25 July – Source: Middle East Monitor – 99 Words
The Al-Qaeda associated armed group, Al-Shabaab, yesterday released seven humanitarian aid workers in Somalia, the Anadolu Agency reported. The aid workers had been taken captive on 16 July near the city of Baidoa, 150 miles southwest of the capital, Mogadishu.
Al-Shabaab released two females and five male aid workers in return for weapons paid as ransom, indicating a negotiated release. Police officials confirmed to Anadolu that the armed group received weapons. In an attempt to take over Somalia’s government, Al-Shabaab continually attacks official sites and African Union troops to implement a strict version of Islamic law across the country.
- Al-Shabaab Receives Weapons In Exchange For Aid Workers In Somalia (Middle East Monitor)
- Tension Rises As Four Al-Shabab Suspects Slain in Unclear Manner in Bula-Hawa (Somali Update)
- Regional Administrations Accuse Federal Government Of Ignoring Their Input On Telcom Bill (Goobjoog News)
- Kenyan Authorities Step Up Security Amid Al-Shabaab Threat (France24.com)
- ERC Rescue Programmes in Somalia Cost AED14 million (Emirates News Agency)
- Reporter’s notebook: Somaliland And The Never-ending Drought (France24.com)
Tension Rises As Four Al-Shabab Suspects Slain in Unclear Manner in Bula-Hawa
25 July – Source: Somali Update – 251 Words
Four suspected Al-Shabaab members were killed in a town Southern Somalia after they were snatched from a jail. Somali security forces in Bula-Hawa have allegedly removed the men from the jail before executing them in the outskirt of the town. The four were recently arrested by the security forces after they allegedly hurled hand grenade bomb at a residential house owned by a local elder. The incident led tensions that prompted many people to flee from their homes in fear of revenge. “People are worrying because clan militia affiliated to the slain men are grouping outside the town.” Said Hassan Abdirahman, a resident in Bula-Hawa. The clan militia affiliated to four killed suspects demanded for the trial of the soldiers who shot the men.
According to senior Jubbaland officials, the high tension led by the incident forced several ministers from Jubbaland administration to visit the town in a bid to ease the situation. Bula-Hawa, an adjoining town in Gedo region which shares border with Kenya’s Mandera town, witnessed several attacks including assassinations and bomb attacks carried out by Al-Shabaab. Despite being pushed out of major towns, Al-Shabaab still controls large swathes of the rural areas in the south and central Somalia and deploys assassins across the towns to carry out hit-and-run attacks and targeted killings. The group lost the control of Bula-Hawa town in 2010 to Somali forces backed Ethiopian troops. President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has repeatedly offered amnesty for Al-Shabab members who denounce violence and choose the path of peace.
Regional Administrations Accuse Federal Government Of Ignoring Their Input On Telcom Bill
25 July – Source: Goobjoog News – 240 Words
Three regional administrations have accused the federal government of mischief over the newly introduced Telecommunications bill even as they raised objections regarding some articles in the bill. In a statement Sundayseen by Goobjoog News, information ministers from Jubbaland, South West and Puntland states accused the Posts and Telecommunication Minister Abdi Anshur of tabling the bill before parliament as the regional ministers were still reviewing the bill in Kismayu the capital of Jubbaland. “The Minister of Posts and Telecommunication tabled the bill in Parliament when we were still going through it in Kismayu excluding the input of regional administrations,” the ministers said.
The regional ministers accused the federal minister of fomenting rift between the Federal Government and the regional administrations noting, ‘since the appointment of Minister Abdi Anshur Hassan until today, he has been pursuing a course of collision between the regional authorities and the federal government.’ “Since the country took the path of consultation, it is not good to take quick and unilateral decisions based on personal interest that directly conflict with the interest of the country, people and religion.” In their objections, the ministers identified three articles which they said needed reviews. The national postal code +252 is a national property and must be returned to the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), the ministers said. They also noted that the bill must set the shortest time possible for the return of the country’s top level domain, dot.so to the government to ‘ensure protection of government confidential information, national security and to protect, honour and respect culture and religion of Somalis.’ The ministers noted the two resources are under the hands of private individuals who use them for their own interests. Article 32 which creates the National Communication Authority responsible for regulating the telecommunication sector should be amended to make it an independent commission, the ministers said. They took issue with the appointment of members of the Authority which they say controlled by the president. Parliament is yet to debate the bill.
25 July – Source: France24.com – Video 10:54 minutes
The last few weeks have seen a rise in attacks by Al-Shabaab Islamists along the Kenya-Somalia border. One area particularly affected is the county of Lamu, where 18 people have been killed in just the past fortnight. Authorities are on edge. Even during calm times, Lamu, which is popular with tourists, must be protected. But as Kenya’s general election approaches, the president can’t afford a loss in this strategic region.
