Allied Forces Avert Militants’ Plot To Carry Out Raid In Hiiraan
25 January – Source: Radio Shabelle – 146 Words
Somali security forces backed by Africa Union troops killed three Al-Shabaab militants and injured several others during a heavy fighting in Bula-burte town in Hiiraan region, central Somalia, Somali authorities said. Bula-burte District Commissioner Mr. Abdi Dahir Gure told reporters that the allied forces preempted militants’ plot to carry out an attack in the town. “There are no casualties on both the joint forces and civilians so far. The situation is calm now,” Mr. Gure said.
Residents in the town said that the fighting began after the militants fired mortar shells early Wednesday. “Al-Shabaab fighters attacked army base here with mortar shells, then heavy fighting erupted which lasted several hours,” a resident said. Al-Shabaab militants did not comment on the latest military victory by the security forces. Bula-burte in Hiiraan region is under Hirshabelle State and it is about 200 km north of the capital Mogadishu.
- Allied Forces Avert Militants’ Plot To Carry Out Raid In Hiiraan (Radio Shabelle)
- President Farmaajo To Appoint Supervisory Committee On Projects In Puntland And Galmudug States (Goobjoog News)
- Student Killed 3 SNA Soldiers Injured In Mogadishu Blast (Radio Dalsan)
- Somalia Could Lose IGAD Position To Uganda Over Arrears (Radio Dalsan)
- US Forces Lead Rescue Of 30 Youngsters From Shabaab Indoctrination Centre (Capital FM Kenya)
- A Bitter Rivalry Between Arab States Is Spilling Into Africa (The Economist)
President Farmaajo To Appoint Supervisory Committee On Projects In Puntland And Galmudug States
25 January – Source: Goobjoog News – 630 Words
Somali President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo is planning to appoint a supervisory committee to keep abreast on the developments he initiated in Galmudug and Puntland States during his visit this month. Speaking to the media in his presidential office, he expressed his intention of setting up a committee to keep an eye on the progress of the projects he laid their foundations during his official tour of Puntland and Galmudug States. “For the services of the government to reach every corner of the country, we shall appoint in the coming days a monitoring committee for the projects that we pledged to implement in order to be informed of achievements or not” said President Farmaajo.
He also expressed his government willingness to carry out as much as it can and uttered his readiness to accept foreign assistance on implementing the numerous projects to make Somalia to stand on its two feet. “We laid the foundation stone on many crucial roads in the two areas hoping to complete with our own efforts. If an entity offers us help, we are ready to receive them to revive the infrastructure of the country for free flow of people and goods” he said. The president was elated to be part of developmental infrastructures erected in central Somalia especially in Puntland State. “We were delighted to be part of Puntland State developments where we had the opportunity to lay the foundation stone on many projects in the area which the federal government pledged to play a role in the local economy.”
He was optimistic of the local people to support the government, which according to the president was reflected how they welcomed him during his visit. “We completed a long tour which took 17 days where we toured Puntland and Galmudug States and we were warmly received by the people. We believe they are ready to support the government especially on security matters.” On the reconciliation side, president Farmaajo termed his official tour as ‘Peace Trip’ whenever he met with local people in the different locations he visited, and underscored the success of his trip. ‘‘We initiated our reconciliation goal in Galkayo town which is jointly administered by the two neighbouring states and, we really succeed. We also initiated reconciliation process in Adado, Abduwak and Heraale towns, which the process is still ongoing up to now.”
The president appealed to the business people and the Diaspora Somali community, to donate resources on these projects to be implemented citing his government is a young one, with no sufficient funds at this moment of time. “I want to appeal to the local business community and the Somali Diaspora to take part in these projects, since the government is a nascent one. The government will play its role. Lastly, I laid the foundation stone on Hobyo port. We need to strengthen economic growth sectors since our country is located in strategic position with long coastal line reaching 3,300 km, can support several ports with the help of foreign investments.”
Separately, the local commissioner of Hobyo noted his optimism about the implementation of the port facility which president Farmaajo laid its foundation stone 3 days ago. Commissioner Mr. Abdullahi Ahmed Faat in the historic coastal town in central Somalia said the government will act on its word to erect port infrastructure in his town. “I am optimistic that it will be implemented soon. Though we are now experiencing cold season, after some time, the port can be operational at full capacity in the near future. Port facility is economically beneficial for the local people and the entire country” said Commissioner Faat. President Farmaajo travelled back to Mogadishu after visiting Puntland and Galmudug States since 8th January, a historic trip following the collapse of the Somali central government since early 1990s.
