21 May – Source: Goobjoog News – 527 words
President Mohamed Farmaajo is expected to push for US ease on refugee ban and more enhanced support in building a strong Somali army during his meeting with President Donald Trump in the sidelines of the Arab Islamic American Summit Sunday. Villa Somalia announced Sunday President Farmaajo will be meeting the US president who landed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Saturday. Saudi Arabia and the US signed a $110 billion arms deal and trade agreements to the tune of $280 billion.
President Farmaajo, a US passport holder himself will be meeting President Trump in the sidelines of today’s meetings in Saudi Arabia. President Trump slapped a travel ban on Somalia and five other Muslim countries shortly after coming to office and so far hundreds of Somalis have been deported from the US. President Farmaajo has previously indicated he would be pursuing the matter with President Trump to ease the restriction which he said had indiscriminately targeted peaceful Somalis.
The President will also be expected to seek further support from the US in building the Somali army and other security agencies. Key will be pushing for financial support to implement the newly crafted National Security Architecture which among others provisions the creation of a 22,000 strong Somali National Army and general reform of the security structure as the country prepares for a conditions-based exit of African Union forces.
International partners meeting in London in May 11 asked the government to finalise remaining issues in the security architecture before making targeted pledges in October. Britain howver announced a £21 million to jumpstart the architecture. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told the conference the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) would train a specific number of Somali Special Forces to bolster fight against Al-Shabaab. “I have asked General Waldhauser, commander of U.S. Africa Command, to take direct role in training specific numbers of proficient and mobile light infantry capable of defeating Al-Shabaab. These forces will also be trained to help protect communities and assist with basic human needs, while respecting human rights and the rule of law,” Mattis said.
- Security And Travel Ban Expected To Feature In President Farmaajo’s Talks With Trump (Goobjoog News)
- Southwest State Tightens Security Of Examination Centres (Goobjoog News)
- Senior Intelligence Officer Resigns (Somali Update)
- Federal Gov’t Starts Consultations on the Draft National Communications Act (Somali Update)
- Thousands of Students Sit for High School Exams Despite Militant Threat (VOA News)
- Threat Of Malnutrition Still High In Somalia Despite Onset Of Rains: ICRC (Reuters)
- Somalia’s Starvation Crisis: May He Live May He live… I Prayed (World Vision)
Southwest State Tightens Security Of Examination Centres
21 May – Source: Goobjoog News – 220 words
The Security of examination centres across Southwest state has been beefed up amid fears of Al-Shabaab attacks emerge. Southwest Disarmament Minister Hassan Hussein Mohamed said that they deployed security forces at the exam centers to prevent any possible security threat by militants.
“Our forces are alert and they manning all the examination centres. We have deployed security forces to all centres,” said Hussein. On Saturday, more than 23,000 Somali students started their final Secondary School exams. The examinations are taking place at 77 centers across five federal states – Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Southwest, Jubaland and Benadir, according to Somalia’s minister of education, Abdurahman Dahir Osman.
This is the third centralized examination in which the Federal government administered for students who completed secondary schools in an effort to reform the education system since the collapse of central government in 1991. Last month, Somalia’s Al-Shabaab militants threatened to punish parents who send their children to Western-style schools and universities.
Senior Intelligence Officer Resigns
21 May – Source: Somali Update – 223 words
Deputy Commander of Operations of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) Abdisalam Yusuf Guled has resigned on Sunday for unknown reasons, according to an official letter to the Office of the President. n his letter to President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, Mr. Guled noted that he left the job and expressed gratitude to the junior officers in NISA and the wider public.
“I state that I have resigned my position as Deputy Commander of Operations at NISA,” he noted. The letter dated on May 20th, 2017 informed the Prime Minister’s Office, the Minister of Internal Security and NISA Commander. He was among several commanders appointed for the internal security and intelligence agencies in March and April, following the election of President Farmajo in February.
