March 20, 2017 | Morning Headlines

Main Story

7 Al-Shabaab Militants Killed In Battle With Somali Troops

20 March – Source: Xinhua – 119 Words

Seven Al-Shabaab fighters died during a fierce gun battle with Somali troops on Saturdaynight near Bay region in southwest Somalia. Local officials revealed that a number of soldiers from Somalia National Army also sustained injuries during an overnight gun battle with the Al-Qaida-linked militants. Hassan Hussein Mohamed, minister in charge of rehabilitating militias in South West State, confirmed to Xinhua on Sunday the death of seven Al-Shabaab militants.

They were killed during an operation that lasted several hours near Qansah-dhere town, while six officers from the Somalia National Army were also injured, according to Mohamed. He said the Somali National Army had also been involved in delivering humanitarian aid to drought victims in southwestern parts of the country.

Key Headlines

  • 7 Al-Shabaab Militants Killed In Battle With Somali Troops (Xinhua)
  • It’s Now Official: UAE To Establish A Military Base In Berbera & Pump $2BN In Investment (Radio Dalsan)
  • Puntland Displays Freed Hijacked Vessel Sri-Lankan Crew (Garowe Online)
  • Puntland MP Dies Of Wounds Sustained In Car Bomb Blast (Garowe Online)
  • Mother Two Children Wounded In Baidoa Blast (Garowe Online)
  • Somnet Launches Somalia’s First 4G Internet After Al-Shabaab Ban (Radio Dalsan)
  • Somalia Wants Saudi Probe Of Refugee Boat Attack (AFP)
  • Galmudug And NISA Forces Foil Attack Nab Vehicle Transporting Explosive Materials (Nep Journal)
  • Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi To Visit Kenya On Thursday (The Star)
  • State House Refutes Diplomatic Row With Somalia After Uhuru Visit To Dhobley (Daily Nation)
  • UK PM Hails Somalis For Contributing To Global Growth (Daily Nation)
  • Ending Famine In Somalia The Turkish Way (Al Jazeera)


It’s Now Official: UAE To Establish A Military Base In Berbera & Pump $2BN In Investment

19 March – Source: Radio Dalsan – 182 Words

A bilateral military base agreement between Somaliland and United Arab Emirates has been signed on Sunday in Abu Dhabi despite earlier protests by the Somali government. An estimated $2 billion will be pumped into the economy of the breakaway region that will include the construction of a new airport whose terminal and runway are expected to match the standards that will allow Emirates and Etihad airlines introduce the Berbera route. Other investments intended at giving the port city of Berbera a new look include construction of hospitals, schools, water wells, dams. The agreement will also see the construction of a 240 km highway from Berbera to Wajale on the Ethiopian border.

The Somaliland delegation to the UAE was led by Vice President Abdirahman Sayli’i. Mogadishu which has in the past protested against any agreement between Abu Dhabi and Hargeisa is yet to issue a statement on the new development that is likely to trigger a diplomatic row. Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 but the latter asserts it still remains part of its territory hence all bilateral agreements should include Mogadishu.

Puntland Displays Freed Hijacked Vessel, Sri-Lankan Crew

19 March – Source: Garowe Online – 259 Words

Puntland authorities on Sunday displayed the freed hijacked vessel Aris 13 and the Sri-Lankan crew in Bosaso Port. Last week, suspected local pirates have hijacked the vessel off the coast of Alula district and held the vessel and crew on board hostage for several days. However, the region’s marine forces have successfully managed to rescue the vessel and the crew from the pirates following brief clashes between the two sides. The pirates reportedly abandoned the vessel with no conditions after the maritime forces laid a stiff seize around the vessel Aris 13 near Habo coastal village.

Today’s ceremony in Bosaso Port was participated by top Puntland government officials including Vice President Abdihakim Abdullahi Haji Omar Amey. Vice President Amy commended the role of the government and efforts exerted by marine forces to end the crisis peacefully and rescuing the crew and vessel. He also urged the public to support the government to fight piracy that adversely affects the region. Oil Tanker Aris 13 managed by UAE-based company was reported to be en-route to the capital Mogadishu before being hijacked off the coast of Alula. the vessel was ferrying fuel and goods from Djibouti to Mogadishu.

