October 9, 2018 | Morning Headlines

Main Story

Puntland Bans Political Gatherings Amid Tension Fears

08 October – Source: Hiiraan Online – 199 Words

Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland state imposed a ban on political gatherings, despite presidential elections scheduled for early next year, putting pressure on independent presidential candidates, who started large election campaigns across the region. The move which analysts warned could fester tensions between the state and candidates, trying to unseat the incumbent president Abdiweli Mohamed Ali in the upcoming election. It is seen as an attempt by the regional leader to derail the electoral process through pressure in order to extend his term.

“We hereby inform the public that no political gatherings or activities can be held in Garowe, without the prior approval of the state.” The state warned in a statement issued by the region’s security committee, referring to Puntland’s capital. With the new ban on political gatherings in place, the president had for months positioning himself for the upcoming election, which is expected to draw nearly ten candidates.

In recent weeks, presidential candidates have criss-crossed their respective constituencies in the region, wooing locals with promises of economic development and prosperity for Puntland. The state is fighting two rebel groups Al-Shabaab and the so-called Islamic state. Meanwhile, the regional state cited potential security concerns as reasons for imposing the ban.

Key Headlines

  • Puntland Bans Political Gatherings Amid Tension Fears (Hiiraan Online)
  • A Police Officer Jailed 8 Years For Armed Robbery (Halbeeg News)
  • Somaliland President Receives UK Minister For Africa (Hiiraan Online)
  • Military Fighter Jets Carry Out Airstrike Targeting Al-Shabaab Vehicle In Southern Somalia (Strategic Intelligence)
  • How To Tackle The Terrorist Threat In East Africa (We Forum)


A Police Officer Jailed 8 Years For Armed Robbery

08 October – Source: Halbeeg News – 171 Words

A military court in Mogadishu sentenced a police officer to 8 years in military prison on Monday, after he was found guilty of robbing residents. Mid last Month, the local authorities of  Hodan district launched operation after people reported to had encountered an armed person at a nearby mosque.

On 17th September, the authorities and officers arrested Constable Mohamed Abdikarim Abdullahi for robbery. In a statement, Somali military court said Mr. Abdullahi was found guilty of robbing local residents in Hodan district, following several court proceedings.  Mr. Abdullahi was convicted for committing series of robbery including a case whereby the victim ran into a mosque and he followed him inside. After the conclusion of the court proceedings, the court convicted Mohamed Abdikarim Abdullahi and was sentenced to eight years in military prison.

Meanwhile, the military court judge stressed that the defendant can appeal. The military court often carries out sentences and executions of Al-Shabaab fighters and government soldiers, who commit crimes despite condemnation from human rights groups including the European Union.

Somaliland President Receives UK Minister For Africa

08 October  – Source: Hiiraan Online – 157 Words

Somaliland President Muse Bihi has received in his office a British delegation led by UK Minister for Africa Rt. Honorable Harriet Baldwin. Upon the end of the meeting, Somaliland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sa’ad Ali Shire and Minister Baldwin jointly held a press conference detailing the outcome of their meeting. The two sides discussed a range of issues including the UK-supported development projects in Somaliland, Somalia-Somaliland talks and upcoming local elections slated to take place early next year.

Minister Sa’ad thanked the British government for its continued support to Somaliland noting that both sides underlined to maintain the cordial relations between the two sides. On her side, the Minister said she was delighted to see for herself some of the projects funded by her country and reiterated UK’s continued support for Somaliland.  Also in attendance of the meeting were Somaliland deputy President, Abdirahman Sayli’i, Foreign Minister Sa’ad Ali Shire and Somaliland representative to UK, Ayan Mohamoud Ashur.


Military Fighter Jets Carry Out Airstrike Targeting Al-Shabaab Vehicle In Southern Somalia

08 October – Source: Strategic Intelligence  – 75 Words

Military fighter jets believed to be from Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) were reported to have carried an airstrike targeting an Al-Shabaab vehicle in southern Somalia. The intelligence-led air raid targeted a vehicle reportedly ferrying three senior Al-Shabaab operatives.

The warplanes fired hellfire missiles at the vehicle travelling between Haramka and Kunyabarow villages, Al-Shabaab-held areas in Middle Jubba region of southern Somalia. The air strike completely shelled the vehicle killing all the terror operatives on board.


“Al-Shabaab has not pulled off a major strike outside Somalia since Garissa. In Kenya, its influence has waned even as the threat of attacks lingers; competition among ethnic elites around elections poses a far graver threat to stability. In Tanzania, where militant violence has been on the rise, it seems unlikely to expand into a full-blown insurgency.”

How To Tackle The Terrorist Threat In East Africa

06 October – Source: We Forum -1129 Words

Five years after an attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, Al-Shabaab appears committed to striking targets across East Africa. Security crackdowns have blunted its capacity to stage regular assaults, but complacency could roll back those gains, as could failure to engage with communities in which the group recruits. Al-Shabaab aims to pressure regional governments to withdraw troops from Somalia, where an African Union mission has been battling the militants since 2007. The group also uses its attacks in East Africa to raise its profile, seek new recruits and solicit funding.

Despite losing territory in Somalia and cutting back recruitment in Kenya under pressure from authorities, Al-Shabaab has adapted by finding new areas of operation, including by building relationships with militants in southern Tanzania and northern Mozambique. Authorities should avoid blanket arrests and extrajudicial killings, argues the International Crisis Group in its report Al-Shabaab Five Years after Westgate: Still a Menace in East Africa. Instead, they should involve local leaders in efforts to tackle recruitment, while taking steps to address broader grievances that Al-Shabaab taps into in its narrative, including the political and economic exclusion of Muslim minorities in East Africa.

Five years ago, on 21 September 2013, four Al-Shabaab militants stormed the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, killing 67 during the ensuing four-day siege and demonstrating the movement’s reach outside Somalia. Kenyan authorities’ subsequent indiscriminate crackdowns fuelled Muslim anger and accelerated militant recruitment. In 2015, however, top officials switched approaches, better involving community leaders in efforts against Al-Shabaab. The movement reacted by relocating operations, including by forging closer ties with militants in Tanzania, parts of which saw more attacks.  Tanzanian authorities launched their own campaign, replicating some of Kenya’s mistakes. Both countries’ track records suggest that blanket arrests and police brutality consistently backfire.

More effective is to combine steps that disrupt militant recruitment with policies aimed at addressing the grievances their propaganda exploits, notably Muslims’ political and economic marginalization.  In Uganda, too, though Al-Shabaab has made no major inroads, security forces’ mistreatment of Muslims risks creating problems where thus far few exist.

While Al-Shabaab remains focused on recapturing power and enforcing its variant of Islamic law in Somalia, it has long operated elsewhere in East Africa. At first it built networks to generate funds and recruits, largely refraining from attacks. That changed in March 2007, after the deployment of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), a regional force sent to prop up the body then recognized as the Somali government. The group has repeatedly struck countries that had dispatched troops to AMISOM.



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