11 January – Source: Xinhuanet – 226 Words
The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Wednesday begun a two-week basic training course on forensic fingerprint for the Somali police officers to investigate criminal cases. Tresphord Kasale, AMISOM Police Coordinator for South West State, said the trainees will be taken through important topics ranging from fingerprints taking and storage and making references in criminal cases among others. “The purpose of this course is to ensure that we train our officers on how to lift fingerprints, how to store fingerprints and how to make references to future cases in terms of investigations,” Kasale said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
The course, being held in Baidoa, is structured to target officers from the South West State’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID). Fingerprint evidence is a modern analytical feature that plays a crucial role in criminal investigations and is used to quickly identify suspects. Abdirizak Aden Abdi, an Assistant Minister of Security in the South West State, said the training will go a long way in improving security in the region. “The police force has different sectors; this (CID) is the most important one. As to why we put more efforts on this sector, it is the area that separates the criminals and non-criminals and they (CID officers) are the people to differentiate. I hope they will benefit from the training and serve their community,” Abdi said.
- AU Mission Trains Somali Police On Forensic Investigations (Xinhuanet)
- A Bomb Blast Injures At Least Two People In Mogadishu (Shabelle Media)
- Somali Civil Umbrella Appeals For Reconciliation Meeting Within This Month (Goobjoog News)
- Somalia Calls For Calm In Northern Region (Xinhuanet)
- Somalis Who Returned Home Flee To Kenya A Second Time (Newsdeeply.com)
A Bomb Blast Injures At Least Two People In Mogadishu
10 January – Source: Shabelle Media – 101 Words
A roadside explosion injured two people in Somali capital of Mogadishu’s Hodan district early Wednesday, the latest attacks by suspected Al-Shabaab militants. Police and eye witnesses said the explosion targeted a vehicle carrying Somali security forces around the industrial road of Mogadishu. “The two people who were injured in the explosion at Taleh area in Hodan district were rushed to the hospital.
One person was seriously injured,” said a police officer who declined to be named. No group claimed responsibility for the last attack. However, Al-Shabaab militants are often behind such attacks in the capital and across the Horn of Africa nation.
Somali Civil Umbrella Appeals For Reconciliation Meeting Within This Month
10 January – Source: Goobjoog News – 171 Words
Somali civil umbrella organization yesterday appealed to the federal government to hold the reconciliation meeting in Mogadishu, Banadir state before the end of this month. Addressing the media, Somali South Central Non-State Actors (SOSCENSA), a multi-sectoral and non-partisan platform in South-Central Somalia has stressed on the importance of such gathering for Banadir residents and the entire Somalis. The civil society pointed out the deadline of holding the meeting to be between 20th to 25th of January 2018.
Also the statement highlighted their dismay on the IDPs, that were forcefully evicted from their camps on 28th December 2017, pledging to present all the difficulties faced by them in the meeting. Two days ago, the governor of Banadir state Mr. Thabit Abdi Mohamed, announced the indefinite postponement of the reconciliation meeting that was expected in Mogadishu from 7th to 8th January on technical grounds. Late December, SOSCENSA appointed a committee for mediation in political disputes in Somalia, a move allegedly aimed at the widening schism between the federal government and some opposition figures.
11 January – Source: Xinhuanet – 344 Words
The Somali government on Wednesday called on Somaliland and Puntland regional states to stop escalating tension in the northern Sool region. The government said in a statement that it is committed to continuing reconciliation among the fighting sides in the region and across the country to help restore peace and stability. “The federal government’s intention is to stop the fight. It calls for Somaliland, Puntland local officials, community leaders, and scholars to stop the conflict, and work with the government in fostering peace and integrating brotherly people,” it said.
The government called on both sides to swiftly and unconditionally bring to an end to the looming conflict and solve their differences through dialogue and reconciliation. The government expressed concern about the fresh armed conflict at Tukaraq area this week and urged the two sides to stop the battle unconditionally and come to negotiating table. Tension has been rising since Monday in the disputed Takaraq location in Sool region, about 90 km from Garowe town as both sides amass troops ready for combat in the Puntland administrative capital. Puntland authorities have blamed the break-away region of Somaliland for launching offensive in Takaraq to prevent visit by Somalia president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo to the region.
The Somalia government described the current conflict in the region as unfortunate, saying such fighting would only give opportunity to the enemies of peace. The statement comes after military forces from Somaliland Monday took control of a town under the semi autonomous region of Puntland following a fierce fighting. Puntland State President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali condemned Somaliland for launching offensive on its territory. “Puntland State is fighting Al-Shabaab and IS militants and the attack from Somaliland Administration gives shelter and support to the terrorist groups in the region,” Ali said on Tuesday evening. Both Puntland and Somaliland have been in contest over Sool and Sanag regions with each side claiming control. Puntland parliament threatened force in November 2017 against Somaliland if elections took place in Sool during the presidential poll. The polls, however, went on uninterrupted in most areas of Sool.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“Many went back to overcrowded displacement camps in Somalia, where they were dismayed by the lack of services. Some faced difficulties accessing aid. Ali Haji, 15, said he snuck back to Dadaab camp with three friends last month because they had nothing to eat and nowhere to live in Somalia. “I can’t stay in Somalia,” he said.”
