Upper House Speaker Meets UN Envoy To Somalia
09 October – Source: Halbeeg News – 221 Words
Somali Upper House speaker, Abdi Hashi Abdullahi on Wednesday received the newly appointed Special Representative of the Secretary General for Somalia Nicholas Haysom in his office in Mogadishu. The meeting held at the parliament building focused on security, the standoff between the federal government and the regional states, and strengthening the relations between the Senate and UN, sources privy to the meeting confirmed.
The discussions were also attended by the first Deputy Speaker of the Senate, Abshir Mohamed Ahmed, other leaders and lawmakers from the upper house. The new envoy, Mr. Haysom assumed office on 1st October in a handover ceremony held in New York. Prior to his arrival in Mogadishu, the UN envoy had pledged to cement the relations between the federal government and its member state saying, the unity between the federal and state governments for the progress country.
“I think Somalia faces in the first instance a test of its ability to establish effective structures of governance,” said Haysom in an interview with UN news. He added, “That includes some quite difficult hurdles including agreeing on a new constitution, modalities of elections and all of that will presuppose agreement between the moving parts which in this case is the federal government and the member states of Somalia on the nature of the federal framework they want to establish.”
- Upper Speaker Meets UN Envoy To Somalia (Halbeeg News)
- Germany Announces $100m Development Cooperation For Somalia (Hiiraan Online)
- Somali Foreign Forces Raid On Wanlaweyn Town (Galgaduud Media)
- US Airstrike In Somalia Kills Suspected Al-Shabaab Militant Near Kunyo Barrow (The Defense Post)
- Report Says Al-Shabab Militants Run Tax System To Rival Somalia’s Federal Government (Reuters)
Germany Announces $100m Development Cooperation For Somalia
09 October – Source: Hiiraan Online – 139 Words
Germany has announced that it will spend $100 million USD in Somalia, to bolster policing programs in the horn of Africa country, German ambassador to Somalia has announced. Speaking at a ceremony to mark the Day of German Unity held at the EU headquarters in Mogadishu, Ambassador Annette Gunther, hailed Somali government’s reform in the economic and security scheme. “We are going to strengthen our diplomatic ties and presence here, the government of Germany will provide $100 million to the Somali government, ” she said.
The remarks of the ambassador comes in barely hours after the two countries signed two deals, aiming at strengthening the strategic partnership between Somalia and Germany effectively implement national development programs. Germany is a strategic ally of Somalia and one of the major international donors in the development and stabilization of the horn of Africa nation.
Somali, Foreign Forces Raid On Wanlaweyn Town
09 October – Source: Galgaduud Media – 108 Words
Somali special forces, along with US troops have carried out a joint raid on Wanlaweyn town. The operation was conducted last night in the town, about 90 km (55 miles) to the northwest of Somali capital Mogadishu. The coalition forces targeted a house inhibited by a well-known elder, whose name has been released as Mo’alim Nour Osman Bilal.
Mo’alim Bilil was reportedly killed in the operation. Mr. Bilal was an Islamic preacher, according to a local resident. It is unclear if Mr. Bilil was suspected to have links with Al Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab group in Somalia. There was no immediate comment from local authorities over the operation.
09 October – Source: The Defence Post – 350 Words
U.S. forces carried out an airstrike near Kunyo Barrow, killing a suspected al-Shabaab militant, U.S. Africa Command said. The October 6 strike was carried out in support of the government of Somalia, Africom said in a Tuesday, October 9 press release. “We currently assess one (1) terrorist was killed in this airstrike,” the command said. “We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike.”
Kunyo Barrow in the Lower Shabelle is a known al-Shabaab stronghold, according to Voice of America reporter Harun Maruf, who first reported the October 6 airstrike. The last announced U.S. airstrike in Somalia was on October 1, carried out after al-Shabaab attacked Somali government forces about 40 kilometers northeast of Kismayo in Lower Juba Province. That airstrike killed nine suspected militants and injured another, Africom said.
