22 November – Source: Reuters – 328 Words
Somalia’s government said on Wednesday it had requested a U.S. airstrike that killed scores of suspected militants to help pave the way for an upcoming ground offensive against Islamist group al Shabaab. The U.S. military’s Africa Command (Africom) said on Tuesday it had killed more than 100 of the al Qaeda-linked insurgents in the strike on a camp 125 miles (200 km) northwest of the capital Mogadishu. “Those militants were preparing explosives and attacks. Operations against al Shabaab have been stepped up,” Somali Information Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman told Reuters. “We have asked the U.S. to help us from the air to make our readied ground offensive more successful.”
Al Shabaab spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab denied the airstrike had taken place. “It is just… propaganda,” he told Reuters. The United States has ramped up operations in Somalia this year after President Donald Trump loosened the rules of engagement in March. Africom reported eight U.S. air strikes from May to August, compared to 13 for the whole of 2016. Including Tuesday’s strike, it has reported five this month alone. The Pentagon said the U.S. military would continue to target militants in strikes in coordination with the Somali government.
Al-Shabaab has lost control of most of Somalia’s cities and towns since African Union peacekeepers supporting Somali troops pushed the insurgency out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011. But it retains a strong presence in parts of the south and centre. Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, a dual U.S.-Somali citizen, has taken a harder line than his predecessors against the insurgency since he was sworn in earlier this year. But his plans have been undermined by the poor state of the Somali military and political infighting. He has also had to try to mend fences with the powerful Habar Gidir clan, following a raid involving U.S. forces on the town of Bariire in August in which 10 people were killed including three children.
- Somalia Says It Requested US Airstrike That Killed 100 Militants (Reuters)
- Somalia: Scores Killed After Al-Shabaab Attacked SNA Camp in Qoryooley (Somali Update)
- Galmudug State Assembly Lawmaker Killed In Mogadishu (Radio Shabelle)
- AMISOM Trains Somali Security Forces On Engendering Women In The Sector (AMISOM)
- Work Starts On New UAE Naval Base In Somaliland (Arabian Business)
- Airstrikes Won’t Kill Al-Shabaab Work For The Youth Will Do The Job (The East African)
Somalia: Scores Killed After Al-Shabaab Attacked SNA Camp in Qoryooley
22 November – Source: Somali Update – 239 Words
Several people have been killed and dozens wounded after Al-Shabaab militants launched an attack on a military base manned by Somali National Army (SNA) in Qoryooley town of in Lower Shabelle region, according to residents and officials. Heavily armed militants on Tuesday, night attacked the camp from various directions leadingt o hours of fighting, according to local residents. Qoryooley Deputy District Commissioner, Mr. Abdi Ahmed Ali confirmed the attack saying the forces overpowered the militants who attempted to take over the town. “The group attempted to attack the town but they were defeated by Somali soldiers. Several of the militants were neutralized,” he said “They went away with dozens of injuries.”
Reports say the militants engaged in street battle with SNA soldiers. Mr. Osman Mustaf Khaliif, a resident in Qoryooley said, the attack began following a bomb explosion near the base. “There was a huge blast and then the heavy exchange of gunfire started” Khaliif said. Another resident said the fighting caused civilian casualty without giving the exact number of those who died or injured. “There are civilians killed and wounded. The town is now under the control of Somali government” he said. He added “Al-Shabaab fighters attacked the town. Their target seemed to be SNA military base.” Al-Shabaab was forced out of the capital Mogadishu six years ago but continues to carry out regular attacks on military, government, and civilian targets in its battle to overthrow the internationally-backed administration.
Galmudug State Assembly Lawmaker Killed In Mogadishu
22 November – Source: Radio Shabelle – 111 Words
An MP in the Galmudug state assembly , Mohamed Abdi Guled was killed in a shooting in Mogadishu after the bodyguards of a Somali Federal MP mistook his car as a security threat and opened fire. The MP was fatally wounded and was rushed to a nearby hospital but, doctors later pronounced him dead, according to a police officer who witnessed the incident. The security guard who opened the fire at the slain MP’s vehicle has been captured and arrested at the central investigation department (CID) for interrogation. Mr. Guled’s car collided with a security escorting Hilux vehicle carrying Mr. Mohamud Abukate, a Member of Somalia’s Lower House Chamber of Federal Parliament before he was being shot.
22 November – Source: AMISOM – 318 Words
The African Union Mission in Somalia is facilitating a two-day workshop for members of the Somali National Security Forces, on how to engender women and support the integration of gender issues at work. The training of at least 32 security sector personnel drawn from the Federal Government and federal member states, is supported by the British Embassy in Somalia.
While opening the workshop in the capital today, Ambassador Francisco Caetano Madeira, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, said the training will align the Somali security forces to the global and regional frameworks, established by the African Union and the United Nations. “The UN Security Council Resolution 2372 in (extending) the new mandate for AMISOM, places emphasis on upholding accountability, accountable security forces that comply with international obligations, particularly International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law. Protection of women and gender equality is paramount,” Ambassador Madeira stated in his remarks.
The training which will be rolled out in the federal member states, is part of AMISOM’s gender capacity building project for the Somali security sector. Mr. Jim Haggerty, the Somalia Conflict, Security and Stability Fund (SCCF)Programme Lead & Stabilization Adviser at the British Embassy, committed to the project’s continued support. “We will as far as we can, continue to support this initiative and other initiatives which flow from it, in the months and hopefully years ahead,” he said.
The Deputy Minister of Defence from the Federal Government Mr. Olad Abdullahi Roobe acknowledged the importance of providing equitable opportunities to women, especially in decision making positions. “If there are no rights for women, then there are no rights for all humanity. If we safeguard the rights of women, that’s when we can say that we have safeguarded the rights of all humanity,” he told participants at the workshop. “That’s why it is important for us to come out and promote women rights”.
