January 25, 2018 | Morning Headlines

Main Story

Somalia Set To Establish Regulatory Body For Telecom Industry

24 January- Source: Xinhua – 280 Words

The Somali government said on Wednesday it will establish the first-ever ICT body, the National Communications Authority (NCA), to help regulate the country’s telecommunication sector.Abdi Ashur Hassan, Minister for Post and Telecom, told a three-day forum in Mogadishu that his first priority is to establish a credible and effective regulatory authority that is operationally independent and strong enough to regulate the sector. “You have an exceptional opportunity to create a new institution not restricted by organizational challenges in our existing institutions,” Hassan told telecom operators, consultancy firms and Implementation Task Team that will provide technical assistance to the establishment of the country’s NCA. “You will be responsible for the success or the failure of this institution so I would urge you to do your utmost as individuals and as a team to ensure the establishment of a credible and effective institution,” said the minister.

He said his ministry had requested the World Bank for a technical support to the establishment of NCA by way of providing expertise to the ministry on best ways to establish the regulatory body. Hassan urged the team to keep their role in mind as the Horn of Africa nation’s government embarks on this important task of creating a new  institution. “We want the regulatory authority to become an exemplary organization that other institution to emulate and benchmark,” he added. The move comes after Somalia’s President in October last year signed into the National Communications Act to regulate the country’s telecommunication sector. The telecommunications bill calls for the creation of telecoms regulatory authority, development of the country with telecommunications technology, protecting corporate and consumer rights and more participation by private sectors in developing the sector.


Key Headlines

  • Somalia Set To Establish Regulatory Body For Telecom Industry (Xinhua)
  • Puntland: Four Police Officers Arrested Over The Murder Of Goldogob Police Commander (Goobjoog News)
  • 11 Arrested Weapons Recovered As Mogadishu Police Uncover Gang Hideout (Radio Dalsan)
  • Somalia Reiterates Appeal To Lift Arms Embargo (Anadolu Agency)
  • 3 Al-Shabaab Fighters Killed In Central Somalia (Xinhuanet)
  • Araweelo Abroad Is the Website Creating A Safe Space for Somali Women (Teenvogue)


Puntland: Four Police Officers Arrested Over The Murder Of Goldogob Police Commander

24 January – Source: Goobjoog News- 190 Words

Puntland State police of Mudug province today arrested four  of their men in connection with the death of Galdogob police station commander who was killed last night in Bursalah location allegedly by his colleagues. A delegation led by the commissioner of Mudug Regional Commissioner, Hassan Mohamed Khalif last night arrived in Bur Salah location where the ill-fated incident took place.

Mudug comissioner Khalif confirmed the arrest of the murder suspects. “When we arrived in BurSalah location, we met with the commissioner of Goldogob. We confirmed the death and  immediately started an investigation. The four  police officers were informed of a terrorist car approaching the location and confronted it with gunfire, killing one of its occupants. Fortunately the  four police suspects have been arrested by their local commanding officer. Investigation is ongoing” said Commissioner Khalif.  Late October 2017 deputy police commander of Puntland Guled Farah Bile was unintentionally injured in a gunshot fired by his commander Abdikadir Shire Farah ‘Erig’ during a scuffle between Farah and the commissioner of Nugal province Omar Abdullahi Faraweyne.

11 Arrested, Weapons Recovered As Mogadishu Police Uncover Gang Hideout

24 January – Source: Radio Dalsan- 135 Words

Eleven suspected armed gangsters were on Wednesday arrested in a swoop conducted in the Somali capital Mogadishu, Radio Dalsan reports. Police say they recovered weapons from a hideout in Karan district following a tip off by the public. “We recovered AK 47s. We had been told by residents suspecting they were behind several killings in Mogadishu”

Police Spokesman Qassim told Radio Dalsan in phone interview. “We are detaining eleven of them. Let me make it clear that these are not at all linked to any militant group. They are what we call ‘Bur’ad’or gangsters” he said. Qasim says they are investigating leads into possible involvement of the gang in fake currency making. Within a week Mogadishu police have made three major arrests on armed gangs who have been terrorizing residents with muggings, robberies and murder.


