14 March – Source: Reuters – 88 Words
Somali forces have been sent to free a hijacked ship, a regional police official said on Tuesday. “We are determined to rescue the ship and its crew. Our forces have set off to Alula. It is our duty to rescue ships hijacked by pirates and we shall rescue it,” Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan, director general of Puntland’s marine police forces, told Reuters by phone.
Puntland is a semi-autonomous northern region. Alula is a port town there where pirates have taken the Aris 13 and her eight Sri Lankan crew.
- Somalia Region Sends Soldiers To Free Hijacked Ship (Reuters)
- Senate Approves Hiring Of Staff Security Committee Tables Report (Goobjoog News)
- Gunmen Kill Prominent Elder In The Capital Mogadishu (Garowe Online)
- Story Of 9-Year-Old Girl Who Lost Parents To Starvation Stirs Emotions On Social Media (Radio Dalsan)
- Seized Oil Tanker With 8 Crew Anchored Off Somalia Coast (VOA News)
- US Secret Service Helps Somalia To Identify Fake Dollars (CNBC)
- Sir Mo Farah Backs Charity Appeal To Help Somalia Drought Victims (Belfast Telegraph)
- Somalia: A Country Devastated By Drought Famine And Conflict (Gulf News)
Senate Approves Hiring Of Staff, Security Committee Tables Report
14 March – Source: Goobjoog News – 81 Words
The Senate today approved the employment of 61 staffers of the senate, among them six legal counsel. The agreement follows debates in the past few days on the appropriate staffing mechanisms and procedures of the senate. At the same seating today, the Senate Security Committee tabled its report in a closed-door session. Senators also received drafts of the Senate Standing Orders for review before they are debated and voted for even as the new Senate works on the basic foundations.
Gunmen Kill Prominent Elder In The Capital Mogadishu
14 March – Source: Garowe Online – 152 Words
Suspected Al-Shabaab gunmen have shot dead a prominent Somali elder in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Tuesday, the fourth man to be killed in a span of two weeks. Two men armed with pistols killed Ibrahim Ali Elmi at Mogadishu’s Bakara market. Elmi, who hailed from Southwest and was a member of the electoral delegates who had participated in the concluded electoral process.
“We believe he was killed by Al-Shabaab assassins who have been targeting the traditional elders in Mogadishu in the past weeks for their role in the elections of the Parliament lawmakers,” said Police Capt. Abdirisak Mohamed. After the shooting, Somali security officers arrived at the scene, and cordoned it off for investigation, however, no suspect was arrested for the assassination according to an eyewitness. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the murder of the late elder, the latest in series of assassinations against traditional elders in Mogadishu city.
Story Of 9-Year-Old Girl Who Lost Parents To Starvation Stirs Emotions On Social Media
14 March – Source: Radio Dalsan – 87 Words
A nine-year-old girl has assumed the duties of parents taking care of her two younger siblings after losing their father and mother died of starvation. Maymuna Ahmed Noor and her siblings are now IDPs after walking for weeks to flee starvation in Wajid. Her story has touched many and her photo carrying a baby has made rounds on social media. They walked for two weeks to reach Mogadishu. She hails from the South West region which is one of the most hit by the current drought.
14 March – Source: VOA News – 514 Words
The hijackers who seized an oil tanker and its eight-man crew off Somalia are demanding “compensation” for a rise in illegal fishing in Somali waters. VOA’s Somali service spoke by phone to one of the hijackers Tuesday, a day after men boarded and seized the ship about 30 kilometers off the Somali coast, then anchored off Alula, a town in Somalia’s Puntland region. The hijacker said seven men took part in the raid. He asserted that he and his colleagues are fishermen, not pirates.
“We have decided, as local fishermen, to resist illegal fishing. We have taken arms to defend ourselves, and we will continue,” said the man, who declined to give his name and did not suggest any dollar figures. Asked about the crew, he said: “It’s not our principle to kill them. They are healthy. We looked after them. We are after the people who sent them, to make sure they never return.” Regional maritime officials told VOA that the ship had departed from Djibouti port and was headed for Mogadishu carrying oil and gas.
John Steed, regional manager for the NGO Oceans beyond Piracy, says the ship was approached by two skiffs, one of them asking for water. “The captain, having reported that, was not heard from again and the company could not raise the ship and the ship was seen to move into the coast of Somalia,” Steed said.” Steed says he does not know if there were any gunshots or violence before the ship was seized. He said a Japanese warship responded to the hijacking but is being careful so as not to endanger the tanker’s crew. The situation is reminiscent of the piracy that flourished in Somali waters between 2007 and 2011. Bands of Somali pirates, based in Puntland or central Somalia, hijacked dozens of foreign vessels during that time, often receiving multi-million dollar ransoms to free the ships and their crews.