22 November – Source: Arabian Business – 213 Words
Divers Marine Contracting has started construction of a United Arab Emirates naval base in a semi-autonomous region of northern Somalia. The closely held Sharjah-based engineering group began work on the project after being awarded the $90 million contract in April, Managing Director Abdulla Darwish said in an interview in Dubai. The facility, being built near the regional port of Berbera, is expected to be completed by June, he said. Berbera is located on the Gulf of Aden, 260 kilometers (162 miles) south of Yemen, where UAE troops in a Saudi Arabia-led coalition are battling Houthi rebels.
Somaliland’s foreign minister said in May that the UAE leased the airport in Berbera for 25 years as part of a pact for a military base. The gulf country is also building a military installation in Eritrea. The Somaliland naval base will include a 300-metre L-shaped inland berthing port with a depth of 7 metres “to support the military airport,” accommodating naval vessels to patrol the Gulf of Aden, according to Darwish. “It’s not a commercial port,” he said. “It’s only for naval vessels.” Somaliland Foreign Minister Saad Ali Shire didn’t immediately respond to two calls to his mobile and two emails seeking comment. A UAE foreign ministry official didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“A government-led amnesty for those who want to stop fighting, support for those who leave, and resources for reconciliation, will allow more successful reintegration of former fighters back into civilian life. If local understanding and interventions continue to be undervalued, in favour of the tried and tested but failed methods of international intervention, the conflict in Somalia will continue and we will see more bloodbaths like the one last month.”
Airstrikes Won’t Kill Al-Shabaab, Work For The Youth Will Do The Job
22 November – Source: The East African – 881 Words
Last weekend, US forces launched a series of airstrikes in Somalia – four of which targeted the military group Al Shabaab. This came a month after the deadliest single attack in Somalia’s history struck Mogadishu. A truck bomb killed more than 350 civilians and injured over 500 when it exploded in the busiest street in the city. Homes up to three kilometres away were damaged by the blast, which razed everything in the immediate vicinity to the ground. Bodies were found under collapsed houses. I have lived in Mogadishu and other similar towns all my life, and I have never experienced anything like this before.
After the bombing last month, I met a mother who had taken her three children to school that morning, and had just heard that they had all died on the bus on their way back home. A father had flown into Mogadishu to celebrate his daughter’s graduation from medical school, but never got to see her, as his plane landed an hour after she had been killed. The sheer scale and shock of the atrocity affected everyone in the city and beyond. Thousands of hearts have been broken by the loss of family and friends, and the people of my city are now living in a heightened state of fear and uncertainty.
Although this is the worst attack our country has seen in years, daily violence has been a reality for the people of Somalia since 1991. For nearly 30 years, we’ve seen conflict between clans, tribal warlords, government forces, religious groups, and freelance militias, and endured regular fighting between the government and Al Shabaab. In this conflict, innocent civilians continue to lose their lives, homes, and loved ones, and are deprived of the opportunity to live in peace. The response from the people of Mogadishu to the attack on October 14 was one of unhesitating solidarity. Those fortunate enough to escape the blast gave blood for the injured, comforted the bereaved, and started to rebuild damaged homes and infrastructure the very next day.
The international community also responded quickly: Foreign governments and NGOs sent money and humanitarian aid, and Turkey airlifted the wounded to hospitals in Istanbul when ours were overwhelmed. This was all so gratefully received. But what we’re still lacking, and what we need in Somalia more than ever, is some hope that this indiscriminate and unrelenting violence will end. Of course, a solution to such a complex and entrenched conflict is hard to find. But as one of the many citizens trying to build peace in a country long-plagued by war, I know by now that high-level meetings, international processes and ministerial negotiations will never be enough to end the war on their own.
Bringing peace to Somalia requires a thorough understanding of the context and drivers of the unrest. This can only come through the involvement of grassroots projects, local civil society groups, and local peacebuilding experts, who are all too often left out of negotiations. Trying to solve the problems in Somalia without taking into account the views, knowledge and experience of the everyday people who live in and work on this conflict is like trying to draw a map of a country you’ve never visited, or making a cake with no recipe and no knowledge of baking. Every conflict is unique, but there are common approaches that are proven to be more effective in building sustainable peace. According to Peace Direct, an NGO that supports our work in Somalia and other local peacebuilding efforts around the world, sustainable peace is realised far more often when those who understand the tensions and drivers of violence, and are trusted in their communities, are given the chance to design effective local interventions.
My organisation, SADO, knows that young and vulnerable men are easily recruited to violent, extremist groups because there are few other prospects for making a living. The motives for joining up are less often about religion or ideology, and more often about money, smartphones, and work. That’s why we increase young people’s resilience to recruitment by providing leadership training, financial skills, and paths to alternative livelihoods. By doing so, we have already changed the lives of over 1,500 young people, who might otherwise have been fighting for Al Shabaab right now. We also see the challenge that current members of Al Shabaab face in leaving their group, and so we design programmes to help those who want to defect.
At present, youths who leave will often carry guns when they return to their communities, through fear of retaliation and punishment. A government-led amnesty for those who want to stop fighting, support for those who leave, and resources for reconciliation, will allow more successful reintegration of former fighters back into civilian life. If local understanding and interventions continue to be undervalued, in favour of the tried and tested but failed methods of international intervention, the conflict in Somalia will continue and we will see more bloodbaths like the one last month. However, with effective collaboration between civil society and national and international actors, we can ensure interventions are contextually sensitive, sustainable, and implemented successfully. After decades of violence, partnership between local peace builders and other actors could finally bring hope of peace to Mogadishu, and the rest of my country.