March 26, 2015 | Morning Headlines.

Main Story

Former Ceelbuur Governor Kidnapped By Al-Shabaab

25 March – Source: Radio Bar-Kulan – 103 Words

Reports have emerged that the former governor of Ceelbuur, Maalin Mahmud Afrah was kidnapped by Al Shabaab operatives one night ago. The incumbent governor of Ceelbur, Nur Hassan Gutale, confirmed the kidnapping of the former governor to Bar-Kulan.  Gutale said that clan elders have established contact with Al Shabab and have called for the release of the former governor since he is no longer actively involved in politics. Maalim Mahmuud, who was the governor of Ceelbuur during the regime of the late Abdullahi Yusuf was kidnapped from Dac , a town18 kms away. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

Key Headlines

  • Former Ceelbuur Governor Kidnapped By Al Shabaab (Radio Bar-Kulan)
  • Thousands Of Somali Refugees Trapped In Yemen Violence (Horseed Media)
  • EU Promises To Double Military Training For Somalia (Somali Current)
  • Germany Supports Voluntary Return Of Refugees To Somalia (Radio Goobjoog)
  • Somalia Attends International Youth Conference In Kuala Lumpur (Radio Dalsan)
  • MPs Approve Nominee For Somalia Envoy (Daily Nation)
  • Remittance Cuts A Threat to Somalia’s Food Security (VOA)
  • Members Of Congress Urge Congressional Leadership To Support Somalia (US Congress/Hiiraan Online)
  • Couple Spends Millions To Save Migrants In The Mediterranean (NPR)
  • How Do You Stop Rape In A Broken State? Somalia Is Giving It A Try (Women’s Media Center)
  • Somalia: Civil Society And Human Rights Meeting (UNSOM/AMISOM)

 

SOMALI MEDIA

Thousands Of Somali Refugees Trapped In Yemen Violence

25 March – Source: Horseed Media – 253 Words

The conflict in Yemen is not only having an impact on Yemeni nationals, but also on the thousands of Somali immigrants who have gone there to work, study or live or pass through to reach another destination.  Insecurity in Yemen has risen sharply in recent months as several parallel conflicts have intensified and expanded, with the Houthi rebels backed by the Iranian government overthrowing the weak government. A Somali diplomat has told the BBC Somali service that the refugees have been trapped with scant food and water with almost not receiving attention. “The situation of the Somalis currently living in Yemen is in jeopardy and trapped in the conflict,” says Ahmed Ibrahim Hassan, the Somali Consular based in Aden City.

This spike in violence has taken place amidst – and has contributed directly to – a worsening humanitarian situation, and aid access has been curtailed, says the Somali official. The Somali government has not spoken of any plans to evacuate its citizens from the country, where hope for an immediate peace deal is low. Yemen has long been a major transit point for illegal migration from the Horn of Africa. For many years, tens of thousands of African immigrants including Somalis have risked their lives by crossing the Gulf of Aden to reach Yemen in their search for safety and a better life. Many die atrocious deaths – beaten, thrown overboard, eaten by sharks, drowned or asphyxiated in the hold of crowded smuggler boats.


EU Promises To Double Military Training For Somalia

25 March – Source: Somali Current – 72 Words

The European Union has promised to double its military training for Somalia troops. The announcement came after officers from EU were hosted by the Somali defence minister. In the meeting the parties  discussed how to strengthen relations between the two and the rebuilding of Somali National Army. The minister said during a press conference that his government appreciates the different kinds of support the EU gives to Somalia.


Germany Supports Voluntary Return Of Refugees To Somalia

25 March – Source: Radio Goobjoog – 126 Words

The Head of German Development Cooperation for Somalia, Ms Julia Kronberg, met with the Somali Minister of Interior, Abdirahman Mahamad Hussein, on Wednesday to discuss a project aimed at facilitating the voluntary return of refugees to Somalia. Germany would provide 5 million Euros to the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to implement the project which will help to improve the livelihoods of returning refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the local population in selected host communities. “The project underlines Germany’s renewed commitment to strengthen development cooperation with Somalia. It also symbolizes the return of German Development Cooperation to South and Central Somalia where the GIZ had been active until 2011 providing development-oriented transitional aid.” Ms Kronberg said.


