21 February – Source: Fox News – 149 Words
The United States military says it has carried out a drone strike against al-Shabab extremists in Somalia, killing three “terrorists.” The U.S. Africa Command statement says the airstrike occurred Monday near Jilib town in Middle Juba region. “We assess no civilians were killed in this strike.” The U.S. has carried out a growing number of drone strikes in the Horn of Africa nation in coordination with Somalia’s government. Most are against al-Shabab but a small number have targeted Islamic State group-affiliated fighters in the Puntland region in the north.
The U.S. carried out more than 30 drone strikes last year in Somalia after President Donald Trump approved expanded military efforts against al-Shabab. The U.S. says it has carried out four such strikes so far this year. The al-Shabab extremist group is blamed for the October truck bombing in the capital, Mogadishu, that killed 512 people.
- US Says Drone Strike In Somalia Kills 3 Al-Shabaab Extremists (Fox News)
- Two Parliamentary Committees Say New Sales Tax Illegal (Goobjoog News)
- New Spy Chief Takes Oath Of Office (Garowe Online)
- Al-Shabaab Fighters Killed In Puntland’s Galgala Mountains (Hiiraan Online)
- All Is Set For Somalia To Join EAC Fraternity ( Daily News Tanzania)
- Somali Refugees In Kenya Between Rock And Hard Place (Anadolu Agency)
Two Parliamentary Committees Say New Sales Taxi Illegal
21 February – Source: Goobjoog News- 267 Words
The newly introduced sales tax which saw traders in Mogadishu boycott business is unconstitutional, two parliamentary committees have said noting the government failed to seek parliamentary approval before implementing the new tax measures. Finance and Budget and Trade Committees said in a statement Wednesday the 5% sales tax popularly known as VAT (Value Added Tax) is illegal and runs counter to constitution.
The lawmakers poked holes at the government’s move to impose the tax on traders.Sales tax cannot be collected upfront, the committees said. It is tax levied on consumers of goods and not sellers,” the committees noted. Finance Minister Abdirahman Beileh this past week defended the decision to collect taxes directly from importers observing that the government did not have the capacity to collect the taxes from individual traders. “We lack the capacity to put good systems across the nation. We do not have the ability to give everybody a tax identification number,’ said Beileh in a media interview. The minister also added the tax was not optional.
But the parliamentary committees dismissed the decision noting sales tax should be collected at the tail end of the sale. The committees said government must table the new regulations before the House on April 30 adding the current measures violated article 125 of the Provisional Constitution.
The article stipulates parliament shall enact a National Reserve law which shall among others ‘determine legitimate revenue collection and expenditure disbursement relating to institutions at all levels within the Federal Republic of Somalia’. Traders in Bakaro market boycotted business this week for two days protesting the new tax but later resumed.
New Spy Chief Takes Oath Of Office
21 February – Source: Garowe Online – 163 Words
The newly appointed Chief of National Intelligence and Security Agency [NISA], Hussein Mohamed Hussein took formally his oath of office on Wednesday, Garowe Online reports. Hussein assumed power during a handover ceremony held at the NISA Headquarters, with attendance of MPs and Government officials, including the Security Minister, Mohamed Abukar Islow alias ‘Dualle”.
Islow has urged Hussein to fulfill his responsibility to serve the nation and strive hard to enforce security in the horn of Africa Country beset by terrorist attacks by the Al-Qaeda affiliated militant group Al-Shabaab. The new commander who holds dual SomaliCanada citizenship was endorsed by the Cabinet last Monday to lead the U.S.funded Somali Intelligence agency, taking office from acting chief, Abdulkadir Mohamed Jama. He succeeds Abdullahi Mohamed Ali, alias “Sanbalolshe” who was sacked in 2017 over incompetence following October 14truck bombing at the busy Km5 junction in Mogadishu that left 512 people dead. Hussein becomes the second NISA boss to be appointed since President Farmaajo took office.
