27 January – Source: Gulf Today – 390 Words
Drone strikes by the United States military are “wiping out” Al Shabaab militants in Somalia, the head of the African Union (AU) mission in the country said. The US has stepped up its operations in the war-torn Horn of Africa nation, targeting the Al Qaeda linked Shabaab, which has fought for the last decade to topple Somalia’s internationally backed government, and a separate self-proclaimed branch of the Daesh. “These drone attacks and others are wiping out Al Shabaab in good numbers. And that is good to finish with the terrorism,” said Francisco Madeira, the chief of the 22,000-strong African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on the sidelines of the AU’s summit in the Ethiopian capital.
In recent months, US special forces and the Somali national army have killed scores in air strikes and ground assaults targeting Shabaab, including a Christmas Eve strike that left 13 dead. The surge in activity comes after President Donald Trump last year loosened constraints on the US military in Somalia, allowing commanders to take action against suspected terrorists when they judge it is needed, without seeking specific White House approval. The US Africa Command has had to defend itself against allegations that its forces have killed civilians, issuing a statement in November that said no civilians died in a raid three months prior despite media reports to the contrary.
Madeira said only that if soldiers were accused of unlawfully killing civilians they would be taken to court. He said that when deaths did occur AMISOM did not have the money to pay reparations to bereaved families. “We do not have money to pay for this. We have been sharing this with a number of partners, but so far the response has been very, very, very minimal, almost non-existent,” he said. While AMISOM is scheduled to depart Somalia by December 2020, Madeira said an extension of the force’s mandate was not out of the question. “The formation of a fully-fledged, functioning… Somali National Army, it might take a bit longer than that. But we can already have some critical mass of forces that can do the work,” he said. The once 22,000-strong AMISOM force began pulling troops out of Somalia at the end of last year, and Madeira has previously highlighted the need for more support to enable the national army to take over.
- US Drones ‘Wiping Out’ Al Shabaab Rebels In Somalia (Gulf Today)
- Somalia: President Farmajo Meets With UN Chief In Addis Ababa (Garowe Online)
- Nur Iidow Belye Wins The Federal Lower House Seat Of HirShabelle (Radio Shabelle)
- Wadajir Party Terms Unconstitutional The Arrest Of Their Members By Security Officers (Goobjoog News)
- Urgent Help Sought for AU Force’s Planned Somalia Withdrawal (Associated Press)
- How Cash Transfers In Somalia Could evolve Into A National Social Safety Net (Devex.com)
Somalia: President Farmajo Meets With UN Chief In Addis Ababa
28 January – Source: Garowe Online – 163 Words
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo met with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital on Sunday, GO reports. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union that kicked off today in Addis Ababa. UN Chief Guterres has reaffirmed UN support for Somalia, noting the importance of a comprehensive approach to security sector and the Somali Federal government’s efforts to restore peace and stability in the Horn of Africa country.
The UN Secretary-General has commended President Farmajo for 2018-2020 roadmap and expressed optimism for one-person, one-vote elections in Somalia. For his part, Somali President has thanked the UN for its continued support to Somalia in the fields of peace and state-building. President Farmajo is scheduled to deliver an important speech at the ongoing African Union meeting and holding talks with other leaders and officials during his stay in Ethiopia.
Nur Iidow Belye Wins The Federal Lower House Seat Of HirShabelle
28 January – Source: Radio Shabelle – 103 Words
Mr. Nur Iidow Belye has beaten former Intelligence Agency Director Mr. Abdullahi Mohamed Ali (Sanbalolshe) to win the federal Lower House seat of HirShabelle on Sunday. The election was held in Jowhar, the interim administrative capital of HirShabelle, with 6 candidates, including one woman competed for the parliamentary seat.
Mr. Beyle received 27 votes against Mr. Sanbalolshe’s 24 votes, during the second round of the voting and was announced the winner of the seat by the national electoral commission. The seat which is allocated the sub-clan of Hawadle was vacated by Mr. Sanbalolshe following his appointment as intelligence chief in April last year.
