January 2, 2018 | Morning Headlines

Main Story

Somali Military Court Charges Oct 14 Blast Suspects

01 January – Source: Shabelle News – 105 Words

Five men face charges in connection with the October 14 truck bombing at Zoobe junction in Mogadishu that killed more than 512 people. The suspects appeared before Somali Military court on Monday, but their sentences have been postponed to next Thursday, according to the chief of the 1st-degree tribunal.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack which was the deadliest single day atrocity in Somalia’s history as it claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians. The Somali Federal government, however, has blamed the militant group for the bombing. Mogadishu has been hit by fatal attacks during 2017, some claimed by Al Shabaab.

Key Headlines

  • Somali Military Court Charges Oct 14 Blast Suspects (Shabelle News)
  • Deputy PM Guleed Inaugurates Modern Equipment To Expand The Port (Goobjoog News)
  • Somali National Army Kill One Al-Shabaab Fighter In Gedo Region (Radio Dalsan)
  • U.S. Military Kills 17 Al-Shabaab Militants As It Intensifies Airstrikes In Somalia (Xinhuanet)
  • Scholars Call For Somalia To Be Protected From Foreign Interference (Middle East Monitor)
  • Why Somalia Is Al Shabaab Playground (The East African)


Deputy PM Guleed Inaugurates Modern Equipment To Expand The Port

01 January – Source: Goobjoog News – 279 Words

Somali Deputy Prime Minister, Mahdi Mohamed Guleed has today officially launched the opening of an event held in Mogadishu port to remove debris from the port waters. The new equipment were brought by Albayrak, a Turkish company that operates the city port. Present in today’s event were government officials including federal ministers among them Ports and marine Transport minister Maryan Aweis Jama.

Speaking at the event, the DPM Guleed expressed his delight noting the port ministry mission was to execute such a program. “Today it’s a big delight for us to inaugurate the program of removing sand and wreckage from the port of Mogadishu. It is one of the major goals of the port ministry as well as among the initial challenges faced by them since the inception of the current administration to remove dirt from the port to allow heavy ships to anchor at the facility”

Minister Maryan Aweis Jama who spoke in the venue described the determination her ministry exerted to realize this matter since the port is the nerve centre for the economy of the country. “This inauguration of today is a long process we were deeply engaged in. The port of Mogadishu is the economic centre of the Somali nation and its imperative for us to keep tracking how it works” said Minister Jama

Minister Jama predicted for the port to be at par with international rules in the near future. “We expect the port of Mogadishu to reach international standard in service provision in the coming years. The port was a rundown but Albayrak Company has revived it. This is one of the contract agreements between the government and Albayrak to cover this section.”

Somali National Army Kill One Al-Shabaab Fighter In Gedo Region

01 January – Source: Radio Dalsan – 106 Words

Gedo regional administration said that one Al-Shabaab fighter was killed in an operation carried out in the region. The 48th battalion of brigade 10 in section 43 of the Somali National Army have conducted a planned operation in the outskirts of Burdubo district after reports saying that Al-Shabaab were in the area.

The Burdubo district commissioner Mr Abdirahman Ibrahim Muhumed confirmed the information saying the operation was meant to clear some the fighters who crossed into the area while hiding. Mr Muhumed added that the army repulsed and recovered equipment and goats from the fighters but so far there are no independent reports on this issue.


U.S. Military Kills 17 Al-Shabaab Militants As It Intensifies Airstrikes In Somalia

01 January – Source: Xinhuanet – 258 Words

The U.S. military intensified airstrikes in Somalia in the past week, killing at least 17 Al-Shabaab terrorists behind increased deadly attacks in countries including Kenya. The U.S. Africa Command (Africom) in two separate statements on Monday said its forces killed four terrorists some 25 kilometers west of Mogadishu on the evening of Dec. 27, destroying one vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, preventing it from being used against the people in Mogadishu.

Africom also said some 13 terrorists were killed on Dec. 24 in southern Somalia as Washington intensifies airstrikes to weed out Al-Shabaab militants in the Horn of Africa nation.”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,” it said. “This includes partnering with AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) in combined counterterrorism operations and targeting terrorists, their training camps, and their safe havens throughout Somalia and the region,” it said.

