International Conference On Illegal Charcoal Trade Opens In Mogadishu
07 May – Source: UNSOM – 584 Words
A two-day international conference seeking to build partnerships to curb the unsustainable trade, production and use of charcoal in Somalia opened in Mogadishu today. The conference is being held in the wake of a recent resurgence in charcoal trade, which had dropped in 2015 and 2016. The militant group Al-Shabaab has been partly blamed for the increased trade by facilitating its export to some Gulf countries from Jubbaland state.
Supported by the UN Development Programme, the UN Environment agency and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, the conference brings together environmentalists, Federal Government of Somalia officials, diplomats, United Nations officials, and academicians who will discuss ways of curbing the charcoal trade and the destruction it inflicts on Somalia’s fragile environment.
In his opening remarks, Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Mahdi Mohamed Guled, urged the international community to help the country reduce the illegal charcoal trade. Mr. Guled noted that the Somali government had lobbied the United Nations to impose a ban on the charcoal trade in 2012 to preserve the environment and also eliminate a vital source of funding for armed groups.
“The Federal Government of Somalia is committed to reducing the charcoal consumption by identifying sustainable sources of energy to reverse the impending threat against Somalia’s fragile eco-systems,” Mr. Guled said. The Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Resident Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, said the production and use of charcoal has a negative impact on the country’s environment, security and economy and aggravates an already delicate humanitarian situation in the country.
“Between 2011 and 2017, 8.2 million trees were cut down to make charcoal,” observed Mr. de Clercq. “Every 30 seconds a tree is cut down to make charcoal in this country.” “The illegal charcoal trade continues to fund insecurity and conflict. It exacerbates inter-clan tensions over control of land and trade and acts as a major source of funding for militias and terrorist groups such as Al-Shabaab, who illegally tax exports of charcoal,” he added.
Mr. de Clercq estimated that Al-Shabaab obtains $10 million every year through levies it imposes on the charcoal trade in areas of the country under its control. He also noted that the illegal trade contributes to frequent drought cycles, flooding, the loss of livelihoods and an increase in food insecurity. The Deputy Prime Minister told a press conference there was a need to develop alternative energy systems to strengthen the ban on the charcoal trade in Somalia. “We have natural, God-given solar energy, we also have lots of wind which can generate energy for cooking and other uses, and also gas which is cheaper to utilize,” Mr. Guled added.
Addressing journalists at the conference, Mr. de Clercq said he still sees large piles of charcoal ready for export during his travels through Somalia, raising concerns that the plunder of natural resources is worsening. The Africa Office Director of the UN Environment agency, Juliette Biao, said the charcoal trade dates back to pre-colonial days and traditionally provided livelihoods to many families. However, she expressed concern that continued armed conflict in Somalia has fueled the illegal trade in the commodity.
“This conference will also help us to come up with a solution to see how curbing the unsustainable production of charcoal can also help to strengthen the nexus (between) health and environment,” Ms. Biao said. According to the UN, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman are major markets for Somali charcoal exports. The world body says that implementation of the 2012 ban has been poorly enforced.
- International Conference On Illegal Charcoal Trade Opens In Mogadishu (UNSOM)
- Somali PM Heads To Hobyo Officiates Galkayo-Hobyo Road Construction (Halbeeg News)
- Opposition Coalition Against Jubbaland President Announced In Mogadishu (Jowhar.com)
- Toyota Company Reopens Office In Mogadishu After 30 years (Halbeeg News)
- Cops Arrest Couple Linked To Al-Shabaab (The Star)
- Closing Dadaab Not A Solution To Terrorism (The Standard Kenya)
Somali PM Heads To Hobyo, Officiates Galkayo-Hobyo Road Construction
07 May – Source: Halbeeg News – 169 Words
Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheire is scheduled to visit Hobyo, an ancient port town in central Somalia. The delegation comprising Ministers, MPs and other government officials will be leaving Mogadishu for Hobyo in the next couple of hours according to a source privy to the development. Prime Minister Kheire is expected to launch the construction of Galkayo-Hobyo road, which will be pivotal for transportation of the region.
Mr. Kheire will also visit and inspect operations at the port in the ancient coastal town of Hobyo in Mudug region. The foundation stone for the construction of the port was laid on 23rd of January by Somali President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, during his visit to the region. In February, Somali deputy Minister for Ports, Osman Mohamed Abdi, led a team of delegates that included officials from China in touring the construction site for a major expansion project that was underway at the port of Hobyo town. The facility is expected to serve a wide area of Northern Somalia and the neighbouring Ethiopia, which is landlocked.
Opposition Coalition Against Jubbaland President Announced In Mogadishu
07 May – Source: Jowhar.com – 142 Words
The opposition coalition against Jubbaland President was announced in Mogadishu yesterday with a theme of restoring democracy in the Jubbaland administration. The coalition is headed by Abdullahi Ciilmoge Hersi, a former Minister of Information, Post and Telecommunication, in the Federal Government of Somalia.
At the event held in Mogadishu, politicians from the region accused Jubbaland President Ahmed Mohamed Islam for lack of initiating community development. The announcement came up a couple of hours after the Jubbaland leader appeared in the media alongside Abdikarim Qalbi Dhagah, who was previously extradited to the Ethiopian government. Political analysts believe the coalition opposition has the backing of the Federal Government, considering the central government’s current poor relationship with the Jubbaland administration.