14 March – Source: CNBC – 444 Words
Somalia has drafted in the help of the U.S. Secret Service to train officials to identify fake dollars as part of its plan, with the help of the International Monetary Fund, to reintroduce a national currency in a country where almost all of the money in circulation is counterfeit. The country faces an uphill struggle: Somalia is one of the poorest nations in the world. According to World Bank data, the country’s gross domestic product per capita was $549.30 in 2015 – compared to $56,115.70 in the U.S. Plus, in its Corruption Perceptions Index for 2016, Transparency International ranked Somalia as the world’s most corrupt country.
Mohamad Elhage, IMF mission chief to Somalia, told CNBC via telephone that the training took place in Nairobi, Kenya in February of this year, during an IMF technical assistance mission on currency reform. Currently, Somali shillings are the third most common method of payment in the country, after U.S. dollars and mobile transactions. The Central Bank of Somalia has no control over the exchange rate or monetary supply, and Elhage said that authorities were “in the process of rebuilding (the institution).”
CNBC has contacted the U.S. Secret Service for comment. Somalia made headlines last week which indicated that the country would soon take control of its currency with the help of the IMF. This would be the first time in over 25 years that Somalia’s printing presses have been fired up. No currency has been issued since 1990, with the civil war beginning the following year. Elhage confirmed that the “new shilling would be issued with a high level of security features.”
15 March – Source: Belfast Telegraph – 401 Words
Sir Mo Farah has backed a charity appeal to help the millions of people who face starvation in East Africa. The quadruple Olympic champion spoke as he was named ambassador for Save the Children, one of 13 UK aid agencies brought together by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). The DEC’s new East Africa Crisis Appeal seeks to help the more than 16 million people in the region who are “on the brink of starvation and in urgent need of food, water and medical treatment”. Videos will air on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky in an appeal to get the British public to donate to the crisis, caused by droughts and conflict.
Sir Mo, who spent his early childhood in some of the worst affected areas of Somalia, said he was “completely devastated”, urging people to “act now”. He said: “As a father of four, it hurts to see children without food and water, but this is a reality being faced by parents in East Africa right now. “The drought is really bad and there are millions of children at risk of starvation. “I was born in Somalia and it breaks my heart to hear stories of how families are suffering.”
Money raised by the DEC appeal will help those affected in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan, with the Government pledging to match public donations pound for pound, up to £5 million. Between the four countries around 800,000 children aged between six months and five years need lifesaving treatment for severe acute malnutrition, said the DEC. Meanwhile, in February the United Nations formally declared a famine in parts of South Sudan, the first time in six years such an announcement has been made. International Development Secretary Priti Patel said: “Britain has acted without hesitation – UK aid funded food, water and emergency healthcare is being delivered across East Africa right now, but more support is urgently needed to prevent a catastrophe.”
OPINION, ANALYSIS, AND CULTURE
“Failing to help Somalia imperils world peace and security as extremist groups like Al-Shabaab, who already keep the population hostage, will use the suffering of the people to their advantage by attracting more of the hapless and unemployed youth to join their ranks, particularly as the western nations shut their gates to immigration due to rising Islamophobia and fear mongering.”
15 March – Source: Gulf News – 1,119 Words
We often hear the platitude “water is precious” while we carry around bottles of water we can drink anytime. We bathe with it several times a day, wash our cars with it, flood our lawns and gardens with gallons of it, and waste it in every conceivable way. On rare occasions, when we wake up in the morning and we don’t find readily available water in the faucet we go crazy, frantic that we can’t brush our teeth, wash our faces, or flush our toilets for a single morning. Now, imagine, just a sip, stands between you and death, and there isn’t any to be found.
This is exactly what is happening now in Somalia where according to the United Nations more than 6.2 million people face famine and starvation due to food insecurity caused by poor rainfall and lack of clean water. “Somalia is in the grip of an intense drought, induced by two consecutive seasons of poor rainfall. In the worst-affected areas, inadequate rainfall and lack of water has wiped out crops and killed livestock, while communities are being forced to sell their assets, and borrow food and money to survive,” says the report.
In a country where more than 48 per cent of the population are nomads and farmers in rural areas, rain is a life giver. No wonder that Somalis measure prosperity by ‘Biyo iyo Baad’ (water and green pasture). And when there is a shortage of rain for more than two consecutive years, as preceded the current situation, the result is famine, starvation, and even the death of people and livestock. It was in 2010-2011 when the country was hit by its last, and one of the most devastating droughts in its history, which developed into a famine that killed approximately 258,000 according to the UN and its agencies. And presently Unicef lists Somalia as one of the countries of heightened concern where acute malnutrition could kill tens of thousands of children if a quick international response does not arrive.
Large numbers of people have already been uprooted from their nomadic areas and moved to either urban places or other rural areas less affected by the dry conditions. The worst hit areas are in the eastern regions of the otherwise peaceful and self-declared state of Somaliland and the northern and central regions of Somalia proper. The people have lost all their livestock which is also the main income earner of the country, contributing 40 per cent of the country’s GDP. In 2015 alone Somalia exported 5.3 million heads of livestock to Middle Eastern markets, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). This explains why drought puts not only the pastoral life of people at risk but it also hinders the economic recovery of the country which is already hampered by a civil war and other major geopolitical, socioeconomic and ecological challenges.