10 January – Source: Newsdeeply.com – 882 Words
A year ago, 20-year-old Ismael Ahmed was filled with expectations. With the help of a U.N. voluntary repatriation program, he returned to Somalia after spending all his teenage years in Kenya’s sprawling Dadaab refugee resettlement. “I was happy to go back home when I was assured of good security, education and food,” he said. “I was given $400 and promised every benefit I enjoyed in Dadaab.” Ahmed had fled to Dadaab at the age of 13, along with his three sisters, after the militant group al-Shabaab killed their parents in Somalia. When he returned to his homeland last year, he was horrified to find continuing bloodshed and few ways to study or make a living.
Somalia is currently facing its most devastating drought in decades. In the worst-hit parts of the country, people are starving to death. Al-Shabaab attacks are a constant threat. One bombing in the capital city of Mogadishu three months ago killed more than 300 people. Ahmed, like many other Somali returnees, decided to return once again to Kenya. “I regret going back to Somalia,” Ahmed said in Dadaab, as he echoed others’ claims that U.N. pledges of assistance with healthcare, housing and education did not materialize. “They transported us back to Somalia and dumped us there. I have decided to come back and continue with my education.”
Dadaab, a complex of camps in northern Kenya that have sheltered hundreds of thousands of Somalis for a generation, remains one of the biggest refugee settlements in the world. However, its population has fallen dramatically in recent years. Kenya has repeatedly threatened to close the camp, including after a deadly attack on a nearby university in Garissa in 2015. Since then, the U.N.refugee agency (UNHCR) has intensified its voluntary repatriation program for Somali refugees from Dadaab, established in a 2013 tripartite agreement with Kenya and Somalia.
Under the program, refugees receive a cash grant of $200 per person upon leaving the camp and another $200 upon arrival in Somalia. Refugees are also assured of utensils and other household items and promised six months of food assistance. Dadaab now has a population of around 240,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers; down from more than 450,000 residents in 2012, when it was the largest refugee settlement in the world. More than 74,000 Somali refugees have voluntarily returned to Somalia since December 2014. Waiting with her three children in Dadaab to board a bus for Somalia, 40-year-old Zahra Mohammed was excited to return to her home country a decade after she fled civil war and drought.
“I’m very happy to go back home,” she said, smiling. “Somalia is my country. It is my home. I want to go and start a new life. I left some of my relatives there and I hope they are still alive. I want to go and reunite with them.” Mohammed was among approximately 2,000 refugees leaving the camp every week in late 2017. Most headed to Baidoa in western Somalia, Kismayu on the Indian Ocean coast and Mogadishu. At this pace – said Abdullahi Farah, a community elder at Ifo, one of Dadaab’s five camps – all Somali refugees will be back home soon. The only holdup is the time it takes for UNHCR to process paperwork, he said, predicting that more people will return once the rainy season ends. “The rate at which people are registering at UNHCR offices to go back to Somalia shows that this camp will no longer be there by the end of 2018,” he said.
Yet complicating this picture is a slower but steady flow of people traveling in the opposite direction. Around 30,000 Somalis have fled to Kenya since the repatriation began, according to UNHCR. There are some 3,570 unregistered Somalis in Dadaab who arrived early in 2017, said Denis Kuindje, UNHCR senior protection coordinator at Dadaab. “We have refugees who are returning back to the camp after repatriation and we are finding out why they are coming back. … We understand there are places in Somalia that still have security concerns and lack of social amenities,” said Kuindje. The Refugee Council of Kenya, an organization that monitors the border, said in November that an estimated 11,100 people had crossed the border from Somalia into Kenya since January.
Human rights groups have warned that refugees in Dadaab were returning to Somalia under duress because of Kenyan government pressure. Dwindling aid and mounting refugee debts added to the compulsion to return. Many went back to overcrowded displacement camps in Somalia, where they were dismayed by the lack of services. Some faced difficulties accessing aid. Ali Haji, 15, said he snuck back to Dadaab camp with three friends last month because they had nothing to eat and nowhere to live in Somalia. “I can’t stay in Somalia,” he said. “There is no food to eat and people are starving to death. I have come here so that I can get something to eat.” Ismael said more refugees were returning to the camp once they discovered the true extent of the security conditions and the dearth of assistance in Somalia. “There’s no food, water, toilet, shelter and education. People live in fear of attack by militants,” he said. “Life is hell in Somalia.”