Toyota Company Reopens Office In Mogadishu After 30 years
07 May – Source: Halbeeg News – 271 Words
Toyota Motor Corporation has officially reopened its office in Mogadishu for the first time in more than a quarter century. The firm has not operated in Somalia since the 1990s when the country was plunged into civil war. In an inauguration ceremony in the capital city, the Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer opened up its car dealership. Speaking at the Ceremony, Somalia’s Minister for Commerce and Industry, Mohamed Abdi Hayir, welcomed the firm’s decision to resume its operation in Somalia. “We welcome the company’s decision to reopen its office in Mogadishu after 30 years. This is part of the reliable investment which has returned after a long time. The firm will create jobs for the Somali people and play a very important role in the restoration and improvement of the Somalia’s economy,” said Hayir.
The Minister noted that the government was committed to improving the country’s infrastructure and economy. “Our policy is based on improving the economy, therefore, it is not only Toyota company which has planned to reopen an office in Somalia but there are many other big companies on their way to open offices in the country, We hope that the productions in Somalia will be sold in many markets,” he boasted. Hayir said the Auto Giant Company will soon open other branches across the country.
An official representing the company who spoke at the ceremony said the firm has finally materialised its plans to reopen its office following one year of struggle. “The plan to open office has been on card for one year and today we are happy to have fulfilled our mission,” he said. The company, which is the world’s market leader in sales of Hybrid electric vehicles, was founded in 1937.
07 May – Source: The Star – 270 Words
Police have arrested a couple suspected to be financiers and logistical operatives for the al-Shabaab terror group. Yassin Abdille Hussein aka Abu Sumeiya and his wife Fartun Mohammed Guleid were arrested in Eastleigh, Nairobi. The two are also believed to be accomplices of a key al-Shabaab operative in Mandera, Abdiweli Mohamed Guleid alias Abdiweli Kamaure.
Kamaure is the mastermind behind the November 2014 Mandera bus attack where the militants killed all the non-Muslims on board the Mandera-bound bus. The couple, from the Marehan clan, emigrated from Gedo region in Somalia and has been operating in Kenya using fake documents. Police reports indicate that the two have various businesses whose finances are channelled to support al Shabaab activities.
The 42-year-old Hussein is a contractor who mainly operates his renovation trade in South B and parts of Eastleigh. His wife Fartun Mohammed Guleid, 41, is a sister to Kamaure. An inquiry into how they were able to open businesses and operate in the country under false documentation is still ongoing. Initial reports confirm that the two have been channeling funds to Kamaure for over five years now. Police said Kamaure joined al Shabaab in 2007 and is currently the deputy Governor of Gedo Region serving under al Shabaab head Sheikh Abdirahman Fillow.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“There seems to be far less documentation on what is actually taking place in what some consider to be the third largest city in Kenya. It is important to note that, although the repatriation was a general sentiment, opinions differed from camp to camp.”
07 May – Source: The Standard, Kenya – 790 Words
The world’s largest refugee camp, located in northern Kenya, is shadowed by a story of love, confusion, an array of conflicting cross-border interests, and entanglements as refugees and the host community try to contextualise the unfolding dilemma. After more than two decades inside what many refer to as the city of thorns, Dadaab camp is on the verge of being shut down, or what others refer to as the relocation of refugees.
Numerous profiles of the Dadaab refugees and their aspirations and capacities have been done. There seems to be far less documentation on what is actually taking place in what some consider to be the third largest city in Kenya. It is important to note that, although the repatriation was a general sentiment, opinions differed from camp to camp.
The newer refugees, particularly those resident in Ifo 2 and Kambios – those arriving with the recent drought – indicated a greater willingness to return than those who have been in Dadaab for many years. This can be largely attributed to the fact that the new refugees still have a stronger affiliation to their homeland. Readers unfamiliar with the region have been led to believe that camp is being shut down because of security threats to Kenya, but the Government has not substantiated the claim. Some people have claimed that the refugee camp is being used as a bargaining chip for more aid from international humanitarian institutions.
The UN requested donors to provide an additional $115.4 million to help in the reintegration of the refugees in other camps. Voluntary repatriation is going on in the camp, although the Department of Refugee Affairs has been shut down. This has left the refugees facing the risk of death and being arrested. The department delivered crucial administrative services for refugees and asylum seekers. Is shutting down the department and downsizing the refugee complex the solution to the terrorism threat in Kenya?
In 2009, the Kenyan Government initiated plans to create a buffer zone between Kenya and Somalia, a 700 kilometre wall running from Kiunga in Lamu County to the Mandera-Ethiopia border at River Daawa. There is a reason northern Kenya is called the Other Kenya. Take a road trip to the border town of Mandera. Experience the sorry state of roads and infrastructure after almost 1,000 km of a tortuous journey to the underdevelopment land that county governments in the region are trying to change, and you will get a picture of why the second-class citizens, as they call themselves, depend on the border country.
And that is the main reason you will find that nearly 10 percent of Kenyans living in Dadaab are falsely registered as refugees – the United Nations estimates the number to be 42,000. The Government’s neglect of the people of the north is to be blamed for this. Is the Kenyan Government going to repatriate its own citizens?