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5 Details You Shouldn’t Give Facebook

5 Details You Shouldn’t
Give Facebook

Source: Reuters/Dado Ruvic
By Kim Komando
Monday, August 31, 2015

Decorative Lines

The whole point of Facebook is to share your life with other people. You probably have more than a few friends who fall into the over-sharing category. But don’t snicker. You may be one, too, and not even know it.

Here are five personal tidbits Facebook asks you to share that you’re much better off keeping to yourself.

Continue reading “5 Details You Shouldn’t Give Facebook”

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Egypt declares state of emergency

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In Pictures| Killings in Cairo

Egypt declares state of emergency
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies
Scott Nelson Last Modified: 14 Aug 2013

LineTree

Egypt declares state of emergency

Announcement comes amid security crackdown on pro-Morsi protesters that has left at least 149 people dead nationwide. A state of emergency has been declared across Egypt, as security forces and supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi continue to clash around the country. The announcement on Wednesday came amid a deadly crackdown by security forces on two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo.

The health ministry said at least 149 people had been killed in clashes around the country, but some members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood said the death toll was much higher. The state of emergency began at 4pm local time (14:00 GMT) and will last for a month, the presidency said in a statement. The exceptional measures were taken as “the security and order of the nation face danger due to deliberate sabotage, and attacks on public and private buildings and the loss of life by extremist groups,” the presidency said.

Interim president Adly Mansour “has tasked the armed forces, in cooperation with the police, to take all necessary measures to maintain security and order and to protect public and private property and the lives of citizens”. A curfew has also been imposed in Cairo and nine other provinces, starting from 9pm local time (19:00 GMT) until 6am (04:00 GMT). Interim vice president Mohamed ElBaradei resigned following Wednesday’s violence, saying in a letter to the country’s leadership that there were peaceful options for ending the political crisis.

Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros, reporting from Cairo, said the military has now been given “a mandate by cabinet to play an active role in the crackdown, if the situation escalates, and we have seen that the situation has escalated.” “It is a very worrying situation, and the state of emergency only serves to highlight the very precarious situation,” she said.

The Interior Ministry said 543 pro-Morsi supporters were arrested nationwide, in incidents related to dispersing the sit-ins of Rabaa and Nahda. The arrests were made for possession of arms including automatic weapons, and large amounts of ammunition. Police took full control of the Rabaa al-Adawiya camp on Wednesday afternoon, the state news agency reported.

Al Jazeera’s Jane Ferguson, reporting from Nasr City, said she saw many people leave peacefully on foot and cars carrying injured. She said smaller groups had been congregating in squares and streets after the protest camp was cleared out. “Just because they’re leaving Rabaa Square doesn’t mean that they’re leaving protests altogether,” she said.

Journalists killed

Ammar Beltagi, the son of Mohammad Beltagi, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party, told Al Jazeera his 17-year-old sister, Asmaa, was shot and killed in the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in in Nasr City. Two journalists were also killed while covering the violence. Mick Deane, a cameraman for the UK-based Sky News channel, and Habiba Abd Elaziz, a reporter for the UAE-based Xpress newspaper, died from gunshot wounds.

Live footage from Cairo on Wednesday morning showed smoke engulfing Nahda Square, the smaller of the two sit-ins based in Giza, amid reports of tear gas and birdshots being used on supporters of the deposed president. By mid-morning, the Interior Ministry said security forces had “total control” over Nahda Square, and that “police forces had managed to remove most of the tents” in the area. Security forces had blocked all access to the protest camp.

In an afternoon press conference, the cabinet media adviser thanked the security forces for “exercising self-control and high-level professionalism in dispersing the sit-ins,” and held the Muslim Brotherhood responsible for “escalation and violence”. Witnesses said that after firing tear gas into the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in, pandemonium struck among the thousands of protesters who had set up camp there soon after Morsi was ousted by the army on July 3.

Automatic fire

Protesters have camped in Cairo demanding the reinstatement of Morsi, who was country’s first democratically elected president and his Freedom and Justice Party was the largest political group in the now dissolved parliament. Clashes quickly erupted between protesters and security forces on one side of the camp, with automatic fire reverberating across the square. It was not immediately clear who was shooting.

Television footage showed the injured being carried to a makeshift medical centre as well as police dragging away protesters, who had defied numerous ultimatums by the army-installed authorities to end their demonstrations. Police barred journalists not already in the camp from entering. In response to the security operation, the Muslim Brotherhood urged Egyptians to take to the streets across the country to “stop a massacre”.

In Pictures: Killings in Cairo

Injured demonstrators mass at make-shift clinics as security forces continue a grisly assault on pro-Morsi protesters. Nasr City, Egypt – Dozens of people have died as security forces continue their crackdown on supportes of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.

The assault, which began on Wednesday, has led to bloody clashes around Rabaa al-Adawiya, a centre for demonstrations in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. Injured protesters have tried to treat their wounds at make-shift clinics set-up by demonstrators. The government has declared a state of emergency and the violence is expected to continue.

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PIC 01| A pro-Morsi supporter cries over the body of his slain friend at a field hospital inside the Rabaah al-Adawiya protest camp in Nasr City, Egypt during Wednesday’s operation to break-up demonstrations.

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PIC 02| The bodies of at least nine pro-Morsi supporters lie on a floor at a field hospital inside the Rabaah al-Adawiya protest camp.

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PIC 03| A pro-Morsi demonstrator holds the helmet of a protestor he says was shot dead earlier by police (a bullet hole and brain tissue was visible on the helmet) as he stands inside a packed field hospital.

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PIC 04| Women and children pro-Morsi supporters take refuge inside the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque within the larger protest camp.

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PIC 05| An injured pro-Morsi supporter is a given first aid at a field hospital.

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PIC 06| A critically injured pro-Morsi supporter is tried to be kept alive by assisted breathing at a field hospital.

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PIC 07| An injured pro-Morsi supporter is a given first aid at a field hospital.

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PIC 08| A wounded pro-Morsi supporter is taken by stretcher to a nearby field hospital inside the Rabaah al-Adawiya protest camp.

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PIC 09| The wounded lie next to one another on stretchers inside a packed field hospital.

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PIC 10| Critically injured are given what basic treatment the overwhelmed medical staff could provide inside a packed field hospital.

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PIC 11| A critically injured man is a given assisted breathing inside a packed field hospital.

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PIC 12| A Koran sits atop one of the slain pro-Morsi supporters inside a packed field hospital inside the Rabaah al-Adawiya protest camp.

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PIC 13| A man runs past burning tyres on the edge of the Rabaah al-Adawiya protest camp in Nasr City.

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PIC 14| A stream of wounded people are treated by overwhelmed emergency staff inside a packed field hospital at the Rabaah al-Adawiya protest camp.

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Communiquè: Meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the Troop Contributing Countries of AMISOM

African Leaders Want Disputed Somali City Annexed

Communiquè: Meeting of the Heads of State and Government
of the Troop Contributing Countries of AMISOM
Source: Thisdaylive
Date: August 5, 2013 | Communiquè | Kambala, UgandhaLineTree

AMISOM

From: Left to Right

  1. Hassan Darar Houfaneh – Defence minister of Djibouti,
  2. Gabriel Nizigama – Minister of Security of Burundi,
  3. Somalia president – Hassan Sheikh Mohamud,
  4. Uhuru Kenyatta – President of Kenya,
  5. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni – President of Uganda,
  6. Hailemmariam Desalegn – Prime Minister of Ethiopia,
  7. Andrew Gbebay Bangali – African Union Representative from Sierra Leone
  8. Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Chairperson of AMISOM Commission.

Pose for a group photo during an AMISOM troops-contributing-countries to Somalia conference in Kampala on August 4, 2013.

