15 May – Source: Al-Riyadh News – 82 Words
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has sent a message to President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo of the Federal Republic of Somalia, inviting him to attend Arab-Islamic-US summit to be hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The message was handed over to the Somali President by Saudi Ambassador to Kenya, non-resident to Somalia Dr. Mohammed Abdul-Ghani Khayat during a meeting here yesterday. During the meeting, they discussed a number of issues of common interest.
- Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Invites Somali President to Arab-Islamic-US Summit (Al-Riyad News)
- Uganda Declares Doubling Its Troops In Somalia (Shabelle News)
- Expanding The State Parliament Is Unjust Says Puntland MP (Garowe Online)
- QRCS To Launch QR 5.5 mln Ramadan Projects In Somalia (Relief Web)
- Bishop Urges International Support for Drought-Stricken Somalia as Anti-Terrorism Law Stilt Aid Effort (The Tablet)
- Executions Increase in Somalia (VOA News)
Uganda Declares Doubling Its Troops In Somalia
15 May – Source: Shabelle News – 189 words
Uganda announced it’s plan to double its troops in Somalia as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia to fight Al-Shabab militants that are associated with Al-Qaida. Uganda believes it is important that the world seek to diminish Al-Shabab militants which associated with al-Qaeda, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said in a statement, considering that the biggest obstacle facing Somalia today is this armed militias that threaten security and stability in the region.
He also announced the decision of Kampala to double the number of troops in the territory of Somalia to fight the militants of this movement there, as it poses a threat to Mogadishu, and to its neighbors as well. Museveni explained that his country is determined to support Somalia in its war against this armed militants. The African Union sent a military force in 2007 to maintain peace in Somalia, backed by United Nations and aiming to bring peace to the country. It was a regional mission to achieve peace in the country after the civil war that killed thousands of civilians and military personnel. Uganda currently has an estimated 2,700 peacekeeping troops in Somalia.
Expanding The State Parliament Is Unjust, Says Puntland MP
15 May – Source: Garowe Online – 211 words
A state parliamentarian in northeastern region of Somalia, has talked about the recent controversial proposal to expand state’s 66-seats-chamber by Puntland President. MP Saed Abdi Samatar Surad noted that many challenges and obstacles came along the way to establish the state following series of consultation among clan elders, politicians and civil society. He said that “the adopted power-sharing formula in Puntland is distributed between provinces and not between clans.” “The 66 MPs hail from all provinces of Puntland regions, and it is true that some clans don’t have seats in the state Parliament but they are represented by other MPs in the same province,” added Surad.
He said that expanding the state Parliament at the moment without adhering to the constitutions doesn’t serve the interest of the region as the process of adding parliamentarians will not be conducted in fair manner. Surad noted that Puntland administration should focus on providing essential services and needed development to the region rather than meddling in the constitution. He later warned against the controversial move and said it will lead to undesired consequence of clan conflicts and instability in the region. The MP noted that the constitution is the supreme law of each nation, and contains principles that rule state’s mandate and limiting government overreach.
15 May- Source:Relief Web-563 Words
Qatar Red Crescent’s (QRCS) mission in Somalia is set to initiate Ramadan projects worth nearly QR 5.5 million, for the vulnerable groups, to help improve their living standards and mitigate the impact of the three-year drought.Under its annual Ramadan Iftar, QRCS will distribute food packages to poor families, at a total cost of QR 400,680. Lasting for 15 days each, these distributions will benefit 2,500 families (12,500 people).Also, a therapeutic nutrition center will be established to reduce malnutrition and resulting deaths. Expected to serve more than 15,000, the new center will take a budget of QR 5 million.
QRCS and Katara Cultural Village have recently completed a fundraising campaign for Somalia. The joint drive could secure QR 2.3 million of relief and food aid, to be entered into Somalia through Berbera Port.The humanitarian situation across Somalia is critical, with the drought and looming famine threatening the lives of 6.7 million people as well as livestock. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) statistics, more than this figure need urgent humanitarian aid, including 3.2 million on the verge of a disaster.
Since November 2016, about 680,000 people have displaced. Around 1.4 million children are at risk of malnutrition. Looking for food, 7,000 crossed the borders into Ethiopia and Kenya.The communities of internally displaced people (IDPs) witness too bad living conditions, endemics, scarce food, and low sanitation levels. World Health Organization recorded 32,000 watery diarrhea cases, 5,600 measles cases, and 370,000 malnutrition cases.Having played a vital role in dealing with the drought of 2011, QRCS is actively engaged in the efforts against the current drought, with ongoing development and health projects across the country.
