17 May – Source: Reuters – 88 Words
Two soldiers died when a car bomb exploded as they were trying to defuse it in Somalia’s capital on Wednesday, police said. The men were dismantling part of the car when the device went off, Major Nur Ahmed told Reuters. No group immediately claimed responsibility, but al Shabaab militants have launched a string of attacks in Mogadishu and beyond in their bid to impose their brand of Islam. Somalia has been at war since 1991, when clan-based warlords overthrew dictator Siad Barre and then turned on each other.
- Two Somali Soldiers Die Trying To Defuse Car Bomb (Reuters)
- Delegates Flee Mogadishu After Militant Killings Increase (Dhacdo.com)
- Bay Region Administration Plans To Open Roads Blocked By Al-Shabaab (Goobjoog News)
- Cholera Outbreak Compounds Hunger Crisis In Southern Somalia (VOA News)
- Bomb Blast Injures 7 In Southwestern Somalia (Anadolu Agency)
- Somalia Needs More Action Less Lip Service (Institute For Security Studies)
Delegates Flee Mogadishu After Militant Killings Increase
17 May – Source – Dhacdo.com – 218 words
Delegates, who participated in the recently concluded electoral process in Somalia, have begun to flee Mogadishu following an upsurge in the number of killings against them. Since February, Al-Shabaab militants scaled up targeting electoral delegates and clan elders who elected MPs in Mogadishu and regional capitals. Mogadishu has seen the highest number of killings of delegates and most of the delegates killed in the capital so far are those who took part in the the electoral process in Adado and Baidoa respectively. This past week four delegates were slain in the capital include a female delegate and no arrests have been made so far, thus creating a climate of fear by those living in Mogadishu.
Some of the delegates hailing from Puntland, Galmudug, HirShabelle, South West and Jubaland have reportedly fled to Nairobi. Others arrived in Kismayo and Garowe where security is relatively better than Mogadishu. However, it is not only Mogadishu that saw the displacement of delegates. Delegates were also reported to have fled Galkayo seeking refuge in Garowe. On April, traditional elder Mohamud Jama Dirshe (Farey) was shot dead in Galkayo for his role in the selection of MPs in Garowe. Another factor leading to their displacement is said to be approaching month of Ramadan when Al-Shabaab is known to increase its attacks in the country.
Bay Region Administration Plans To Open Roads Blocked By Al-Shabaab
17 May – Source – Goobjoog News – 123 words
The administration of Southwest State on Wednesday promised to re-open roads closed by Al-Shabaab in Bay region. Speaking with Goobjoog New, Deputy governor of Bay region, Yonis Aadan Hassan said that Southwest security forces will play their role to ensure humanitarian relief reaches residents affected by the drought. “We will launch an operation to open up roads blocked by Al-Shabaab and the operation will be continuous until we remove Al-Shabaab from the region,” said Hassan. Al-Shabaab militants have cut off main roads leading to several towns in central Somalia which it lost to the troops of the Somali government backed by the African Union forces. There is a humanitarian crisis in those areas with reports of human deaths arising from hunger and thirst.
16 May – Source: VOA News – 427 Words
A regional drought has displaced more than half a million people in Somalia and left the country at risk of famine. A cholera outbreak is further complicating relief efforts, in particular in the southern part of the country where some villages under Al-Shabaab control. Bay Regional Hospital, the biggest in the southwest federal state, is filled with patients suffering from stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Cholera has sickened more than 40,000 people in Somalia since December. More than half of the cases have been in this state. Most of the victims have been malnourished children. Five-year-old Fatuma was admitted to the cholera treatment ward last night. Her mother Bisharo Mohammed says she can not lose another child. She says her eldest daughter was suffering from diarrhea, and she died two months ago in Busley village on the outskirts of Baidoa. She says the girl was seven years old. Cholera is treatable. The World Health Organization recommends “prompt administration of oral rehydration salts.” Mohamed says Fatuma is already feeling better with treatment. They hope to be released soon.
But they will not be going home. Aid agencies say the areas worst hit by cholera and hunger are villages like Busley which are under the control. Accessing them is a challenge. Fatuma and her family are among the tens of thousands of people who have walked to government-controlled areas like Baidoa to seek help and are now living in makeshift camps. World Health Organization cholera expert Dr. Abdinasir Abubakar says the outbreak is getting worse due to security challenges. “If you look at Bay, Bakool, Middle Juba, Gedo some of those areas where none of us is able to access, the deaths and cases due to cholera is very high, and we expect the situation will get worse,” says Abubakar. Rains this month in southern and central Somalia have contributed to a surge in cholera cases, according to Bay Regional Hospital cholera treatment ward deputy supervisor Salima Sheikh Shuaib. She says “the cholera cases were going down, but the past three days we have seen an increase in cholera cases. This morning, we have received 16 cases and most of them are children under the age of five.” More than 150,000 displaced people are living in the makeshift camps around Baidoa and more continue to arrive.
At the camps, many families do not have plastic tarps or covered places to sleep. Stagnant puddles and mud dot the walkways. There is no regular food provided. Clean water is available, but it is not enough. Medics supported by UNICEF and the WHO are going to IDP camps around Baidoa to provide oral cholera vaccination to children. But Abubakar of the WHO says it is hard to contain the spread of cholera so long as the general humanitarian situation is not improving. “We cannot only solve cholera. We cannot only deal with cholera unless we deal with food insecurity, unless we deal with water issues, malnutrition and I think collectedly both the wash, the health, the nutrition, and the food security partners we are working closely and we are coordinating but again in Somalia one of the challenges. We are facing a shortage of resources to support all these interventions,” says Abubakar.