According to intelligence sources in Mogadishu, the resignation of Mr. Guled came after internal rift within the leading commanders of the security apparatus in the country that led to the confusion of their roles. As Ramadan month approaches, the new government in Villa Somalia is struggling to tackle attacks and threats posed by the terror group which continues to target both government and civilian in Mogadishu and major towns under the control of the government, as the 22,000 African Union forces (AMISOM) are preparing to handover security task to the Somali security forces at the end of 2018.
Somalia: Federal Gov’t Starts Consultations on the Draft National Communications Act
21 May – Source: Somali Update – 246 words
Somalia’s Ministry of Posts, Telecom and Technology started a consultation meeting on the “Draft Communication Law” as part of series of meetings aimed at increasing public participation in the draft law, Somali Update reports. The conference on Sunday in Mogadishu, which was attended by more than 20 representatives from the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Working Group comprising of public and private sectors, discussed comments on the Draft Communication Law prepared earlier this month, which are now being reviewed by the State Attorney General.
The purpose of these consultative meetings is to create an enabling environment for the ICT Sector by establishing legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks and developing appropriate policies. The Deputy Minister of Posts, Telecom and Technology, Ibrahim Yarow Isaq, who officially opened the meeting, said that the Ministry is now in the final stages of collecting the ideas and contributions of all stakeholders before the Draft Law is finalized and submitted for the approvals of the Cabinet and by the Parliament.
“It is the right time to have a regulation for the sector because we now agree that no business can survive without regulation. A regulated market is in the best interests of all,” concluded the Deputy Minister. The National Communication Act has been under review since 2015 when the Federal Parliament started debating on the Draft Bill, which since has been put under review due to concerns from the private sector including the media who saw parts of the Draft Bill as worrying.
21 May – Source: VOA – 372 words
More than 23,000 Somali students are sitting their final Secondary School exams despite recent militant threats that it will punish parents who send their children to Western-style schools and universities. Somalia’s minister of education, Abdurahman Dahir Osman, said the exams, which began Saturday, will be conducted in 77 centers across five federal states – Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Southwest, Jubaland and Benadir. Launching the exam in Mogadishu, Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire said educating youth was the only way Somalia could come back to its good governance. “For us, having 70 percent youth population is an opportunity for Somalia, and educating them is the only way Somalia can again stand on its own legs,” said Khaire
Security has been beefed up, with hundreds of police deployed at the exam centers to prevent any possible security threat by militants. “Over 1,000 security agents are manning the examination centers across the country,” said Osman, the education minister. Last month, Somalia’s al-Shabab militants threatened to punish parents who send their children to Western-style schools and universities. In a 26-minute audio recording aired by Radio Andalus, al-Shabab’s mouthpiece in Somalia, group spokesman Ali Dhere said Western-style schools serve the interests of what he called “infidels” and aim to pull children away from Islam.
“There are secular and non-Islamic schools and universities in our country which serve to provide our youth with education that leads them to simply fall into the trap of their enemy and convert to their religions,” Ali Dhere said. “They make you love their behaviors, religion and history and hide the history of Islam.” Over its 11-year existence, al-Shabab has often moved to shut down non-Islamic schools and replace them with schools that teach a strong religious curriculum.
Earlier this year it introduced a new all-Arabic education curriculum for local schools located in the areas they control in parts of South and Central Somalia. Major subjects included the Quran, Hadith – sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, Math, Geography and History. Somalia’s education has been controlled by private institutions with different curriculum mainly derived from the Arab countries, since the collapse of the government of President Siad Barre in early 1991. This exam will be the third controlled by Somalia’s Ministry of Education.
19 May – Source: Reuters – 410 words
Rains in Somalia have brought relief from drought but malnutrition remains a threat, the International Red Cross said on Friday, with the number of children admitted to its feeding centers nationwide nearly doubling over the last year. Somalia is coming out of a severe drought that meant more than half its 12 million citizens were expected to need aid by July. Families have been forced to drink slimy, infected water after the rains failed and wells and rivers dried up.
