UAE Row Costly To Somalia, Resolve Differences Now – State Leaders Tell Farmaajo
16 May – Source: Radio Dalsan – 173 Words
Somalia’s regional states’ leaders concluded the second Inter State Cooperation Conference in Baidoa, with a call to Mogadishu to resolve its diplomatic row with the United Arab Emirates. A communique released after the three day conference accused President Farmaajo’s administration of taking sides, in the Gulf crisis at the expense on Somalia’s security and economy.
The leaders raised concern over “worsening relations” between Mogadishu and Abu Dhabi. Somalia had chosen a “neutral” stance following the 2017 Gulf Crisis and maintained diplomatic ties with Qatar. UAE has recently invited the regional states leaders and signed deals that the Federal Government has claimed it breached its foreign policy.
As the leaders met in Baidoa seeking President Farmaajo to mend fences with Abu Dhabi, the Somali President was on a state visit on Qatar, where the two countries inked two significant deals in health and infrastructure. The communique further asks Mogadishu to end political interference in the regional states. Security and the war on Al-Shabaab was also discussed with regional administrations seeking concerted efforts to dislodge the militant group.
- UAE Row Costly To Somalia Resolve Differences Now – State Leaders Tell Farmaajo (Radio Dalsan)
- Lower House Speaker Heads To Baidoa Town (Halbeeg News)
- Former Shabaab Defector Kills Policeman Escapes With Gun In Beled-Hawo (Goobjoog News)
- Somalia Vows To Speed Up Constitutional Review Process (Xinhua)
- Dozens Die In Fighting Between Two Somali States Over Disputed Land (Reuters)
- UN Reauthorizes African Union Mission In Somalia Until July (The Defence Post)
Lower House Speaker Heads To Baidoa Town
16 May – Source: Halbeeg News – 191 Words
Somali Lower House Speaker, Mohamed Abdirahman Mursal is scheduled to travel to Baidoa on Wednesday, sources confirmed. An inter-state conference has been ongoing for the last two days and in attendance have been the five regional leaders from Galmudug, Jubbaland, Puntland, Hirshabelle and Southwest states.
According to unconfirmed reports, Mursal will officially conclude the three-day conference for Council of Inter-state Cooperation. The meeting which kicked off on Monday has focused on political developments, security and resource sharing between the Federal Government and member states as well as the diplomatic row between Somalia and the United Arab Emirates. The Speaker will hold talks with the regional leaders on a wide range of issues including the outcome of the conference, the relations between federal government and states.
The trip of the Speaker will be his first one outside Somali capital, Mogadishu, since he assumed office early this month. Mursal was elected as the Speaker of the Lower House last month after his predecessor; Mohamed Osman Jawari, resigned following a fall out with the members of the House.
Former Shabaab Defector Kills Policeman, Escapes With Gun In Beled-Hawo
16 May – Source: Goobjoog News – 161 Words
A former Al-Shabaab militant who defected to the government in February, and was later posted as an immigration official, on Tuesday killed a police officer and escaped with his gun in Belet-Hawo in southwestern Somalia. The man, identified as Mr. Abdi Yare Hassan, was the head of Al-Shabaab operations in Bardhere and Saakow areas, before handing over himself to authorities in February. According to reporters, the man had been taken to Kismayu and later transferred to Beled-Hawo to serve in the immigration department.
The official is said to have gone out with a police officer for patrol on Tuesday night, but later in the night killed him and fled with his AK 47. Sources told reporters that Mr. Hassan rejoined Al-Shabaab fighters, whom he had linked up with, ahead of last night’s incident. There have been demonstrations in Beled-Hawo as locals accused the man who is said to have recommended Mr. Hassan’s admission to the immigration office.
16 May – Source: Reuters – 227 Words
Dozens of people have been killed in clashes between troops of Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland and its semi-autonomous region of Puntland, medical workers and military officials from both sides said on Wednesday. Puntland and Somaliland have been engaged in conflict over the disputed Sool region for more than 10 years. People who live there are divided over which side to back.