The Islamist extremists have pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda and is dedicated to providing safe haven for terrorist attacks throughout the world. The U.S. forces have carried out a series of drone strikes in recent months in Somalia, targeting Islamist States and Al-Shabaab fighters as the Africa Union peacekeeping mission prepares to exit the country. Somali and African Union peacekeeping (AMISOM) forces have also intensified military operations against the insurgents, flushing them in their Lower and Middle Shabelle region bases amid an expected recall of 1,000 African Union troops by end of December 2017.

Scholars Call For Somalia To Be Protected From Foreign Interference

01 January – Source: Middle East Monitor – 142 Words

The Commission of Somali Scholars called on Sunday for politicians to protect their country from “foreign interference” and to respect its sovereignty, Anadolu reported on Sunday. In a statement issued in response to the latest upheaval, the scholars expressed their concerns about the “unstable political situation” in Somalia over many months. They called for efforts to adopt the “rule of reason and a constructive policy” instead of one driven by tribal interests. The latter, they said, has taken the country into chaos.

Insisting that the Somali government should aim for justice and equality in society, they stressed that it should also respect individual rights. The Muslim scholars added a warning about the use of “extrajudicial forces” leading to “sedition and unnecessary consequences.” In conclusion the group reiterated the importance of unity and warned the government about the consequences of division in society.


“Unless the arms embargo is lifted and there is cohesion in the way Somalia’s partners collaborate with its security apparatus, my fear is that we will witness an attack a lot worse than the one on October 14, at Zoobe junction,”

Why Somalia Is Al Shabaab Playground

30 December – Source: The East African  – 3102 Words

On the second day of my visit to Mogadishu, within a couple of days of the October 14, 2017 truck bombing, I visited the site of the explosion in the company of Prof Abdullahi Shirwa, the chairman of the National Emergency Operation Centre. At some point, the man explaining things to me, glanced nervously around, and bent down and picked up “something.” He said to me, “Here,” offering me whatever it was that he had picked up from under a piece of wood.

I didn’t like his bothered look and so I asked, “What is it?” “These are pieces of human flesh.” Shocked, I averted my eyes, not ready to accept the man’s extended hand and was relieved when Prof Shirwa assured me that they were fragments of charred metal strewn by the massive explosion. Of the numerous assaults and bomb attacks that will haunt every Somali’s mind, none has been more dastardly than this one. A heinous act of incomparable devastation, nearly 400 souls lost and an equal number of people suffered serious injuries, many needing major surgery, with many others either unaccounted for or missing.

The local terrorist group Al Shabaab had just served notice on everyone that it was still capable of striking panic into the nation’s heart, despite its territorial loss. As we mourned the dead, we sought answers to the question we have been asking for the past decade. Now we ask again if this would be the watershed event that would drive the African Mission in Somalia (Amisom) and the Somali National Army towards a decisive final push to rid the country of Al Shabaab once for all.

The terrorist organisation masters in the dark arts of stonewalling did not claim ownership of the attack, fearing a popular backlash. It is worth remembering that the terrorists did not own up to the December 4, 2009, Hotel Shamo blast in which a male suicide bomber disguised as a woman by wearing a hijab, detonated a device killing three government ministers, two professors of medicine and nine students at a medical school graduation ceremony. But even without taking credit for the killings, everyone suspected them of being the perpetrators.

A Somali proverb says; Lies have short legs. And sooner or later, the truth will catch up with them. And so it was something of a relief when the truth caught up with Al Shabaab’s taciturnity: The Somali Minister for Internal Security released the names of the six men behind the October 14 truck bombing a month after the deadly incident and two weeks following the Hotel Naasa Hablood assault, in which 17 people died and 23 were wounded, which Al Shabaab claimed to have carried out.

Mohamed Abukar Islow, the minister for Internal Security, identified Osman Hajji aka Maadey as the suicide bomber and driver of the truck. He also named five other individuals, who are now in custody, accused of having had a hand in the bombing: Hassan Adan Isack, the driver of the second car; Ali Yussuf Wacays, aka Duaale, thought to be the second suicide bomber; Abdiweli Ahmed Dirie, aka Fanax, the group’s head of explosive experts in Mogadishu; Mukhtar Mohamed known as Gardhuub, a senior leader of the team; and Abdullahi Abdi Warsame. The minister added, “Apart from those in custody, our forces are hunting down the owner of the truck who is on the run.”


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