25 February – Source: Xinhuanet – 204 Words
Top African Union envoy in Somalia on Sunday condemned twin car bombings in Mogadishu on Friday which left at least 32 dead and dozens of others injured. Francisco Madeira, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, said the incident is under investigation by both the government of Somalia and AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM). “I present my deepest condolences to the families of the victims of this senseless attack, which was aimed at creating terror among the population,” Madeira said in a statement issued in Mogadishu. “AMISOM strongly condemns this attack and reiterates its resolve to continue working side by side with Somali National Security Forces to free Somalia from violent extremism and terrorism,” Madeira added.
Two vehicles loaded with explosives detonated near the intelligence headquarters and Villa Somalia and Al-Shabaab elements started firing at innocent civilians. The first explosion went off at around 6 p.m. local time when a vehicle loaded with explosives hit the newly opened Dorbin hotel near the intelligence headquarters then shortly followed by the second one near Villa Somalia. Madeira commended the bravery and professionalism of the Somali National Security Forces and AMISOM, who succeeded in neutralizing five Al-Shabaab elements involved in the attacks.
- AU Condemns Twin Car Bombings In Somalia (Xinhuanet)
- Somali Government Declares Major Security Crackdown In Mogadishu (Goobjoog News)
- Somali MP Condemns Growing Insecurity In Afgoye District (Shabelle News)
- South West State Politicians Hail Assembly For Setting Presidential Poll Dates (Goobjoog News)
- Pirates Attack Chemical Tanker Off Coast Of Somalia (Xinhuanet)
- Mogadishu Needs Robust Support To Reclaim Its Lost Glory (Hiiraan Online)
Somali Government Declares Major Security Crackdown In Mogadishu
25 February – Source: Goobjoog News – 166 Words
The government has announced a major security crackdown in Mogadishu starting tonight to flush out Al-Shabaab militants. This comes barely two days after the group launched twin attacks in the city killing over 30 people and injuring more than 50 others. Briefing the media after a security meeting, Prime Minister Hassan Khaire and Security Minister Mohamed Abukar Islow said the security forces are under instructions to launch a massive security operation in the city to rid Mogadishu of all terror elements.
The two also directed the security forces to ‘deal with the public in a humane way and the terrorists brutally’. Security forces were also warned against wrangling or clashes between the various units but instead the leaders called for collaboration and coordinated approach. “We have also asked the security forces to obey their commanders and take instructions without fail,” Islow said. Al-Shabaab militants carried out twin attacks on Friday targeting the presidential palace and the intelligence headquarters. All the militants were killed by security forces.
Somali MP Condemns Growing Insecurity In Afgoye District
25 February- Source: Shabelle News- 118 Words
A prominent Somali lawmaker, Mohamed Omar Dalha, has expressed concern about the increasing violence in Afgoye district in Lower Shabelle region, about 30 kilometers northwest of Mogadishu. Dalha said it is unfortunate to hear recurrent killings in the town and the government’s lack of action to stop the continuing massacre carried out by gunmen wearing military uniforms.
He has called on the Somali government to immediately end the insecurity acts in the district and deal with the growing attacks by Al-Shabaab against the local civilians and the army. Afgoye, a former Al- Shabaab bastion has witnessed a number of killings in the past few days as the town is largely controlled by Somali government forces backed by AU troops.
South West State Politicians Hail Assembly For Setting Presidential Poll Dates
25 February – Source: Goobjoog News – 160 Words
Politicians from South West State have welcomed the announcement of presidential election dates by the state assembly noting there was a need for change. The politicians under the South West Salvation Council banner called for change during the November presidential elections. “We welcome the announcement by parliament to hold the elections in ten months’ time,” the political leaders said.
The state assembly last week announced that presidential elections will be held on November 17 when the term of current president Sharif Sheikh Hassan Adan ends. He was elected November 17, 2014 following the formation of the state which brought together Bakool, Bay and Lower Shabelle regions.
In another development, a federal lawmaker has castigated President Adan’s move to form a new district terming it as unconstitutional. Senator Hussein Sheikh said the formation of Yeed district by Adan was against the law since it is only the President of the Republic who is bestowed with such powers.
24 February – Source: Xinhuanet – 240 Words
Suspected Somali pirates attacked a Singaporean-flagged chemical tanker early Saturday but were repulsed by guards on board, the European Union naval force said. A statement from EU Navfor Somalia (EU NAVFOR) said on Saturday that the Motor Tanker Leopard Sun was attacked by two skiffs, about 160 nautical miles (about 300km) off the coast of Somalia. “The skiffs approached the MT Leopard Sun from the stern and fired upon her, after which the on-board private armed security team returned fire with warning shots,” the naval force said.
The EU naval force, which have been patrolling the Indian Ocean waters, said the incident lasted about 20 minutes before the skiffs turned away. “EU NAVFOR can confirm the vessel and crew are now safe,” it said. The 50,000-metric-tonne chemical tanker was en route from Sohar, Sultanate of Oman, to Cape Town, South Africa when the incident occurred. EU NAVFOR said the attack, likely to be piracy-related, was the first of its kind in the area since November 2017.
The naval force said it has issued navigation warnings and alerts to inform both mariners and merchant vessels in the “High Risk Area” and the wider shipping industry of the attack. Maritime experts have warned that Somali pirates tend to be armed with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades and sometimes use skiffs launched from mother vessels, which may be hijacked fishing vessels or dhows, to conduct attacks far from the Somali coast.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“We want our international partners to look at Mogadishu with different lenses, and focus on its plight. The city has the highest population in the country compared to any other Federal Member State, and more than 500,000 of its residents are Internally Displaced People (IDPs).”
24 February – Source: Hiiraan Online – 1038 Words
Recently, I was moved from Ministry of Information in the Somali Federal Government where I served as a Minister for Information, Culture & Tourism to a new post as the Mayor of Mogadishu and the Governor of Banadir region, which has at least 3 million residents. While I felt honoured and accepted the offer, I knew very well in my mind that the new responsibility would not be easy. Mogadishu, the ‘mother’ of Somalia or the “face of Somalia” as many call it, is always in the news for good or bad reasons.
For instance, in October last year, we lost more than 500 people in the city while hundreds others were badly injured after horrific bomb attacks by Al-Shabaab. No one can easily forget that tragedy. We cried and grieved painfully but above all we have not given up on our plan and will to reclaim the lost glory of Mogadishu. Somalis are regarded as one of the most resilient people on earth. Despite the heinous act that made us feel terribly sad, we moved on with our lives. We know in our minds, as always, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We will never give up. We will stand day and night to ensure we have our lost city back to its glory through enhanced service delivery and better management of public resources.
We are working to restore Mogadishu to a place where you can walk freely and park your car wherever you want, the Mogadishu where you can go out in the evening with your family and enjoy the cool breeze coming from the beach, the Mogadishu where you can sit outside your favourite restaurant sipping your favorite camel tea. We want to implement a robust community policing initiative to enhance security in Mogadishu. A team of volunteers have helped us to conduct a comprehensive research about “Neighborhood Watch” (“Dariseyn” in Somali language).
The initiative will mobilize residents to know and engage their neighbours better to help our security agencies identify and deal with potential security threats effectively and in a timely manner. This community policing system is not new as it is also being used in some countries like Kenya and is referred to as ‘Nyumba Kumi initiative”. Implementing it fully in Mogadishu will have a positive impact in improving the security around the city. Also, we will soon begin the implementation of a comprehensive National Strategy for Preventing & Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) for the country.