13 March – Source: Reuters – 327 Words
A car bomb near a hotel on a busy street in the Somali capital killed at least 13 people on Monday, police and the emergency medical services said, hours after a man was killed by a blast as he tried to ram through a checkpoint. Police said the blast damaged a house on Maka al Mukaram street but did not destroy its target, the Wehliye Hotel. “We have carried 13 dead people and 14 others are injured. The death toll may rise further,” Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of aid-funded Aamin Ambulance services, told Reuters.
A spokesman for Somali Islamist insurgent group al Shabaab claimed the attack. “We were behind the Maka al Mukaram street blast. We killed 17 people, including senior officials of military and security and former lawmakers,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman, told Reuters by phone. Earlier on Monday, police shot at a minibus, also in Mogadishu, when the driver refused to stop as it approached a checkpoint. The minibus exploded, wounding two bystanders and killing the driver, police officer Nur Osman told Reuters.
“A policeman at a checkpoint shot at the speeding minibus. It exploded and killed the al Shabaab fighter that drove it,” he said. In recent years, al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab has lost most of its territory to African Union peacekeepers supporting the U.N.-backed Somali government. But the insurgents frequently launch deadly gun, grenade and bomb attacks in Mogadishu and other regions controlled by the federal government. Many attacks are aimed at military bases but some also target civilians.
- Car Bomb Kills At Least 13 In Somali Capital – Police Medics (Reuters)
- Suicide Bomber Kills Himself In Kismayo (Kismaayo News)
- UN Envoy For Somalia Condemns Bomb Blasts In Mogadishu (UN News Centre)
- Somali PM Vows Strong Action After Mogadishu Twin Explosions (Xinhua)
- Officials: Somali Pirates Hijack Oil Tanker In Indian Ocean (VOA News)
- Seychelles Repatriates Five Somali Nationals Acquitted For Piracy Offences (Seychelles News Agency)
- ‘Dying One By One:’ Somalia Drought Crushes Herders’ Lives (Associated Press)
Suicide Bomber Kills Himself In Kismayo
13 March – Source: Kismaayo News – 92 Words
A suspected Al-Shabaab suicide bomber on Monday died after his explosive belt went off before he reached his intended target, a newly opened restaurant in the city, security officials confirmed. The suicide bomber has been identified as Abdirahman Abdullahi Jilac alias Bashaal.
He used to sell a pharmacy in the city and security forces are on hot pursuit of his accomplices hiding in the city. It’s the first attempted suicide attack in Kismayo since the past two years and it comes after security forces in the city foiled several attempted Al-Shabaab attacks.
13 March – Source: UN News Centre – 226 Words
The United Nations envoy for Somalia has strongly condemned this morning’s bomb blasts at two locations in Mogadishu that reportedly killed a number of civilians. “These latest attacks come at a time when solidarity, not violence, among Somalis is badly needed,” said Michael Keating, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for the African country, in a press statement.
“The country is grappling with a severe drought that has already claimed the lives of hundreds of people. The timing and suffering caused by today’s blasts are outrageous; this violent extremism cannot possibly be justified,” he added. According to the statement, the first blast occurred near the General Dhagabadan training facility of the Somali National Army, and initial accounts indicate that only the suicide bomber who was driving an explosives-laden minibus died in the explosion.
The second attack was also carried out by a bomber driving a vehicle filled with explosives who attacked the gate of the Weheliye Hotel on the Somali capital’s congested Makka al-Mukarama road in a deliberate attempt to inflict a high number of casualties on hotel staff and guests, motorists and pedestrians. Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the explosion at the hotel. “We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the deceased and wish a full and speedy recovery to those who sustained injuries in today’s attacks,” Mr. Keating said.
13 March – Source: Xinhua – 120 Words
Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire vowed to bring to book those behind the twin bomb explosions in Mogadishu that claimed at least ten lives. In a statement issued on Monday, Khaire said his government would ensure the perpetrators face the full force of the law. “We will ensure our maximum priority to security and I pledge those blood-thirsty people will face the law. We will focus on ensuring the stability of the country,” said Khaire.
Militant group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attacks. A vehicle loaded with explosives hit near a hotel in Mogadishu mid-morning, killing seven people, while another suicide bomber was killed after ramming through a factory near the military barracks in Mogadishu, killing two civilians.