Somalia Attends International Youth Conference In Kuala Lumpur

25 March – Source: Radio Dalsan – 247 Words

The international youth conference was held to address the current scenario of social entrepreneurship as a catalyst for the young generation to make a positive change to society. Organized by the Institute for Youth Research Malaysia , the International Conference for Young Leaders is to set to become a new international direction and agenda of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. More than 300 participants from 10 countries are attending the three-day event themed ‘Changing Communities through Social Entrepreneurship’. Also present were Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and his deputy Datuk M Saravanan, as well as Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof. Malaysia’s prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that he  wants more youths to venture into social entrepreneurship and help to bring about a lasting positive impact on society.

“I believe that given the opportunity, young people with the desire to change the world will use the social business model to have deep positive and lasting impacts on social and environmental issues. Social entrepreneurship is a business model that focuses not just on profit but also emphasizes creating a positive impact and a more equitable society. Although the concept is still relatively new, it has gained awareness among the youths here. “We need more outstanding young Malaysians who have the initiative, perseverance and a sense of idealism who are roles models to look up to, and to encourage more social entrepreneurs to come forward,” he said.

REGIONAL MEDIA

MPs Approve Nominee For Somalia Envoy

25 March – Source: Daily Nation – 177 Words

The National Assembly on Wednesday evening approved the nomination of Maj-Gen (Rtd) Lucas Tumbo as Kenya’s new ambassador to Somalia. This means that President Kenyatta can formally appoint and send him on his way to Mogadishu. Maj-Gen Tumbo was earlier this month vetted by the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee that later recommended his approval by the House. Among his credentials is his military background, which the MPs thought would come in handy in charting the future of Kenya’s war-torn neighbour. The committee headed by Tetu MP Ndung’u Gethenji also agreed that a military man was best placed to deal with the Al-Shabaab security threat, which the nominee said he was well-placed to do. “I have served in several countries including Ethiopia and Sudan and I know what it takes for the country to cement peace in the region,” he said. Mr Tumbo, unlike other nominees, also impressed the MPs by announcing that he was willing to relocate to Mogadishu, the Somalia capital, and not the safer and more comfortable Nairobi.

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

Remittance Cuts A Threat to Somalia’s Food Security

25 March – Source:  VOA – 646 Words

Aid groups say remittances from abroad are key to food security in Somalia, and that an American bank’s recent decision to bar money transfers into the country could have disastrous effects.  The move, apparently required by U.S. anti-terrorism measures, could contribute to making Somalia’s hunger problems even worse. In February, Merchants Bank of California stopped working with Somali remittance companies.  It was the last major U.S. bank that allowed Somalis to send money home. The announcement caused an outcry among aid organizations.  They say it will make it more difficult for Somalis in the diaspora to support their families back home, where decades of war, recurrent drought and continued lawlessness have left millions vulnerable. An estimated $1.3 billion are sent to Somalia each year, which is more than humanitarian aid, development aid and foreign direct investment combined.

Ed Pomfret, who works with Oxfam’s Somalia program, points out that stemming this flow could end up being costly for the international community. “We know that at least 40 percent of Somalis rely on remittances for survival,” he said.  “If the $1.3 billion does not come through, you end up throwing millions more people into a crisis situation, and then the international community then has to pick up the pieces and will end up spending a huge amount more money on aid, instead of allowing Somalis to look after themselves and look after each other.” Merchants Bank had been under intense pressure from U.S. government regulators to more closely monitor money transfers to Somalia, or risk falling afoul of laws prohibiting money laundering and funding terrorist organizations.


Members Of Congress Urge Congressional Leadership To Support Somalia

25 March – Source: US Congress/Hiiraan Online – 653 Words

Members of Congress on Wednesday wrote a letter to the House Appropriations Committee asking them to grant $87.7 million in Economic Support Funds (ESF) requested by President Obama to support Somalia. The letter, which was signed by 11 members of Congress, reads:

‘We write to express strong support for the President’s request of $87.7 million in Economic Support Funds (ESF) to support the formation of legitimate, durable institutions that will enhance stability and economic development in Somalia. The country is at a critical juncture and we need to provide meaningful assistance in order to build upon the economic and security gains achieved over the last several years. We urge you to prioritize assistance to this fragile country by providing the full amount requested by the President. Poverty, weak institutions, lack of economic opportunity, and radical ideology all directly contribute to and foment instability and conflict. The U.S. has a long history of investing in and supporting political and economic development in impoverished countries. In order to do this effectively, we need to use our foreign policy tools in a balanced manner and focus our assistance on building government institutions and strengthening civic capacity. Over the past several years, significant gains have been made against Al-Shabaab with the help of U.S. contributions to the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the countries that are a part of that force. However, this assistance needs to be matched by a robust investment in capacity building and support for legitimate and capable government institutions, which area pre-requisite for long-term stability in Somalia.

