Somali Forces Recapture Key Villages From Al-Shabaab
12 February – Source: Shabelle News – 128 Words
Somalia National Army (SNA) backed by AU and US forces recaptured key villages in Lower Shabelle region after an offensive against the militant group of Al-Shabaab, officials said. Somali military said the allied troops took control of Mubarak, Darussalam, and Awdhiigle towns in the region during the joint operation launched on Monday morning.
The coalition forces engaged in heavy fighting with Al-Shabaab militants who resisted the attack. Officials said several militants were killed during the operation. The offensive is aimed at liberating more areas still under Al-Shabaab control including Janaale and other nearby towns, according to SNA commanders in the region. The latest military development came after Al-Shabaab militants intensified attacks against Somali and African Union forces in Lower Shabelle region in past few months.
- Somali Forces Recapture Key Villages From Al-Shabaab (Shabelle News)
- Somalia And Turkey Discuss Bilateral Relations (SONNA)
- South West State Inks Deal With Djibouti Chinese Firm For Merca Port Construction (Radio Dalsan)
- Ismail Rage Disabled By Childhood Polio Employed By A Mogadishu bank (Radio Ergo)
- Somalia: A Man-made Famine (Huffington Post)
Somalia And Turkey Discuss Bilateral Relations
12 February – Source: SONNA – 101 Words
The State Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, H.E. Mr. Abdulkadir Ahmed-Kheir Abdi, met with the Foreign Minister of Turkey HE Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on the sidelines of the second Turkey-Africa Ministerial Review Conference in Istanbul, and discussed with him the strengthening of bilateral relations and cooperation.
The meeting was very fruitful in the framework of moving forward in activating the agreements signed between the two countries to achieve common interests at all levels of political, economic, trade and investment. Delegations from many countries, including Somalia, attended the conference, where Turkey is described as a strategic partner for Africa.
South West State Inks Deal With Djibouti, Chinese Firm For Merca Port Construction
12 February – Source: Radio Dalsan – 325 Words
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the South West State of Somalia, Djibouti and a Chinese company that will see the construction of Merca sea port. Construction work on the new port is to start this year. The signing ceremony was witnessed by South West State President Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, Djibouti Damerjog Industrial Development and Chinese Silk Road International Industry Holding Co. Ltd.
Djibouti was represented by Dr. Aden Hassan Aden the Djiboutien Ambassador to Somalia and the President of the Djibouti Port Authority Abubakar Omar Hadi. The MOU will also see construction of infrastructure along Amsas, Qorioley and Afgoye. “It’s a very important project and hopefully it will be implemented in less then a year if all things go on as planned” Dr. Aden said after the signing ceremony
“Djibouti is not only focusing the South West State but, as Djibouti government we are willing to contribute the rebuilding and peacemaking processes of Somalia in general. It’s the first kind of MOU, but within the coming months we are expecting to host more of Somali leaders in Djibouti to make such MOU’s in the developments of our sisterly country Somalia. President Guelle is fully committed to assisting Somalia” Ambassador Aden who facilitated the signing said.
Djibouti through its envoy Dr. Aden has asserted that it will continue to support the rebuilding of Somalia whose infrastructure had been destroyed following the long civil war that followed the fall of Siad Barre regime in 1991. Merca is one of the oldest ports in Somalia, but has been in need of modernisation.
Construction of South West State Barawe Sea Port by a UAE company kicked off last month. With the recent understanding between the Federal Government and Regional States similar MOUs are expected to follow. Last month Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo laid the foundation for the construction of Galmudug state’s Hobyo Port construction by a Chinese company.
12 February – Source: Radio Ergo – 328 Words
Ismail Rage has become the first disabled person to get a staff job with a leading bank in Somalia. Two days after graduating from Simad University with a Bachelors in banking and finance, Ismail, 22, landed the job with Premier Bank in Mogadishu. He is working in the customer care department. Ismail, who became ill with polio as a three-year old, used the wheelchair given to him by his uncle after graduation to get to work.
He comes from a humble background and used to crawl for 40 minutes through the dusty Mogadishu roads to get to classes, using flip flops to protect his hands and leather pads strapped to his knees. “I can forget all the hardships in my life with the milestone I have now reached that I dreamed about,” Ismail said. Ismail lived in Gubta area, with his nine siblings and parents, who he says were his “biggest inspiration” and played an important role in earning him his coveted university degree.
As a bright student he was always top of his class. His teachers and fellow students treated him as an equal. “He was like our second teacher, who would help us with the class work,” said Fadumo Abdi Jama, one of the class of 2017 students, who graduated with Ismail. Ismail received congratulatory messages from President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo on his twitter handle.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“The U.S. government should ease current administrative restrictions so that essential and urgent aid can reach those most in need. Within southern and central Somalia, there are actors unaffiliated with Al Shabab with whom aid organizations can work.”
12 February – Source: Huffington Post – 707 Words
Today, more than eleven million people are desperately trying to survive the drought affecting the Horn of Africa. Tens of thousands have already died. While it is true that droughts are an act of nature, there is nothing “natural” about the resulting famine in Somalia the only country in the Horn where famine has been declared. There, the famine is a result of a lack of governance and direct human actions which have deprived millions of people access to food.
Droughts can be mitigated and controlled when a nation has a functioning government. Look at Somalia’s neighbor, Ethiopia. Like Somalia, Ethiopia is also being ravaged by this drought. But for the most part, people there are able to stay in their homes because the Ethiopian government and local and international aid agencies are able to identify and support those who are struggling to find food and water.
Somalia, on the contrary, has not had a functioning central government for more than twenty years. As early as 2008, Refugees International was calling Somalia “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” Years of conflict had displaced some two million people nearly a quarter of the population. Armed groups including the militant group Al Shabab restricted the international community’s access to wide swathes of the country they controlled. Aid agencies struggled to safely reach people inside the country to provide them with assistance. Today, this lack of access is one of the primary reasons why Somalis have been so much more affected by this drought than their Horn of Africa neighbors.
Humanitarian aid workers have little to no access to more than half of the Somali population in need of help. This is due in part to Al Shabab restrictions, and also to fear on the part of aid organizations that staff will be targeted or killed. But it is also donor governments’ own restrictions on aid delivery that have further hampered the international community’s ability to respond to the famine, resulting in unnecessary human suffering.
Al Shabab has been recognized by many donor nations as a terrorist organization. Here in the United States, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) prohibits U.S. government money from going to aid operations if there is any risk that it will “materially benefit” a listed terror organization. In 2009, the U.S. applied these restrictions to areas of Somalia controlled by Al Shabab. Since then, U.S. aid to Somalia has dropped by 88 percent from roughly $237 million in 2008 to just over $20 million in 2011.
With millions of lives at risk, now is the time for the U.S. to reconsider these restrictions on aid money when it comes to Somalia. I know that this is not a simple thing. Al Shabab is a terrorist organization, and it is difficult to contemplate any action that might somehow support the group even tangentially. Al Shabab does have a history of interfering with aid delivery, including allegations that it siphoned profits for its own use. And even now, it is not entirely clear whether or not Al Shabab will allow humanitarian access to those areas of Somalia under its control.