Detained Former Minister Appears Before Court
20 December – Source: Garowe Online – 252 Words
Abdirahman Abdishakur, former planning Minister and Presidential Candidate has appeared before a court in Mogadishu on Tuesday. Abdishakur, accompanied by several Federal MPs, including Mahad Salad was brought before Benadir regional court to face charges, including mobilizing a parliamentary motion against the government. The judge of the court Aweys Sheikh Abdullahi announced that the hearing of the case has been postponed to Wednesday, Dec 20 after the Attorney General failed to bring sufficient evidence.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General Ahmed Ali Dahir was given 24 hours deadline to present real facts supporting his case filed against the politician, who is in NISA detention in the capital for the third day. Abdullahi said if Abdishakur is found not guilty will be freed and the officials who arrested him will be convicted with an act of offending the citizen. Abdishakur, a leading critic of the government has been detained by Somali forces on Monday night, Dec 18 after the office of the Attorney General has accused him of committing criminal acts.
According to Dahir, the imprisoned politician involved in activities to bring down the Federal government of Somalia while using funds from foreign countries. On the other hand, former Somali Prime Minister and current Senator, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke has strongly condemned the arrest of the former minister and called for his immediate release. Sharmarke distanced himself from alleged plan to depose the government, warning Somalia may reverse to the previous civil war if the current leaders keep on attacking the democracy and free speech.
- Detained Former Minister Appears Before Court (Garowe Online)
- Former PM Distances Himself From Motion Against Government (Shabelle News)
- Police Force Marks Its 74th Anniversary (Garowe Online)
- Somalia: Up To 30 Percent of Soldiers Unarmed (VOA)
- Somali Refugees In Kenya Caught Between Ration Cuts And War At Home (Reuters)
Former PM Distances Himself From Motion Against Government
20 December- Source: Shabelle News – 149 Words
The former Somali Prime Minister, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke has distanced himself from an alleged motion against the current Federal Government of Somalia. Speaking to VOA Somali Service, Sharmarke has denied the allegations as baseless, saying he has contributed to the victory of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo in Feb 8 polls. Sharmarke who is now a member of Somalia’s Upper House chamber of Parliament slammed the detention of Abdirahman Abdishakur, a former Presidential runner, and Minister. He called for the immediate release of Abdishakur who is currently in government custody for the third day and appeared before a court in Mogadishu on Tuesday, facing treason charges. NISA forces detained the former planning minister during a deadly raid on his residence near Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle Airport Monday night. The operation took place hours after Somali general prosecutor Ahmed Ali Dahir ordered authorities to crack down some lawmakers, accused of treason.
Police Force Marks Its 74th Anniversary
20 December – Source: Garowe Online – 184 Words
The Somali Police Force on Wednesday celebrated its 74th anniversary since its establishment in 1943 in Mogadishu, and major parts of the country. This year’s event is taking place at the General Kaahiye Police Training Academy in Mogadishu that has been attacked by a suicide bomber who killed at least 18 officers and wounding dozens December 14, 2017. The bomber disguised as a police officer with explosives strapped around his waist and torso, gained access to the camp and targeted police forces rehearsing for this Police Day celebrations.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, Ministers, and several senior government officials are participating in the event to mark the anniversary under tight security and heavy presence of troops across the capital’s main streets. Somali police Commissioner Gen Mukhtar Hussein Afrah said that the Force has struggled despite many challenges and at the same time encouraged them to double their efforts for the restoration of a lasting peace to the war-ravaged nation. The Police Force is commemorating its 74th anniversary in Mogadishu that is among the dangerous cities in the world where security still remains the biggest challenge.
20 December – Source: Voice of America – 590 Words
Since September 2017, Al-Shabaab militants have overrun four Somali government military bases, killing more than 60 soldiers and seizing large quantities of weapons. Now, a military assessment by the Somali government found some of the troops manning these bases are completely unarmed. The “Operational Readiness Assessment” conducted by the government found that approximately 30 percent of the soldiers in the bases do not have weapons. The evaluators said some units also lack medium and heavy weaponry, and some are “undermanned.”
On Tuesday, Somali Defense Minister Mohamed Mursal Sheikh Abdirahman acknowledged the army’s shortcomings. “There are some who are not armed. We are working to complete their equipment but a majority of them have weapons,” he said in an exclusive interview with VOA’s Somali service. He also admitted “gaps” in the number of soldiers in military bases. “When we were conducting this assessment we did not announce and say people have to report for this assessment, we only went there and assessed those ready in their bases, their training and equipment,” he said. “There are gaps, there are brigades which are undermanned.”