In FY2014, the United States provided $21.6 million in ESF to help Somalia’s new government expand its presence beyond the capital of Mogadishu and begin providing basic services to its people. Somalia is working to repair the negative effects of 20 years of state collapse, widespread violence, and lawlessness. As a result, rebuilding state capacity and fostering a peaceful political system will be a long-term project. We must be willing to make the commitment necessary to help the people of Somalia undertake that project. The need to invest in strong institutions and capacity building in Somalia has been made clear by the current situation surrounding remittance flows to Somalia from countries like the U.S., United Kingdom, and Australia. In March, the largest financial institution that handled the majority of money transfers from the U.S. to Somalia closed the accounts of all Somali- American Money Transfer Operators (MTO). Without banking services, many of these MTOs have been forced to limit their operations, leaving the Somali diaspora in the U.S. with a lack of a secure means to send funds to their loved ones back home. While there are domestic regulatory reasons for this situation, a core complicating factor is Somalia’s lack of a strong central bank and the robust regulatory institutions necessary to participate in the world banking system.

SOCIAL MEDIA

CULTURE / OPINION / EDITORIAL / ANALYSIS / BLOGS/ DISCUSSION BOARDS

“That’s how Filsan Abdullah Tawab got to Malta from Somalia. She and her husband, along with their two children, now live in just one room of a shared apartment. As she cuddles her newborn son, her husband plays with her 2-year-old daughter sitting nearby. Tawab says that she fled Somalia after the militant group al-Shabab killed her brother and tried to force her into marriage. Six months later, she reached Libya and got on a rubber dinghy with 94 other people headed to Europe.”


Couple Spends Millions To Save Migrants In The Mediterranean

25 March – Source: NPR – 711 Words

Christopher Catrambone, a wealthy businessman from Lake Charles, La., docks his boat these days in Malta, the Mediterranean island he now calls home. That boat, called the Phoenix, has been getting outfitted for a series of trips set to begin in May. But Catrambone and his crew don’t intend to use the Phoenix for luxury cruises. He and his Italian wife, Regina, invested about $8 million of their own money to buy the ship and hire a crew for an entirely different purpose: to save lives at sea. “Thousands of people are dying,” Catrambone says. “Today, as we stand here we just received news that 10 more migrants died.” Record numbers of people from the Middle East and Africa are crossing waters to try to get to Europe, and rights groups say European countries don’t do enough to rescue them when they run into trouble at sea. The millionaire husband-and-wife team decided to take on the task themselves during a recent yacht cruise on the Mediterranean. Regina caught sight of a jacket in the water during the cruise, and when she asked about it, she was told it might belong to a dead migrant who was trying to find safety in Europe. And that was that. They went on to found the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, which began operations last year.

“We’re the only game in town at the moment,” Christopher Catrambone says. In just 60 days, they saved about 3,000 migrants crossing the sea in rickety wooden boats or dinghies. They then coordinated with Italy and Malta in bringing the migrants to shore. This year, they’re trying to raise money to operate for six months. Martin Xuereb, the director of the organization and Malta’s former chief of defense, notes the dire conditions in which they often find these migrants. “In our first mission [last year] we rescued 271 people, including over 100 women and children from a 12-meter boat that was already taking in water,” Xuereb says. “They’re packed like sardines.” The boat likely would have sunk, he says. While some Europeans criticize the rescue operation, saying it draws more migrants to the sea, Xuereb says that’s just not true. People are desperate, undertaking the journey to find a better life. They deserve to live, he says. Last year, about 218,000 people made this journey — a record. Some 3,500 people drowned. And the numbers are growing. Amnesty International says rates of those crossing are 50 percent higher than last year and hundreds have drowned already this year. “Amnesty International is calling on European governments to start as soon as possible with a new concerted operation to save lives at sea,” says Matteo de Bellis, the group’s Italy campaigner.