On the other hand, the suspected pirates who hijacked the vessel claimed previously they were fishermen whose livelihoods were affected by illegal fishing. Puntland President Abdiwali Mohamed Ali “Gaas” has previously declared illegal fishing as a natural disaster and reiterated government’s commitment to fight illegal fishing but in the past 3 years, his government is accused of involvement in giving permits to fishing trawlers.

Puntland MP Dies Of Wounds Sustained In Car Bomb Blast

19 March – Source: Garowe Online – 176 Words

A state parliamentarian of Somalia’s northeastern region of Puntland, Abdiqadir Farah Botan has succumbed to wounds he sustained from car bomb blast in Galkayo city earlier this month. Late Botan was reported dead in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, on Sunday where he has been receiving medical treatment after sustaining serious injuries from blast. On 8 March, unknown assailants fitted a bomb under Botan’s car and detonated it when he left Classic Hotel en-route to his residence in the town. However, no suspects were captured following the incident as the police authorities said it was still carrying out investigations to arrest the culprits.

Since the end of last year, militant groups increased their attacks against government officials and security forces in Bosaso and Galkayo, and assassinated several officials including third deputy Police commander and Attorney general of the Military courts in Bosaso city. Puntland region has experienced weakening security situation in the past period, due to proliferation of terrorist organizations, weak anti-terrorism policy and lack of salary payments to the security forces for over several months.

Mother, Two Children Wounded In Baidoa Blast

19 March – Source: Garowe Online – 186 Words

A hand grenade bomb explosion in Baidoa town, the interim capital of Southwest state has left at least three civilians wounded. The local Police said a mother and her two children were injured in the attack, which was aimed to kill a prominent Somali elder Isaaq Mohamed, who was involved in the election of Somali Parliamentary election. “Suspected Al-Shabaab assailants hurled a grenade into a house in Baidoa, targeting Isaaq Mohamed who was among the electoral delegates who voted for the new MPs of the Parliament,” said a Police officer.

The elder has escaped the assassination attempt, however his wife and two children have sustained slight wounds in the grenade blast in Baidoa last night, according to the local administration officials. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the bomb attack in Baidoa, 250 km southwest of Mogadishu, but Police blamed Al-Shabaab for the assassination attempt against the well-known clan elder. The al-Qaida-linked Al-Shabaab has threatened to kill the Somali elders who participated in the electoral process of the Federal Parliament, and already killed several of them in the capital Mogadishu and elsewhere in the country.

Somnet Launches Somalia’s First 4G Internet After Al-Shabaab Ban

19 March – Source: Radio Dalsan – 133 Words

Telecommunication company Somnet on Saturday launched the first 4G network the first in Somalia. In Mogadishu, hundreds were seen making long queues at the Somnet headquarters to purchase the 4G sim card. The services will now enable Somalis to resume internet services via their mobile phones that were ended in 2004 when militant group Al-Shabaab threatened Hormud Telecommunication company to cease its 3G services in the country.

4G internet technology is the latest and fastest in the smartphone technology. The internet has become vital to the lives of mainly urban Somalis and with a large population of Somalis living in the diaspora, internet has eased communication with the motherland. Since the 3G sim cards were halted Somalis have been forced to use Wifi modems which is relatively cumbersome compared to a sim card.


Somalia Wants Saudi Probe Of Refugee Boat Attack

19 March – Source: AFP – 259 Words

Somalia has called on the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen to investigate an incident in which dozens of Somali refugees were shot dead on board a boat. It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack that killed more than 40 Somali refugees in waters off the coast of war-torn Yemen early on Friday. The bloodshed was quickly condemned by UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Somalia’s Foreign Minister Abdusalam Omer urged the Saudi-led coalition fighting Huthi rebels in Yemen to investigate.

Somalia is a member of the US-backed coalition fighting against Shiite Huthi rebels aligned with Iran. “We call on our partners in the Saudi-led coalition to investigate the raid,” the minister said in a statement released late Saturday. “It is very sad, targeting a boat carrying Somali migrants near the coast of Hodeida in Yemen.” On Friday, a coalition spokesman denied responsibility for the attack. The Red Sea attack took place off rebel-held port of Hodeida, with women and children among the dead.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), which has operations in Yemen, said 42 bodies were found, and more than 30 wounded people were reportedly taken to hospital. The IOM said it believed the boat was heading for Sudan when it was attacked. Despite a two-year war that has cost more than 7,000 lives and brought the country to the brink of famine, Yemen continues to attract people fleeing the horn of Africa. The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, says Yemen is hosting more than 255,000 Somali refugees.

