11 May – Source: Sputnik News – 277
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the international community on Thursday to allocate an additional $900 million by the end of the year for the thousands of Somali civilians suffering from drought, starvation and endless conflicts. “The drought is the most pressing priority. This morning, we presented a revised Humanitarian Response Plan seeking an additional $900 million through the end of the year. We also need to address the damage caused by climate change and conflict,” Guterres said opening an international conference on Somalia hosted by UK Prime Minister Theresa May in London.
According to Guterres, over six million Somalis, or nearly half of the country’s population, need humanitarian assistance, while some 275,000 malnourished children are at risk of starvation. Earlier in the day, the World Health Organization (WHO) called on the international community for immediate action to save lives in the crisis-torn country. According to WHO, drought in Somalia has led to the destruction of crops and livestock and left more than 3.3 million people hungry every day.”Drought has also led to lack of clean water and the largest outbreak of cholera Somalia has seen in the last 5 years, with more than 36 000 cases and almost 690 deaths so far in 2017 alone.
With the beginning of the expected rainy season and floods this month, these numbers are expected to increase to 50 000 cases by the end of June,” the WHO said in its statement.This year’s conference brought together East African leaders and international aid groups, who are seeking to hammer out a solution for the nation, described by the UK foreign policy department as “chronically unstable and ungoverned.”
- UN Chief Calls on International Community to Allocate Another $900 Million For Somalia (Sputnik news)
- Somalia’s President and United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Opened London conference on Somalia (Garowe Online)
- Somalia’s Council Of Ministers Meeting Focuses On Security (Garoweonline)
- Kenya Defence Force To Stay And Pacify Somalia Says President Uhuru (Shabelle News)
- Somalia and Its Backers Seek Security Pact To Beef Up Army (Reuters)
- Museveni In United Kingdom For Conference On Somalia (New Vision Uganda)
- How Do You Solve A Problem Like Somalia? (BBC News)
Somalia’s President and United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Opened London Conference On Somalia
11 May – Source: Garowe Online – 244 words
Somali Federal government President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo and British Prime Minister Theresa May have jointly opened the International London conference on Somalia to bring needed support for the new Federal government. Representatives of 40 nations, leaders from across East Africa and other key partners, along with senior figures from international organizations are attending the conference. On the other hand, deputy Prime Minister, leaders of Somalia’s regional states, members from Somali Diaspora community are also reported in attendance of the high-level conference.
During his speech, President Farmajo noted that his government is pushing efforts to take advantage from the opportunity presented from Somalia’s partners. “There have been many conferences in the past for Somalia, but today’s meeting in London is different. I can assure you that Somalia will never turn back.” Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta called for joint cooperation against al-Shabaab group and support the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), to defeat and root out the militants in the coming two years.
Additionally, key partners have reaffirmed its commitment in political reform and good governance, to help build a more inclusive and democratic state, setting a clear path towards democratic ballot in 2020. The two-day conference is set to focus on improving security, rebuilding the nation and boost development efforts to prevent the return of conflict across the country. Somali leaders are expected to request from international partners to lift the arms embargo to help rebuilding the national army and debt relief program.
Somalia’s Council Of Ministers Meeting Focuses On Security
11 May – Source: Garowe Online – 313 words
Somali Cabinet members held their weekly cabinet meeting in Mogadishu on Thursday, focusing on country’s security and the conference in London, UK. The cabinet welcomed London conference on Somalia and thanked UK government for hosting the meeting that will highlight on a range of issues, including security, development, political reforms and drought relief.
The heads of Somali National Army, police and Intelligence agency have briefed the Cabinet ministers on the latest security developments in the country and the battle against the Al-Qaida linked Al- shabaab group. Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre who chaired the session commended the heads of military and security agencies and urged double up efforts to root out the militants of the country. Meanwhile, the cabinet has overwhelmingly passed a new security measures bill to fight the militant group Al-Shabaab, and counter the wave of terror attacks in the capital Mogadishu ahead of the holy month of Ramadan. The ministers agreed setting up a joint security force, comprising of police, military and Intelligence officers tasked with stabilization of Mogadishu under one command, according to the statement. The statement indicated that Federal government officials were ordered to hand over the weapons, vehicles and security bodyguards to the commander of the country’s army within 10 days, starting from May 11.