Student Killed, 3 SNA Soldiers Injured In Mogadishu Blast
25 January – Source: Radio Dalsan – 83 Words
At least one person and three people were injured when an IED exploded near the former Digfeer hospital in Hodan district of the Somali capital Mogadishu. The explosion had targeted a private vehicle carrying Somalia National Army soldiers.
“The landmine had been planted near the road. A student had been passing by and was killed” an eyewitness told reports. “Three soldiers were injured” he added. Although no one has claimed responsibility the attack has the hallmark of the Al-Qaeda linked militant group Al-Shabaab.
Somalia Could Lose IGAD Position To Uganda Over Arrears
24 January – Source: Radio Dalsan – 150 Words
Non clearance of arrears by Somalia may see its candidate Mr. Abdisalam Omar Hadliye lose the top position in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) according to Radio Dalsan. According to a source at the IGAD headquarters in Djibouti Somalia, chances are running slim after Uganda recently paid its arrears in the trade bloc to boost its chances of clinching to the influential top position.
Somalia is in a tight race with Uganda, to replace Kenyan Amb. Mahboub Maalim but, glaring on its face is an arrear running up to $1M. IGAD Foreign Affairs Ministers are to meet on Saturday in the Ethiopian capital Addis and top on the agenda will be the position of Executive Secretary. Somalia is a member of IGAD and is said to have arrears running up to $1M. The eight member trade bloc was started in 1996, but Somalia has never held the top position.
25 January – Source: Capital FM, Kenya – 408 Words
A joint operation between the United States and Somali National security forces has rescued 30 youngsters from an Al-Shabaab indoctrination centre. During the rescue mission, five terrorists were killed while six others sustained injuries. The children, majority under 18 years were found in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, where the Al-Qaeda linked Shabaab insurgents were radicalizing them.
According to a statement by the US Africa Command, the US personnel were in an advisory capacity and did not fire their weapons during the operation. “We support the Federal Government of Somalia and UNICEF efforts to reunite these children with their families,” read the statement released to media on Wednesday, though the incident happened on January 18. Early this year, Human Rights Watch cautioned that aggressive campaigns to recruit children had begun in mid-2017, with the jihadists taking reprisals against communities who refuse to cooperate.
According to HRW, hundreds of children have fled their homes to avoid this fate, often alone. “Al-Shabaab’s ruthless recruitment campaign is taking rural children from their parents so they can serve this militant armed group,” said Laetitia Bader, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch on January 15. The areas affected were largely in the Southern Bay region, a district still under the control of the Shabaab. According to HRW, Al-Shabaab has opened large Islamic religious schools since 2015 in areas under their control, bringing in younger children and pressuring teachers to teach the Shabaab curriculum in schools and avoid “foreign teachings”.
According to locals interviewed by HRW, Shabaab militants ordered them to hand over dozens of children between the ages of nine and 15. “They said we needed to support their fight. They spoke to us in a very threatening manner. They also said they wanted the keys to our boreholes. They kept us for three days. We said we needed to consult with our community. They gave us 10 days,” one resident told HRW. In Berdale district – also in the Bay region – Shabaab has abducted elders who refuse to hand over children in at least four villages, said the statement.
OPINION, ANALYSIS & CULTURE
“Somalia has been particularly friendly to Turkey and leans towards the Islamist camp. But Somaliland, the internationally un-recognised breakaway statelet on the Red Sea coast, which functions far better than the supposed mother country, has done a big deal with the UAE. The Emirates are building another base there and paying for a new road to connect Somaliland’s port of Berbera with landlocked Ethiopia.”
23 January – Source: The Economist – 769 Words
The rivalry between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on one side and the Gulf state of Qatar on the other is spilling poison into the Horn of Africa, embittering animosities between half a dozen countries in the region. Several of them have seized an opportunity to benefit from instability in the Arabian peninsula by offering bases. But if Arab conflicts spread, countries in the Horn could be dragged into the fray.
Broadly speaking, the regional imbroglio pits two camps of Muslims. One is a more vigorously Islamist lot, including Qatar and Turkey, which have been friendly towards the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement spanning many countries, and seek better relations with Iran. The other is an alliance led by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, whose governments all loathe the Brothers and proclaim themselves as moderate Sunnis particularly hostile to the Shia version of Islam promoted by Iran.
But peripheral countries are being affected, too. According to one recent report, not confirmed by independent sources, Egypt has deployed troops in Eritrea near the latter’s border with Sudan. This followed a bout of bad blood in which Egypt’s government accused Sudan’s of boosting the Brotherhood, which ruled Egypt for a year from 2012 until overthrown by General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, now Egypt’s president. On January 15th Eritrea’s long-serving president, Issaias Afwerki, furiously denied the report, saying that “outright lies” had been “repeated ad nauseam by an assortment of Eritrea’s detractors” led by Qatar and its influential broadcaster, Al Jazeera.