The two sides engaged in fierce fighting on Tuesday over the ownership of Tuka Raq village, which had been seized by Somaliland last month. The village is close to Garowe, the capital of Puntland. “Yesterday, 45 dead soldiers and dozens of others injured were brought in. Three people died of their wounds today including two Somaliland military officers,” Farah Said, a doctor at Lasanod town, told Reuters on Wednesday.
Puntland, which claimed to have seized the village, said it had lost 18 of its soldiers. Said Mohamed, a doctor at Garowe hospital, told Reuters that 21 injured people had been brought in on Tuesday. “Two of them died of their wounds today,” he said.
Residents reported sporadic shelling in the area of the fighting on Wednesday, as rain and burials for the dead kept a lid on military activities. Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi urged elders and civil society groups on Tuesday to mediate between the two states and end the violence.
16 May – Source: Xinhua – 465 Words
Somali President Mohamed Abdullah Farmajo has vowed to speed up the law review process to enable the Horn of Africa nation to have a new constitution process ahead of “one-person, one-vote” elections scheduled for 2020. In a speech delivered on his behalf by Speaker of the House of the People, Mohamed Mursal Abdirahman during the closing of a three-day convention in Mogadishu late Tuesday, Farmajo stressed the need to finalize constitutional review process by end of this year.
We are determined to put to an end the review and finalize Somalia’s constitution by the end of 2018,” Farmajo said, adding that the process of developing new laws to govern the country and replacing the Provisional Constitution, developed in 2012, had taken too long, noting that it was time Somalia had a new political charter. He also highlighted that a new constitution would unite the country, protect the rights of its citizens and help bring about political stability. Though the review timetable expects the new document to be ready by the end of 2019, Farmajo said his government is determined to complete the process earlier, in line with an earlier promise to deliver a new constitution before the end of his four-year term.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“Each side accused the other for starting the fight and claimed victory in the skirmish, which was a resumption of long-standing, sometimes deadly tensions between the neighbours. The fighting occurred near the village of Tukaraq, between the Somaliland town of Las Anod and the Puntland town of Garowe in the disputed Sool region, in an area claimed by both states.”
May – Source: The Defence Post – 676 Words
The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday unanimously reauthorized until July 31 the African Union Mission in Somalia to give additional time for consideration of an upcoming report. With 22,126 personnel currently deployed, AMISOM operates with the approval of the United Nations and relies on international funding. The mission was launched in 2007 to defend the internationally-backed government against attacks by al-Shabaab, the Somali-led al-Qaeda affiliate.
By extending AMISOM’s mandate to the end of July, the Security Council allowed for a review of recommendations expected in a “joint assessment” report on Somalia to be presented by June 15. In its resolution, the Security Council recalled that it authorized the African Union to reduce by October 30 AMISOM’s uniformed personnel to 20,626 – to include a minimum of 1,040 police personnel.
Around 1,000 AMISOM troops were pulled out last year. The Security Council also agreed continued U.N. logistical support for AMISOM and 70 civilian personnel, the 10,900 Somalia National Army personnel in joint operations with AMISOM, and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). In March, the Security Council extended UNSOM’s mandate until March 2019.
In a Tuesday briefing to the Security Council, Michael Keating, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, said AMISOM “continues to play an indispensable role, at great human cost, in protecting population centres, main supply routes and Somalia’s overall political progress.”
Keating said that successful security transition will require deep reform of the Somalia security forces together transformation of AMISOM,” adding that this could entail “more flexible joint operations and combat mentoring, greater emphasis on policing, adequate enablers and force multipliers or stronger accountability systems, whether for assets or relating to human rights.” Experts have described the bloated and largely ineffective Somali army as a collection of clan militias, with various international militaries providing poorly-coordinated training to different units.
There are plans for a full withdrawal of foreign troops by December 2020, but in March, heads of state and ministers from the main troop contributors, including Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, warned the timeframe for the drawdown was “not realistic and would lead to a reversal of the gains made by AMISOM.” On April 1, dozens were reportedly killed in coordinated al-Shabaab attacks on three AMISOM bases in Bulo Marer district. Al-Shabaab was blamed for the country’s worst ever attack, an October 2017 truck bombing in Mogadishu that left more than 500 dead.