“Traditional Islamic courts, along with the existing Somali penal code, treat sexual offenses as crimes against morals and decency rather than as crimes against the individual, says Roisin Mangan, LAW’s legal officer. But the Sexual Offenses Bill aims to rectify this. The bill includes provisions criminalizing forced marriage and child marriage, and replaces the outdated definition of rape. It also improves upon existing legislation by listing offenses that would be covered by the bill and providing appropriate sentencing guidelines.”


How Do You Stop Rape In A Broken State? Somalia Is Giving It A Try

25March – Source: Women’s Media Center – 1,693 Words

In 2011, a Thomson Reuters poll found that Somalia was ranked among the top five most dangerous countries to be a woman. Fewer than three years later, Human Rights Watch concluded that two decades of civil conflict in the country had created a large population of civilians vulnerable to sexualized violence, in a report titled “Here, Rape is Normal.” Eight-hundred cases of sexualized violence were said to have occurred in Mogadishu alone in the first six months of 2013,according to a statement by the UN Secretary General—and those were just the ones actually reported. The true number, the UN said, was likely much higher given the universal realities of underreporting rape. Sexualized violence in Somalia is, as these facts and figures show, an alarming issue. Years of conflict and food insecurity have led to huge numbers of displaced people becoming particularly susceptible to sexualized violence and exploitation. Children, says UNICEF, make up a third of Somalia’s victims of sexualized violence. Armed gunmen beat, rape, shoot, and stab women and girls with complete impunity, according to news reports. “Prosecutions and convictions for rape and other forms of sexual violence are rare in Somalia,” says a 2013 report from Amnesty International, which calls the violence an “epidemic.” Impunity, Amnesty says, allows perpetrators to know that “they can commit such crimes and get away with it.”

A complete lack of legislation or a system equipped to deal with prosecutions exacerbates the issue. Impunity reigns as systems are simply not in place to record, process, and try crimes of sexualized violence. Yet it is with this impunity where change is not only possible, but essential to stop this rampant violence against women. And now, finally, there is hope manifesting at a national, legal level. The Somali Sexual Offenses Bill, due to go before the Somali federal government in early April, aims to address the narrow scope of existing legislation on sexualized violence in the country. The bill is being seen as a model for Muslim majority countries emerging from conflict. After all, according to Somalia’s provisional constitution, all laws must be in compliance with Islamic law. Antonia Mulvey, executive director of the non-governmental organization Legal Action Worldwide (LAW), pointed out, “The Quran and Sunnah, the primary sources of Sharia law, contain numerous pronouncements of women’s rights and freedoms. The Sexual Offenses Bill seeks to ensure that these rights are fully implemented.”


Somalia: Civil Society And Human Rights Meeting

25 March – Source: AMISOM/UNSOM – Video – 3:22 Minutes

At least 27 representatives from civil society organizations and human rights activists in Somalia concluded a two-day consultative workshop in Mogadishu on Tuesday, to review the human rights situation in Somalia and draft a report for the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

March 25, 2015 | Daily Monitoring Report.

Main Story

Police Officials, Military Clash At A Checkpoint In Afgooye

25 March – Source: Wacaal.com – 101 Words

Somali police officers manning a checkpoint clashed with their colleagues from the military in Afgooye, Lower Shabelle region. The forces reportedly fought at Baar Ismaail checkpoint. Three civilians and five others were injured in the clashes. The injured were transferred to a Mogadishu hospital. Casualties from from fighting officers could not be immediately established since no official comment has been made on the incident yet. Similar clashes have taken place at the checkpoint due to disagreement over tax collections.

Key Headlines

  • Vehicle Loaded With Explosives Confiscated In Ceelbur (Radio Bar-Kulan)
  • Police Officials Military Clash At A Checkpoint In Afgooye (Wacaal.com)
  • Federal Government Of Somalia And Partners Approve Key Programmes Under The New Deal (Somali Current)
  • South West State To Renovate Government Hotels To Attract Tourism (Goobjoog News)
  • Somalia Interferes With Sweden-Saudi Arabia Row (Horseed Media)
  • Somalia Rejects Kenya’s Plan To Construct Wall Along Border (The Star)
  • ISIS Reaches Out To Somali Terror Group Al-Shabaab (Breitbart.com)
  • Why A Delegation Of Turkish Officials Visited Minnesota (Minnpost.com)
  • In Somalia Wire Transfers Go Underground (Marketplace)