The civil war just across the Red Sea in Yemen, where Iranian-backed Houthi rebels are fighting a Gulf coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, is further increasing regional tension. The countries of the Horn of Africa have been called on to take sides; many officially espouse neutrality, yet offer naval and military facilities.
A merry-go-round of island-swapping and port-lending is taking place. Even before the Yemen conflict erupted, Djibouti had earned billions of dollars by providing France (its former colonial master), America and China with military bases. Until a recent row it also hosted the UAE, which now uses a base in the Eritrean port of Assab, close to Djibouti, as a key spot from which to attack Houthi positions in Yemen. Sudan, which has deployed troops as part of the Gulf coalition against the Houthis, has been making friendly noises to Qatar, and has recently enraged Egypt by letting Turkey develop an old Ottoman port at Suakin, on the Red Sea. Egypt, for its part, last year delighted Saudi Arabia by ratifying an agreement that two small uninhabited islands near the Gulf of Aqaba belonged to the kingdom.
Somalia has been particularly friendly to Turkey and leans towards the Islamist camp. But Somaliland, the internationally un-recognised breakaway statelet on the Red Sea coast, which functions far better than the supposed mother country, has done a big deal with the UAE. The Emirates are building another base there and paying for a new road to connect Somaliland’s port of Berbera with landlocked Ethiopia. To confuse matters more, some of Somalia’s federal states, displaying their own quasi-independence, have made deals that seem to flout the foreign policy of the federal capital, Mogadishu. For instance, Somalia’s north-eastern statelet of Puntland last year signed a deal with the UAE to develop its port, Bosaso, to the annoyance of the government in Mogadishu. A hashtag called #HandsOffSomalia has become popular among Somalis prickly about what they see as infringements of their sovereignty.
Ethiopia tries to keep out of the regional spat, though it is still at loggerheads with Egypt over the nearly completed Great Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia, which Egypt says will drastically curb the flow of the Nile river. The Ethiopians are cosy with Turkey, a big investor, but have also put out friendly feelers to the UAE. Recently, by way of balance, they let Al Jazeera open an office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital.
In any event, Ethiopia is likely to oppose anything Eritrea supports: the two countries’ armies still glower at each other across a disputed border, though full-scale fighting ceased in 2000. Meanwhile Eritrea has seized the chance to boost its depleted coffers. Not only has it let the UAE build its base at Assab, by the mouth of the Red Sea. Eritrea is also said to let Israel, which has quietly provided intelligence to Saudi Arabia on Yemen, have discreet use of facilities in the Dahlak archipelago, along with a listening station on an Eritrean mountain. The Houthis in Yemen accuse the Saudis of cosying up to the Israelis—a most heinous crime in some Islamist circles.
@HarunMaruf: #Somalia: Puntland president Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas appoints new police commanders: 1.Gen Abdullahi Shire Dool, police commander2.Col Bile Farah Ali, 1st deputy police commander3.Col Osman Hassan Uuke, 2nd deputy police commander.
@HarunMaruf: 88 – that is the number of days the Somali intel agency (NISA) and police force has been without director and commander, respectively. Former NISA chief Abdillahi Mohamed Sanbalooshe and Police Commissioner Abdihakim Dahir were sacked on Oct 29 after Nasa Hablod hotel attack.
@HarunMaruf: Several soldiers were hurt in explosion from remotel-control device in Tarabunka area of Mogadishu this morning: sources.
@RAbdiCG: Rashid Abdi Retweeted UNSOM Standout para in@SRSGKeating‘s address to UNSC 24 Jan:”There is a serious danger that long-standing disputes between Puntland and Somaliland, and in particular an armed stand-off in Sool, could erupt into violence in the coming days, with potentially grave consequences.”
@SomaliPM: I had a constructive meeting with the Norwegian PM Erna Solberg ,during which we reviewed ways of further strengthening the excellent relations between the two countries. We also discussed how Norway could increase the assistance it gives to Somalia.
@DalsanFM: “Watu Wote” a film based on the 2015 #Alshabaabattack on a bus in #Mandera #Kenya has been nominated for the Oscars Academy Awards 2018. The film depicts how Muslim passengers protected Christians refusing to be separated when the #Alshabab group waylaid the bus. #Oscars2018
IMAGE OF THE DAY
Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire with Qatar Deputy Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani during sidelines meeting in World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.