Bishop Urges International Support for Drought-Stricken Somalia as Anti-Terrorism Law Stilt Aid Effort
15 May – Source: The Tablet – 536 words
A senior bishop in Djibouti has called on the international community to focus on alleviating the severe drought across Somalia as over half the population experience severe food shortages and an estimated 275,000 malnourished children are at risk of starvation. Speaking after a one-day conference in London on Somalia, Bishop Giorgio Bertin, who also is apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Mogadishu, Somalia, said he fears that the presence of the extremist group Al-Shabaab in Somalia has affected how the international community will respond to the crisis. “I have the impression that the various international actors on Somali issues will not put the rebirth of the Somali State at the centre of their action,” Mgr Bertin told Fides news on 11 May.
Speaking at the conference, United Nations secretary-general, Antonio Guterres called for $900 million in overseas aid in order to tackle the crisis. However, senior humanitarian officials have said that strict British and US counter-terrorism laws are discouraging humanitarian organisations from delivering vital assistance to the six million people facing starvation and disease. The laws, which target any individual or organisation found to have assisted a terrorist group materially, are exerting a “chilling effect” on aid reaching the country, Justin Brady, a senior UN humanitarian official responsible for overseeing the distribution of hundreds of millions of dollars of international assistance in Somalia told the Guardian. Most of those worst hit by the drought – around 2 million people – live in areas run by al-Shabaab.
Humanitarian officials say it is almost impossible to guarantee that no aid will reach the extremists if they work there, and fear this means they will fall foul of the laws, exposing them to possible prosecution. Likewise, money transfer businesses, which funnel an estimated $2 billion a year to Somalia, are struggling to access banks in the United Kingdom and the United States due to severe restrictions placed on them because of terrorism threats. Bishop Bertin urged the lifting of restrictions on “hawala,” traditional money transfer agencies, to allow the Somalis worldwide to contribute to the aid effort. UN statistics show that from 1990 to 2015, the number of Somalis born in the country but living elsewhere grew from 850,000 to 2 million. Bertin stressed that the Somali diaspora held a vital role in rebuilding their country. “The international community should be able to distinguish between terrorists and good people, good organisations which need to transfer money,” Bertin said. “They should not have just a same parameter: Somalia all is bad. With the modern technology and communications, the international community should be able to distinguish which hawala to lift (from) the ban.”
“The sudden increase in summary executions in Somalia has drawn the attention of human rights groups like Amnesty International as well as the local European Union delegation.”
15 May – Source: VOA News – 711 Words
In Somalia, a country long troubled by deadly violence, there’s a disturbing new trend: an increase in summary executions. Somali military courts and the militant group Al-Shabaab have each executed about a dozen people so far in 2017, all of them killed in public settings as crowds of between 30 and 300 people looked on. While executions in Somalia are nothing new, the sudden increase has drawn the attention of human rights groups like Amnesty International as well as the local European Union delegation, which has asked Somali authorities to enact a moratorium on the death penalty. Activists have been particularly critical of executions carried out by military courts, which they say are trying cases beyond their jurisdiction and failing to give defendants fair legal process.
Military courts put to death 11 people in April alone, including a policeman convicted of murdering a civilian, a soldier convicted of killing a civilian, and four Al-Shabaab militants sentenced for explosions that killed some 80 people in the town of Baidoa. The execution of five young men by firing squad in the semi-autonomous Puntland region on April 8 sparked the most controversy. Amnesty International says the defendants, all accused of murdering officials in the town of Bossaso, were too young to be tried as adults, never given access to a lawyer and coerced into giving false confessions. The rights group says that according to family members, the boys confessed to the killings only after being beaten, raped, subjected to electric shocks and burned with cigarettes on their genitals. “These horrific allegations of torture must be fully and independently investigated and those found responsible held to account,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty’s deputy regional director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
The head of Puntland Military Appeals Court, Salah Liif, said the court does not force confessions and denied the allegations about the defendants being underage. “Puntland Administration does not execute children and will never do that,” he told VOA’s Somali service. “It was a propaganda spread by elements playing human rights groups against Puntland.” Al-Shabaab gives defendants virtually no legal process at all. On the morning of May 6, residents of tiny Quar’a Madobe village were going about their business when Al-Shabaab militants ordered them to assemble. Dozens gathered to see the militants holding two men in civilian clothes at gunpoint.”They brought the men in front of a tea restaurant, and told the residents they were captured enemy soldiers,” said a witness who spoke to the Somali service. One militant then recited a Quranic verse, he said, and two others used large knives to slice off the men’s heads, as those watching gasped and screamed. A Somali National Army colonel identified the men as Mowlid Hussein and Ahmed Ya’qub, and said they were driving to the town of Jowhar to tend to family emergencies when Al-Shabaab intercepted their vehicle. The colonel said they were “off duty, uniformed and unarmed.” On May 1, al-Shabab executed two other men — Ahmed Ibrahim Ragow, 29, and Yusuf Ali Bajin, 22 — for allegedly raping a girl and killing her brother in the city of Beledweyne.