Galmudug And NISA Forces Foil Attack, Nab Vehicle Transporting Explosive Materials

19 March – Source: Nep Journal – 283 Words

Security forces in the Galmudug headquarter town of Adado today seized a vehicle transporting explosive materials after a tip off from members of the public. Two occupants of the vehicle seized at the outskirts of the town were arrested but their accomplices fled. Speaker of the Galmudug parliament Ali Ga’al Asir who is also the acting head of regional state told the press the vehicle received the load from another one that has since made a u-turn but added security officers were pursuing it. The seized vehicle and its two occupants were paraded by security agencies who promised more information on the foiled mission’s intended target would be released once investigations were complete.

“Our security forces nabbed explosive materials that would inflict huge damages had the enemy succeeded in delivering them to their target area. We have intelligence on increased militant activity and our forces are on high alert,” said Speaker Ali Asir. Mr. Asir lauded collaboration between members of the public and security agencies and thanked President Farmajo for fostering the same with his promise to reward anyone who helps foil an attack. The speaker now wants those who shared information that led to the seizure of the deadly materials rewarded by the President.

“We have details of those who shared the information that led to this successful arrest and we urge the President to reward them so as to encourage members of the public to continue working with security agencies. The speaker said preliminary investigations revealed the materials were shipped from the Al Shabaab-controlled town of Galhareeri. The seizure comes as the Galmudug regional state prepares for its head of elections following President Abdikarim Hussein Guleid’s resignation on health grounds.

Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi To Visit Kenya On Thursday

19 March – Source: The Star – 402 Words

Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed will make his first State visit to Kenya on Thursday ahead of a special IGAD summit on Saturday. State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said Kenya and Somalia enjoy warm and cordial relations founded on trust, cooperation and mutual interests. “We share a common heritage and our views converge on many regional and international issues,” he said. Adding: “Our common endeavour for durable peace, viable stability and sustainable development for both our peoples and region continue to underline the necessity for our mutual cooperation.”

“President Uhuru looks forward to robust multi-sectoral bilateral engagements and enhancing the existing partnerships in order to leverage on the existing opportunities therein,” he said. Areas of cooperation identified in the Joint Commission include Security, Trade and investment, Civil Aviation, Education and Agriculture. Others are Resources sharing and development, Livestock Development, Fisheries, Tourism, Immigration, Labour and Health. Esipisu pointed out that the President would speak on the importance of the technical teams involved to convene as soon as possible to review the implementation status of the Joint Commission for Cooperation, in particular, to conclude the proposed instruments of cooperation.

Key areas to be discussed by the technical teams include, MoU on Political Consultations by the respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs; Initiating measures to enhance cooperation on immigration matters and development of a comprehensive border management system; Cooperation on police matters, including capacity building; and encouraging the private sector to explore the investment opportunities in both countries among many others. The Spokesperson said President Uhuru will inform his guest of Kenya’s readiness to offer technical support and capacity building assistance to the Federal Government institutions and other sectors based on mutual agreement.

State House Refutes Diplomatic Row With Somalia After Uhuru Visit To Dhobley

19 March – Source: Daily Nation – 491 Words

State House has said President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to a Kenya Defence Forces’ camp in Somalia was “normal”, despite murmurs of displeasure from Mogadishu. At a Press conference on Sunday, Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu denied there was a diplomatic spat with Somalia after the President reportedly toured their territory without informing Mogadishu. “The President visiting his troops is a normal thing to do and ours has done that. It is important for him to show support to troops who are working to secure our country,” he said.

“I am quite sure that if there are by-issues by the other country, then they will be handled through normal diplomatic channels. I am quite sure that we wouldn’t respond to any concerns, if there were any, via press conference,” he said. On Saturday, President Kenyatta visited Kenyan troops in Dhobley, a town in western Somalia near the border with Kenya that has also been traditionally used as a distribution station for many relief agencies working in Somalia. Kenya said the President made the trip to show support for troops who have been in Somalia since October 2011, after which they later merged with other forces under the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).