 

SOMALI MEDIA

Vehicle Loaded With Explosives Confiscated In Ceelbur

25 March – Source: Radio Bar-kulan – 105 Words

The federal government of Somalia administration in Ceelbuur with support from the Somalia National Army have yesterday captured a  car loaded with explosives and weapons. The governor of Ceelbuur Nur Hassan Gutale told Radio Bar-kulan.  He added that they arrested two people in the vehicle who are now in the custody of local officials and will soon be brought before court. He said local administration received a tip from a members of the public. The vehicle was heading to the town of Gal-hareeri which is  under Al- Shabaab rule, according to the governor of Ceelbur.


Federal Government Of Somalia And Partners Approve Key Programmes Under The New Deal

25 March – Source: Somali Current – 659 Words

The Federal Government of Somalia led by Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke has met with development partners under the Somali Development and Reconstruction Facility-Steering Committee to review projects to be funded under the New Deal for Somalia. The Somali Development and Reconstruction Facility is the umbrella architecture that streamlines funding instruments, coordinates and aligns development support towards projects under the Somali New Deal Compact. The New Deal identifies key priorities for Somalia such as Inclusive Politics, Security, Justice, Economic Foundations and Service and Revenue generation for the government. The meeting, held in Mogadishu, was attended by over 60 participants, among them seven key ministers from the Federal Government, ministers from Puntland, the Interim Jubba Administration and the Interim South West Administration and officials from the Banadir Regional Administration and Galmudug. Development partners including the United Nations, the World Bank, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Turkey, Norway, EU and the United States also participated in the meeting. The meeting endorsed 11 priority programs to be funded through the UN Multi Partner Trust Fund and the World Bank Multi Partner Fund established under the SDRF. The programmes range from support to constitutional review and state formation and electoral process, rule of law, youth employment.

“This is a crucial moment and a test on the Compact and its architecture, in which we collectively invested since 2013. As we expressed in Brussels, ultimately the success of the Compact will be measured by the improvement it brings to the lives of Somali people, that is delivery,” Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke said at the meeting. “Funding allocations have to be guided by the needs of Somalia and identified through the SDRF process and structures. Prioritization and sequencing of the needs will be necessary to match the available resources with the overall needs.” He reminded participants of their collective commitments and of the urgent need to advance delivery to the Somali people. Somalia’s Minister for Planning and International Cooperation Abdirahman Ainte whose ministry is the lead government agency in charge of the implementation of the New Deal Framework, expressed optimism that the programmes would be successfully implemented. “The intention of today’s meeting or objectives were to approve a number of programmes, about 11 projects that are going to be implemented, half of them by the UN and the other half by the World Bank and all funded through the SDRF funding windows. All the projects have been approved with some comments or discussions and I think the key element here was the need to strengthen the processes of the New Deal and to try to strengthen the Somali ownership and the government leadership and coordination on all of them,” Minister Ainte said.


South West State To Renovate Government Hotels To Attract Tourism

25 March – Source: Goobjoog News – 207 Words

The Minister of Tourism and Wildlife of South West State of Somalia Omar Adan Hassan has announced plans that his ministry would renovate the former Somalia government hotels in lower Shabelle and elsewhere in the three regions to attract tourism. He names Hotel Panaroma, Mayow and Sanguuni as some of the hotels they would put into operation in the coming months. The hotels have been in ruins after years of civil in Somalia, but are regarded as state properties.

The Minister of Tourism and Wildlife of South West State also spoke about the need for conservation in Somalia. He cautioned against what he termed as dangerous practice of exporting wildlife to Arab countries where they are often given away to Arab princes as gifts. “We notified all ports of entry and exit to stop such illegal shipment and arrest anyone with an animal” said the minister. He added that they are in the process of establishing game reserves and game rangers to protect whatever small number of animals are left in the country. His ministry will also engage in awareness campaigns to public to discourage them from hunting animals, the minister added.


Somalia Interferes With Sweden-Saudi Arabia Row

24 March – Source: Horseed Media – 551 Words

Somalia’s federal government has interfered with the on-going diplomatic row between the Swedish government and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The row between the two countries emerged after Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom criticized the record of human rights in the Kingdom. A statement from the Somalia’s foreign ministry released on Tuesday evening condemned the comments by the Swedish Foreign minister, saying that it violated diplomatic conventions and International law. “This behavior is clearly prohibited by the diplomatic norms and practices but also international law that governs the relationship between sovereign states. The foremost important aspect is the respect for sovereign nations to choose their mode of governance and systems without the interference by external parties,” the statement read.