MEETING OF THE HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE TROOP CONTRIBUTING COUNTRIES OF THE AFRICAN UNION MISSION IN SOMALIA (AMISOM), ETHIOPIA AND SOMALIA: KAMPALA, UGANDA; 4TH AUGUST 2013

A meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Ethiopia and Somalia took place in Kampala, Uganda on Sunday, 4th August 2013 under the theme:

“Towards a harmonized Approach by the Stakeholders in Building a Peaceful Somalia”.

The Summit, chaired by His Excellency, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, was preceded by the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Defence on 3rd August 2013.

The Summit was attended by His Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya; His Excellency Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia. His Excellency Hassan Darar Houfaneh, Minister of Defence represented the Government of the Republic of Djibouti and His Excellency Gabriel Nizigama, Minister of Public Security represented the Republic of Burundi.

His Excellency, Andrew Gbebay Bangali Permanent Representative of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the African Union, represented the Government of Sierra Leone while Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission (SRCC) and Head of Mission, AMISOM represented the Africa Union (AU).

Following the report on the prevailing situation in Somalia by Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission (SRCC) and Head of Mission, AMISOM as well as statements made by Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Uganda, the Summit:

1| Reaffirmed its commitment

Reaffirmed its commitment, under the auspices of the African Union (AU) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Somalia as well as its commitment to continue to assist the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) in its stabilization efforts;

2| Commended

Commended the achievements made by AMISOM, Ethiopia and the Somalia National Security Forces in restoring security in Somalia and in particular in degrading the ability of Al Shabaab to carry out atrocities against the people of Somalia;

3| Recalled

Recalled the pivotal role played by IGAD and AU in the deployment of AMISOM and welcomed the deployment of additional troops from Djibouti, Kenya and Sierra Leone and encouraged other African countries to contribute to the stabilization effort in Somalia;

4| Further recalled

Further recalled the Communiqué of the 22nd Extra Ordinary Session of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the Situation on Somalia held in Addis Ababa on 3rd May, 2013 which recognizes the leadership role of the FGS in the reconciliation process as well as in the establishment of local administrations in the regions;

5| Expressed

Expressed grave concern about the deteriorating security situation in some parts of Somalia, and also, condemned the recent Al Shabaab terrorist activities that have resulted in the loss of innocent civilian lives and destruction of property. In this regard, the Summit requested AMISOM to support the FGS in the realization of the FGS’ presence of government institutions, extend its authority and establish itself;

6| Recalled

Recalled the concerns contained in paragraph 7 of the communiqué (PSC/PR/COMM(CCCLXXIX) of the meeting of AU Peace and Security Council adopted on 13 June, 2013 that AMISOM forces have reached their operational limits and are unable to conduct a expansion operations as envisaged in the AU-UN Strategic Concept for future operations in Somalia and supported the call to the United Nations (UN) Security Council to provide the necessary support to AMISOM and the Somalia National Security Forces to enable them reorganize, restructure, increase their forces and mobilize logistical support in order to undertake further stabilization operations and also consolidate their control over the recovered territories and to facilitate the FGS extend state authority across the country;

7| Noted

Noted that, given the evolution of the situation in Somalia, the AU Strategic Concept for future AMISOM operations in Somalia adopted by the AU Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council in January 2012 is not in tandem with the current situation and has been over taken by other events and therefore requested the AU, in consultation with the TCCs to AMISOM, Ethiopia, Somalia as well as IGAD and the UN, in the context of the planned AU-UN Joint Review, to revise the Strategic Concept in order to align it with the prevailing circumstances in the Mission Area;

8| Expressed

Expressed concern about ongoing discussions aimed at partial re-hatting of AMISOM, which is considered premature and may cause a dysfunctional command and control, unequal and inequitable distribution of resources and negative consequences on the operational effectiveness of the Mission;

9| Welcomed

Welcomed the efforts deployed by the FGS including in establishing governance structures in the recovered areas and noted the challenges being encountered in some regions;

10| Welcomed and encouraged

Welcomed and encouraged the ongoing talks between the FGS and Jubba Region stakeholders;

11| Expressed

Expressed concerns with the emergence of private security companies noting that their activities negatively impact on efforts aimed at rebuilding the Somalia National Security Forces;

12| Welcomed also the commitment of the FGS

Welcomed also the commitment of the FGS to hold elections by 2016 and expressed its support to facilitate the creation of conducive environment for the conduct of credible elections and called on the AU, IGAD, UN, European Union (EU), and all Somalia’s friends and partners to support the FGS in this regard;

13| Expressed

Expressed its appreciation to the African Union (AU), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the UN Security Council, the European Union (EU) and bilateral partners for their continued support to the stabilization of Somalia;

14| Expressed

Expressed concerns about the intermittent funding pattern of AMISOM and the Somalia National Security Forces.

Consequently, the Summit:

15| Decided

Decided, in accordance with the Provisional Federal Constitution of Somalia, that the control of the Kismayo seaport and airport should be handed over to the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS);

16| Stressed

Stressed that in line with UN Security Council resolutions, the ban on the exportation of charcoal should be adhered to;

17| Decided

Decided that all militias should be integrated into the Somalia National Security Forces except those associated with Al Shabaab which should be isolated;

18| Emphasized

Emphasized the imperative of continued African leadership and the need for AMISOM to sustain and strengthen its efforts to stabilize Somalia and reduce the threat of Al Shabaab;

19| Decided

Decided that the FGS, AMISOM and other stakeholders should cooperate to protect AMISOM troops;

20| Decided

Decided that the FGS is to take lead in the process of producing local leaders from the regions which the FGS will then appoint but in doing so, there is the need to ensure balanced participation;

21| Decided

Decided that all parties should support the establishment of Somalia National Security Forces by training educated Somalis to form the officer corps and the training of NCOs should be carried out in Somalia;

22| Decided

Decided that all unfair, unfair accusations, deliberate distortion of facts and bad mouthing of AMISOM TCCs must stop forthwith;

23| Welcomed

Welcomed the Addis Ababa discussions between the FGS and the Jubba Regions and called for the discussions to be fast tracked and made inclusive;

24| Encouraged

Encouraged the UN to procure food and other essential material for AMISOM locally where practicable;

25| Underlined

Underlined the fight against Al Shabaab as the major focus of the FGS, the TCCs as well as regional and international partners;

26| Resolved

Resolved to maintain their commitment to the stabilization effort in Somalia and in this regard decided to convene periodically to review the situation in Somalia;

27| Decided

Decided to support the FGS efforts to undertake political dialogue with various stakeholders and encouraged the convening of the reconciliation conference agreed upon at the 22nd Extra Ordinary Session of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the Situation on Somalia held in Addis Ababa on 3rd May, 2013;

28| Requested IGAD

Requested IGAD to continue to play its supportive role, in line with the five principles agreed upon as the basis of stabilization efforts in Somalia as contained in the communiqué of the 22nd Extra Ordinary Session of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the Situation in Somalia held in Addis Ababa on 3rd May, 2013. In this regard, the Summit appealed to the FGS and other stakeholders to work closely in the amicable resolution of any differences;

29| Requested

Requested the FGS to hasten the process of putting in place governance structures in recovered areas, if AMISOM in its current formulation, is to make further gains in the fight against Al Shabaab. The Summit further called on other stakeholders to support the FGS in this regard;

30| Encouraged

Encouraged the FGS to undertake the necessary political process to establish effective governance structures across Somalia;

31| Decided

Decided to support the FGS in establishing its authority in the Jubba Regions especially its control of state owned federal infrastructure including the seaport and airport;

32| Requested

Requested the FGS to prioritize the reintegration of various militias with a view to establish a cohesive Somalia National Security Force;