Wadajir Party Terms Unconstitutional The Arrest Of Their Members By Security Officers
28 January – Source: Goobjoog News – 349 Words
Wadajir Party has termed the unlawful arrest of two of the senior party members by an alleged government security forces 2 days ago in Mogadishu. In a press statement released yesterday by the party, they noted that the unlawful action instituted by government intelligence security officers, whom they said wore government uniforms and were only visible from their eyes. The party has condemned in the strongest terms the violation on their liberty as stipulated in Article 15, Clause 2 of the Constitution which states: “Every person has the right to personal security, and this includes: the prohibition of illegal detention, all forms of violence, including any form of violence against women, torture or inhuman treatment” read the statement.
The party also underscored the illegal actions of the state security agents acting on personal aims, from the highest office of the land than serving the citizens within the confines of the constitution. “Its borders next to impossibility to accept the blatant behaviour of the intelligence security sector, stampeding upon the constitution against the citizens by legalizing violations on their rights, properties and lives while serving personal political agendas from the executive branch in villa Somalia” said the statement. On a similar tone, the party expressed their dissatisfaction on “the terror unleashed on citizens on daylight incident where they abducted citizens at gunpoint and took them behind backstreets in order to strip them of their political role in democracy, peace and development in the country in accordance in the country, peace and democracy.”
In their concluding remarks, Wadajir Party made in a crystal clear the failure of the government in managing the country. “The process of governance is out of place once the intelligence security officers turned into agents, that constantly terrorize the citizens which is a clear indication on the horror that is engulfing the Somali people from the government to safeguard their personal safety.” Mid December Wadajir party leader and former presidential contender Mr. Abdirahman Abdishakur was forcefully arrested by government security officers after a gun battle killed 5 of his security guards, a young girl and injured him.
27 January – Source: Associated Press – 456 Words
The African Union mission in Somalia’s planned withdrawal of 21,000 troops from the extremist-threatened Horn of Africa nation by 2020 cannot be met without urgent help from the international community, the mission’s chief said Saturday. In an interview, Francisco Madeira told The Associated Press he fears all gains made in the past decade could be lost in an abrupt departure. Speaking on the sidelines of an African Union summit, he said the world must “fast-track” to meet the 2020 goal of handing over security responsibilities to Somalia’s military. “The U.N. and other partners must understand that this enterprise needs additional resources,” he said.
The U.S. military and others have warned that Somalia’s forces are not ready as the al-Shabab extremist group continues to carry out deadly attacks in the capital, Mogadishu, and elsewhere. A truck bombing in Mogadishu in October killed 512 people and was blamed on al-Shabab’s ability to assemble ever-larger explosives. Only a few attacks since 9/11 have killed more people. The U.S. military last year increased its presence in Somalia to more than 500 personnel and carried out more than 30 drone strikes against al-Shabab and a small presence of Islamic State group-affiliated fighters.
But the African Union pullout from Somalia has begun, with 1,000 troops leaving last year. Madeira said he hopes another 1,000 troops will withdraw this year. The AU mission has faced a struggle for stable funding. The continental body says only 40 percent of its overall budget is funded by its member states, with the balance coming from donors. Observers say the unreliability of outside funding makes it difficult for the AU to finance critical activities such as peacekeeping operations. In 2016 a major funder of the AU mission in Somalia, the European Union, cut its funding for troop allowances by 20 percent, citing priorities elsewhere in Africa and around the world.
