12 April – Source: Voice of America – 357 Words
A bomb exploded during a local soccer (football) game in southern Somalia’s restive Lower-Shabelle province on Thursday, killing at least four people, security officials said. “An improvised explosive device went off during the semifinal of a local soccer team’s cup” in Barawe town, Bashir Mohamed Yusuf, the town’s deputy commissioner for security, told VOA. Yusuf and hospital sources said at least 13 people were also wounded in Barawe, which is about 220 kilometers southwest of the Somali capital, Mogadishu. “The bomb was planted in the VIP section of the soccer stadium with the intention of harming the local authorities,” said Yusuf. “But since we tactically sat at a different location today, it hit some of the football players and spectators.”
A spectator who was at the soccer field at the time and asked to remain anonymous said the bomb exploded at the start of the second half of the game between locally popular teams Elmen and SYL, and “it seems it was detonated remotely from the nearby areas.” Barawe is a strategic port town and major base for African Union troops in the region. It is remembered for being a key stronghold of Al-Shabaab Islamists, but the Somali National Army captured it in 2014 with the backing of African Union forces.
- Blast Kills 4 Injures 13 At Somalia Soccer Match (Voice of America)
- I Did Not Trade My Exit For The Dollar-Jawari In Final Address (Goobjoog)
- Two People Injured In An Explosion In Mogadishu (mareeg.com)
- UPDF Flags Off Over 1800 Soldiers To Somalia (Daily Monitor)
- Facing Famine Threat Millions Of Somalis In Desperate Need (PR News Wire)
- Turkey’s Rivalry With The UAE In Somalia Is Raising Tensions In The Red Sea (Middle East Eye)
I Did Not Trade My Exit For The Dollar-Jawari In Final Address
12 April – Source: Goobjoog News – 417 Words
Immediate former Lower House Speaker Mohamed Jawari has rubbished claims he received kickbacks to pull out from a long drawn battle with Prime Minister Hassan Khaire noting he chose to quit ‘to avert bloodshed’. In a long resignation speech to the House Thursday which he also threw jabs at his hitherto political arch-rival Khaire, Jawari said he did not take even a penny contrary to social media reports. “I am on oath and I can confirm before you today that no money was used to buy my resignation,” said Jawari.
The outgoing Speaker who had to fend off combined force of the executive and his immediate deputy Abdiweli Mudey said he bowed out after it emerged the proposals of this team were not accepted by the rival team. “We were guided by two important principles with my team-supremacy of the constitution and fidelity to the House Rule of Procedure,” Jawari stated. “We had hoped for negotiation and political settlement and we agreed to suggestions from various quarters but the other side refused.” To avert a ‘looming collapse of the House’ Jawari told lawmakers, I opted to resign. “The House was moving to resort to unconstitutional means which would have left a black spot in our country’s history so I took the decision to resign.”
At the height of the political crisis early this month, the government withdrew Jawari’s security leaving Amisom to step in to protect him. A stand-off also ensued April 4 in the Lower House building after claims some lawmakers had carried their arms to the House contrary to security procedures. The 73 year old politician who has been in politics for over half a century called on MPs to promote dialogue.
He urged the lawmakers to expedite the process of electing another speaker which must be concluded with 15 days in line with the House Rules of Procedure. Leaving the speaker’s sit for a space at the chamber seemed to have humbled the long serving politician as he sought the indulgence of MPs to orient him in the common man’s hangouts in the city. “After five years in closed doors with restricted movement, I would like to ask the MPs to show me around in Mogadishu and where you normally sit.” To his deputy turned political foe, Jawari reminded him he had not after all been acting speaker as he had claimed when signing off press statements these past weeks. “According to the rules of procedure, from today, you can be the acting Speaker.”
Two People Injured In An Explosion In Mogadishu
12 April – Source: Mareeg.com – 59 Words
Two people have been injured on Thursday in a roadside bomb explosion in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. The explosion tore through a truck travelling through Kahd district in the capital, leaving two civilians wounded, a witness said. The target of the bomb attack remains unclear. Security officials were unavailable to reach on phone for comments on Thursday’s explosion in Mogadishu.
12 April – Source: Daily Monitor – 120 Words
Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) on Thursday flagged off 1,822 soldiers for Somalia mission in the horn of Africa. Maj Gen Sam Kavuma, deputy commander land forces cautioned the soldiers to always be fit and disciplined, if they are to avoid being attacked by Al-Shabaab insurgents.