33| Agreed

Agreed that AMISOM and the Chiefs of Defence Forces of Ethiopia and Somalia, within the framework of the AMISOM Military Operations Coordination Committee (MOCC), in line with the operational decision reached in 2012, to urgently work out the modalities and operationalization of an AMISOM multinational force to be deployed in Kismayo;

34| Directed

Directed Chiefs of Defence Forces to meet on a quarterly basis to review the security situation in Somalia and report to the Committee of Ministers of Defence accordingly for appropriate action;

35| Requested

Requested IGAD to meet on quarterly basis in order to track progress in developments in Somalia with particular reference to rebuilding the Somalia National Security Forces and political outreach and reconciliation;

36| Requested

Requested the AU, in consultations with the TCCs, Ethiopia and Somalia, to undertake in-depth review of recent UN Security Council resolutions, notably resolution 2093 (2013) and 2033 (2013) with a view to unpacking their implications particularly with regards to the contemplated partial re-hatting of AMISOM, its mandate as well as its operational effectiveness;

37| Requested

Requested the AU Commission to intensify and expand its efforts in mobilizing the required support, including predictable funding, for an enhanced AMISOM with increased uniformed personnel strength and the Somalia National Security Forces;

38| Requested

Requested the AU Commission and the TCCs to fast track the ongoing troop rotation, including the Force Command elements;

39| Requested

Requested the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission (SRCC) and Head of Mission – AMISOM to transmit this Communiqué to the AU Commission for the attention of the AU Peace and Security Council.
____________________________________________________________

  • H.E. Gabriel Nizigama – MINISTER OF PUBLIC SECURITY OF THE REPUBLIC OF BURUNDI
  • H.E. Hassan Darar Houfaneh – MINISTER OF DEFENCE OF THE REPUBLIC OF DJIBOUTI
  • H. E. Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn – PRIME MINISTER, FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA

African Leaders Want Disputed Somali City Annexed

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud attends the closing meeting for the African Union Mission in Somalia, which held in Kampala, Uganda.

The Somali city of Kismayo “should be handed over” to the central government, regional leaders said at the end of a summit Sunday, a decision that puts pressure on Kenyan troops who face charges of backing a powerful militia in the disputed port city.

IMG_8937

African leaders said in a statement at the end of a summit in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, that Kismayo’s airport and seaport should be under the control of Somalia’s central government, which has struggled to assert its authority there despite the exit of al-Shabab militants, reports The Associated Press.

The statement said a “multinational force” should be urgently deployed in Kismayo. It also urged the central government in the capital, Mogadishu, to “reintegrate” into the national army all the militias that have no links with al-Shabab militants.

The Kampala summit was organized under the banner of the African Union peacekeeping force deployed in Somalia, known as AMISOM, and was for countries that have troops in Somalia. The prime minister of Ethiopia and the presidents of Uganda, Kenya and Somalia attended the summit.

The decision on Kismayo puts pressure on Kenya, whose troops in the strategic Somali city have been accused of backing one militia, the Raskamboni brigade, against others in deadly fighting there. The Raskamboni brigade —which helped Kenya to push al-Shabab militants out of Kismayo last year —is led by Ahmed Madobe, a Somali warlord who has established a local administration in Kismayo that is independent of the central government. Madobe is a key power broker around Kismayo, although he is not backed by the federal government in Mogadishu.

After the Raskamboni brigade took the upper hand in fighting for control of Kismayo, Somalia’s government said last month it wanted a “more neutral African Union force” there, an apparent indictment of the conduct of Kenyan troops in Somalia.

Kismayo is important for Kenya, which seeks a friendly buffer zone near its border with Somalia — one of the main reasons it sent troops to Somalia in late 2011 to fight the rebels of al-Shabab, Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaida. But the rival militias now at war there appear to be interested in the economic engine of Kismayo. Its port generates large and reliable income, and has been the export point of Somali-made charcoal that the U.N. has deemed illegal.

In a letter to the African Union, Somalia’s government recently accused AMISOM Section Two — a contingent of African Union forces operating in Kismayo — of launching “a targeted offensive against civilians” and of arresting Col. Abbas Ibrahim Gure, a Somali army official sent to Kismayo by the central government.

Kenyan officials have repeatedly denied taking sides in the Kismayo conflict, saying they are in Kismayo to keep the peace.

Some analysts say fighting in Kismayo is distracting from the main goal of battling al-Shabab, who still stage lethal terrorist attacks even in Mogadishu.

Somalia wins cash, military aid at London donor summit

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Somalia wins cash, military aid at London donor summit.

Reuters | By Mohammed Abbas | LONDON | Tue May 7, 2013

Somalia won international pledges of extra cash and military assistance on Tuesday at a major conference convened to help the East African country cope with the twin threats of Islamic militancy and piracy. Somalia’s government is seeking to impose stability in a country ravaged by two decades of civil war, lawlessness and famine, and by its own admission it needs help from outside to rebuild decimated infrastructure and institutions.

At the end of the London summit Britain committed around 180 million pounds ($279 million), including funding for a planned doubling of the police force, and the United States donated $40 million on top of the $1.5 billion it has given since 2009. Britain, which recently opened a makeshift embassy in the Somali capital Mogadishu protected by two blast walls, also said it would supply military experts to bolster security forces seeking to stamp out Islamic insurgents.

London Conference 02

The country is enjoying a delicate recovery but relies heavily on others for its security. An African Union military offensive weakened the al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebel group al Shabaab and piracy in key sea lanes off Somalia is at an all-time low thanks largely to a foreign naval presence.

“New terrorist threats have emerged in parts of Africa,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said at the end of the summit. “Radicalism is poisoning young Somali minds and breeding terrorism and extremism. “This is a threat to our security, and if we ignore it, we will be making the same mistakes in Somalia that we made in Afghanistan in the 1990s,” he added.

Beginning of New Somalia

British officials did not say when the military experts, or how many, would go to Somalia. Some of the British money is earmarked for doubling police numbers to about 12,000, and some for rebuilding the Mogadishu’s main prison. Cash is also earmarked for training judges and creating mobile courts to tour lawless areas of the country.

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And Britain will help boost radio communications on the Somali coast to combat piracy that the World Bank has estimated costs the world economy $18 billion despite the dramatic drop in incidents so far this year. Speaking alongside Cameron, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said Somalia had been given a chance to prove it could become a stable, inclusive, law-abiding country.

“We will prove in the eyes of the world that we will deliver … It’s the beginning of a new Somalia,” he said. The conference took place at what organizers called a “pivotal” moment, after new parliamentarians were appointed last year who elected Mohamud. The vote was the first of its kind since military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled in 1991.

London Conference 01

While lauding improved stability in Somalia, speakers urged caution. On Sunday a suicide bomber attacked a convoy carrying Qatari officials in Mogadishu, killing at least eight Somalis. The attack was later claimed by al Shabaab. Somalia also must integrate the breakaway district of Somaliland and semi-autonomous Puntland region into a federal structure, ahead of elections scheduled for 2016. Somaliland boycotted the conference and Puntland said it was not invited.

London Conference 05

Cameron played down the boycott, saying he had “very good” discussions with the Somaliland president recently. Mohamud said he had listened to the concerns of all “stakeholders” in Somalia ahead of the conference. More than 50 delegates and organizations attended the conference, including Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who faces charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court related to allegations of orchestrating election violence.

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Britain justified Kenyatta’s presence due to Kenya’s importance in helping to stabilize neighbor Somalia. Cameron’s office confirmed he met Kenyatta, but declined to say if it was a formal meeting or on the summit sidelines. Kenyatta’s office said they had formal bilateral talks and that Cameron was keen to boost British trade with Kenya.