13 March – Source: VOA News- 239 Words
Somali officials say pirates have hijacked an oil tanker in the Indian Ocean and guided it to the coast of Puntland region. Sources tell VOA’s Somali service that the ship is believed to be a merchant tanker flying the flag of the United Arab Emirates. Regional officials say they are still assessing the circumstances of the hijack, which took place Monday. Sources said at least eight suspected pirates were involved in the attack, adding that the ship moved toward the coast of Somalia in the vicinity of the coastal town Ras Asayr.
Piracy off the coast of Somalia has declined in the last three years. Last year, suspected pirates hijacked two boats — one Yemeni and one Iranian boat — thought to be fishing illegally. However, it has been several years since Somali pirates successfully hijacked a merchant ship. At the height of the hijacking crisis in 2010-11, Somali pirates were attacking dozens of ships each month and receiving multi-million-dollar ransoms to release hijacked vessels and their crews.
The piracy off the Horn of Africa had an economic impact of $7 billion, with more than 1,000 hostages taken. The attacks dropped off following a coordinated international response that included naval forces from NATO, the European Union, the United States and other independent nations. International maritime groups warned last year against the return of piracy off the coast of Somalia because of increased illegal fishing activity in Somali waters.
13 March – Source: Seychelles News Agency – 292 Words
Five Somali nationals were repatriated Monday after being acquitted for their conviction on piracy offences, a statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs said. In co-ordination with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Ministry of Home Affairs repatriated the five Somalis early Monday morning on board a chartered aircraft of the Island Development Company (IDC).
The transfer of the Somali nationals from Seychelles back to Somalia was done under the supervision of a UNODC official. The Somalis had successfully appealed their case in December 2016 and were declared free of the charge of piracy offences by the Seychelles Court of Appeal. The court had ruled that there was not enough evidence to maintain the conviction of the five Somalis. The Somali nationals were convicted in June 2016 to 12 years in prison by the Seychelles Supreme Court after they were found guilty of piracy offences.
They were accused of attacking a dhow (a sailing vessel with one mast of more) and holding the Indian crew as hostages and using the dhow as a pirate ship to attack a cargo vessel. The offences were said to have been committed in the Gulf of Aden between January 1 and January 18, 2014. Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, and Somalia have in place agreements to repatriate Somali nationals. These apply to Somalis who have either completed their sentences in Seychelles, or are either transferred to complete sentencing in Somalia at a UNODC recognised prison facility, or those who may have been acquitted of their charges following appeals, as was the case for this repatriation.
OPINION, ANALYSIS, AND CULTURE
“The sad reality of the drought this severe, this long, this enduring is we’re starting to see these massive livestock deaths, livestock losses. Fifty, 60, 70 percent of livestock herds dying, which is an enormous hit for these pastoral families,” said Richard Trenchard, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization representative in Somalia.”
13 March – Source: VOA News- 632 Words
Ahmed Haji turns from his visibly dehydrated animals and whispers: “I am lost.” Trying to flee the worsening drought, he trekked thousands of kilometers with a herd that once numbered 1,200. But hundreds perished during the arduous trip to Puntland, in northern Somalia, in search of greener pasture. The land here dried up not long after he arrived, leaving his animals weak from hunger and thirst. “They are now dying one by one,” the 30-year-old said, shading his face from the scorching sun. His goats drank water from a plastic barrel and picked dry leaves from plants nearby.
“I don’t even think these remaining ones will survive in the next two months,” Haji said. He left his wife and five children behind on his eight-day trek, fearing they wouldn’t survive. Now he wonders about himself. Largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. Somalia has declared this drought a national disaster, part of what the United Nations calls the largest humanitarian crisis since the world body was founded in 1945.
An estimated 6 million people in this Horn of Africa nation, or about half the population, need aid amid warnings of a full-blown famine. Two consecutive seasons of poor rainfall, longer in some areas, have caused large-scale crop failures, the U.N. humanitarian agency says. It is not clear how many people, or animals, have died so far. Animals are central to many in Somalia. The United Nations says more than half the population is engaged in the livestock industry. The drought threatens their main sources of nutrition and survival. Many wells have dried up, forcing herders to risk long treks to remote areas. Water prices have spiked, with a single water tanker now going for $150.