But rains began in parts of the country in the second week of April and have since spread to most areas. The rains will allow farmers to plant crops as well as grass for the livestock that sustain Somalia’s nomadic families, although the long drought has already wiped out livestock herds and forced many farmers to seek aid in cities. “Even if the rains are good, this is not going to change the situation immediately. There will be significant needs in terms of strengthening the livelihoods and resilience of people over a period of time,” Dominik Stillhart, ICRC head of global operations, told a news conference in Nairobi.
ICRC said a feeding center it runs in Baidoa has 230 patients under the age of five, up from 100 a year ago, while countrywide, the number of malnourished children at its stabilization centers and those run by the Somali Red Crescent Society had shot up 80 percent, to 12,710. “The humanitarian community must work as fast as it can to help the 6 million people in need in Somalia, including the 360,000 acutely malnourished children … as soon as possible,” Jordi Raich, the head of ICRC Somalia, said in a statement.
In addition to food shortages, Somalia is experiencing a rapid spread of cholera, with more than 20,000 cases reported nationwide. The outbreak is expected to worsen due to the rains. Somalia’s last famine, in 2011, killed more than 260,000 people. Food shortages are worsened by fighting in some areas occupied by al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants. But unlike in 2011, when al Shabaab’s restrictions on movement and its refusal to allow many aid groups access pushed up the death toll, the group is allowing people to move. Al Shabaab has lost large swathes of territory in recent years to pro-government regional militias and African Union peacekeepers supporting the federal government.
“Somali people are a tough, entrepreneurial and resilient people who have had to deal with the challenges of conflict, civil war and decades of under-development. Despite these challenges and the current drought, there is much to celebrate. The development programmes is having an impact, governance is improving, the economy has been growing and a younger generation of leaders is helping to strengthen civil society. The international community is committed to supporting Somalia’s efforts to become a functioning nation state.”
20 May – Source: World Vision – 797 words
I recently visited the town of Baidoa in Somalia that is now ground zero for the aid response to a starvation crisis that has left almost three million people hungry and hundreds of thousands of children at death’s door. I witnessed aid workers trying to help children and adults combat acute water diarrhea (cholera), which kills fast, and is particularly vicious on small children who are poorly nourished. The cause of acute water diarrhea is quite simple, as is the solution- consumption of dirty water, contaminated by waste.
Drought and the resulting starvation are bad enough. But very often it is not the hunger that kills; it is diseases like cholera and measles that prey on the weak. In the case of cholera, the loss of body fluids causes severe dehydration and the body rapidly shuts down. So far, 36,000 cases of water diarrhea/cholera have been recorded.
At a stabilisation centre, I saw medics fixing intravenous (IV) drips to rehydrate patients; among them was a woman so ravaged by hunger and disease, she was oblivious to what was going on around her.
Outside the crowded centre sat women and small children, awaiting admission. As I sat to collect my thoughts, a nine-year-old boy was rushed in, unresponsive, with the whites of his eyes showing. The medics immediately put an IV line into a vein to rehydrate him. May he live, may he live’, I prayed silently. Thankfully after a short while he recovered consciousness. The simple act of rehydrating him had brought him back from the periphery of death; death that would have occurred if he had not reached the hospital within three hours (fact check with the health team)
My prayer is that we in World Vision, and other aid agencies, will have enough medical supplies, specialists and funding to help those in need during this critical time.
World Vision is working with partners and the ministry of health to provide the supplies to treat cholera and stop it spreading. This simple health intervention is saving lives. It is one of the many aid interventions that include food assistance, water provision and sanitation and health interventions, which World Vision is providing.
The humanitarian community is rapidly scaling up its response as the height of the crisis grows. Parts of Somalia are on the brink of famine. The needs are massive. A total of 6.7 million people in Somalia need humanitarian aid and hundreds of thousands of people have fled their dry and dusty villages and barren farms to find food.
Projection of numbers of children who are or will be acutely malnourished has gone up by 50 per cent since the beginning of the year to 1.4 million, including over 376,000 who have or will suffer life-threatening severe acute malnutrition this year. This means without immediate humanitarian assistance a huge percentage of them are hours and days away from dying.