11 September – Source: Reuters – 254 Words
Somali government forces have regained control of a town on the border with Kenya after Al-Shabaab militants stormed an army base there on Monday, causing heavy clashes in which at least 17 people died, the military said. Islamist insurgents attacked the base at Balad Hawo early in the morning with a car suicide bombing before entering the compound, both sides said. “We were awoken by a suicide car bomb this morning and then fierce battle followed,” Major Mohamed Abdullahi told Reuters from the town.“We chased al Shabaab out of the town,” he said.
Al-Shabaab spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab said the group’s fighters left the town after releasing 35 prisoners from the local jail. At least 30 soldiers were killed, he said. According to the military official, at least 10 soldiers and seven al Shabaab militants were killed, though the death toll on both sides could still rise. Formed in 2006, Al Shabaab wants to topple the Western-backed government and impose its strict interpretation of Islam. Somalia has been at war since 1991 when clan-based warlords overthrew dictator Siad Barre and then turned on each other.Al Shabaab carry out frequent attacks on security and government targets, but also on civilians. They also target African Union peacekeeping troops.
- Somali Army Repels Al-Shabaab After Attack At least 17 Killed (Reuters)
- Car Bomb Kills At Least One Three Injured in Mogadishu (Somali Update)
- Somalia Plans to Boost Security Operations against the Militants (Horn Observer)
- Somalia: 20 Killed In Three Separate Attacks (Voice of America)
- How Aid in Cash Not Goods Averted A Famine In Somalia (IPS News)
Car Bomb Kills At Least One, Three Injured in Mogadishu
11 September – Source: Somali Update – 184 Words
At least one person was killed and three others were injured after a car loaded with explosives went off in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Monday, eyewitnesses and police said. Police spokesman Qasim Ahmed Roble said the car which was driven by a suspected Al-Shabaab suicide bomber went off in the Maka al-Mukarama road. “We received reports of the car, but as we were trying to find is, soon after the explosion occurred. It seems the [suicide bomber] missed the target as the car exploded while driving.” he said.
The blast happened near the popular Wehliye Hotel where government officials, mostly members of the parliament and the public frequent. The police say all those affected were civilians passing the road. “I could still see the man driving when the huge explosion went off. All the walls were shaken and something fell on us. We are lucky to be safe.” Yasin Mohamed Ali, a shopkeeper told reporters. The Al-Qaeda affiliate terror group Al-Shabaab has claimed the responsibility of the attack. On Sunday another suicide explosion killed at least six in Beled-weyn, central Somalia region of Hiiraan.
Somalia Plans to Boost Security Operations against the Militants
11 September – Source: Horn Observer – 147 Words
Somali Minister of Defense Abdirashid Abdullahi Mohamed announced that the government will equip Somali army to boost security operations against the terror group Al-Shabaab according to reports. Abdirashid Abdullahi Mohamed, Somali Minister of Defense said that the government is preparing the army to take over the security of the country from AMISOM after meeting with the security officials from Southwest Administration and officials from the 60 command post of the Somali National army.
“I am happy to have visited the 60 Command post of the SNA, “Abdirashid Abdullahi Mohamed, Somali Minister of Defense said. “My travel is part of plans by my ministry to accelerate the security operations in the country”. The Al-Shabaab, a militant group affiliated with Al-Qaeda seems to have shifted its attacks to regions outside Mogadishu, the Somali capital, with the latest attacks in the towns of Baidoa and Belet-weyne that killed several civilians.
11 September – Source: VOA News – 371 Words
At least 16 people were killed, most of them regional government soldiers, after Al-Shabaab militants attacked the Somali town of Beled Hawo on Monday, officials and residents said. Four other people were killed in incidents elsewhere in the country. Security sources say militants attacked three locations in Beled Hawo, which sits on the Somalia-Kenya border. The first attack targeted a military base, about six kilometers outside Beled Hawo. The mayor of Beled Hawo, Mohamud Hayd Osman, told VOA Somali the militants detonated a suicide car bomb before storming the base. “The troops evacuated their wounded, and retreated to another location three kilometers away,” he said.
Independent security sources told VOA Somali that 14 government soldiers were killed in the attack, with eight others wounded. Soldiers fled the base following the heavy attack and crossed into Kenya, the sources say. After overrunning the base, militants entered the town and attacked the main police station, residents told VOA. Osman says two civilians were killed in that attack. “They were unable to penetrate the station first, but they have detonated explosives on the perimeter,” he said. The third attack by the militants targeted the town’s district headquarters. Osman said the militants detonated explosives at the building that houses the mayor’s office, causing damage.
As Al-Shabaab fighters and Somali soldiers battled, Kenyan troops launched artillery fire on advancing militants to prevent them from entering Kenya. Residents also said they saw Kenyan military helicopters in the air, trying to force Al-Shabaab militants to withdraw from the town. The militants retreated just over an hour after entering the town, Osman said. Al-Shabaab claimed to have killed nearly 40 soldiers and freed 35 inmates from prison. Osman denies the claim. He said police freed the prisoners in order to save them from being killed by Al-Shabaab.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“Increasingly, it became clear that a new flow of international aid, cash, and not goods, worked to mitigate the risks of an immediate famine. For now, in spite of acute risks in some parts of the country, Somalia has successfully averted a food crisis,”
08 September – Source: IPS News – 594 Words
In February, when the government of Somalia sounded an alarm to the UN about risks of a famine in the country, the UN’s Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), besides quickly shuffling a response team, was acting from a steep sense of history. The Office, instead of sending out massive aid packages, distributed cash vouchers to families who could spend it to buy goods according to their needs. The famine between the years 2010 and 2012, which killed more than a quarter of a million people in the country, offered important lessons to the aid community. This spring, when poor rainfall led to large scale crop failure and a rise in malnutrition, the freshly elected government raised immediate alarm. A looming crisis stood to affect nearly 6.7 million people in the country, or more than half of the population.
The new expansion of a cash-based strategy, largely owing to Somalia’s strong network of money vendors, ultimately formed the basis of a formal team, called the Cash Based Response Working Group 2017.This group, drawing from reports of 2011, formulated new means of distributing cash, quickly and efficiently. Jordi Casafont Torra, a humanitarian affairs officer with the OCHA, and who worked directly with teams on the ground to respond to the crisis, explained the distribution of money to all those affected. The new ways of sending out money were many. The most popular one, he told IPS, was the use of an electronic voucher called a SCOPE card. Funded by the World Food Programme, these cards could be easily used in all local stores that quickly became handy with the new form of payment. The cards, much like debit cards, were recharged with money, and could be swiped to check out items from local stores.
Other vouchers, like “water vouchers” directly targeted specific supplies. Still other vouchers, like those that came with a cash-for-work incentive, put more people to work to build the local infrastructure, the lack of which often impeded work, in exchange for money. Slowly, Somalis began shaping the economy. Within a month since teams were first alerted to the worsening drought conditions, 1.4 million people clocked out of danger. By May, the numbers had climbed to 3 million. “Cash enables affected people to choose and buy from local shops, having the double impact of both assisting persons and supporting the local economy,” Torra said. The ramping up of cash-based operations had set the stage for a locally supported and a sustainable economy.