Somalia Reiterates Appeal To Lift Arms Embargo

24 January – Source: Anadolu Agency – 722 Words

Somalia has appealed to the United Nations and the United States to lift the arms embargo they imposed during the civil war. Anadolu Agency caught up with Somali Ambassador to Ethiopia Mohamed Ali-Nur Hagi on the sidelines of an African Union meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) in preparation for the 30th Assembly of heads of state and government slated for Sunday. The ambassador said the embargo had outlived its purpose.

The UN Security Council first imposed an arms embargo on Somalia in January 1992.
Although it has been relaxed in subsequent years, the embargo is still in effect. In 2014, the Security Council reaffirmed the overall arms embargo on Somalia. “Our appeals for the lifting of the arms embargo are well justified due to the fact that Somalis are no longer fighting a clan-based civil war, which had lent a reason for the U.S. and U.N. to impose the embargo,” the ambassador said “So long as there is a national government that is committed to the country and to the international protocols and agreements, I think there is no reason Somalia is still kept under the embargo,” he said.

He added that the arms embargo had significantly eroded the capacity of the Somali government to fight the al-Qaeda-linked insurgency al-Shabaab that has been wreaking havoc in Somalia for the past decade. “Sometimes al-Shabaab fighters have had more firepower than the Somali National Army,” he lamented. While, conditions have greatly improved in Somalia with a peaceful transition of power, a process to implement institutions and a growing economic performance, the ambassador said his government wants a gradual takeover from the multinational peacekeeping force AMISOM. “The implementation of the pact for AMISOM to hand over to the Somali National Army needs a lot of resources, a lot of planning,” he said. “I think some of the preparations are in place already, but at the moment, as the international community has already indicated, a gradual handover to the national army is in the best interest of the Somali government, people as well as in the interest of the region as a whole.”

3 Al-Shabaab Fighters Killed In Central Somalia

24 January – Source: Xinhuanet – 145 Words

Somali security forces backed by African Union troops on Wednesday 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 Abdi Dahir Gure told reporters that the allied forces preempted militants’ plot to carry out attack in the town. “There are no casualties on both the joint forces and civilians so far. The situation is calm now,” 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 residents 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.


It’s a cultural hub with academics, visual artists, beauty gurus and regular Somalis alike that grants Somali women the ability to control every aspect of their narrative with an unmitigated realness. Araweelo Abroad does not exist to legitimize the experience of Somalis in the diaspora, instead it allows multiple women to define their experiences and it evinces the existence of Somalis in the diaspora.”

Araweelo Abroad Is the Website Creating A Safe Space for Somali Women

23 January – Source: Teenvogue – 1199 Words
Queen Araweelo, an ancient Somali queen, is immortalized by the tongues of Somali matriarchs. Mothers pass down the story of Araweelo to their daughters as a way of empowering them; Araweelo defied gender roles, and actively advocated for women’s liberation. A contentious figure in Somali folklore, some even debate that she existed. But even if she only existed via word of mouth, her story and her reign is special to Somali women. The Somali word “Araweelo” tends to be used as an insult by men, but for Somali women, it’s embraced and associated with the feminist folktale of Queen Araweelo’s story. So it’s only fitting that her story would serve as the inspiration for the name of Araweelo Abroad, an online Somali publication run by Ifrah Ahmed and Sagal Abdulle, that describes itself as a “cyber-homecoming” for all Somali women across the diaspora.

Araweelo Abroad is a digital community for Somali women scattered across the globe to be open and unapologetic about who they are. Helmed by Somali editors that understand their perspectives in a world where the Black Muslim experience is heavily scrutinized, it’s a necessary endeavor — especially since storytelling is an integral aspect of Somali culture, and Araweelo Abroad showcases this with photo essays, poems and personal essays. It is a meeting place for Somali women of the diaspora who are looking for a community that does not shun them for talking about anything “taboo” and it allows Somali women to reclaim and define their own narratives.

