29 January – Source: Xinhuanet – 381 Words
Kenya on Monday ordered the arrest of four Kenyan Al-Shabaab operatives in northeast region and charges if they failed to surrender within the next few days. North Eastern Regional Commissioner Mohamud Saleh who revealed names of the four Al-Shabaab operatives in Wajir and Mandera counties directed the security team to ensure the suspects are immediately arrested if they fail to surrender. “These people must be captured or they must surrender. If it fails we shall carry out a controlled operation,” Saleh told security committee teams in Wajir town. He said the details of their family members including their parents will be released to the security teams in the two counties.
He said the operatives have been tasked with paralyzing transport within the main supply route of Wajir and Elwak in Mandera County, destroy communication facilities by targeting mobile phones masts. Since Kenyan soldiers crossed into Somalia several attacks believed to have been carried out by Al-Shabaab have occurred in Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa and Dadaab districts of northern Kenya even as the military reports gains against the Islamist group by capturing their military bases and killing scores of them. Saleh, however, urged the security team to work closely with the chiefs, elders and area residents to ensure that Al-Shabaab are eliminated from the area.
The regional government official said it was a shame for Kenyan officials in Northeastern to spend 95 percent of their working on dealing with security matters. “When the rest of Kenya is talking about development, use of county funds, Constituency development fund, equalization fund and other investments, in North Eastern we are busy talking about Al-Shabaab,” Saleh lamented. Saleh is on a five-day tour of Mandera and Wajir counties to acquaint himself with challenges facing security teams in the fight against the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab terror group.
He also met elders, women and youth from area. In Mandera, Saleh revealed on Sundaythat the government has the names of 35 Kenyan youth recruited by the Al-Shabaab to work for the terror group. He said the details of their family members among them their parents, wives and where they are operating from are also known to the state. Saleh said the youth must surrender or the government will carry out a massive security operation to flush or capture them.
- Kenya Orders Arrest Of 4 Al-Shabaab Operatives In Border Region (Xinhuanet)
- Southwest State President Set To Visit Barawe Town (Radio Shabelle)
- SNA Commander & 3 Soldiers Killed In Bay By Al-Shabaab Attack (Radio Dalsan)
- Locally Displaced People In Tukaraq In Dire Humanitarian Emergency (Goobjoog News)
- Wall Construction Has Reduced Terror Incidents In Mandera Official Says (Standard Media)
- Somalia: Thousands Homeless as Settlements Razed (HRW.org)
Southwest State President Set To Visit Barawe Town
29 January – Source: Radio Shabelle – 109 Words
The president of Somalia’s southern semi-autonomous region of Southwest Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden is expected to pay a visit to the port town of Barawe on Monday. Mr Hussein Barre Jeeh, the commissioner of Barawe has confirmed to Radio Shabelle, the visit of the Southwest administration to the seaside city.
The aim of President Aden to Barawe in Lower Shabelle region is related to the take-over of a construction equipment intended to build a new airport in the former Al-Shabaab bastion. The overall security of the city has been beefed up ahead of the regional leader’s arrival by Somali and AMISOM troops, according to the authorities in the district.
SNA Commander & 3 Soldiers Killed In Bay By Al-Shabaab Attack
29 January – Source: Radio Dalsan – 82 Words
A South West State Commander and three soldiers were on Monday killed when Al-Shabaab staged an ambush on a convoy between Burhakaba and Baidoa, reports. A military source identified the commander as Lt. Colonel Abdirahman Osman Abrone, who is in charge of Burhakaba The convoy was attacked near Lug Bahare while escorting khat from Baidoa to Burhakaba. Al-Qaeda linked militant group Al-Shabaab has intensified attacks along the main roads linking South West State towns despite recent deployment of troops in the hotspots.
Locally Displaced People In Tukaraq In Dire Humanitarian Emergency
29 January – Source: Goobjoog News – 164 Words
Displaced local people in Tukaraq location in Sool region are facing severe humanitarian situation after they fled their homes following an earlier military confrontation between Somaliland and Puntland forces in the area. Mr. Mohamed Mire who is among the displaced spoke to reporters, noting the internally displaced people in Sool region are suffering from diarrhea outbreak, and water shortage among others. “The situation of these people is dire and pathetic. No clean water and diarrhea is prevalent. The circumstances are really hard yet we have not seen any assistance from anyone so far” lamented Mr. Mire.
