31 December – Source: Reuters – 505 Words
Masked men who appeared to be members of the Somali security forces raided the house of a powerful Somali senator on Saturday, but the government initially said it did not know who they were, fuelling political tensions. Senator Abdi Hassan Awale Qaybdiid is a former militia leader, chief of police, minister and regional head. Now he heads the constitutional committee in parliament and the upper house.
The attack on his home underscores the lack of clear lines of command and control within Somali forces as top officials ordered an urgent enquiry into who authorized the raid. The weak, U.N.-backed government is fighting an al-Qaeda linked Islamist insurgency. But the fight has been hampered by its inability to control its fledgling national security forces, largely recruited from clan militias and put through training by other nations.
“Government forces broke into my house, they beat the guard with butts and took his gun,” Qaybdiid told reporters at his home on Saturday. “They broke all the doors of my rooms and my cupboards… My wife was in the toilet by then. They broke the toilet while she was inside it.” “Immediately after my house was stormed, the head of Mogadishu’s national security forces called me saying the forces that attacked my house were the military forces trained by the United Arab Emeritus. But an investigation will prove who they were,” Qaybdiid said angrily. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), along with Turkey, Britain, the United States and others have all given Somali soldiers training. A spat between the Gulf states, especially Qatar and the UAE, has fueled political divisions in Somalia.
- Raid On Senator’s Home Reveals Divisions In Somali Security Forces (Reuters)
- Somali Parliament Reject Attorney General’s Proposal To Remove Immunity From Two MPs (Radio Dalsan)
- Somali Government Arrests 40 Soldiers Over Qaybdiid’s House Raid (Hiiraan Online)
- “We Will Not Accept Troops Working For Foreign Countries To Be In Somalia” Says Sheikh Ali Wajis (Radio Dalsan)
- Somalia’s Capital Returns To An Unpredictable New Normal (CBS News)
- US Intensify Airstrikes In Somalia To Weed Out Al Shabaab (Capital FM Kenya)
- AMISOM Trains Somali Police Officers On Countering IEDs (AMISOM)
- 26 Years in Limbo: Why Somali Refugees Should Not Be Forgotten (The Medium)
Somali Parliament Reject Attorney General’s Request To Remove Immunity From Two MPs
31 December – Source: Radio Dalsan – 125 Words
Somali members of Parliament have rejected the Attorney General’s request to remove immunity enjoyed by two MPs. The parliamentary permanent board members have today met at Villa Hargeisa in Mogadishu and communicated the house’s decision on the removal of immunity enjoyed by Hon. Hassan Malin Mohamud and Hon. Abdisabir Nur Shuriye which was presented before the house on 17th of December, 2017.
The two politicians were accused by the government for involving themselves in activities that can cause political instability in the country. The board members have communicated that after exhausting all the provisions in the constitution and the political history of the country, they decided to reject the Attorney General’s proposal until the law is revised and an Act addressing the issue is passed.
Somali Government Arrests 40 Soldiers Over Qaybdiid’s House Raid
31 December – Source: Hiiraan Online – 218 Words
Over 40 soldiers have been detained in connection with an attack on a house owned by a prominent Somali senator as Somali president orders swift probe on the raid. The soldiers who reportedly are the UAE trained soldiers stormed the residential house of Abdi Qaydid in Mogadishu. The officers were arrested Saturdayevening just hours after the raid, according to Somalia’s news agency, SONNA. No further details been obtained on the attack.
Hours after the raid, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has described the attack as illegal, calling security authorities to undertake further investigations on the reported raid. Somali information minister Abdirahman Omar Osman said that perpetrators will face consequences. “The federal government is launching an investigation into the matter. The investigation including the reason for the raid, who was behind it. They will face the law in the quickest possible time,” said Osman. “I was also called by the director of NiSA in Benadir region. He told me that the soldiers were UAE trained soldiers, but I doubt that soldiers were government special forces” said Senator Qaybdid. Earlier this month, Somali security forces have arrested a former minister, Abdirahman Abdishakur after he was allegedly accused of involving in foreign conspiracy. The raid and arrest of the politician drew condemnation from lawmakers, state leaders and elders in the country.
“We Will Not Accept Troops Working For Foreign Countries To Be In Somalia,” Says Sheikh Ali Wajis
31 December – Source: Radio Dalsan – 138 Words
A famous Somali cleric, Sheikh Ali Wajis have spoken about the current situation of the country and said that he is concerned about the past two raids on high political figures. The Sheikh has congratulated President Farmajo and Senator Abdi Qeybdid on how they responded to yesterday’s illegal raid on the Senator’s home and praised the Army Chief, General Gorod for acting on the President’s orders to bring those behind the incident to book.
Sheikh Ali who was bitter about the act said that it’s unacceptable to have troops working for foreign nations in the country. “We will not accept troops working for foreign countries to be in Somalia,” said the cleric. The Sheikh also urged the government to talk with and console the families of politician Abdirahman Abdishakur’s guards who were killed when his home was raided.
31 December- Source: CBS News- 420 Words
Earlier this year, President Trump declared parts of Somalia a warzone. Since then, the U.S. has conducted dozens of drone strikes trying to stop a ruthless terrorist group that’s killed hundreds. CBS News’ Deborah Patta filed this reporter’s notebook from Mogadishu. A brutal civil war followed by Al-Shabaab’s bombing campaign has left a city in ruins. Despite this, there is a semblance of normality in parts of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.