(Reporting by Mohammed Abbas; Additional reporting by Edmund Blair and Richard Lough in Nairobi; editing by Mike Collett-White)

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Somalia asks for international support

Al-Jazeera News

Britain pledges millions to help train security forces and judges for war-torn country at conference in London. Fifty countries and organisations have gathered in London for an international conference aimed at preventing Somalia from slipping back into lawlessness. David Cameron, UK prime minister, and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Somali president, are co-hosting Tuesday’s meeting, which hopes to bolster political stability in the Horn of Africa country.

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Britain has pledged $15m to help train Somali security forces and judges.

“The Somalia conference in London aims to capitalise on the significant progress made over the past year and to agree coordinated international support for the government of Somalia’s plans to build political stability by improving security, police, justice and public financial management systems,” Britain’s Foreign Office said. Organisations such as the UN, the African Union, the International Monetary Fund and Somalia’s neighbours are among those invited.

Al Jazeera’s Peter Greste, reporting from Mogadishu on Tuesday, said the feeling in Somalia seemed to be that this was one in a line of international conferences, and it was unlikely the results would be seen. “A lot of people mention that this is one in a series of international conferences and people are yet to see the outcome of these on the ground,” he said.

“If the security situation in Somalia breaks down, there is a fear we could see a resurgence of Islamic extremism and piracy. The key reason for the drop in hijackings is seen as the increase of security.”

Big challenges

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Tuesday, President Mohamud said security was at the top of the list of his country’s priorities. “We have a six pillar policy frameworks to build the foundations of a new beginning for Somalia,” he said. “Today, among the other priorities, security is the top one.”

Somalia has been battered by conflict since 1991, but a new United Nations-backed government took power in September, ending more than a decade of transitional rule. The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabbab armed group was driven out of Mogadishu in August 2011 by a regional military offensive, but have carried out a series of attacks in recent months.

London Conference 03

The conference follows on from ones held in London in February 2012 and Istanbul four months later. Britain’s Cameron said despite the progress made by the Somali government since then, big challenges remained. “Tragic and despicable” recent attacks on Mogadishu are a reminder of “how much work we still have to do,” he said.

“The message at the second London summit will be clear: We will not allow Somalia to fall back. The Somali people are seizing the opportunity to forge a new future and we will support them every step of the way. “Together I hope we can all get behind a long-term security plan that helps Somalia build up its army, its police and its judiciary; one that ends the Shabab’s reign of terror forever.

“I hope we can work towards getting Somalia the vital finance it needs to deal with its debts. “I also hope we can improve transparency and accountability so people know where resources are going. “We also need to continue the process of rebuilding the Somali state in an inclusive way.”

Deadly explosion strikes Somali capital

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At least 11 people killed in Mogadishu as bomber rams car laden with explosives into convoy carrying Qatari officials.

Al Jazeera: A powerful blast has struck the commercial and administrative district of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, sending a plume of black smoke into the sky and killing 11 people, Al Jazeera’s correspondent and police say. The blast, claimed by al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab rebels, struck Mogadishu’s ‘Kilometre 4’ neighbourhood on Sunday morning, and targeted a convoy carrying Qatari officials through central Mogadishu.

The visiting delegation of Qataris, who were travelling in the Somali interior minister’s bullet-proof vehicle, were “safe”, a security officer told the Reuters news agency. The minister was not in the car at the time. Al Jazeera’s Peter Greste, reporting from Mogadishu, confirmed 11 people had been killed in the blast, the first major attack this month. He said he had seen at least three bodies.

“Four vehicles look like they are completely damaged,” he said.

A second explosion went off in Mogadishu but there were no immediate reports of casualties, said Greste. Our correspondent added that the area targeted in Sunday’s attack had been in lockdown in the past few days because of an “unspecified threat”. Last month nine fighters dressed in police uniforms attacked Mogadishu’s court complex, killing 10 national security officers before entering the building.

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In March a car bomb in Mogadishu killed 10 people, with al-Shabab claiming responsibility for the attack. Although significantly weakened by foreign troops from the African Union, the group has continued to launch attacks in Mogadishu where peacekeepers and the army maintain security. Somalia’s new government is still rebuilding its army and police after decades of violence that began with the overthrow of President Siad Barre in 1991.

By: Abdi Sheikh and Feisal Omar
Mogadishu, Somalia | Sun May 5, 2013

Reuters: A suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden car into a convoy carrying Qatari officials through the center of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Sunday, killing at least eight Somalis, officials said. The visiting delegation of Qataris, who were travelling in the Somali interior minister’s bullet-proof vehicle, were “safe”, a security officer told Reuters, without going into further detail. The minister was not in the car at the time.

The Islamist rebel group al Shabaab said it was behind the attack and threatened further strikes against Somalia’s government, which it called a “puppet” of Western powers. “More explosions are on the way,” al Shabaab’s military spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters by telephone.

Qarax 05

The al Qaeda-linked rebels, who want to impose their version of Islamic law or sharia on the country, have kept up a campaign of guerrilla-style attacks since African peacekeepers pushed them out of bases in the city and other major towns. Western powers, long worried Somalia is a launch pad for militant Islam in east Africa and beyond, fear it could slide back into chaos if security forces cannot cement security gains.

The blast tore through the busy ‘Kilometre 4’ road junction in the center of Mogadishu’s commercial and administrative district, hurling metal debris over a wide area. Nearby buildings were blackened and power cables hung loose from poles. It was not clear in the confusion that followed the blast how many people had been killed. A coordinator for Mogadishu’s emergency services said ambulances had carried away the 15 bodies.

Earlier, the chairman of the city’s Hodan district, where the attack took place, told reporters at the blast site eight people had died. “A silver 4×4 sped around the roundabout blaring its horn as it chased the convoy,” college student Abdullahi Ismail told Reuters at the scene, nursing a gash in his forehead. “It hit the last car in the convoy.”

London Conference

Qatar has been forging closer political ties with Somalia in recent years as it seeks to expand its influence in the Horn of Africa region. Sunday’s bomb was a stark reminder of two decades of civil strife in a country where the central government depends heavily on a near 18,000-strong African peacekeeping force for its survival.

While there has been a significant improvement in the coastal capital since African Union troops drove the Islamist al Shabaab group out of the city in 2011, the attack showed the relative ease with which the militants can still strike. Parts of Mogadishu were in lock-down last week after security officials received a tip-off about an imminent attack, but security was relaxed on Saturday. The ‘Kilometre 4’ intersection connects the city’s fortified airport, where the United Kingdom opened an embassy on April 25, with the presidential palace, parliament and other ministries.

The state of Somalia’s security forces will top the agenda at conference in London on May 7. Britain and Somalia are hoping to use the event to drum up more international support at a time when al Shabaab are weakened as a fighting force but can still inflict devastating strikes. Civil war after the fall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 left Somalia without effective central government and awash with weapons. The turmoil opened the doors for piracy to flourish in the Gulf of Aden and deeper into the Indian Ocean.

Writing by Richard Lough;
Editing by Andrew Heavens

Macluushii Somalia ka Dillaacday Sannad ka hor oo la sheegay in ay dishay in ka badan Rubuc-Milyan qof oo Caruur u badan.

U Kaalme

Macluushii ka dillaacday Soomaaliya sannadkii 2011 ayaa lagu sheegay inay ahayd tii ugu xumayd ee dalka ka dilaacda muddo 60-sano ka badan.

LineTree

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Macluushii Soomaaliya ku dhufatay 2011 ayaa la sheegay inay dishay 260,000 oo qof oo u badan caruur ay dad’oodu ka hoosayso shan sano, waxaana sidoo kale dadka ay dishay macluushaas u badan haween. Warbixintan oo ay soo daabacday wakaaladda wararka Mareykanka ee AP ayaa lagu sheegay in hay’adaha gargaarka qaarkood ay rumeysan yihiin in tirada dhimashada ay intaan aad uga badan tahay.