Early January, Somaliland forces attacked Tukaraq location overrunning Puntland forces, which compelled the latter to retreat entirely from the area leading, to heated exchange of words between top leaders of the two regions in the local media outlets. Somaliland military incursion coincided with the first day of the official visit of Somali federal President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo in Puntland State on 8th January and still occupies the location.
29 January – Source: Standard Media – 111 Words
The wall has already covered ten kilometers from the Kenya-Ethiopia-Somalia border and plans are to increase the stretch to 28 kilometers. North Eastern regional commissioner Mohamud Saleh said since the stretch of the wall was constructed, incidents of attacks in the town have gone down by more than 90 percent. Those terrorists used to attack and run to Somalia but since the wall was erected, the incidents are now almost zero in Mandera Town,” he said on the phone as he inspected the ongoing construction of the wall. Saleh said 90 percent of Mandera County is peaceful apart from the stretch from Arabia to Kotulo where he termed as “volatile, unpredictable, challenging and ambiguous.
He said Al-Shabaab operatives use the area to carry out incursions by attacking security vehicles, plant landmines, target security installations and communication masts before retreating back to Somalia. He however said the government is reviewing its strategies to come up with new methods to combat terrorism, radicalisation and violent extremism in the region at large. The government has not disclosed the cost of constructing the barrier but officials say it will comprise a concrete barrier with listening posts, surveillance stations and CCTV cameras. Saleh said the government will fast-track the construction of the 700km security wall aimed at blocking Al-Shabaab militants who enter Kenya through the porous border.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“The government is also expected to consult with internally displaced people, allow them to participate in decisions relating to their protection and assistance, and permit them to make free and informed choices on whether to return, relocate, or locally integrate. Some of the forcibly evicted settlements were on land involved in a court case between two landowners, humanitarian actors reported.”
29 January – Source: Human Rights Watch – 1151 Words
Somali security forces using bulldozers have demolished dozens of informal settlements in Mogadishu since late December 2017, leaving thousands homeless. Human Rights Watch analyzed satellite imagery that shows that between December 29 and January 19, 2018, approximately 3,000 shelters were dismantled or destroyed using heavy machinery. On January 17, the federal minister for planning, investment and development, Gamal Hassan, responded to growing criticism from aid organizations and announced the government would investigate the evictions. The Somali government should credibly investigate security force abuses in the forced evictions, Human Rights Watch said.
“The Somali government needs to take responsibility for the mass forced evictions of these vulnerable, marginalized communities in Mogadishu,” said Laetitia Bader, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “A thorough investigation should be followed by concrete steps to ensure that all future evictions are lawful and that anyone displaced is provided for.” Somalia has 2.1 million internally displaced people, half of whom fled conflict and drought in 2017 alone. Many are living in informal settlements in urban areas. Since 2011, Human Rights Watch has documented serious abuses against displaced communities in Mogadishu including forced evictions, sexual violence, and clan-based discrimination. Government and private actors have repeatedly forcibly evicted displaced communities without any redress. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) documented the evictions of over 153,000 people in 2017.
Human Rights Watch interviewed by phone nine displaced people who were forcibly evicted from their homes at the Xaq-Dhowr and Masha’Allaah Center settlements near the Afgoye-Mogadishu road since late December. They said that security forces destroyed their shelters without warning, using threats and at times force to make them leave their homes. The evictions left them without water, food, or other assistance. Aid agency assessments corroborated their accounts. Residents said that on the morning of December 29, Somali police, intelligence agency (NISA) personnel, and military forces arrived and surrounded the camps and, using bulldozers, started demolishing shelters near the main road. “Very early in the morning when I woke up, the police, military and intelligence were already around our settlement,” said a 56-year-old woman living in the Nuurto 2 camp. “They came in from the road and started demolishing the structures. One bulldozer was destroying the structures, while the other one was scooping up the debris.”
Under the African Union’s Kampala Convention on the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons, which Somalia has ratified but not yet deposited with the AU, the government is obligated to protect displaced people against forcible return to or resettlement in any place where “their life, safety, liberty or health could be at risk.” The government is also expected to consult with internally displaced people, allow them to participate in decisions relating to their protection and assistance, and permit them to make free and informed choices on whether to return, relocate, or locally integrate. Some of the forcibly evicted settlements were on land involved in a court case between two landowners, humanitarian actors reported. Human Rights Watch obtained a copy of a December 23 notice from the Kahda district commissioner instructing local officials, police, and NISA to inform people living around KM13 of the Afgoye-Mogadishu road to vacate as soon as possible given the land dispute. The notice provided no time frame or information about resettlement alternatives.