What you don’t see — because CBS News was not allowed to film there — are the roadblocks on almost every street manned either by government security forces, clan militia or private guards. Filming in Mogadishu is still difficult: There are roadblocks everywhere, and CBS News crews were always surrounded by armed police and even arrested on one occasion. The arrest lasted only five hours but underscores the point that even with official permission and all the right documentation – Somalia is unpredictable. Even in a city that is no stranger to death and destruction, the most recently October 14 vehicle bomb killed over 500 people was on a scale never before seen here.
And now there is a new security nightmare: The laptop bomb that al-Shabab continues to try and perfect. In CCTV footage, two men are shown entering the airport. One is carrying a laptop, and he slips the computer to the bomber. The man was the head of Mogadishu’s airport security at the time. The laptop exploded shortly after takeoff and blew a hole in the side of the plane. Only the bomber was killed, bu in the past 18 months, three other computers bombs were found after one partially exploded in a cargo hold. New multi-layered security checks, including dogs trained to sniff out explosives, are supposed to stop that. But al-Shabab still has people on the inside.
30 December- Source: Capital FM, Kenya – 695 Words
The United States has intensified airstrikes in Somalia, killing at least 30 Al Shabaab terrorists since last week. The latest airstrike was conducted on Wednesday, when four terrorists were killed some 25 kilometers west of Mogadishu, destroying one vehicle-borne improvised explosive device which was destined to the capital. Others had been killed on diverse dates in the past week.
The US Africa Command said no civilian was killed during both airstrikes.“U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect the United States, its partners, and interests, and deny safe haven to terrorist groups,” the statement said.
The US Government has committed to continue piling pressure on the terrorists, who are responsible for hundreds of attacks in Somalia and neighbouring countries, some of which have left hundreds of people dead—including Kenya where they often stage attacks mainly targeting security forces and civilians. The latest attack occurred on Saturday morning when the terrorists set on fire two police camps in Ijara and escaped with a police land cruiser.
31 December- Source: AMISOM – 362 Words
The police component of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is conducting a 10-day training course on countering Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) for the Somali Police Force (SPF) in Mogadishu. The training is aimed at equipping SPF officers with vital skills on preventing, disposing and countering IED attacks by the Al-Shabaab militants. IEDs have become Al-Shabaab’s weapon of choice in its asymmetrical warfare in the major towns and main supply routes has been singled out as the biggest threat to Somalia’s security and stability.
Speaking during the training, Inspector of Police (IP), Hassan Guhad Abdullahi, AMISOM Police Counter Terrorism Trainer, noted that the training was critical given that IEDs are currently the commonly used weapon by Al-Shabaab militants to cause death and destruction in the country. “They (trainees) learnt to identify opportunities that these perpetrators can use to infiltrate and carry out (IED) attacks, and therefore have a kind of preventive and proactive approach to seal those opportunities and deny the bad guys so that this does not happen,” IP Hassan from the Kenya Police Service noted.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“Even Somalia’s President, Mohamed Farmajo, called for return to be gradual at a time when the country is facing massive challenges. A terrible drought has forced over one million Somalis to leave home and move to other parts of the country, mostly to urban areas. Thanks to a large-scale humanitarian response this year, famine has been averted,”
28 December – Source: The Medium – 1372 Words
When I met Somali refugees who have been displaced for decades they told me they long to reestablish their lives at home, but they also explained their fears of going back. 26 years. That is how long Somalia has been riven by conflict. A conflict that has driven millions of its citizens from their homes to other parts of the country or across borders. Through all this time, my organization, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency has never stopped aiding the displaced and advocating for peace. All refugees tell us they want to go home and help rebuild their country, but only when they feel safe.
Last week, I visited Somalia with the High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi. This was my fourth time in the country, and I was pleased to see progress: zones of stability, signs of economic activity and schools opening. But I also saw buildings reduced to rubble or pockmarked with bullet holes and acutely felt an atmosphere of fear and insecurity. During meetings in Mogadishu with the newly elected leaders, it was encouraging to hear their determination to do everything in their power to forge peace, defeat terrorism and revive the economy.
There is no better measure of a county’s stability though than the sentiment of refugees. Before going to Somalia, we spent time with Somali refugees at the Ali Addeh Refugee Camp in a remote treeless valley of land in the hills of southern Djibouti. I had been there seven years before and the hopelessness of the place stuck in my mind ever since. On that visit, I met a bright 14 -year-old Somali girl at her primary school and I asked her about her studies. I was dismayed by her reply, “I have no future,” she told me. “My schooling days are over.” Because, I learned to my astonishment, there was no money for secondary education in the camp. What a waste of a mind, I thought. What a missed opportunity to educate a change agent for a peaceful Somalia. With just the bare minimum of funding, all we were doing was helping refugees to survive, but we fell short of enabling them to thrive.
On this visit, however, I was pleased to see there is a secondary school in the camp and that Djibouti has adopted enlightened new legislation that will allow refugees to leave the camp and seek work and permit children to join local schools. Djibouti is one of the 13 countries that have adopted the so-called Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework — in exchange for progressive policies, they will receive meaningful development assistance and infrastructure investment for hosting large numbers of refugees.