The comment caused Saudi Arabia to immediately recall its ambassador from Stockholm and blocked a speech due to be given by Wallstrom to the League of Arab States conference in Egypt. The Swedish government went on to cancel a long-standing defence cooperation agreement with the kingdom. Millions of Somalis fled the country after the Central government led by former President Siyad Barre was overthrown in 1991. Most went to neighbouring African countries but large numbers sought sanctuary in Europe and America. Sweden is one of the European countries that hold largest numbers of Somali immigrants who have been granted citizenship and enjoy human rights protection and other privileges that are afforded to Swedish nationals.

Some Somalis who fled to Saudi Arabia seeking refuge and work have faced abuses such as rape, exploitation, under or unpaid employment. Human rights activists have described these conditions as “near-slavery”and attributes them to “deeply rooted gender, religious, and racial discrimination”. Many of them have been forcibly deported back to the country while still violence goes on in some parts. On the other hand, the Swedish government increased its presence in Somalia by being involved in humanitarian assistance. In 2012, the total assistance to Somalia amounted $41 million USD and appointed a new ambassador. While the Saudi government has not had a significant role in the country’s efforts towards development and stability. Somalis both inside the country and abroad took to social media criticise the Somali Ministry of Foreign affairs’ interference in the spat between Sweden and Saudi Arabia. Others called for the Somali President and Prime Minister to publicly apologise or retract the statement.

REGIONAL MEDIA

Somalia Rejects Kenya’s Plan To Construct Wall Along Border

25 March – Source: The Star – 478 Words

The Somali government has distanced itself from plans by Kenya to construct a barrier wall between the two countries. Somalia said it was not consulted in the planned erection of the wall as announced by Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery. “We did not get official communication from Kenya. We only read the matter through the media,” said Somalia’s ambassador to Kenya Mohamed Ali Noor. “While Kenya is at liberty to build anything within its borders, this matter affects both friendly countries and it should be done in consultation,” he said. He said his government welcomes any attempts to tame “the blood-thirsty al Shabaab”. He was however non-committal whether the wall is a solution to al Shabaab attacks and the entry of illegal immigrants.

“The benefits of the wall are hypothetical, as of now. We can talk about it if the two governments agree on the way forward,” he said. Nkaissery said the building of the wall will start this week. He said the construction will initially start in Mandera county, which is in the grip of terror networks believed to be from Somalia. Kenya shares an 860km-long border with Somalia, stretching from Mandera Point One in Mandera county to Kiunga Island in Lamu. Interior Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka said the project is part of a larger plan to ensure that Kenya’s borders are properly secured. “This is a multi-faceted project that will incorporate several systems, including physical obstructions, creation of buffer zones, electronic surveillance, and enhanced patrols both on land and aerial,” he said. He declined to indicate the cost of the project, citing the secrecy of security matters. However, if a similar wall erected by According to records available online, the wall is made up of a concrete base with a five-metre-high wire-and-mesh superstructure.

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

ISIS Reaches Out To Somali Terror Group Al-Shabaab

24 March – Source: Breitbart.com – 389 Words

It has long been feared that ISIS could ally with Somali terror group al-Shabaab, which has been tied to al-Qaeda. As Osama bin Laden’s gang fades and the Islamic State rises, ISIS might look like a better partner for the Somali militants. ISIS recently accepted an oath of fealty from Boko Haram in Nigeria. Last October, the United Arab Emirates warned that the Islamic State might be interested in a similar arrangement with al-Shabaab, a prospect the UAE foreign minister described as frightening given his nation’s sizable Somali population. In the United States, Minnesota has dealt with a wave of Somali-Americans running off to join al-Shabaab.

