27 September – Source: Xinhuanet – 269 Words
Chinese Ambassador to Somalia Qian Jian on Wednesday said China will strongly support the Horn of Africa nation’s peace and reconstruction process as part of the bilateral pact between the two countries. Qian said Beijing had made positive contribution to Somalia in various fields including economic and social development to assist the country in acquiring political stability. “The Chinese government has built over 80 infrastructural projects like hospitals, stadiums and roads to ease the burden of the Somali people. We have dispatched a medical team of more than 400 members in 13 batches to the country since 1991,” the envoy said in Nairobi during celebrations to mark the 68th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Qian told the guests, among whom were top government officials and diplomats, that under the strong leadership of the Communist Party, China had over the last 68 years achieved what it would take other countries centuries to attain. In 2016, China’s gross domestic product (GDP) hit about 11 trillion U.S. dollars and per capita GDP stood at 8,000 dollars, he said, noting that China is the second largest economy in the world. Speaker of the House of People, Mohamed Osman Jawari, congratulated the Chinese government on the occasion and shared his country’s best wishes to the Far East nation. “Relations between Somalia and China commenced in 1960 after we attained independence, and ever since we signed our first official trade agreement in 1963, the Somali people have been beneficiaries of Chinese benevolence in the areas of maternal and child care as well as other infrastructural largess,” Jawari said.
- China Vows To Support Somalia’s Peace Reconstruction (Xinhuanet)
- AMISOM Regrets The Accident Involving One Of Its Vehicles In Mogadishu (SONNA)
- Over 100000 IDPs Evicted From Settlements This Year NGO Says (Somali Update)
- UN Rights Mechanism Needed to Document Violations and Provide Accountability in Somalia (Human Right Watch)
- Somali Teenagers Flee Al-Shabaab Recruitment Campaign (Voice of America)
AMISOM Regrets The Accident Involving One Of Its Vehicles In Mogadishu
27 September – Somali National News Agency (SONNA) – 78 Words
The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) regrets the unfortunate accident in which one of its convoy vehicles collided with a civilian car at KM 4 junction in Mogadishu City on Tuesday 26th September 2017.
The vehicle developed a faulty brake system that failed which resulted the unfortunate accident. AMISOM is currently engaging the owner of the civilian car and wishes to reaffirm its commitment to supporting the people of Somalia in the restoration of peace and stability.
Over 100,000 IDPs Evicted From Settlements This Year, NGO Says
27 September – Source: Somali Update – 320 Words
The increase in drought-related displacement has coincided with a sharp increase in forced eviction. Forced evictions are especially prevalent among IDPs who have settled on private land, Mogadishu and Baidoa are the main hotspots, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) eviction tracker. So far, between January and August in 2017, more than 100,000 IDPs have been evicted from their places of settlement, representing a 15% increase compared to 2016. The NGO found some of the forced evictions were caused by huge landowners and businessmen affiliated to the government and local states.
In Baidoa, which is home to one of the largest displaced communities in the country, during the week of 14 to 21 September, over 1,000 IDPs were evicted by private landowners from IDP settlements in Haluul and Harqan, Baidoa. Another 8,000 people relocated to from Kagarkaa-Madagari IDP settlements to adjacent settlements after the grace period on the settlement expired. The majority of those affected NRC report says are drought-displaced individuals who arrived in Baidoa since January 2017. Some of the evicted IDPs have been relocated to a new site in consultation with local authorities and protection cluster partners, but local NGOs have raised concern over the damage caused to water and sanitation infrastructure and facilities during the evictions. “The evictions is potentially impacted by short-term gains by landowners and gatekeepers from increased taxation, due to an influx of assistance for drought-displaced populations” the report added.
Besides disrupting the livelihoods of IDPs and reducing their ability to cope with the displacement situation, evictions on occasions result in the destruction of humanitarian investments such as latrines. Several NGOs working on the protection cluster, mainly the Housing, Property and Land sub-cluster have said they were engaging with local authorities to prevent further evictions, and further request the authorities for a guarantee that tenure agreements will be respected and any evictions will proceed in an orderly and dignified fashion.
27 September – Source: Human Rights Watch – 365 Words
Human Rights Watch welcomes the Independent Expert’s new report. As noted, much needs to be done to ensure that Somalia’s state-building efforts improve civilian protection, respect basic rights, and tackle impunity. Civilians continue to face a dire humanitarian and rights situation. Al-Shabab militants target civilians across the country, while Somali government forces and allied militia indiscriminately kill and on occasion unlawfully target civilians during military operations against Al-Shabaab and clans fighting over resources and political power.