Abdirahman said the number of soldiers on the payroll of the Somali National Army is 26,000 but added that number includes retired and older soldiers, the disabled and orphans. Reliable military sources told VOA that the actual number of soldiers on duty is far lower, possibly fewer than 10,000. The assessment commissioned by Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire was conducted between August and September and was submitted to government leaders in November.
OPINION, ANALYSIS & CULTURE
“The United Nations launched the repatriation programme in December 2014 under pressure from Kenyan authorities, who threatened to close the camp in 2016. Since the programme began, nearly 75,000 Somalis have left Dadaab, including 32,000 this year. British charity Save the Children, which works in Dadaab, says it is difficult to track the number of returnees because they are not registered, so they cannot access food aid,”
19 December – Source: Reuters- 647 Words
Somali refugees in Kenya are free to choose whether to go home, a top U.N. official said on Tuesday, despite many families saying debts accumulated to feed their children after cuts in rations are forcing them to return to a war zone. In October, a funding crisis forced the U.N. World Food Programme to cut basic food rations and cash in Dadaab camp in northern Kenya, housing nearly 240,000 refugees, by 50 percent. The United Nations said Dadaab suffered because it has been receiving Somalis for more than 25 years. Donors are focussed on new conflicts like Syria and South Sudan that are fuelling the world’s worst refugee crisis since World War Two. “All the attention goes to new crises,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi said as he visited visiting Dadaab on Tuesday. He told refugees that repatriation is their decision “At any stage in the process they can change their mind,” he said. “We check and check and check.”
But two families interviewed by Reuters on Tuesday said the food cuts forced them into debt to feed their children. To clear those debts, they volunteered to go back to Somalia in return for $150 per person – cash meant to help them begin a new life. Mother-of-six Kahtra Nour Hassan has lived in Dadaab since fleeing her hometown of Kismayo in 2010 after being widowed twice by Somali gunmen. The 40-year-old will use part of the money from the U.N. Voluntary Repatriation Programme to pay debts of 40,000 Kenyan shillings (299.45 pounds) to shopkeepers. “There was not enough food,” she said, her toddler Maksoud clinging to the bottom of her flowing yellow robe. “Many families (going back) have debts.”
Another man chimed in, saying debts were also forcing him back to Somalia, about 90 km (50 miles) away from Dadaab. On Sunday, the Washington Post published extensive interviews with families who said debts were driving them home. Kodeck Makori, a senior Kenyan official dealing with refugees, disagrees. ”Somalia is now fairly peaceful… We don’t think it’s a war zone. If it was, why would they be going?” Parts of Somalia, like Kismayo, have become more stable since regional administrations emerged in the last five years and African Union peacekeepers clawed back territory from Islamist al Shabaab insurgents. But parts of southern and central Somalia remain under the sway of insurgents, who are also mounting larger and more deadly bomb attacks in the Somali capital. One bomb killed more than 500 people in Mogadishu in October. The United Nations says more than 2,000 civilians have been killed in Somalia since 2016, mostly by al Shabaab. Drought has also ravaged the Horn of Africa nation, leaving more than half of the 12 million population dependent on aid.
The United Nations launched the repatriation programme in December 2014 under pressure from Kenyan authorities, who threatened to close the camp in 2016. Since the programme began, nearly 75,000 Somalis have left Dadaab, including 32,000 this year. British charity Save the Children, which works in Dadaab, says it is difficult to track the number of returnees because they are not registered, so they cannot access food aid. Yvonne Ndege, UNHCR’s Kenya spokeswoman, said around 5,000 unregistered Somalis live in the camp, although Save the Children says the number is double that. The United Nations said 400 people repatriated through its programme returned this year.
@amisomsomalia: It is truly a proud moment for #AMISOM to be part of a resurgent & revitalized @SomaliaPolice Force as it commemorates its 74th anniversary. #AMISOM congratulates the men, women & families of the gallant #Somali Police Force on this auspicious occasion. Happy 74th Anniversary!
@MOALIMUU: #Somali Police celebrate the #74th anniversary of its formation. Ceremony is now taking place at the Police Academy in #Mogadishu. #Somalia President @M_Farmaajowill be addressing to the police & may congratulate on their 74th anniversary to praise their services to the nation.
@IntRefRights: A year after IRRI wrote about #Dadaab#refugees having to choose between returning to #Somaliawhere fighting continues or stay in #kenya with ration cuts & threats of closure http://tinyurl.com/ycrf9bja new @AlertNetpiece shows how little has changed
IMAGE OF THE DAY
Members of the Somali Police Force take part in a celebration to mark the 74th anniversary since the establishment of the force.