In September, U.S. forces came under attack twice by al-Shabaab, responding both times with airstrikes. In a September 21 incident, Africom said U.S. and partner forces came under attack by Shabaab militants about 50 km northwest of Kismayo. The airstrike was conducted after the militants “were observed maneuvering on a combined patrol of Somali National Security Forces and U.S. forces,” Nate Herring, a spokesperson for U.S. Africa Command, told The Defense Post. “In self-defense, the U.S. conducted an airstrike and used indirect fire. No partner force members or U.S. service members were injured or killed during this engagement.”
Somali forces killed two additional militants, Herring said. Ten days earlier, Africom carried out an airstrike near Mogadishu after a Somali soldier was killed and two others injured in a Shabaab attack targeting U.S. and partner troops. No U.S. personnel were killed or injured in that incident.
Al-Shabaab is fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government in Mogadishu, but has also carried out attacks in neighboring Kenya, which has deployed troops as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia. Africom works with AMISOM on both advise-and-assist missions as well as air support missions to target al-Shabaab’s forces, but has drawn controversy from strikes that have killed civilians.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“The UN Security Council banned charcoal exports from Somalia in 2012 in a bid to cut off funds for Al Shabab, an Al Qaeda-affiliated group trying to topple Somalia’s Western-backed central government and impose its own rule based on its strict interpretation of Islam’s sharia law.”
09 October – Source: Reuters – 730 Words
Al Shabab militants in Somalia run a tax system that rivals the federal government in sophistication, according to UN sanctions monitors, with taxation from illicitly exported charcoal and other tolls netting the group tens of millions in revenue annually. In an unpublished annual report to the UN Security Council seen by Reuters, the monitors add that domestic revenue generation by Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Shabab “is more geographically diversified and systematic” than that of Somalia’s federal government.
Due to the militants’ provision of receipts, the taxation system is “accountable and predictable”, in contrast to the network of checkpoints manned by the government’s armed forces in some parts of the country. Despite controlling far less territory than it did at the height of a decade-long insurgency, “the group’s “ability to carry out complex asymmetric attacks in Somalia remains undiminished”, the monitors wrote.
Al Shabab’s most lucrative checkpoint is about 160 km north-west of the capital Mogadishu on the road to Baidoa, the monitors said, citing an Al Shabab defector who reported that the location earns the group approximately $30,000 per day – $10 million a year. “Employing mafia-style tactics, the group is able to levy taxation via a network of hinterland checkpoints, with collection of taxes enforced through violence and intimidation,” said the monitors, adding that truck drivers risked execution if they tried to avoid checkpoints.
Earlier this year the monitors obtained ledgers belonging to Al Shabab that were recovered after one of the group’s senior accountants was killed in an attack by the Somali National Army and African Union peacekeepers. They wrote that the ledgers detail Al Shabab’s revenue and expenses in one region, Hiran, in central Somalia, from October 2014 to March 2018 and “display a sophisticated accounting system” in which the militants transfer funds using the mobile money system operated by mobile network Hormuud Telecom.
Illicitly exported charcoal, much of which transits Iran and ends up in barbecues and shisha pipes in the UAE, generates millions in revenue. “The charcoal trade continues to be a significant source of revenue for Al Shabab, generating at least $7.5 million from checkpoint taxation,” they wrote.
The UN Security Council banned charcoal exports from Somalia in 2012 in a bid to cut off funds for Al Shabab, an Al Qaeda-affiliated group trying to topple Somalia’s Western-backed central government and impose its own rule based on its strict interpretation of Islam’s sharia law. According to the report, criminal networks are using Iran as a transit point for illicit Somali charcoal exports.
Iran became a transit point for the shipments – which breach a UN ban on Somali charcoal exports – after Oman tightened its customs procedures, said the report. Since March the main destination for shipments – using fake country of origin certificates from Comoros, Ivory Coast and Ghana – has been ports in Iran, where the charcoal is packaged into white bags labeled “Product of Iran”.