Each government official is allowed to have only two vehicles and four bodyguards with light weapons. The owners of business centers are also instructed to inform about their private security guards and weapons to the new commander, and urged to take part of the stabilization process. The commander of the Somali Police was ordered to form a special force to protect officials and key government buildings within two months. Somalia’s capital Mogadishu witnessed a wave of deadly attacks and targeted assassinations by armed militant group Al-Shabaab in the past few months that caused casualties, mostly civilians and government officials.
Kenya Defence Force To Stay And Pacify Somalia, Says President Uhuru
11 May – Source: Shabelle News – 276 words
Kenyan soldiers in Somalia are not about to come home anytime soon, their Commander-in-Chief, Uhuru Kenyatta has said. He said the reason the soldiers crossed the border are yet to be achieved and KDF will stay in Somalia until the country regains peace and stability. “Somalia should be defended by the Somalis themselves. But as good neighbours, we, under Al-Shabaab, will continue to work with the Somali government to restore peace and security in that country,” Uhuru said, hours before he flew to London to attend a conference on Somalia.
He briefed journalists at State House, Nairobi, on Tuesday night. The President left for London yesterday to attend the 3rd London Conference on Somalia. The conference will focus on accelerating the progress of security reforms in Somalia, build on the international response on the ongoing drought and humanitarian crisis and agree on the new international partnership needed to keep the Horn of Africa nation on course.The first such conference was held in 2012 and the second one in 2013. Kenya, under the Operation Linda Nchi banner, dispatched her soldiers to Somalia on October 16, 2011.
Although Somalia has an elected government and some parts of the capital are relatively peaceful, Al-Shabaab militants have continued to target government installations, officials and AMISOM soldiers.Kenya, Uganda and Burundi have lost hundreds of soldiers following attacks by Al-Shabaab. Apart from the three countries, other regional neighbours who have soldiers in Somalia are Djibouti and Ethiopia. “The conference is not about Somalia. It is about our region. It is imperative that when there are issues regarding security in one country, we deal with them as a region,” Uhuru said.
11 May – Source: Reuters – 515 words
Somalia’s government and its foreign backers said on Thursday they were hammering out a plan to try and strengthen the army to take over the fight against Al-Shabaab militants from overstretched African Union troops. Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May told a London conference the scheme would aim to unite Somalia’s main army with a range of regional forces based across the divided and chaotic territory. The African Union troops have clawed back most of Somalia’s main towns and cities from Al- Shabaab since they helped drive the Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents out of the capital Mogadishu in 2010.
But the soldiers from Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and other states are due to start leaving in 2018 – and the Islamist militants still manage to launch regular deadly attacks in the capital and beyond. “Al- Shabaab has tripled its attacks on Mogadishu, and Somali forces do not yet have the capability to take over control of their own security,” May said in opening remarks. “We want to see the integration of Somali regional forces and an increase in Somali capacity, as this will be crucial in allowing the resumption of offensives against the remaining al Shabaab strongholds in southern Somalia,” May said.
A spokesman for Somali delegation said the government and regional leaders had already agreed the framework of the deal, and the London conference was focused on getting funding from international partners. Somalia has been mired in violent chaos since 1991, when warlords overthrew dictator Siad Barre and then turned against each other. May said Somalia had made progress since five years ago, when Al-Shabaab controlled large parts of it, piracy was costing global trade $7 billion a year and the country was recovering from a famine that killed a quarter of a million people.
Despite this progress, May said, Somalia was still ranked the most fragile state in the world and was suffering from a severe drought that had left more than 6 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and driven millions from their homes. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the conference that 275,000 malnourished children were at risk of starvation, and said the global body was seeking a further $900 million this year to respond to the Somali crisis. Analysts say the national army is also poorly equipped and underfunded. Partly as a result of that, a range of regional forces including clan militias, the Ethiopian backed Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamea militia, the
U.S.-supported Puntland forces and a regional force in Jubaland have been reluctant to join a centralised force.In an article published on Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson suggested the international community would provide concrete incentives to draw the different forces together. “Put simply, I want to strike a bargain whereby Somalia’s leaders carry out vital security reforms – including drawing up a clear plan for a National Army – in return for more help and training from the international community,” Johnson wrote. “And when conditions allow, Somali troops will take over from their AMISOM allies,” he wrote, referring to the African Union force in Somalia.