“To protect Somalis you must be fit and must have discipline. Being fit would help you fight Al-Shabaab and return alive,” Gen Kavuma said. On Easter Sunday, Al-Shabaab killed 8 Ugandan soldiers and left scores injured. UPDF deputy spokesperson, Lt Col Deo Akiiki, said the 24 battle group will be commanded by Col Jackson Kayanja. He said these will be deployed at Arabiska, which is 32 km from Aden Bullpen Airport in Lower Shabelle.
12 April – Source: PR News Wire – 331 Words
Facing a crushing and continuing drought, Somalia needs urgent investment if it is to avoid another humanitarian crisis, warns the global organization Mercy Corps. The three-year drought blighting the country has claimed thousands of lives, displaced more than two million people and worsened the spread of cholera and measles outbreaks. Somalia narrowly avoided famine in 2017. Roughly a year after the declaration of a state of emergency by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, the country remains on the brink of a humanitarian disaster.
“The April rains are expected to be below average so there’s a real threat of famine in the hardest hit areas. Aid agencies are struggling to keep pace,” says Daud Adan, Somalia Country Director for Mercy Corps. “The situation in parts of Puntland and Somaliland remains dire, with most people suffering from acute malnutrition. They are at stage 4 on the IPC scale; stage 5 is famine. The situation is grave and the need could not be more urgent.” According to the United Nations, $717 million is required between January and June 2018 to sustain famine-prevention efforts in Somalia. But after four months, Somalia has received just $271 million.
“We narrowly avoided a disaster last year and yet, just four months into 2018, famine prevention funding is already woefully behind target,” says Adan. “Millions of Somalis are living on the brink, and for them, this funding could be the difference between life and death. A humanitarian crisis is not inevitable; we can avert it if the international community wakes up to the scale of the suffering.”
In Somalia, a country of just over 12 million people, half need humanitarian assistance, with one in six people having been uprooted from their homes. Mercy Corps has worked in Somalia since 2005 and has helped more than 1 million Somalis by improving access to food and clean water, supporting local markets and providing education and civic opportunities for young people. Mercy Corps’ emergency drought response reaches 190,000 Somalis across the country.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“Turkey’s humanitarian engagement over the years gradually turned into an obvious strategic engagement. Roads, schools and hospitals were built, and today, the Turkish Airlines route to Somalia is one of its most profitable. More importantly, Turkey last year finished building its largest military base outside its territories in Somalia, and its largest embassy is in Mogadishu.”
12 April – Source: Middle East Eye – 915 Words
Late last month, Somalia called on the United Nations Security Council to halt the construction of a UAE military base in Somaliland. Somalia’s ambassador to the UN slammed the deal to build the base in the port city of Berbera as a “clear violation of international law”. The deal was struck between the local government of Somaliland and the UAE without the oversight and approval of the Somali federal government. Somaliland is a semi-autonomous region that unilaterally declared independence during the country’s civil war, although this has not been internationally recognised.
The UAE’s decision to build a military base in Berbera violates Somalia’s constitution and its UN-backed federal government. It empowers the local government of Somaliland and entertains its old separatist tendencies. It could stoke huge tensions in the region and Somalia could easily descend back into a state in turmoil. Somalia, like other countries in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea region, has drawn increased attention from outsiders with interests in the area. Turkey has been extremely active in Somalia, in close cooperation with the federal government, and the UAE has been very active throughout the Horn of Africa.
With the recent Turkey-UAE diplomatic spat and rising rivalry, one wonders how this will play out in Somalia. Critical to this is the wider context of the Red Sea, a vital trading route for the world and especially Europe – its main route with Asia. As Alex Rondos, the EU special representative for the Horn of Africa, noted: “We have a vital stake here. The artery through which much of the trade, and therefore jobs, that are created runs through the Red Sea.”
It should come as no surprise that China’s first permanent overseas naval base was situated on the Red Sea. It opened in Djibouti last year and aims to help protect this vital trading route, while solidifying its wider strategic engagement with Africa. There are fears that China’s influential posture in Djibouti will pose a challenge to the US and France, which each have a military base there. Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE had troops in Djibouti, but after a diplomatic spat, they were evicted in 2015 – although the Saudi troops returned a year later.