Last month, the Somali terror gang released a video urging Muslims living in the U.S., U.K., and Canada to stage shopping mall massacres like the one it perpetrated at the Westgate Mall in Kenya. Some of the al-Shabaab operatives involved in that slaughter were Somali-American expatriates. According to a report at Al-Jazeera, an ISIS emissary sent a message to Somalia shortly before Boko Haram bent its knees to the caliphate, inviting the “emir” of al-Shabaab to do likewise. The message praised al-Shabaab as “brothers in Somalia” and called on them to launch attacks “inside Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia.” An alliance could prove useful for ISIS, as al-Shabaab is said to be doing brisk recruiting business in those African nations, using “slick recruitment videos and magazines” which “play upon the marginalization of Muslims and show details of high-profile attacks in Kenya.”


Why A Delegation Of Turkish Officials Visited Minnesota

24 March – Minnpost.com – 583 Words

More than 100 people squeezed into the Minneapolis Brian Coyle Center conference room Monday night to meet a delegation of Turkish government officials, who came to Minnesota over the weekend to bolster relations with Somali-Americans. Minneapolis City Council Member Abdi Warsame, who arranged the arrival of Metin Kulunk, a member of the Turkish parliament, delivered the opening remarks of the event, which drew elders and officials from the local Somali community, the largest in North America. The underlying reason of the invitation was to thank the Turkish people and their government for the humanitarian support to Somalia during a devastating famine experienced by the East African country five years ago.

When Kulunk took the stage Monday night, he described the growing bond between the two nations and applauded his government for the commitment to invest in Somalia. “The country that’s most well known in Turkey is Somalia,” Kulunk said through an interpreter. “Our beloved president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has built the bridge of brotherhood and understanding between our two nations. We’re happy to share both the pressures and your pains as brothers and sisters.” He added: “We have a common heritage. The only thing that is different between our cultures is the physical borders of our countries, not between our hearts or our souls. We’re brothers and therefore, Turkey has not left Somalia alone, and we will not.” Erdogan first visited Somalia in 2011 to witness the effect of the famine that killed nearly 260,000 people from 2010 to 2012. The visit by Erdogan — who was the country’s prime minister at the time — was the first by a non-African leader to the war-ravaged Somalia capital since 1991, when anarchy and civil war broke out after the ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. And though the famine has long been over, Turkey has stayed to build a relationship with Somalia.

SOCIAL MEDIA

CULTURE / OPINION / EDITORIAL / ANALYSIS / BLOGS/ DISCUSSION BOARDS

“If I’m a bad guy, I’m going to be more inclined to want to move money though those guys,” he says. The suggestion: well-intentioned bank oversight may be backfiring and aiding terror finance.”


In Somalia, Wire Transfers Go Underground

24 March – Source: Market Place – Audio – 4:38 Minutes

Four years ago, famine in Somalia took an estimated 260,000 lives. It would have been worse without a key source of financial support: money transfers from relatives abroad. Family members “could send money in five minutes from Minneapolis to Baidoa,” says East Africa scholar Laura Hammond of the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies. Now, though, commercial banks that process remittances have pulled out of the sector. Banks fear extremist groups may be abusing the system to fund terror operations, and that they’ll be punished by U.S. regulators for allowing risky transactions.

Will more Somalis starve? Perhaps not. Many transfers have gone underground. It’s an open secret that couriers are hand-carrying wads of cash across borders, and sending money via non-armored vehicles. Lormel says the risk of so much money moving this way is that it’s not tracked and becomes a channel for potential money laundering. “If I’m a bad guy, I’m going to be more inclined to want to move money though those guys,” he says.

Top tweets

@UNLazzarini New Deal process was revived & 11 programmes endorsed at yesterday’s meeting w/ new #SomaliPM&Cabinet #UN @WorldBank

@SomaliPM ‏Open, transparent and two-way exchanges will be key to achieve our Constitutional Review timeline and meet#Somalia 2016 objectives.

@farahblue  Minister @MinisterMOFA This is not our business at this time #Somalia should condemn Saudi’s mass deportation instead.

@Aynte Met w/ #China ambassador to #Somalia Mr. Wei Hongtian. 2 govts will sign cooperation agreement on various sectors.

@UNSomalia Federal Government of #Somalia and partners approve key programmes under the #NewDealhttps://flic.kr/s/aHsk9z1vce  #SDRF

@AJENews  ISIL wants al-Shabab in Somalia to join their fight.http://aje.io/xdgv 

Follow the conversation →

Image of the day

Image of the day

Senior officials of Somali federal and regional governments and members of the international community attend a meeting of the Somali Development & Reconstruction Facility Steering Committee in Mogadishu. Photo: UNSOM