11 May – Source: New Vision Uganda – 257 Words
President Yoweri Museveni arrived in London, UK on Wednesday for a two-day working visit. During his time there, he will attend and address the Somalia Conference due to take place at the Lancaster House on Thursday. He is accompanied by his wife Janet, who is the Minister of Education and Sports. The Ugandan leader was received by Lord Dolar Popat, a member of the UK House of Lords; Peter West, the UK High Commissioner to Uganda, Uganda’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Prof. Joyce Kakuramatsi Kikafunda and the Minister of Local Government Adolf Mwesige.
Today, the President Museveni will hold a bilateral meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May focusing on South Sudan and Somalia before both leaders attend the opening ceremony of the London Somalia Conference at Lancaster House. He is also expected to hold various bilateral meetings including with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson.
Uganda was the first country to deploy troops under AMISOM into Somalia in March 2007. So far, the East African nation has provided all four AMISOM Force Commanders with the recent outgoing being Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti who was replaced by Lt. Gen. Silas Ntigurirwa from Burundi. The Ugandan contingent remains the largest contingent in AMISOM with 6,223 troops based in Sector 1 which comprises of Banadir (Mogadishu), Middle and Lower Shabelle regions. Until now, Uganda has deployed 12 battle groups into the Mission area. The recently deployed Battle Group 12 joined their Burundian counterparts in Baidoa.
“As long as Somalia remains violent, with different parts of the country controlled by a multitude of often conflicting armed groups, it will be impossible to deliver emergency assistance, let alone long-term development,”
11 May – Source: BBC News – 494 Words
This Thursday, the great and the good will descend on London to discuss Somalia, a country that has topped the Fragile States Index for eight of the past 10 years.The London Somalia Conference, co-chaired by the UK, Somalia and the United Nations, will be held in Lancaster House, a grand mansion in the exclusive district of St James’s. Many of the delegates will stay in swish hotels nearby.
This is the third such London gathering since 2012, and there is an element of “cut and paste” to its agenda, which focuses on security, governance and the economy.The official conference document emphasises how much progress has been made. But its description of Somalia from the time of the first meeting still applies: “Chronically unstable and ungoverned”, and threatened by Islamist militants, piracy and famine.There has been some improvement.
Piracy, which at its height cost $7bn (£5.4bn) a year, is much diminished, although there has been a recent resurgence.US drones, African Union troops, Western “security advisers” and Somali forces have pushed Al-Shabab from most major towns, although the jihadists still control many areas and attack at will. A recent electoral process resulted in a new and – for the time being – popular president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, nicknamed Farmajo, and more female and youth representation in parliament. Somalia is in a “pre-famine” stage rather than the full-blown disaster of 2011, in which more than 250,000 people died. But it is perhaps surprising that the current water shortage will not be a headline topic at the conference. The country is in the grip of its worst drought in decades. Four successive rainy seasons have failed. Even before you enter Burao Regional Hospital, in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland’s drought-stricken Togdheer region, you hear the haunting, high-pitched. One boy, dressed in purple, stares blankly at the wall. “His brain is damaged due to a prolonged lack of adequate nutrition,” says Dr Yusuf Ali, who returned home to Somalia from the UK two years ago. “He will never recover.”
According to Unicef, the number of children who are or will be acutely malnourished in 2017 is up by 50% from the beginning of the year, to a total of 1.4 million, including 275,000 for whom the condition is or will be life-threatening. Most are too sick to go to school or help herd animals, making the life of the country’s many nomads even more precarious. People are already dying from hunger and diseases that strike those weakened by lack of food. Severely malnourished children are nine times more likely than healthy ones to die from illnesses such as measles and diarrhoea.The World Health Organization says there were more than 25,000 cases of cholera in the first four months of 2017, with the number expected to more than double to 54,000 by June. More than 500 people have already died from the disease. It is not just humans who are suffering.