July 12, 2017 | Morning Headlines

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U.S Secretary Of State Affirms US Commitment To Back Somalia Security

11 July – Source: Somali Update – 345 Words

United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson on Tuesday announced Washington’s commitment to back Somalia and cooperate on the horn of African country’s efforts to eradicating the threats posed by the terror groups, Somali President’s Office said.  The announcement comes following a phone conversation between President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and Rex Tillerson currently visiting Middle East where he is spearheading U.S efforts to attempt to ease the growing diplomatic tension between Qatar and the Saudi-allies of Gulf States who severed ties with Qatar in June.

During the phone conversation Mr. Tillerson has affirmed America’s commitment to support Somalia’s development goals, and cooperate on the efforts to tackle the threats of the extremist militia groups in Somalia and assured that Somalia’s peace and stability efforts fully take effect. “The US has been a committed ally and a friend of Somalia, and has recently aided the Somali Special Forces to take out various Al-Shabaab hideouts.” President Farmaajo said in a statement later on Tuesday. “Our top priority is security sector reform to ensure our security institutions are able and accountable. We need to embark on the fight against Al-Shabaab with renewed urgency” the President added.

The US has in the past taken significant action against global terror networks, and has specifically been instrumental in the fight against Al-Shabaab. Currently an increased number of U.S Special Forces are assisting Somali security forces in the fight against Al-Shabaab. The covert operations on militant bases has also been on the rise since President Donald Trump’s Administration announced to have sent additional U.S Navy SEAL members to Somalia in March.  The White House has granted the U.S. military broader authority to carry out strikes in Somalia against Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab militants. Early May, US military member was killed and two others wounded in Somalia when they were attacked while on a mission advising Somali National Army forces, becoming first US service member killed in action in Somalia since 1993, when two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down and 18 American soldiers were killed in the Battle for Mogadishu.

Key Headlines

  • U.S Secretary Of State Affirms US Commitment To Back Somalia Security (Somali Update)
  • Allied Troops Launch Offensive Against Al-Shabaab In Gedo (Garowe Online)
  • Somali Elder Calls On Government To Relocate People Evicted From Public Buildings (Shabelle News)
  • Somalia Gets Back University Used As AMISOM Military Base For 10 Years (Africa News)
  • Nairobi Summit To Discuss Somalia Elections (The East African)
  • Somalia On The Road To Political Recovery Return Of A Nation’s Pride (Somali Update)


Allied Troops Launch Offensive Against Al-Shabaab In Gedo

11 July – Source: Garowe Online – 191 Words

Somali government soldiers, along with Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF), began on Tuesday a joint military offensive against the militant group Al-Shabaab in Gedo region, according to reports. Bile Ibrahim, a Somali security official in Bardere town, said the allied forces launched an operation, with the aim of flushing out the militant group from their remaining rural strongholds in the region. Ibrahim added that Al-Shabaab fighters had fled from several small areas located in the outskirts of Bardere, before confronting the advancing Somali soldiers backed by KDF, serving with AMISOM.

According to Ibrahim, the allied troops wrested control of small towns near Bardere, but the objective is far beyond that. The operation will ensure that all the remaining areas in Gedo will be liberated and peace restored”. Despite losing territory to the coalition forces in recent years, the militants continued to carry out attacks against government and AMISOM targets, including raids on KDF’s army bases in El-adde, and Kulbiyow. Kenyan military lost dozens of soldiers in Al-Shabaab attacks since KDF crossed into Somalia border in 2011, to root out the insurgents following deadly attacks and kidnappings against aid workers in its soil.

Somali Elder Calls On Government To Relocate People Evicted From Public Buildings

11 July – Source: Shabelle News – 141 Words

Ahmed Dirie Ali, one of Somalia’s prominent traditional elders has called upon the federal government to relocate the citizens living in the public building in the capital Mogadishu. Speaking to Radio Shabelle, Ali said: “It’s unfortunate and unacceptable the poor families and IDPs to be expelled from government houses forcefully, without a clear relocation program.”

The elder added that there were people removed from many buildings in Mogadishu by the government security forces, who are now lack proper shelter and facing livelihood hardships. “The government is not yet working in the buildings, after evicting the IDPs. It’s better to allow families to live in their locations until they are moved to another locations,” he added. The elder’s comments come as the Federal government is trying to evict people from all state buildings in Mogadishu with plan to rebuild and resume operations.


Somalia Gets Back University Used As AMISOM Military Base For 10 Years

11 July – Source: Africa News – 252 Words

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Tuesday handed back to the Federal Government, a university which it used as a military base over the last decade. Troops occupied the Somali National University in 2007, initially as an Operating Base before later taking it over as a Battalion Headquarters in its fight against insurgent group, Al Shabaab. The Somali government representative at the event which took place in the capital, Mogadishu, was the Minister of Education, Abdirahman Dahir Osman. He described the institution as a symbol of the rebirth of Somalia.“As a Government, we prioritize security, economic development and most importantly education because we believe that education is the anchor for sustainable development,” he said.

The Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Francisco Caetano Madeira, confirmed that the facility will begin admitting students after the government gives the green light.The ravaged premises has undergone extensive reconstruction, logistical and engineering works, spearheaded by the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS).“We are happy that today, this institution is ready and will start admitting students once the government gives the green light,” Amb. Madeira remarked. AMISOM’s Burundi contingent who previously occupied the once ravaged campus have been relocated to the a new facility – an operation that started in April this year.The university was built in 1954 but was badly hit in the wake of the 1991 civil war leading to the suspension of classes and closure. However, in August 2014, the university reopened its constituent colleges to offer specialized training.

Nairobi Summit To Discuss Somalia Elections

11 July – Source: The East African  – 291 Words

Election experts from the Middle East, Africa and the United Nations are holding a three-day conference in Nairobi from July 10 to help Somalia achieve universal suffrage in the country’s next polls in 2021.  In attendance will be the Somalia National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) and the Organisation of Arab Electoral Management Bodies (Arab EMBs), with support from the United Nations Integrated Electoral Support Group (IESG). Delegates will discuss political parties’ registration process, monitoring and follow-up mechanisms, and share experiences of African and Arab countries with similar processes.

Among the personalities expected to attend include the NIEC chairperson Halima Ismail Ibrahim, Badrieh Bilbisi, the Secretary General of the Arab EMBs, the director  and chief electoral advisor of the IESG, Gerald Mitchell, Aminu Kasimu Idris of the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria, and Lucy Ndung’u, the registrar of political parties in Kenya.  In the last elections held in 2016 and 2017, the National Consultative Forum forced former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to decide on the method of the elections after the government conceded it could not deliver on the promise of 2012 of universal suffrage — one person, one vote — that could have taken Somalia out of the clan-based elections.

The new election model combined the traditional 4.5 clan system (four major clans plus a cluster of five small clans) and the participation of the federal units and the Senate. In addition, 30 per cent of the parliamentary seats have been preserved for women. Unlike in 2012, when 135 clan elders selected 275 MPs, the voting in 2016 included 50 electors from each of the five federal units who elected the 275 MPs. The MPs, together with members of the Senate, then elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo in February.


“In the current dispute between Qatar and other Arab states, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) was requested to take sides and to also join the boycott of Qatar. After an excessive amount of pressure was exerted on the Somali government,  in the end, it firmly stated it will remain neutral. This was a historic test of Somalia’s sovereignty.”

Somalia On The Road To Political Recovery, Return Of A Nation’s Pride

11 July – Source: Somali Update – 843 Words

Since independence, Somali leaders maintained independent foreign policy positions in a world divided by competing interests. For instance, during the Cold War Somalia had good relations with the People’s Republic of China while the West was actively engaged in isolating it. In 1977, when the late President Siad Barre expelled Soviet representatives, China agreed to assume responsibility for most of the developmental projects started by the Soviet Union – a good example that safeguarding national interest and the right to self-determination pays off. Another example of Somalia’s neutral stance was in 1982 when late Egyptian President Sadat signed a peace treaty with Israel, Egypt was expelled from the Arab League. While majority of the Arab nations cut relations with Egypt, Somalia, a member of the Arab League, was one of the few nations who refused to blindly follow this policy and chose neutrality – another act of sovereignty and foreign policy independence!

In the current dispute between Qatar and other Arab states, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) was requested to take sides and to also join the boycott of Qatar. After an excessive amount of pressure was exerted on the Somali government,  in the end, it firmly stated it will remain neutral. This was a historic test of Somalia’s sovereignty. As a country recovering from 25 years of conflict and destruction, such a decision, that can potentially alienate key allies is not only difficult but brave. President Farmajo and Prime Minister Khayre prioritised the political independence of Somalia over any potential economic loss that Somalia may experience as a result of this decision. This clearly demonstrates a maturity of the relationship between the President and the Prime minister that has never existed in previous administrations. It also demonstrates a shared vision, unity and respect between these two leaders – rare commodities in Somali politics.

The majority of Somalis welcomed the President’s decision, including the Diaspora. They have been urging the government to not bow to pressure from foreign governments and to not compromise the nation’s sovereignty. If the government succumbs to the pressure to boycott Qatar and relinquish its neutral position, at what point will such demands end? Somalia at this point will lose its sovereignty to become an easy pawn that agrees to all foreign demands from foreign governments. If a so called ally tomorrow requests that Somalia cut its ties with Turkey, a country that has demonstrated its commitment and support of the Somali people in so many ways including establishing in Somalia the largest Turkish embassy in the world, will the government agree? This will become a point of no return where any future demands from foreign governments will be acquiesced to, including the sale of Somali territorial waters or fishing rights, or oil, or cutting diplomatic ties with important allies including Turkey and even Kenya. Such scenarios will not only be possible but may become a reality.

For those that are not supportive of the government’s decision, they are few in number and it is clear they have failed to distinguish between what is in the best interest of the nation and their personal agendas. The nation’s pride and a 57-year history of foreign policy independence, which made Somalia more respectable, secure and influential both regionally and globally, can not be easily squandered. Are these individuals, some of which held high offices in previous government administrations, motivated by financial gains that will allow them to run for office in future elections? Or is it possible that they truly believe that it is in the best interest of Somalia to take sides in this dispute between brother Arab nations? If the former is the case, then it also begs the question of what other principals have these individuals sold, compromising national interest for personal gain while they held some of the highest offices in previous governments? If it is the latter, then what benefit does it bring to Somalia to take sides in a dispute between brothers rather than trying to mediate such a conflict, something that the current government has offered to provide?

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.