Macluumaad 01

Tirada faraha badan ee dhimasha ay sababtay macluusha ayaa lagu sheegay mid ku timid kaddib markii Al-shabaab ay diiday in hay’adaha gargaarka ay si dhaqaso ah raashin ula gaaraan deegaannada ay macluushu ku dhufatay. “Dadka macluushan ay dishay waxay u badnaayeen haween iyo caruur ay ka yar tahay da’dooda shan sano, waxaana dadkaas ay intooda badan natooda ku waayeen deegaannadii ay macluushu ka dillaacday ee Koonfurta Somalia,” ayaa laga soo xigtay saraakiil ka tisran hay’adaha samafal.

Macluumaad 02

Xukuumadda Britain ayaa intii ay macluushu jirtay sheegtay in tiro 50,000 qof illaa 100,000 oo qof ay dishay macluusha, iyadoo warbixinta ay aad uga badinayso tirada intaas, waxaana ay u muuqataa mid daba-gal ku sameysay tiradii ay Britain horay u soo saartay. Wasiiradda wasaaradda horumarinta adeegga bulshada, Maryan Qaasim oo wax laga weydiiyay arrintan ayaa diidday inay jawaab ka bixiso ka hor inta ay ka xaqiijinayso tirada ay warbixintu ku sheegtay inay ku dhinteen macluushii ku dhufatay Soomaaliya sannadkii 2011.

Macluumaad 03

Iyadoo la sheegay in kala bar dadka ay macluushu dishay ay ahaayeen caruur ay da’doodu ka yar tahay shan sano ayaa waxaa wax laga weydiiyay arrintaas, Sikander Khan oo ah madaxa UNICEF ee Soomaaliya, isagoo isna sheegay inuu doonayo inuu arko warbixinta, kaddibna uu jawaab ka bixin doono. Macluushii ka dillaacday Soomaaliya sannadkii 2011 ayaa lagu sheegay inay ahayd tii ugu xumayd ee dalka ka dilaacda muddo 60-sano ka badan, iyadoo macluushan ay inteeda badan ku dhufatay gobollada ay Al-shabaab xilligaas ka talinaysay iyo magaalada Muqdisho ee xatunta Soomaaliya.

Macluumaad 04

Maxamed Xaaji Xuseen, Hiiraan Online
maxuseen@hiiraan.com
Muqdisho, Soomaaliya

Somalia’s Shabaab ‘a serious threat’

Al-Shabab

Somalia’s Shabaab ‘a serious threat’

AFP | Wednesday, April 17, 2013

LineTree

A spectacular attack on Sunday by Shabaab Islamists in Mogadishu, unprecedented in Somalia in terms of its operational complexity, has enabled the extremists to show they remain a serious threat. Though they are widely described as severely weakened, the attack by the al-Qaeda linked militants shows that the authorities have not restored security to Mogadishu as they like to claim.

Nine assailants, wearing police or army uniforms and likely all wearing explosive belts, attacked the main courthouse in the Somali capital. Three of them blew themselves up to clear the way for the six others, who took hostages and started battling the Somali and African Union troops guarding the courthouse. The gunfight lasted for several hours.

Al-shabaab3

Thirty minutes into the attack, as military reinforcements were arriving and the wounded were being evacuated, a car bomb was detonated in the zone. The attack, which left at least 34 people dead, is the bloodiest since October 2011, when more than 80 people were killed some two months after the Shabaab abandoned fixed positions in Mogadishu.

Experts said the modus operandi of Sunday’s attack is one frequently seen in Afghanistan, but so far unprecedented in Somalia. “The combined use of suicide bombers, light weapons and car bombs is a first in Somalia,” explained a military source in the African Union force (Amisom), who, like all the other sources questioned, asked to remain anonymous.

Al-Shabab

“There has not been any attack of this level of complexity in Mogadishu. It’s a first,” confirmed a regional security expert.

Significant efforts

A convoy from the Turkish Red Crescent was also hit by a car bomb on Sunday. According to the regional security expert there is no evidence the Turks were targeted. The car bomb may rather have been destined for the attack on the courthouse. This “spectacular attack” demonstrates on the part of Somalia’s Islamists “a will to regain a foothold in Mogadishu and to prove to the outside world that the situation in Mogadishu is not so good, despite the line often repeated by the president and the prime minister over the past few months”, the Amisom source said.

The Shabaab want to “create a threatening climate and show that they’re not finished yet”, though often described as a spent force, the source added. The Amisom source went on to say that Sunday’s operation probably took four months of “significant efforts” and that it was likely prepared by Amniat, the Shabaab’s intelligence cell, which has agents operating in Mogadishu.

Al-shabaab2

According to the expert questioned by AFP, “over the past month or two the Shabaab have been regaining strength.” He cited a recent spate of attacks on Kismayo, one of the final bastions of the Shabaab that they abandoned at the end of September.

“It seems that they got a new lease of life after the failure of the French commando operation [in January, aimed at freeing a French intelligence agent taken hostage]” and from the announcement of the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops. This type of attack that the Afghan Taliban is known for would seem to confirm the increasing presence in Shabaab ranks of fighters who have operated in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The increasing sophistication of the explosive devices used by the Shabaab, notably the appearance a few months ago of remote-controlled bombs, would tend to confirm this hypothesis.

State of shock

At least one Pakistani jihadi has been reported in the Shabaab ranks in the past few months, one of the analysts questioned said. Sunday’s attack did not give the Shabaab any tactical advantage but it enabled the Islamists to undermine the impression – both locally and internationally – that the new administration and Somali armed forces are up to the task of ensuring security.

“The population [of Mogadishu] – and probably the security forces as well – are in a state of shock,” said another analyst. But he said only time will tell whether this attack represents a new tactic for the Shabaab, or whether it is a one-off.

Al-shabaab1

One of his colleagues said that Mogadishu is “tremendously more secure than it was” and said that Somali soldiers, backed by Amisom forces, managed to limit the damage on Sunday. But the military source with Amisom said: “If something like this is repeated, questions will be asked” on infiltration and on the ability of the Somali forces really to maintain security.

“This is clearly a show of force” on the part of the Shabaab, even if “from a military point of view they are really in a critical situation,” one analyst said. “It is indeed difficult to organise this sort of attack, but it is still easier than holding a military front,” the expert said.

Bombs and gun battles kill at least 19 in Somali capital

Mogadishu

A car goes up in flames near the scene of a blast in Mogadishu.

REUTERS | By Abdi Sheikh and Feisal Omar
Mogadishu, Somalia |Sunday, April 14, 2013

A car goes up in flames near the scene of a blast in Mogadishu April 14, 2013. At least 19 people were killed in the Somali capital on Sunday in bomb attacks carried out by militants linked to al Qaeda and subsequent gun battles with the al Shabaab fighters, breaking a fragile return to peace in Mogadishu. A bomb exploded outside law courts in the city as gunmen stormed the compound. Security forces then arrived and battled the fighters inside. Later, a bomb exploded near an African Union and Turkish Red Crescent convoy on the way to the airport.

Mogadishu 08

Al Shabaab said it carried out the attacks.

“About seven well-armed men in government uniform entered the court today as soon as a car bomb exploded at the gate. We thought they were government soldiers,” said Aden Sabdow, who works at the mayor’s office adjacent to the court. “Armed men entered the court and then we heard a blast. Then they started opening fire. We do not know the number of casualties,” said Hussein Ali, who works at the courts.

Somali forces arrived and laid siege to the compound and there was a second blast while the two sides exchanged gunfire. Hours later, the shooting stopped, but government forces said they believed some fighters were still hiding inside. Reuters reporters counted 16 bodies around the compound, some of them in uniform, some not, but it was not clear how many of them were government soldiers, attackers, or civilians.

