowledged that his role was a difficult one.

The Sudanese President expressed his support for the AU High Representative’s role and called for a concise plan towards addressing the Somalia crisis. He said Somalia needed a strong government which can sustain peace and security. He added that Sudan had supported Somalia, particularly in the area of education, saying there are some 600 Somali students in Sudanese universities and 3,000 in general educations. President Rawlings has already held talks with Kenya’s Mwai Kibaki, Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi and is due to hold discussions with Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni today.

http://www.ghananewsagency.org/details/Politics/Rawlings-holds-talks-with-Sudan-Al-Bashiron- Somalia/?ci=2&ai=30082


New Operation Atlanta chief appointed

16 Jun – Source: The Voice of Russia – 89 words

Rear Admiral Duncan Potts has been appointed the new Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force Operation Atlanta, media reports said on Thursday.

Potts will take up his duties on August 1, when the mandate of the current Operation Commander, Major-General Buster Howes, expires.

Atlanta Operation was launched in December 2008 to try to prevent the piracy rampage off Somalia. Taking part in the mission are warships from Russia, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, France and Sweden.


Somali pirates’ free German ship after ransom paid

17 Jun – Source: Reuters – 215 words

Somali pirates have freed a German-owned cargo ship, seized in April, after they received a ransom, a pirate and maritime source said on Friday. The Antigua and Barbuda-flagged Susan K, along with its crew of 10 Ukrainians and Filipinos, was released on Thursday.

“The German cargo ship has now sailed away. We have taken $5.7 million in ransom,” pirate Ibrahim told Reuters by phone from coastal Ras Guna, in Puntland. Andrew Mwangura, maritime editor of the Somalia Report, confirmed the release. He said the ransom had been paid in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa but could not confirm the sum. “Next port of call Djibouti. It is not yet known if she has started moving out to safe waters,” Mwangura told Reuters.

Somali pirates have been wreaking havoc in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden, hijacking commercial vessels in defiance of international naval patrols of the bustling shipping lanes. [ID: nLDE75D0YJ].

The attacks have grown in sophistication and range and, according to the U.N. International Maritime Organization, pirate’s now brave summer storms and winter monsoons that had previously kept them in port.

Crewmen held hostage are subjected to physical and emotional abuse by their captors, and have been used as human shields against counter-attacks or press-ganged into taking part in pirate operations, shipping monitors report.


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