16 May – Source: Anadolu Agency – 245 Words
At least seven people were wounded, including government officials, in a bomb blast at a busy restaurant in southwestern Somalia Monday afternoon, officials said. Isak Abdi Mohamed, district commissioner of the town of Qasahdhere in the Bay region, told Anadolu Agency over the phone that the bomb had targeted local officials. “The bomb was hidden in the restaurant and targeted district officials. Seven people, including two district commissioners and five government forces, were wounded. No one was killed,” he said. “The officials injured by the blast are Salah Sheikh Abdullahi, deputy commissioner for finance, and Ibrahim Dahir, deputy commissioner for public affairs,” he added.
All five government soldiers sustained serious injuries and were rushed to Baidoa Hospital for treatment, said the official. Mohamud Ali, a police officer in Qasahdhere, confirmed the incident to Anadolu Agency, adding, “The police launched a security operation we have nabbed two suspects”.The attack took place around 2:30 local time. The town has been under siege by Somali-based insurgent group Al-Shabaab since the Somali government retook the district from the terrorist group in 2012.Qasahdhere is an agriculture town located some 346 kilometers (214 miles) southwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu and 90 km west of Baidoa, Bay’s capital. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but it comes eight days after al-Shabaab took responsibility for a car bomb blast on a popular restaurant in the capital Mogadishu, killing six people, including a national army general.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“Somalia has come a long way since 2012, but a review of key areas of progress shows how much further there is to go. The country has, for example, undergone two successful political transitions, but overall participation has been limited. The federalisation process has gained significant momentum with the formation of all the FMS, but this is dampened by border disputes and the emergence of spoilers who feel left out by the process.”
17 May – Source: Institute For Security Studies – 943 Words
Drought, a lack of security and inclusive politics, unemployment and poverty, piracy and the terror group al-Shabaab continue to plague Somalia. And while there has been progress in addressing these challenges, it isn’t enough. To this end a New Partnership for Somalia (NPS) and a Security Pact were unveiled at the 11 May London Conference where representatives from over 40 organisations and nations gathered to measure progress and reaffirm international commitments in pursuit of a stable and secure Somalia. The NPS outlines the relationship between the international community and Somalia over the next four years, and the Security Pact sets out a vision for Somalia-led security institutions, building on last month’s agreement between the Somali Federal Government and its Federal Member States (FMS) on the nation’s National Security Architecture.
The main themes at the conference, co-hosted by the Somali government, the UK, the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU), were strengthening national security, inclusive stable politics and economic recovery. The drought and risk of famine also played a prominent role, with UN Secretary-General António Guterres calling for an additional $900 million in humanitarian aid. The complex dynamics in Somalia don’t get discussed in detail at one-day international conferences. Somalia has come a long way since 2012, but a review of key areas of progress shows how much further there is to go. The country has, for example, undergone two successful political transitions, but overall participation has been limited. The federalisation process has gained significant momentum with the formation of all the FMS, but this is dampened by border disputes and the emergence of spoilers who feel left out by the process.
Piracy, a major driving force behind the first London Conference, has dropped – but the recent flare-up calls into question the sustainability of these efforts. Economic recovery has occurred, but much of this is diaspora-driven, unregulated and concentrated in urban centres, while unemployment and poverty remain major concerns.And while the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has taken back large stretches of territory from al-Shabaab, the terrorist organisation remains a major security threat to Somalia and beyond. Given AMISOM’s planned withdrawal from the country by 2020, the Security Pact is a crucial outcome of last week’s London Conference. AMISOM has stuck to its dates for withdrawal, but there were signs in London that this may be loosening. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, whose nation has been the most affected by al-Shabaab violence outside of Somalia and is one of the major troop and police contributors to AMISOM, said on the eve of the conference that Kenya couldn’t leave the country until al-Shabaab had been defeated.UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for an additional $900 million in humanitarian aid. Furthermore, the conference envisioned a ‘conditions-based transition with clear target dates’ for AMISOM’s transition to Somali security actors, emphasising a focus beyond just dates.
It remains to be seen how this plays out. An upcoming joint AU-UN review of AMISOM’s mandate after 10 years of operations will play a pivotal role in determining the future of the mission. The international community also largely held off on making specific security-related funding commitments, preferring instead to wait until a follow-up conference in October. But these outcomes aren’t enough on their own – implementation is key, and is often complicated by Somalia’s own local dynamics. The endorsement of the National Security Architecture, for example, while a significant achievement, bypasses local concerns expressed within Somalia’s newly chosen Parliament about the prominent role of the FMS in the formation of the Somali National Army. These complex dynamics within Somalia don’t get discussed in detail at one-day international conferences, but the international community is trying to keep the pressure on by providing monitoring mechanisms and regular High Level Partnership Forums. The documents and road maps are also more detailed than in the past, and Somalia is in a better place than in previous years. And the newly-elected President Mohamed Abdullahi ‘Farmajo’ Mohamed has been given both the momentum and mandate to pursue an ambitious agenda around development and security reform.
@HarunMaruf:BREAKING: Number of civilians were killed after their vehicle was hit by an explosion at Daba city village near El-Wak (Kenya): reports
IMAGE OF THE DAY
UNHCR Special Envoy for Somali refugees, Mohamed Affey meets Somali PM Hassan Ali Kheyre.