March 14, 2018 | Morning Headlines

Main Story

AMISOM To Aid Hirshabelle Overcome Security Challenges

13 March – Source: AMISOM – 428 Words

The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia Ambassador Francisco Madeira today held discussions with the President of HirShabelle state Mohamed Abdi Waare on the security transition plan by the regional peacekeeping force and how to intensify the war against the terrorist group Al-Shabaab.

The meeting comes in the wake of an attack by Al-Shabaab militants on an AMISOM convoy escorting civilian trucks carrying humanitarian supplies from Mogadishu to Jowhar early, this month. The militants also destroyed three civilian trucks, using improvised explosive devices, before they were repulsed by AMISOM soldiers.

Speaking after the discussions, in Mogadishu, Ambassador Madeira who is also the head of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said he was conversant with the challenges that faced HirShabelle, the youngest of Somalia’s five federal states. Some of the challenges include opening up the Main Supply Routes (Mogadishu-Balad-Jowhar-Beletweyne) and helping the state set up administrative structures in liberated areas. “We discussed the details of the transition and saw where the transition needs to be strengthened, what we think regional forces can contribute and the importance of regional forces in securing these MSRs side-by-side with AMISOM and with the Somali national security forces,” he noted.

Ambassador Madeira who was accompanied by the Mission’s senior staff including his deputy, Simon Mulongo, said the peacekeeping force would work closely with the regional state to bring stability by setting up governance structures in areas AMISOM had liberated.

Key Headlines

  • AMISOM To Aid Hirshabelle Overcome Security Challenges (AMISOM)
  • Somaliland Dismisses Somalia’s Resolution To Ban DP World (Hiiraan Online)
  • Somalia Government Warns Traders Against Complying With Al-Shabaab Orders (Radio Dalsan)
  • A School For Children With Hearing Impairment Opens In Galkacyo (Halbeeg News)
  • Miraa Traders’ Proposals On Somaliland Trade Gets Foreign Ministry’s Nod (The Standard)
  • Spat Between Somalia And Somaliland Worsens Over DP World Tripartite Deal (The National)
  • Helmi Ben Meriem: A Tunisian Scholar of Somali Studies (Wardheere News)


Somaliland Dismisses Somalia’s Resolution To Ban DP World

13 March – Source: Hiiraan Online – 191 Words

The breakaway Somaliland on Tuesday said Somalia’s move to ban DP World was bad for the stability of the Horn of  Africa. The Somaliland’s House of Representatives said Somalia’s Lower house resolution would risk the weak relations between Somalia and Somaliland.   “We are telling the United Nations, African Union, Arab League and IGAD who support democracy and development in Somaliland that Somalia’s decision could lead to instability in the Horn of Africa,” the representatives said in a statement.

The lawmakers unanimously endorsed Berbera port concession for the second time with over 64 votes. The statement said the Berbera agreement between DP World and Somaliland, which later included Somalia’s neighbouring landlocked Ethiopia, would lead to prosperity. “The House agreed that anyone found supporting or promoting Somali government against the existence and sovereignty of Somaliland would be a national enemy,” the MPs decided.

Following Monday’s resolution by Somali Lower House which termed the deal inked between Somaliland, Ethiopia and DP World unconstitutional, the region postponed the Somalia-Somaliland talks scheduled to resume next month. Somaliland which declared its secession from Somalia in 1990 on Sunday banned Somalia’s top-level internet domain from its areas.

Somalia Government Warns Traders Against Complying With Al-Shabaab Orders

13 March – Source: Radio Dalsan – 201 Words

Somali Security Ministry on Tuesday warned traders not to comply with orders Al-Shabaab issues to them. Speaking to the media in Mogadishu, spokesman of the Internal Security Ministry Mr. Abdiaziz Ali Ibrahim, said, Mogadishu is under the control of the government. “We can’t accept the traders to comply with the orders of Al-Shabaab, while the security of Mogadishu is in the hands of the federal government’s security forces” said Mr. Ibrahim. “The Ministry of Internal security warns the owners of football pitches in Mogadishu, not to comply with the stories that were shared by people and private media houses last week”, he said.

Mr. Ibrahim said that anyone found sending money to Al-Shabaab will be prosecuted. “There are investigations going on and any party that is found to have sent money to them through mobile money transfer, money remittance companies or banks,  will be taken before the military court” said Mr. Ibrahim. “We are warning traders and private companies not to comply with threats from the terrorist group we have mentioned” he added. The Ministry has warned football pitch owners in Mogadishu against adhering to any order issued by Al-Shabaab in the past week dictating they should close the pitches.

A School For Children With Hearing Impairment Opens In Galkayo

13 March – Source: Halbeeg News – 284 Words

New school for deaf children has been officially opened in Galkayo town in central Somalia. It is the only school of its kind opened in Mudug region since the fall of Somalia’s central government back in 1990s. The school located at Howl-wadag neighbourhood is dedicated to help hearing impaired children in the region, who have not been receiving any educational studies since there was  no special school across the region.

The founder and the headmistress of the school, Ms. Waris Abdullahi Shirwa’a said several young well-wishers have collaborated for the establishment of this special school, following long-term assessment over the needs of such education for hearing impaired children in this town and its surrounding areas. “It is heartbreaking to see hearing impaired children staying at home, watching other siblings going off to school, we therefore decided to start the school voluntarily and fund it from our pockets,” said Ms. Shirwa’a.

