12 November – Source: Anadolu Agency – 113 Words
At least 81 Al-Shabaab militants were killed in Jilib province in two new security operations, said Information Minister Abdurahman Osman on Sunday. He told state run SONNA news agency that, Somalia forces and international partners conducted the two different operations. “Some 81 militants were killed, a number of vehicles and heavy weapons destroyed.” Osman said.
Also Africa Command (AFRICOM) said the midnight air strike on Friday near Mogadishu’s Shabelle region killed a wide range of Al-Shabaab militants. Al-Shabaab has publicly boasted of its alliance with al-Qaeda and has been warring against Somalia’s internationally recognized government for control of the country since it was ousted from the capital by African Union-led forces in 2011.
- 81 Al-Shabaab Militants Killed In Somalia (Anadolu Agency)
- Somalia: President Farmajo Speaks Out Against Critics (Garowe Online)
- Djibouti Plans To Deploy Additional Troops In Somalia (Hiiraan Online)
- UN AU Envoys Mull Comprehensive Approach To Security In Somalia (Xinhuanet)
- US Asks AMISOM Troops To Stay On In Somalia Pledges Support (The East Africa)
Somalia: President Farmajo Speaks Out Against Critics
11 November – Source: Garowe Online – 177 Words
Somali President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has spoken out for the first time the critics against his Federal Government achievements on Friday night, Garowe Online reports. “Tonight, I share with you a secret matter, the current critics you’re seeing are the ones who opposed the former Federal Government while it was in office only six months 4 years ago, at that time they called on the phone, requesting to join them, but refused to cooperate,” said Farmajo.
President Farmajo stated that the same opponents ousted his processor Hassan Sheikh Mohamud are now trying to undermine his government’s efforts towards tackling insecurity and making a success of the state-building process and among others. “I recommended them to give chance for Mohamud’s new administration and stop the quick opposition as it was in Villa Somalia less than a year, however they did not pay attention,” the President added. These critics came after a political influence by Villa Somalia’s Chief of Staff and former Al Jazeera reporter Fahad Yasin, a close ally to the President in the Federal government’s decision-making process.
Djibouti Plans To Deploy Additional Troops In Somalia
11 November – Source: Hiiraan Online – 155 Words
Djibouti is planning to send troops to Somalia following federal government’s plea for support to fight against Alshabaab. The Red Sea state’s chief of army, Zakariye Sheikh Ibrahim said plans to dispatch the troops to Somalia are underway. Following the October 14 truck bombing in Mogadishu which killed over 400 people, Somalia President called IGAD countries to support an offensive that is aimed to crackdown Al-Shabaab footholds in the country.
Djibouti is one of the countries that contribute troops to the African Union-led peacekeeping force in Somalia. It has thousands of peacekeepers securing in Somalia’s Hiiraan region. Somali leaders this month agreed a joint counter offensive plan which is against Al-Shabaab militants, a group which pledges support to Al-Qaeda. The country’s military backed continental forces have begun operations to flush Al-Shabaab out of Somalia. Al-Shabaab which is an Al-Qaida affiliate group seeks to impose strict Sharia version and heap on its deadly attacks in Somalia.
12 November – Source: Xinhuanet – 349 Words
The United Nations and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) held a joint meeting here on Saturday to discuss a comprehensive approach to improving security in Somalia. The meeting drew participants from key federal ministries, member states and international partners, as the government has launched a major offensive against Al-Shabaab militants in southern region. Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Somalia, Michael Keating, said terrorist groups remained the main threat to peace and stability in Somalia. “The core issue before us is how we can continue to stabilize Somalia and preserve the many gains that have been made,” Keating was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the U.N. Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). He stressed the need to protect the political space so that the Somalis can continue constructing the state, building peace and resolving various challenges on social economy, politics, constitutional review, job creation and service delivery. “There is a need to develop a strategy led by the government in conjunction with the AU, securing populations’ centers, main supply routes, joint operations and a plan for strengthening Somali security forces’ capability,” he added.