Mogadishu 01

Witnesses at the scene said in addition to the car bombs, three of the gunmen who stormed the court also blew themselves up using explosives strapped on their bodies. Security in the coastal capital has improved greatly since al Shabaab fled the city after an AU and Somali government military offensive in August 2011. Now its rubble-strewn streets are choked with traffic and constructions sites point to a new confidence as Somalis from abroad and invest in their homeland.

But the threat persists from al Shabaab, which still controls much of the countryside. “We carried out a superb intense mission in Mogadishu today. We killed 26 people including soldiers and court staff,” said al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage. “We assigned five special mujahideen for the court – four of them entered and killed the people inside. The other mujahid with his car bomb exploded when government soldiers gathered at the gate.” Al Shabaab routinely inflates the number of people it kills.

Mogadishu 02

Al Shabaab Strikes Back

Security forces managed to rescue the Supreme Court chairman and other officials, some of whom climbed out of buildings using ladders. “The supreme court chairman and other judges have now safely arrived at the mayor’s office through another door. Many ladders have also been placed on the walls and some staff and civilians and have managed to escape using the ladders,” Sabdow said.

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Later, a car bomb exploded at a building housing Somali intelligence along the road to the airport as Turkish and African Union (AU) vehicles were passing, police and witnesses said. Government forces then opened fire and blocked the road. “The car bomb exploded near the gate of a building housing the Somali security. AU and Turkish cars were also passing there. We are still investigating the target and casualties,” Qadar Ali, a police officer told Reuters.

Mogadishu 03

Witnesses said three people were killed in the blast.

“I saw three dead people including a man, a woman and a child. The ruined car bomb is in the middle of the road,” Hussein Bile, a witness told Reuters. Turkish official who spoke on condition of anonymity said one of its Red Crescent vehicles was passing at the time of the explosion. A Somali driver was killed and three Turkish passengers were wounded, the official said. Britain warned on April 5 it believed “terrorists are in the final stages of planning attacks in Mogadishu”.

Mogadishu 07

In control of much of the capital Mogadishu between 2009 and 2011, al Shabaab has been forced out of most major cities in central and southern Somalia by African Union peacekeepers. But the hardline Islamist group has hit back with a series of bomb attacks. In early April, a bomb went off outside the headquarters of Somalia’s biggest bank, Dahabshiil’s, wounding at least two people hours after al Shabaab ordered the company to cease operations in areas under its control.

Mogadishu 05

“Somalia, is moving and will keep moving forward and will not be prevented to achieve the ultimate noble goal, a peaceful and stable Somalia, by a few desperate terrorists,” President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said in a statement. Last month, al Shabaab claimed responsibility for suicide car bomb targeting a senior Somali security official which killed at least 10 people in central Mogadishu. The security official survived the attack, the city’s deadliest this year.

Somali President Mr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud Has Named New Prime Minister.

Somali President Mr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud
Has Named New Prime Minister.

MOGADISHU, |Reuters | Saturday, 6 October 2012
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has named Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid as the country’s new prime minister, diplomats and a government source said, the first major decision by an administration installed after over 20 years of conflict.

Saaid, a political newcomer, has been a prominent businessman in neighboring Kenya and is married to Asha Haji Elmi, an influential Somali peace activist. A Western diplomat said Saaid had a reputation for being above Somalia’s notoriously volatile clan politics, similar to the new president, and the news of his appointment would be welcomed by foreign governments.
“Like all the decisions the new president has made so far, this is a good one, and Somalia is on a bit of a roll with the election of (Mohamed Osman) Jawaari as parliament speaker and Mohamud as president,” the diplomatic source told Reuters.

Mohamud, a former academic and a political newcomer himself, was elected president in a secret ballot on September 10, a result hailed by his supporters as a vote for change in the Horn of Africa state ravaged by war and anarchy since 1991. Saaid’s appointment as the prime minister will have to be approved by Somali legislators, diplomatic sources said.
Abdi Shirdon has been a businessman in Kenya and is believed to be untainted by the country’s volatile clan politics. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s appointment of Abdi Shirdon is the first major decision of his government. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Somalia’s new president, has named Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid as the country’s new prime minister, diplomats and a government source said. Friday’s appointment is the first major decision by an administration installed after over 20 years of conflict.

Saaid, a political newcomer, has been a prominent businessman in neighbouring Kenya and is married to Asha Haji Elmi, an influential Somali peace activist. A Western diplomat said Saaid had a reputation for being above Somalia’s notoriously volatile clan politics, similar to the new president, and the news of his appointment would be welcomed by foreign governments.
“Like all the decisions the new president has made so far, this is a good one, and Somalia is on a bit of a roll with the election of (Mohamed Osman) Jawaari as parliament speaker and Mohamud as president,” the diplomatic source told the Reuters news agency. Mohamud, a former academic and a political newcomer himself, was elected president in a secret ballot on September 10, a result hailed by his supporters as a vote for change in the Horn of Africa state ravaged by war and anarchy since 1991.

Saaid’s appointment as the prime minister will have to be approved by Somali legislators, diplomatic sources said. The news comes as Somali and Kenyan troops, aided by African Union peacekeepers, are moving to secure the southern port city of Kismayo which has been under the control of the al-Shabab rebel group.

Kenyan Fighter Jets Have Bombarded An Airport In Southern Somalia.

Kenyan Fighter Jets Have Bombarded An Airport In Southern Somalia.
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MOGADISHU, Somalia | Wednesday, September 26, 2012 | AL-JAZEERA NEWS
Aircraft target airport in southern city of Kismayo, where Kenya says al-Shabab is operating its last major base. Kenyan fighter jets have bombarded an airport in southern Somalia, where they are fighting al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab fighters, officials have said. The strikes took place in the port city of Kismayo on Tuesday.

“Our forces have reached Kismayo with jets and they have destroyed the armoury and a warehouse used by al-Shabab at the airport,” Cyrus Oguna, a Kenyan army spokesperson, said. He could not provide figures on the number of casualties incurred. Ali Mohamud Rage, an al-Shabab spokesperson, played down the impact of the bombing raid and said that it had not resulted in any deaths. “No one was killed and there was no property damage,” he told the AFP news agency. “The Kenyan airforce was maybe trying to boost the morale of its demoralised soldiers.”
Heavy explosions: Kenyan fighter jets attack airport in Somalia
Residents reported at least three heavy blasts near the airport, where the fighters are based. “The explosions were very heavy and they rocked the airport,” said Abdi Ugas, a witness. “They targeted the airport… one of them was very heavy,” said Osman Ali, another Kismayo resident. The city is the last major bastion of al-Shabab, who have lost most of their other strongholds to the 17,000-strong African Union force – of which Kenya is a part – as well as allied Ethiopian forces. Kenyan troops have been aiming to defeat al-Shabab in Kismayo ever since they were deployed across the Kenya-Somalia border almost a year ago. Kenyan soldiers are still about 40km from Kismayo.

Al Shabaab Fighters in Mass Surrender in Jowhar

Al Shabaab Fighters in Mass Surrender in Jowhar

Nairobi, Kenya | Monday, September 24, 2012
The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has registered its biggest victory in Somalia yet, with the surrender of more than 200 Islamist insurgents of Al Shabaab, following disagreements within the group’s ranks that led to the factional killing of eight of its fighters, AMISOM said in a statement Sunday.  They characterised the surrender as a major setback for Al Shabaab, which has been holding onto the third city of Johwar, 80km from the Somali capital, Mogadishu, as its main base after being dislodged from its strongholds in Mogadishu, Baidoa and with an ongoing assault on the city of Kismayo, 500 km from Mogadishu.
The statement quoted AMISOM Deputy Force Commander, Brig. Michael Ondoga, as saying the mass surrender of the fighters was the surest signal yet of the defeat of the militia group in the battle to free the country from the Al Qaeda-inspired Islamists. ‘We want to call on all those who want peace not terror to lay down down their arms,’ the deputy force commander said. According to AMISOM, the Al Shabaab fighters surrendered at a place called Garsale, from where they were transferred to an army base controlled by the AMISOM in Mogadishu, AMISOM troops collected 80 weapons from the surrendering fighters.
‘Today’s events confirm that Al Shabaab is divided and being defeated across Somalia,’ said Brig. Ondoga. ‘Somalia is moving towards a secure and stable future free from the scourge of violence and terror.’ The Somali parliament recently elected a new President in an efforts to restore political stability to the Horn of Africa nation after decades of crisis. The latest defection by Al Shabaab resulted from the killing of eight of the group’s members by a rival militia.