Ms. Shirwa’a said the number of the students have been increasing gradually since the school was opened two months ago. “The number of students has increased from the date we opened the school. Now the number of the students attending are 30, as we are waiting for more in the forthcoming months,” the school headmistress expressed hopefully. “They are so eager and happy to be at school.”

The school currently employs one teacher who is also hearing impaired, according Ms. Shirwa’a. “We have employed a qualified teacher from Mogadishu who is also hearing impaired,” she noted. She has appealed to Somali well wishers and organizations to help the schools for children with special needs. Somalia which is recovering over two decades old civil war,  has very few functioning schools for the children with disabilities.


Miraa Traders’ Proposals On Somaliland Trade Gets Foreign Ministry’s Nod

13 March – Source: The Standard, Kenya – 327 Words

A proposal by a miraa traders’ lobby group to open a trading front in Somaliland has received a nod from the Foreign Affairs Ministry. The ministry, in a letter to Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita), said it welcomed the plan to deepen trade ties with the semi-autonomous Somalia region.

Nyamita has been pushing for the reopening of Hargeisa market and lowering of the 300 per cent tax on miraa exports from Kenya. Miraa from Ethiopia attracts a 100 per cent tax, giving traders from that country an advantage over their Kenyan counterparts. The traders have also been lobbying for removal of $1800 (Sh182,002) landing fee on aircraft from Kenya. Ethiopia currently commands the Sh5 billion-a-year Somaliland khat market. “As matters stand now, some of us individually export negligible quantities of produce to Hargeisa albeit under a very unconducive environment,” Nyamita Chairman Kimathi Munjuri wrote on January 22 to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, through Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi.

The lobby group said it was in touch with Somaliland traders, who wished to visit the country to explore business opportunities. The miraa traders claimed trade with Somaliland would be opened up if Kenya recognised the semi-autonomous Somalia region.

Spat Between Somalia And Somaliland Worsens Over DP World Tripartite Deal

13 March – Source:  The National – 260 Words

Somalia’s lower house of parliament voted to reject a deal by Somaliland and UAE ports operator DP World to grant a stake in the Port of Berbera to Ethiopia, aggravating the spat between the central government in Mogadishu and the country’s semi-autonomous northern region.

The parliamentary vote comes about a week after Somaliland hit back against the Somalian prime minister’s March 2 statement declaring “null and void” a deal by the region and DP World to grant a stake in the Port development to Ethiopia.

Local media reported the resolution rejecting the deal passed in the lower house by an overwhelming majority. If approved by the upper legislative house, it will pave the way for the Somalian president to sign it into law, nullifying all agreements between DP World and Somaliland, the reports added. A spokesman for DP World, the world’s fourth biggest port operator, on Tuesday declined to comment on the vote.

According to the original deal announced on March 1, Ethiopia will become a 19 per cent shareholder in the Port of Berbera, with DP World controlling 51 per cent stake in the project. Somaliland will hold the remaining 30 per cent. The government of landlocked Ethiopia will also invest in infrastructure to develop the Berbera Corridor as a trade gateway to the port, according to the agreement.


“The road to recovery for Somalia is promising. Rwanda experienced a similar breakdown of order and a violent civil war, Ben Meriem explained, yet it has slowly and incrementally recovered and is now rebuilding. It is, therefore, according to Ben Meriem, the responsibility of the Somalis to rebuild their country and change its negative image.”

Helmi Ben Meriem: A Tunisian Scholar of Somali Studies

13 March – Source: Wardheer News – 1309 Words

As a child growing up in Tunisia, Helmi Ben Meriem heard nothing but negative things about Somalia. It was a country reduced to cultural stereotypes and ravaged by war, famine, and endless squabbling among its political leaders. Little did he know that one day he would be his country’s sole specialist on Somalia. His PhD dissertation, titled, “Writing Dictatorship in Selected Works by Nuraddin Farah, a Foucauldian Reading,” forged an opening for additional studies.

A researcher at the University of Sousse in Tunisia, Ben Meriem is also a fiction writer. He has authored several short stories and is finishing a new novel. Recently, Ben Meriem ruminated on the remarkable turn of events in his life, from his childhood bubble to adult scholarly discovery. “As a child, was I supposed to know better that Somalia had more to offer than those two gloomy pictures of war and famine?” he ruefully said.

Ben Meriem’s interest in Somalia did not come overnight; it occurred in two stages. First, as a young man, he would go to the public library as he was fascinated with maps. His initial interest was in landlocked countries, such as Lesotho and Ethiopia, and islands like Sri Lanka and Comoros Islands.

Somalia is neither a landlocked country nor an island, but something about its geography drew his curiosity. It is what Ben Meriem called, “the oddly shaped dagger-like piercing  into its land near Garowe. Many years later, Ben Meriem learned the reason why Somalia’s strange-looking shape came into being: It was the product of a colonial demarcation of the country, including the role Ethiopia played. “I was fascinated by Ethiopia’s desire to get as close to the ocean as possible, wanting the salty sea smell to reach its lands,” he said, smiling.

The second stage began four years ago when Ben Meriem and a friend traveled to Tunis, the capital of Tunisia. Ben Meriem did not want to undertake the trip due to his aversion to big, cosmopolitan cities. What happened next was a classic case of the Rashomon effect—multiple telling of a story by the individuals involved in rather subjective, contradictory ways.


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