25 July – Source: Emirate News Agency – 455 Words
The cost of Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) rescue programmes in Somalia, which was part of the campaign “For your sake Somalia,” has reached AED-14 million. The programmes that were undertaken in April and May benefitted at least 50,000 people. The rescue programmes included the distribution of 6,000 food baskets, 21,722 pieces of clothing items, 300 tents, 10,000 plastic covers and 989 other types of covers, besides the distribution of 7,600 Ramadan Iftar meals, along with medicines and medical supplies to treat diseases such as cholera, as well as health essentials for children.
The aid was part of the campaign implemented by the ERC to reduce famine in Somalia, in line with the directives of the UAE’s wise leadership, including H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the ERC. The ERC has been making sustained efforts to address the humanitarian needs in areas hit by poverty and drought, and its delegations managed despite the complications to reach the people displaced by drought.
Dr. Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi, Secretary-General of the ERC, stressed that the organisation would continue its humanitarian, rescue and development efforts in Somalia with support from H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed. The ERC was striving through its diverse activities in Somalia to improve the lives of the weakest sections, he stated. He mentioned that the ERC was executing its plans to develop and reconstruct Somalia through cooperation and coordination with specialised authorities. He maintained that the ERC was one of the first humanitarian organisations to work in Somalia, and this was owing to the directives of the UAE’s wise leadership, which has managed through its strong vision to assess the dangers to the people in Somalia due to drought, desertification, famine and conflicts.
Al Falahi clarified that the ERC had strengthened its humanitarian response towards the situations in Somalia and had executed consecutive campaigns to fight famine in the past few months. He observed that the ERC’s efforts in this direction had made a difference in the rescue and development operations in Somalia. Somalia still faced many humanitarian challenges, which would have to be addressed with coordination, as well as fruitful and constructive co-operation, between the humanitarian partners, he noted. The first stage of the ERC’s developmental projects in Somalia includes building 100 residential units, a mosque, a shopping market, as well as implementing a project to provide water through three dams that would collect rain water. In addition to digging 20 artesian wells and establishing two orphanages, three forage farms will be established to raise cattle. This would also include the provision for small productive projects to support the targeted families and improve their economic conditions.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“In the hospital we see dozens of emaciated children, victims of malnutrition. One 50-year-old grandmother holding a baby tell us: “I’ve never seen such a drought in my lifetime.” It’s a comment that we will hear many times during our 10-day stay in Somaliland. In the rural areas outside Burao several IDP (internally displaced people) camps have been set up.”
25 July – Source: France24 – 696 Words
Despite declaring its independence from Somalia in 1991, Somaliland has yet to gain international recognition. In addition, it has been hit by a severe drought in the last three years. Read this, our Reporter’s notebook, to find out more. When you arrive in the city of Hargeisa, you land in a country that does not exist. More than 3 million people live here but no other nation recognises it. Somaliland proclaimed its independence in 1991 after a bloody civil war with the rest of Somalia. Since then it has managed to hold democratic elections and bring about peace and stability. But because it is not recognised, it cannot access funds from major donors like the World Bank and the IMF. The paradox is that it is far more stable and safe than Somalia, which has received millions of euros in aid money from the West.
There are no old buildings in Hargeisa: it was razed by Somalia in 1988 to destroy the insurgency. We have come here to report on the terrible drought that began three years ago. The government blames global warming. When the camera is off some residents say the authorities’ response was sometimes poorly coordinated. One problem is that half the budget goes (with success) to maintaining security. For example, all foreigners travelling in Somaliland must have an armed escort made up of two policemen. Somaliland is eager to show that it is safe – unlike Somalia, which is regularly hit by Al-Shabaab jihadist attacks.
We head for the town of Burao, a four-hour drive from Hargeisa. For most of the journey we observe vast swathes of dry landscape and a few camels. After you reach the port of Berbera; you go up into the mountains, and then on to Burao. Doctor Yusuf Dirir Ali shows us inside the hospital. “Unfortunately two kids died last night,” he sighs. In the hospital we see dozens of emaciated children, victims of malnutrition. One 50-year-old grandmother holding a baby tell us: “I’ve never seen such a drought in my lifetime.” It’s a comment that we will hear many times during our 10-day stay in Somaliland. In the rural areas outside Burao several IDP (internally displaced people) camps have been set up. They are made up of families who have fled the driest regions and gathered outside villages where they can receive aid. One devastated woman tells us that because of the drought she lost her 3-year-old daughter. The camp is in the village of Yagori where, for instance, Save The Children transfers about $100 (€86) a month to the poorest recipients’ mobile phones.