The U.N. Security Council has condemned

In Somalia Local People are Building Peace.

UNITED NATIONS | Saturday, September 22, 2012

The U.N. Security Council has condemned “in the strongest terms” a suicide bombing that killed 14 people at a Mogadishu cafe frequented by politicians and journalists. The attack, likely carried out Thursday by the militant group al-Shabab, followed Sunday’s inauguration of President Hassan Skeikh Mohamud.

“The members of the Council underline their resolve to support Somalia in its efforts for peace and reconciliation,” the council said Friday in a statement, adding that the attack by opponents of peace was “deplorable.” African Union forces pushed al-Qaida affiliated Al-Shabab out of Mogadishu in August 2011, but militants have continued to carry out suicide attacks in the capital.

Earlier this week, the Security Council endorsed Mohamud’s election, signaling the end of an 8-year-long U.N.-backed transition which helped establish a parliament and provisional constitution. Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Somalia: Security Council strongly condemns bombings in Mogadishu.

The Security Council has strongly condemned yesterday’s bombings in Mogadishu, adding that it is “deplorable” that ordinary Somalis are being targeted after the important gains made in recent weeks in completing the country’s transition. Suicide bombers set off at least two explosions at a popular restaurant in the capital on Thursday, killing at least a dozen people, including journalists and police officers, according to media reports.
The attacks, which were condemned as “cowardly and senseless” by the top United Nations envoy in Somalia, come in the wake of a series of landmark steps over recent weeks helping bring an end to the Horn of Africa nation’s eight-year political transition period. “After Somalia has taken such an important step in completing the transition, it is deplorable that ordinary Somalis have again been targeted by those who do not wish to see a more peaceful Somalia,” the 15-member body said in a statement issued to the press.
“The members of the Council underline their resolve to support Somalia in its efforts for peace and reconciliation,” it added. Council members also extended their condolences to the victims and their families, the newly-inaugurated President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and the people of Somalia. Also today, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it is closely following the situation around the Somali port city of Kismayo as thousands of residents flee in anticipation of military activities and new clashes.
So far this month, more than 10,000 people have fled from Kismayo fearing the resumption of fighting, a UNHCR spokesperson, Adrian Edwards, told reporters in Geneva. Movements substantially increased on Monday and have been continuing since, and some 7,500 people fled the area in the past four days amid growing tension. The majority of those displaced are heading to villages in other parts of Kismayo district as well as villages in the neighbouring Jilib and Jamame districts. Some are also moving towards Mogadishu and Dadaab refugee camps.
“According to our partners on the ground, most of those fleeing Kismayo say that they are planning to return as soon as the situation stabilizes,” said Mr. Edwards. “There are reports of sporadic militia attacks and looting. The displaced also fear being caught in the crossfire and possible reprisal attacks by armed groups operating in the town.” Despite recent advances in Somalia’s peace and national reconciliation process, after decades of warfare, the country is still dealing with the impact of the Al-Shabaab militant group, which has been pushed out of Mogadishu but still controls some areas, primarily in south-central regions, including Kismayo.
Earlier this week, Kenyan military troops serving with the UN-backed African Union force in Somalia (AMISOM) assured the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, that they will endeavour to reduce the potential of civilians being hurt during their operation in Kismayo.

Suicide bombers kill 15 in Somali capital

Suicide bombers kill 15 in Somali capital

Somali policemen move a victim after a suicide bomb attack at Village restaurant in Mogadishu,

MOGADISHU, Somalia | Reuters | Friday, September 21, 2012
Two suicide bombers walked into a restaurant in central Mogadishu and killed at least 15 people on Thursday, police said, highlighting the security challenges facing the country’s new president. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. However, suspicions will fall on the Islamist militant group al Shabaab which has carried out a campaign of suicide bombings since it withdrew from the capital last year under military pressure.
The al Qaeda-linked group claimed responsibility for suicide bombings last week outside a hotel where President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was holding a news conference just two days into the job, an an attack interpreted as a warning from the insurgents that they are far from defeated. Police spokesman General Abdullahi Barise told Reuters 15 people were killed in Thursday’s attack. A Reuters photographer saw several bodies, the severed heads of the two bombers and pools of blood on the floor.
The blasts targeted The Village restaurant, owned by well-known Somali businessman Ahmed Jama, who had returned to his home country from London to set up business against the advice of friends. My relatives, whom I created jobs for, have perished. My customers have perished. All innocent people. I cannot count them, their dead bodies are before me,” a distraught Jama told Reuters. Three local journalists were among the dead, including the director of the state-run Somali National Television, the National Union of Somali Journalists said.
The al Shabaab-linked website http://www.somalimemo.net said in a statement that those killed “supported the infidel government” but stopped short of saying the group was behind the attack. Mohamud’s election was hailed by his supporters as a vote for change in a country mired in conflict for more than two decades. These attacks underscore the security challenges faced by the political newcomer as African forces battle to quash a five-year insurgency waged by al Shabaab.

HOPE “MELTING AWAY”
We still have hope in the new president and the new speaker (of parliament) that Somalia will sooner or later change for the better,” said Ahmed Ali, a second-year student at a Mogadishu university. Shopkeeper Asha Farah said she felt the optimism Mohamud’s poll win had brought was “melting away. We all applauded the election victory of the new president but things in Mogadishu look like they’re deteriorating. Al Shabaab have redoubled their suicide bombings,” Farah said, echoing the widespread belief the militants were behind the latest attacks.
Expelled from a string of cities, cut off from revenue sources and struggling for its survival, al Shabaab this week fell back on its last bastion in the southern port city of Kismayu, raising fears of a military showdown with advancing African Union troops. Defeat in Kismayu, a hub of al Shabaab operations throughout its insurgency, would badly hurt the rebels’ morale and weaken their capacity as a fighting force. However, it might not deliver the knockout blow sought by Mogadishu and its regional allies, and western diplomats expect the militants to turn increasingly to guerrilla tactics.
Al Shabaab has shown it can still regroup and easily infiltrate government-controlled areas. And there remain disenchanted, radicalised Somalis ready to strap on explosive belts. The new president and the speaker look honest but this is not enough to make Somalia peaceful. I am sure it will take a long time to bring total peace,” shopkeeper Farah said with resignation. (Writing by Richard Lough; editing by Andrew Roche).

Somalia Militia Al-Shabab

The notorious Islamist army has terrorised Somalia for years. But will the fighters soon be wiped off the map?

MOGADISHU, Somalia |Thursday, September 20, 2012
Abdirahim Sheikh joined al-Shabaab after they visited him on his farm in southern Somalia to tell him that “foreign invaders” were abusing the Koran. He says the next three years of his life fighting for the radical Islamic militia were unimaginably tough. There was frequent bloody action on the front line and little or no care for the wounded who died in large numbers. But his morale only started to drop when he heard that fellow jihadists had killed worshippers at a mosque.