Al-Shabaab Fighters Killed In Puntland’s Galgala Mountains
21 February – Source: Hiiraan Online – 83 Words
Puntland authorities said several members of the militant group Al-Shabaab were killed in a fresh operation in Dhadhaabo and Eeldibir in Galgala mountains. Puntland security officials said a number of Al-Shabaab militants were also injured in the raid while two others were captured alive and taken to Bosaso. Puntland vowed to continue the crackdown against Al-Shabaab militants hiding in the Galgala mountains in Bari region. The operation came amid increased Al-Shabaab attacks and explosions targeting Puntland government installations and officials in Bosaso.
20 February – Source: Tanzania Daily News- 422 Words
The Republic of Somalia is in the line-up for becoming the 7th member of the East African Community (EAC). The prospect will be on the agenda for discussions as the regional bloc’s Heads of State assemble in Kampala, Uganda, from tomorrow. The Ugandan Minister of State for EAC Affairs, Mr Julius Wandera Maganda, who currently chairs the Council of Ministers, revealed in a statement here that the six heads of state from Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania and South-Sudan will review progress of the verification exercise for the admission of the Republic of Somalia into the EAC.
The inclusion of Mogadishu will make the East African Community to now own ‘The Horn of Africa,’ and boast the longest coastline of the Indian Ocean on the continent. The joint population of Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, South-Sudan and (if admitted) Somalia, will be close to 190 million in total, which is essentially the same number of people as Nigeria. Apart from discussing the horn of Africa factor, other agenda items in the EAC Heads of State retreat’s table include the modalities for promotion of motor vehicle assembly in the community, although already Kenya is ahead on this, by hosting assembly lines for Nissan, Volkswagen and China’s Foton.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“Nothing is voluntary about me going home; I borrowed to buy food on credit and I am not alone; many have done the same, I owe the guy $300. “All this I did to buy flour for porridge and milk and rice to feed my family; I used to sell flour but I ended up consuming it all with my family; they [money-lenders] came to ask for their money which I didn’t have and they threatened me and my family, especially my 16-year[-old] daughter,”
21 February – Source: Anadolu Agency – 1211 Words
Around half-a-million refugees stranded in Kenya face an impossible choice: either go home to al-Shabaab-wrecked Somalia under a controversial UNHCR “voluntary repatriation” program or stay and face massive debts accumulated due to food shortages at camps. The dire situation can be witnessed firsthand at the Dadaab Refugee Complex in North Eastern province where over 486,460 refugees have taken asylum, according to figures released in January by The UN Refugee Agency.
Somalis living at the complex, which hosts thousands of makeshift refugee shelters, told Anadolu Agency the only reason they came to Kenya was because they were forced to flee the civil war back home and the threat of al-Shabaab militants who have killed many in the Horn of Africa region.
Dadaab is located 474 kilometers (294 miles) from capital Nairobi. It is an arid place with no paved roads but just swathes and swathes of barren fuscous-golden brown sand. Usually there is no sign of life en route to the camp except for lizards skittering across the sand. But sometimes people appear out of nowhere who can be seen herding camels. They are locals of the area who are mostly nomadic pastoralists and are always on the move.
As soon as one reaches the refugee complex, the picture of neglect and misery hits in the face as harshly as the scorching heat under which the extremely poor people live there. Anyone who approaches the K1 block at the camp gets overwhelmed with requests from refugees scrambling over a barbed wire fence, urging for food, water, money or anything that one could spare for them.
Men, women and children can be seen squeezing into any spot that provides them with shade, others stare aimlessly into the distance deep in thought. Tales of horror are in abundance here. One man said he arrived at the camp after spending three weeks in hiding after his family was killed in Somalia. Many others shared similar graphic realities.
Debts after food cuts; Several people at the camp told Anadolu Agency that after 30 percent food cuts were announced by the World Food Programme (WFP) for refugees living in Dadaab, they were forced to take loans to buy food and ended up accumulating “huge” debts of hundreds of dollars. Many said it was because of these debts that they were now considering the recently-announced United Nations “Voluntary” repatriation program, which claims “to ensure the exercise of a free and informed choice and to mobilize support for returnees.”