It all began on Tumblr a little over three years ago when Ifrah, who was 22 years old at the time, was studying law and Sagal, who was 23, was studying for her BA in literature with the hopes of working as an editor in publishing decided to expand their presence on their dashboards into something tangible for the Somalis creating content online. Ifrah and Sagal are cousins, with the Atlantic Ocean separating them and a six hour time difference between, but it was imperative for them to make this work. After making a call for submissions on their respective personal blogs, it was only a matter of time before they were getting tons of emails from Somali girls across the globe. Both Ifrah and Sagal were really active with Somali “reer” Tumblr (reer translates to family in Somali). But however nice reer Tumblr was, the little family we created online was in desperate need of seeing themselves off the dashboard before these networks dissolved.

Which is where Araweelo came in. On the need to create this publication, Ifrah tells me: “I didn’t see myself represented anywhere. Where were the Somali girls who were writers? Went to punk shows? Made visual art or music? Nothing in pop culture or literature seemed to strike to the core of my identities and experiences.” Once Ifrah thought this void of lack of representation needed to filled, she hit up her cousin, Sagal, who was in the process of moving away from London to a smaller city in England, making it imperative for her to have a place to celebrate life — a place of belonging that is not beholden to catering to any audience outside of Somali women.

When Araweelo Abroad launched in 2014, it was as mythic and as cathartic as hearing the story of the woman that this publication was named after. Sagal told me over email that “the endless months we spent creating this platform has been one of the most grueling and rewarding things we’ve done.” This platform was unique to Somalis, in a way that forums and the scattered presences of Somalis on social media weren’t. It’s a cultural hub with academics, visual artists, beauty gurus and regular Somalis alike that grants Somali women the ability to control every aspect of their narrative with an unmitigated realness. Araweelo Abroad does not exist to legitimize the experience of Somalis in the diaspora, instead it allows multiple women to define their experiences and it evinces the existence of Somalis in the diaspora. Araweelo Abroad takes care of and has satisfied so many Somali women’s appetites for a platform that catered to them. In a sense, Araweelo Abroad was the mother of Somali magazine/zine culture, they gave birth to and reimagined Somali existence by uploading it to the web. There isn’t a topic they’ve shied away from — from grief, to sex, to cellular memory and trauma.

But the intention of Araweelo Abroad isn’t merely representation. Araweelo Abroad is a publication that documents and accounts for the complexity of the Somali, Black, Muslim diasporic experiences. Somalis exist at the intersection of Blackness, Muslimhood and migration; CVE, Muslim watchlists impact the lives of Somalis, along with the inner-surveillance in our community. And though Somali online existence can be seen as part of that larger Black cyber existence, Somalis are particularly hyper in/visible, existing in a limbo, both impacted by how Black Twitter has been infiltrated by Russian bots, and privy to watchlists that monitor the online movements of Muslims. The line between needing to be seen and being watched is a thin one, and this reality is at the heart of online and offline existence for Somalis in the diaspora. This majority of the interactions between Somalis happen in group chats — due to this IRL and URL panoptic surveillance  Araweelo Abroad seeks to come out of the shadows and emerge as a tangible safe space for Somali women to merely exist as is.

That said, as other Somali zines and magazines emerge out of the many pockets of Somali online existence, the lurking white and non-Muslim, non-Black gaze imposes its presence on this kind of cultural production. Indie Black Muslim creatives tend to create and produce art without feeling pressured to conform or cater to certain audiences, which is defiant in the face of brands that harness diversity only to capitalize off it. The pressure to be marketable and accessible to those that may not understand these realities is there, but in a world where representation is just glorified tokenization, these kind of spaces offer marginalized people a respite from the looming oversight of those that seek to capitalize. As much as social media has held brands accountable for the lack of diversity, and people have seen gains from Rihanna being deliberately inclusive in her makeup line, it is important to note that a lot of people may just want a space where they belong and feel welcomed.

Documenting the existence of Somali women isn’t inherently radical, and it doesn’t need to be. It doesn’t need to be political either. To merely exist without the need to be more is far more interesting than inflicting on oneself with the need to make a statement of some sort. With the blatant erasure of Somalis in every space, I ask myself: what will matter in the end, the historical record of Black Muslim online existence, or the impact Black Muslims left behind? Similar to folklore, digital existence can be infinite and Araweelo Abroad has shown that there is something freeing about using online spaces to create never-ending universes and utopias that look Somali, Black and Muslim. For us, by us.


The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of AMISOM, and neither does their inclusion in the bulletin/website constitute an endorsement by AMISOM.