“If someone who is praying in a mosque can be killed then al-Shabaab are the infidels,” said the 30-year-old. Standing in Mogadishu’s ruined stadium, which the militia used as a training base during their long battle for the Somali capital, the farmer has switched sides and joined the war against them. He decided to defect, he said, after seeing a friend executed in front of him. The man was accused of planning to defect and the commander slit his throat as a warning to the others. That warning backfired. “After that the defections became a flood,” said Abdirahim.
It is just over a year since al-Shabaab abandoned the crumbling sports ground and the rest of the city, leaving behind them the huge rusted metal plates speckled with shrapnel where their gunners practised piercing the armour of the African Union forces. The bowels of the stadium are now occupied by their former foes and a handful of al-Shabaab defectors who fled across the lines of a battle that the Islamic extremists appear to be losing.

The retreat that began at the height of the Horn of Africa famine in August last year has now reached the militants’ once unassailable stronghold of Kismayo. The militant fighters last week trekked out of the historic port of Marka to the south of the capital. African Union forces have this year seized control of strategic towns like Afgoye outside the capital and Afmadow in the south. Now, the Islamists’ commanders are reported to have left Kismayo, with residents in the port city seeing the militants withdraw their heavy weapons and larger trucks this week.
The series of reverses has led some observers to question whether a military defeat of Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen is now within reach. Abdirashid Hashi a Somalia analyst with the International Crisis Group (ICG) said that he expects Kismayo to be recaptured but that the war will continue in another guise. “Al Shabaab has been deserting or retreating from towns and cities since last year. But their ideology and many of their fighters are still there,” he said. “They are wounded and their strategy will now be to bide their time in the countryside and wait for the foreign forces to leave. They believe that time is on their side and they can fight a guerrilla war.”

It is only six years since Ethiopian forces swept into Somalia with the political and military backing of the United States to topple the Islamic Courts Union, an Islamist movement which had taken control much of south and central Somalia after years of disastrous feuding between warlords. Ethiopia’s vastly better-equipped forces quickly routed the youth militias loyal to the courts with hundreds killed or driven from the cities. However, the Ethiopian intervention bolstered nationalist support for the courts’ military wing helping to create al-Shabaab in its current form. Within a year the occupiers wearied of the guerrilla war and withdrew.
Now the foreign forces – comprising troops from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti and Sierra Leone, as well as Kenyans in the south – have some legitimacy under the umbrella of the African Union. After costly early mistakes, the AU force in the capital has restored some semblance of order enabling a freshly assembled parliament to elect a new president last month.

The government of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the surprise winner among the MPs, has UN backing but also, crucially, some support among Somalis themselves who were largely contemptuous of his predecessors in the corrupt and squabbling Transitional Federal Government, an administration that a UN report uncovered was stealing 7 out of every 10 dollars it received in aid. The relative security in Mogadishu has seen people and money pour in from the Somali diaspora. Something of a revival is clearly underway.
But there is mounting concern that a botched operation to recapture Kismayo could undermine support for the new government and for the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom). Thousands of residents have streamed out of the port city in recent days as Kenya’s navy has rained indiscriminate shellfire on the city.
“They are shelling everyone, everywhere,” a Kismayo resident told The Independent by telephone from the besieged city.

The people are now understanding that the Kenyans have no plans to save the people. Kenya’s land forces, operating under the banner of Amisom, have advanced to within 40 kilometres of the city. They have so far ignored appeals to establish a humanitarian corridor. Witnesses in nearby villages said the troops are firing on “anything that moves in front of them”.

An equal or greater threat to southern Somalia may come from an imminent power struggle for the port city between competing clans. Similar struggles between Somalia’s complex of clans and sub-clans were largely responsible for 20 years of civil war that followed the collapse of the last central government in 1991. Al-Shabaab proved adept at managing the clan system in cosmopolitan Kismayo. In recent days they have allowed hundreds of lightly armed fighters from the Hawiye clan to move into the city.

A warlord from the rival Marihan clan, Barre Hiiraale, is reported to be bringing his fighters to the city with the backing of Ethiopia. Meanwhile, the Kenyan advance from the south has been achieved with the backing of the Ras Kamboni militia from another rival clan, the Ogadeni. The convergence of forces could see a three-way fight between proxies of Ethiopia, Kenya and al-Shabaab, an outcome that could restore some nationalist support for the Islamic militants after a year at bay.

By Daniel Howden

Somali Rebels Pour Back Into Kismayo

Somali Rebels Pour Back Into Kismayo Fears of Showdown Mount.

MOGADISHU, Somalia |Reuters | Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Hundreds of Somali al Shabaab militants poured into the southern port city of Kismayo on Wednesday raising fears of a bloody showdown with African Union soldiers for control of the rebels’ last bastion, residents said. The al Qaeda-linked insurgents drove convoys of machinegun-mounted pickup trucks into the city and set about building defenses, witnesses said. Somalia is a hotspot in the U.S.-led war on militant Islam and al Shabaab is the most powerful of an array of militias spawned by two decades of conflict – threatening regional stability.

The reinforcements came a day after locals said al Shabaab commanders had pulled out of the city leaving a small number of soldiers to defend the stronghold. Rumors swirled though Kismayo’s winding alleyways that one of the militants’ top three commanders was now in the city. “Al Shabaab fighters have filled the bases and camps they abandoned in the past few days,” said butcher Farah Roble. “We’re terrified. Al Shabaab looks determined to fight for Kismayo,” he said.
Earlier this week, Kenyan forces overran several militant outposts to the north and southwest of Kismayo, pushing to within 50 km (30 miles) of Somalia’s second biggest city. Kenyan military spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna said the final assault on Kismayo was inevitable. “We are very, very near Kismayo. It is not a tarmac road that we are walking on. We have to be cautious, the way is littered with explosives. Nevertheless, it will happen. Kismayo will fall,” he told Reuters by phone.

Defeat in Kismayo, a hub of al Shabaab operations throughout the group’s five-year insurgency, would badly hurt the rebels’ morale and weaken their capacity as a fighting force. However, it might not deliver the knockout blow hoped for by Mogadishu and its regional allies. Western diplomats expect the insurgents to turn increasingly to guerrilla-style hit-and-run raids and urban bombings.

Duty to Fight:

Al Shabaab said Kismayo, about 500 km (311 miles) south of the capital Mogadishu, was calm. Its radio station, Radio Andalus, was back on air after broadcasts stopped on Tuesday. “All offices and businesses are open. We do not fear our enemies. They cannot just dash into Kismayo because we have strong defenses,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, spokesman for al Shabaab’s military operations, told Reuters.

The U.N. refugee agency said about 4,000 civilians had fled Kismayo since Monday. Residents reported on Wednesday that al Shabaab were trying to stop locals fleeing. “Al Shabaab is taking to the mosques and ordering people to fight. They said Muslims have a duty to fight the African Union forces inside and outside the city,” said resident Ismail Sugow. Sugow said he could hear al Shabaab test-firing their artillery on the city’s outskirts.

He said Shabaab had drafted in fighters from nearby Bay, Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions. A second resident said the reinforcements came from “other parts of the country”. Another resident, Hussein Nur, said the militants, who accuse the government of serving only Western interests and want to install a strict interpretation of sharia, Islamic law, were whipping up fear among the local population. “Al Shabaab said in the mosques ‘all Muslims should join the jihad as Kenyan troops will rape your wives and sisters and loot your property’,” Nur said.

Kenya sent troops into Somalia, on its eastern border, in October to help crush the militants, and Kenyans are expected to lead AMISOM forces in an eventual assault on the port city. Al Shabaab has lost strongholds across southern and central Somalia in the past year as AMISOM troops – including Ugandans, Burundians and Djiboutians – advance. (Additional reporting by Feisal Omar in Mogadishu and Richard Lough in Nairobi; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Louise Ireland).

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