Francisco Madeira, special representative of the African Union Chairperson for Somalia, emphasized concerted efforts to address the security challenges, appealing for enhanced information sharing and intelligence capabilities on the terrorists. “Once we know the enemy, once we know our capabilities, we know what needs to be done. And once we know what needs to be done, we need resources. We need to sit down together and see how we mobilize these resources,” Madeira said. Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire noted that a comprehensive approach in dealing with Somalia’s security situation is critical, as the government readies itself to completely neutralize the militants in order to restore peace and order in the country. “Maintaining security is not just about offensive action. We remain cognizant that we require a comprehensive approach that has been well articulated by our president, who is keen on engaging our population in good governance, fighting corruption, reconciliation and healing the wounds of the past,” Khaire said.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“The numbers will come from all the six sectors. The recent attacks will not disturb the programme unless we are instructed to the contrary by the UN Security Council and the AU,” said Col Rono. But Uganda has offered to send 5,000 troops to Somalia outside Amisom provided the international community commits resources for the operations. President Yoweri Museveni in September gave the offer to Donald Yamamoto, US acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.”
12 November – Source: The East Africa – 820 Words
The UN directive for a phased withdrawal of African peacekeepers from Somalia next month has been opposed by the US, which believes the timing is not right given the terrorist threat in the Horn of Africa. The US State Department has warned that extremism could escalate in the region if the withdrawal goes through, especially now that Al Shabaab has increased the number of suicide bombings such as the October 14 attack in Mogadishu that killed over 300. The UN Security Council has endorsed the withdrawal of another 1,000 troops from Somalia by May next year largely with finance, rather than security, as a key consideration after the EU cut its funding to Amisom.
Amisom has been asking for an additional 8,000 troops to bring the total number to 29,000 to cover areas that are not under its control but the troop contributing countries (Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda) have not been receptive. Wohlers Marion, who is Foreign Service Officer at the State Department, told The EastAfrican that the US does not expect any troop withdrawals in December as Washington is ready to keep providing training, equipment, logistics, and advisory support in order to build a Somali force capable of operating alongside, and eventually replacing, the African Union Mission. “We do not support further drawdown of forces beyond that level at this time, due to ongoing security concerns. The United States supports a conditions-based Amisom drawdown that is tied to the development of capable, professional Somali security forces,” said Mr Marion.
The planned withdrawal is tied to the reduction of the Amisom force mandated by the UN Security Council 2372 Resolution made in August, which is to be carried out by the end of 2017. According to the UN timetable, Amisom will withdraw 1,000 troops by December and another 1,000 in May next year. The final withdrawal of the 21,000-strong Amisom is set for 2020. While Amisom continues to receive financial, logistical and equipment support from multilateral donors, the reduction of the EU annual stipend to Amisom from $200 million to $160 million has affected operations. The EU asked the AU to find alternative sources of funding, and the continental Peace and Security Council has been trying to reach out to counties in the Gulf to fill the gap.
The EU provided $1.68 billion to Amisom between 2004 and 2017. This includes the $189.5 million earmarked for the period April–December 2017. Amisom benefits from a UN logistical support package, donations, and voluntary contributions to the UN managed Trust Fund. The EU provides the resources needed for paying troop allowances and related expenses within the framework of the African Peace Facility. Mwenda Njoka, spokesperson for the Kenyan Interior Ministry, said that Kenya’s objectives in going into Somalia in 2011 have been largely met, as Kenya sought to secure its borders and dilute Al Shabaab’s capacity to attack the country. “We have seen attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa decline significantly except in parts of northern Kenya where there are limited opportunistic attacks using improvised explosive devices. We continue to increase border security along the 700km boundary and we are in the process of flushing out Al Shabaab from Boni forest,” said Mr Njoka.
Amisom spokesperson Col Wilson Rono insisted that the withdrawal will proceed as scheduled. “The numbers will come from all the six sectors. The recent attacks will not disturb the programme unless we are instructed to the contrary by the UN Security Council and the AU,” said Col Rono. But Uganda has offered to send 5,000 troops to Somalia outside Amisom provided the international community commits resources for the operations. President Yoweri Museveni in September gave the offer to Donald Yamamoto, US acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. The first withdrawal which will be on a pro rata basis, will see each of the five countries reduce their troops by four per cent. Uganda, with the highest number of troops in Amisom (6,223) will send home about 250 troops, followed by Burundi with 5,432 troops which will release 217 soldiers.