Somalia’s fragile central government continues to face the challenges of regional tensions and rampant corruption. While President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed once vowed to eliminate al-Shabab within a couple of years, his administration has seen multiple shuffles of key security officials in less than one year in office. Earlier this week, the foreign minister of Somalia’s breakaway northern territory of Somaliland told the AP that a major cause of Somalia’s challenges is its outsourcing of security to others. “What Somalia needs to do is to reconcile and engage communities and then to invest in its own security, not to wait and look after others to take care of its issues,” Saad Ali Shire said. But the African Union mission head disagreed, saying the long-chaotic nation would have been under al-Shabab control if the foreign forces had not arrived a decade ago.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“In Somalia, around 80 percent of cash transfer funds actually reach the beneficiary. In-kind food aid is closer to 60 percent, he said. Cash transfers work well in Somalia, because the private sector is functioning despite the ongoing conflict. This is largely because of the country’s dependence on food imports, which ensures there are relatively consistent markets to buy food and other items.”
26 January – Source: Devex.com – 1378 Words
On the outskirts of the city of Baidoa, in southwestern Somalia, lies a tent city of small dome shelters that have been cobbled together with branches, plastic tarp, pieces of cloth, and old grain bags, held in place with a random assortment of string. The shelters are home to Somalis, many of them farmers and pastoralists, who have come to Baidoa in search of humanitarian aid in response to the regional drought that has persisted for two agonizing years in the region. The current crisis has displaced more than 1.4 million people, with displacement flows hitting a peak last March, when more than 290,000 people left their home. But people continue to trickle into the camps and the weather forecast doesn’t look promising. The next rainy season, which starts in April, is expected to bring below-average rainfall. This means that for the majority of people already in the camps, a return home is not likely in the near future. To help keep these populations alive, the humanitarian sector has leaned heavily on cash transfers. This can include direct transfers of cash to cell phones through mobile money, vouchers, or a bank card.
In Somalia, cash transfer programs scaled up last year to a level likely never before seen in the country, Johan Heffinck, head of for the European Commission’s European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Somalia office, told Devex. Around 3 million people, which is about one-quarter of the population, are receiving some type of cash assistance, he said. The World Food Programme, for example, had about 10 percent of their food aid as cash-based transfers in 2015 and that number has now risen to about 60 percent, said Liljana Jovceva, head of programme for WFP’s Somalia office. Amid massive displacement over the past year, the humanitarian sector began to better coordinate its cash transfer distribution, creating alliances and working groups to ensure that organizations weren’t duplicating efforts.
Ultimately, some in the humanitarian sector have their sights set on seeing the program evolve into a national social safety net that would provide assistance to vulnerable Somalis beyond the current food crisis. This could lay the groundwork for future crises, allowing the sector to scale-up quickly during the next emergency. After their 25 goats died of starvation and thirst, Khadiyo Mohamed and her family came to Baidoa in search of support. Having to sell their land, and their donkey, which they used for transport, they walked for seven days. Her husband died soon after, from an unknown disease. She now lives with her five children in a dome shelter that has a width of about 8 feet. The only thing keeping her family afloat is the $87 she receives on her phone each month from Save the Children International. She uses it to buy food, but also to pay off the debt that she incurred from food costs at the onset of the drought after her goats died.
Cash allows people to buy what they need most, rather than prescribing for families what is important. For Mohamed, one of her priorities is paying off her debt. She still owes $10. Transferring cash is also more efficient than distributing actual food, said Calum Mclean, global thematic coordinator for cash and basic needs for ECHO. In Somalia, around 80 percent of cash transfer funds actually reach the beneficiary. In-kind food aid is closer to 60 percent, he said. Cash transfers work well in Somalia, because the private sector is functioning despite the ongoing conflict. This is largely because of the country’s dependence on food imports, which ensures there are relatively consistent markets to buy food and other items. In crises such as those happening in South Sudan and Yemen, where markets currently aren’t functioning, cash transfers don’t work as well, said Mclean. At the onset of the food crisis, the distribution of cash in Somalia was done in a somewhat haphazard way. There was little coordination on cash delivery among NGOs, leading to overlaps in the distribution of cash. “We would see an absence of coordination in some settlements. There would be two or three partners working on the same settlement,” said Kassim Mohamed Adam, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Baidoa office. As a result, the Somalia Cash Working