“The President wanted to appear in person to show his support for the very important work our men and women in uniform do to secure our country. “It is often lost to some in our country that the relative security we enjoy is in part due to the commitment, dedication and sometimes the ultimate sacrifice of these men and women,” Mr Esipisu told reporters. But amid the President’s first ever visit to a military camp abroad, reports emerged that President Mohamed Abdullahi ‘Farmajo’ had expressed “displeasure” with the visit because his office wasn’t notified.

UK PM Hails Somalis For Contributing To Global Growth

18 March – Source: Daily Nation – 519 Words

Somalis residing in the diaspora were on Thursday recognised for their efforts in promoting and uplifting the standards of people globally. Also, African money transfer company Dahabshiil was recognised for its contribution to the international Somali community. The company was among the sponsors at London’s annual International Somali Awards (ISA), attended by individuals from across the fields of business, social work, sports, education and arts. The ceremony provided an opportunity to support the efforts to relieve the growing humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa, with all ticket proceedings being donated to the cause.

In a personal message about the event, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May praised the incredible success of the Somali community. “These awards represent a wonderful opportunity to show our appreciation for the contribution that Somalis make to communities across the UK and around the world. All those who have been nominated for these awards should be incredibly proud of their achievements,” she said. “I would also like to convey my gratitude for the wider work of the hosts, the Anti-Tribalism Movement, and for your organisation’s engagement on a variety of issues over recent years. You are doing important work to inspire young British Somalis with a hopeful and positive view of the future.”

Guests gathered for the ceremony in the heart of Westminster and were joined by sponsors from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Dahabshiil and several prominent VIPs including senior UK politicians, journalists from BBC and ITV, authors such as Nadifa Mohamed and other well-known personalities such as model Halima Aden, star of this year’s Milan fashion week, and Abdirashid Duale, the Chief Executive Officer of Dahabshiil. Companies such as Dahabshiil have been recognised for their leadership in social entrepreneurship and job creation in the Somali regions throughout years of challenging economic conditions.


“Being on the ground was perhaps the most important factor that has helped Turkey to receive widespread support from the Somalis.”

Ending Famine In Somalia, The Turkish Way

19 March – Source: Al Jazeera – 1,066 Words

Jerome Jarre’s viral hashtag, #TurkishAirlinesHelpSomalia, was yet another attempt to draw worldwide attention to the famine in the Somali peninsula, but the Somali people are in need of both an organised, short-term as well as a long-term response to ensure that this crisis is contained, and does not happen in the future. In Somalia, the cycle of long droughts followed by famines has been going on for many decades. Now, more than five million Somalis need immediate assistance in order to prevent another famine. “This drought has created the biggest displacement of people in the country,” said Adan Adar, the country director of the American Refugee Committee.

Somalis from all over the world, as well as a large number of local and international NGOs, have been collecting and sending in donations. In order to save as many people as possible, an immediate and large-scale humanitarian campaign effort followed by a sustainable development strategy that can help build resilient state institutions to control the negative effects of future drought occurrences are necessary. The model the Turkish government employed in 2011 and 2012 offers an innovative perspective. Therefore, donor countries must consider adopting it for Somalia. Humanitarian agencies and international organisations have started rescue efforts by raising the awareness of the world community.

In early March, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, paid an unannounced yet timely visit to Somalia in order to mobilise the international community to help rescue the people who were affected by the drought. In fact, in the past, Guterres has been a consistent supporter of Somali people. For instance, when he was the commissioner for the UNHCR, he pressured both Kenyan and Somali governments to respect the human rights of the refugees. As recently as 2011, Somali people have experienced one of the worst famines in the Horn of Africa region, which killed more than 250,000 people and displaced at least one million. In their book Famine in Somalia, Daniel Maxwell and Nisar Majid rightly characterised the responses to this famine as “collective failures”.

In 2011, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the current president of Turkey, was the first high-profile figure who visited Somalia, with the intention of raising the awareness of the international community. At the present time, even though millions of Somalis are on the brink of starvation, there has been a lack of attention and support from the world community. Therefore, the next few weeks are crucial for controlling the damage of the drought. Perhaps, the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain) are well positioned to lead the short-term humanitarian efforts in Somalia because of their strong economies, geographic proximity, and cultural and historical relations with the Somali people.


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.