Recruitment and use of children as fighters, particularly by Al-Shabaab, continues. Despite commitments by the federal government to rehabilitate children formerly associated with Al-Shabaab, many are held for prolonged periods of time without access to relatives, lawyers, and on occasion sentenced to harsh prison terms by military courts. Drought, clan conflict, the fighting with Al-Shabab and clan militia, and forced evictions, have resulted in hundreds of thousands displaced since late 2016, primarily into government-controlled urban centers. Many live in unsafe settlements where they face serious abuses, such as sexual violence, including by government soldiers and militia. Federal and regional governments have adopted measures to improve accountability for sexual violence, but significant efforts and reforms are still needed to ensure fair and safe prosecutions.
We urge the independent expert to use his mandate to promote fair prosecutions of sexual violence and to ensure that children formerly associated with Al-Shabab are promptly supported and that detention be a measure of last resort. Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) and its military courts, which have a broad mandate over alleged terrorism-related crimes, have repeatedly flouted due process rights, including in death penalty cases, with no accountability.
The government and its international partners need to prioritize efforts to address impunity through the establishment of effective civilian oversight mechanisms, vetting and fair prosecutions. Journalists continue to be killed and face harassment and threats by all sides. Regular public reporting by UNSOM and the Independent Expert on the human rights situation and abuses by all parties to the conflict is therefore critical. Human Rights Watch encourages the OHCHR to undertake an exercise to map and document serious international crimes committed by all sides in Somalia throughout the conflict and recommend measures to improve accountability.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“Abdishakur Yaqub Ibrahim, a regional lawmaker who lives in Baidoa, told VOA that dozens of children between the ages of 9 and 18 have fled Al-Shabaab-ruled areas in Bay and Bakool over the past few days. He said some of those who fled are his relatives, including a cousin and nephews. “I now have 14 such kids who fled who are living in my home; some came to me because they are relatives, some are my clanmates,” he said.”
27 September – Source: Voice America – 611 Words
Al-Shabaab militants have launched what appears to be a forced recruitment campaign in Somalia’s southwestern regions of Bay and Bakool, according to Somali officials. The group, which controls large parts of both regions, is pressuring leaders of local villages to make sure teenagers join its ranks, according to the governor of Bay region, Ali Wardhere Doyow. “They have been holding meetings for clan elders and told them to meet specific numbers of recruits they want collected from clans,” Doyow told VOA’s Somali Service.
Doyow said many families and their children have fled their villages to larger towns in the Bay region, including Baidoa, Dinsor and Bardale. Abdishakur Yaqub Ibrahim, a regional lawmaker who lives in Baidoa, told VOA that dozens of children between the ages of 9 and 18 have fled Al-Shabaab-ruled areas in Bay and Bakool over the past few days. He said some of those who fled are his relatives, including a cousin and nephews. “I now have 14 such kids who fled who are living in my home; some came to me because they are relatives, some are my clanmates,” he said. “Three weeks ago, they called the elders and school leaders and said they want the younger boys. They told the elders that the boys will be educated and trained and that they will then fight against the apostates and Mukhtar Robow.”
Robow is Al-Shabaab’s former deputy emir and a Bakool native who defected to the government in August. There are reports that Robow is planning to return to the region to mobilize locals against his former militant group. Ibrahim says the group is targeting families who have sons. “They told the elders that if a family has two sons, they will draft one as a militant; if they have three, they will take two of them,” Ibrahim said. “They are saying they will educate the children, but they are going to turn them into bombs.” Human rights groups have previously accused both Al-Shabaab and pro-Somali government forces of using child soldiers. Last year, the U.N. Children’s Fund estimated there were at least 5,000 underage soldiers in the country, most of them recruited into Al-Shabaab.The recruiting drive appears to have picked up in recent weeks. Last month, authorities in the coastal town of Adalle reported that more than 100 children who fled Al-Shabaab recruitment campaign in the Galmudug region had arrived there.
Authorities in the town of Bardhere report the arrival of 10 families who fled with their children because of Al-Shabaab recruitment efforts in the Gedo region. One Bay region youngster who fled to Baidoa told VOA he is 15 years old. He said he left his home village after the militants made clear their intention to take him. “They came to the Quran school, then they went to my father and he told them he will not hand me over. Then I took a motorcycle and I came here to stay with my uncle,” said the boy, whose name is being withheld due to concerns for his safety. VOA also spoke to a 14-year-old boy who arrived Baidoa on September 21, after his parents shipped him out of his village. He said he was the only son in his family. The boy said Al-Shabaab raided his school which had about 40 boys. He said he does not know what happened to the other boys. He said he did not want to become an Al-Shabaab fighter because they “harm people.” Governor Doyow urged the clans and elders to resist Al-Shabaab and not “donate” their sons to the militant group. “Reject, don’t let them take away your children. Fight it off,” he said.