October 29, 2013 (The Guardian) — A Kenyan soldier clambers up to his sentry post and stares out across vast plains of bush, acacia trees and red dust. The savanna is peaceful now, but he knows that when darkness falls the enemy will return, typically a band of 15 to 20 men armed with AK-47 rifles. “Every night they are in front of us,” the soldier says. “They shoot and go. They run away.”
Along the frontline, the Kenyans have piled clusters of green sandbags to provide cover. Behind them, a military base is protected by high walls crowned with razor wire. About 1,200 troops from Kenya and Sierra Leone are garrisoned in this desolate Somali hinterland. On an average day, green, heavily armoured vehicles set off to patrol the crucial port city of Kismayo, running the gauntlet of roadside bombs, a deadly tactic imported from Afghanistan and Iraq. In punishing heat, soldiers can be seen rolling a surveillance drone across the tarmac of the Italian-built airport. Read more…
September 3, 2013 (Kismaayo) – A new deal has recognised Jubaland, a strip of land in southern Somalia and bordering on Kenya and Ethiopia, as yet another quasi-independent entity in the region.
After nine days of late night meetings and plenty of arm-twisting, the fragile government of Somalia was finally forced to accept that a further slice of its territory had slipped beyond its control. The deal, signed in Addis Ababa, recognised Jubaland as yet another quasi-independent entity. This strip of land in southern Somalia and bordering on Kenya and Ethiopia, it is the illegitimate heir of both of these countries.
Jubaland is of critical importance to the whole of southern Somalia. Trade through the port and airport of Kismaayo is a lifeline for the region. In theory Jubaland will be the ‘Interim Juba Administration’ and last for just two years, while Somalia re-forms itself into a Federation. In reality it is now outside Mogadishu’s control – just like those other fragments of Somalia, including Puntland, Galmadug and the self-declared independent state of Somaliland. Read more…
Firehiwot Guluma | August 3, 2013
Ethiopia is one of the world’s largest recipients of foreign development aid. It receives approximately US$3 billion in funds annually—more than a third of the country’s annual budget—from external donors. Indeed, Ethiopia is today the world’s second-largest recipient of total external assistance, after Indonesia and excluding wartime Iraq and Afghanistan.
Foreign donors insist that their support underwrites much-needed agricultural growth, food security, and other putatively non-political programs. However, the development aid flows through, and directly supports, a virtual one-party state with a deplorable human rights record. The regime practices include jailing and silencing critics and media, enacting laws to undermine human rights activity, and hobbling the political opposition.
Foreign aid-funded “capacity-building” programs to improve skills that would aid the country’s development are used by the government to indoctrinate school children in party ideology, intimidate teachers, and purge the civil service of people with independent political views. Read more…
May 12, 2013 (VOA News) –A top U.N. official says up to 3,000 African Union soldiers have been killed in Somalia over the past few years fighting the Islamist insurgency.
U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson gave the death toll at a news conference Thursday at U.N. headquarters.
Eliasson said Uganda and Burundi, which supplied most of the troops for the AU force, “have paid a tremendous price.”
A spokesman for the force, Ali Aden Hamoud, says he cannot confirm or deny the death toll.
“That responsibility belongs to each one of those contingents, or troop-contributing countries,” he said.
Over the past two years, AU troops, working with Somali and Ethiopian forces, have forced militant group al-Shabab out of southern Somali towns and cities they once controlled. Read more…
NAIROBI, 16 April 2013 (IRIN) – Moves to bring three regions in the deep south of Somalia together into the state of Jubaland have turned into a tussle with the central government, with regional powerhouses Kenya and Ethiopia playing important roles.
After more than two decades of civil war and inter-clan conflict, Somalia is undertaking an ambitious programme of national reconciliation and development, with federalism is a pillar of its plan. The national administration, in place since 2012, is called the Somali Federal Government (SFG), and the country’s basic law is the Provisional Federal Constitution. Both embrace the principle of power-sharing between central and regional authorities. Read more…
March 21, 2013, Mogadishu (AFP) – African Union forces battling Islamist insurgents in Somalia are preparing troops to take over should Ethiopia withdraw more soldiers from the region, their commander said Thursday.
“We have in place contingent measures to ensure that areas in Bay and Bakool…remain stable and secure in the event of further Ethiopian troop withdrawals,” said Andrew Gutti, commander of African Union Mission for Somalia (AMISOM), referring to southwest Somali regions currently controlled by Ethiopia.
Ethiopian troops, the strongest military power in Somalia’s southwest ever since their November 2011 invasion, pulled out of the town of Hudur on Sunday, the capital of Bakool region.
Hours later, Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab swept into the town, their most important territorial victory for over a year. Read more…
By Mr. Mohamud M Uluso
December 17, 2012 (Allgedo) — In implementing their recently concluded regional security cooperation agreement and reaffirming their indefinite military occupation of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya have decided to takeover and perhaps later annex Somalia under the cover of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Since only Ethiopia exercises uncontested power within the Organization, on December 6, 2012, IGAD Joint Committee of Ethiopia and Kenya under the auspices of former Kenyan Minister, Mr. Kipruto Arap Kirwa, IGAD Facilitator for Somalia Peace and Reconciliation (IFSPR), issued a statement and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Grand Stabilization plan (GSP) for South and Central Somalia. Read more…
November 20, 2012 (Mareeg.com)- The capture of Kismayo by Kenyan and Ogaden militants last month was received with mixed reactions. The international community led the US welcomed the defeat of Al-Shabab, which became an obstacle to Somalia peace process for so long.
November 12, 2012 (Somalia Online) — No matter what one thinks, or in what color one tries to see the appointment of Fawzia Yusuf Haji Adam as the first woman Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Somalia and indeed in the Horn of Africa and the Arab World, it is the historical significance of a woman reaching this far in tribal-based Muslim society, where women are seen only as an appendage if not indeed a property to their menfolk, that should not escape any conscientious person’s attention.
Given to the plight, suffering and humiliation that Somali women went through over the last 20 years despite being the pillars that sustain the existence of the Somali people both inside the country and the Diaspora, what better image is there to see than an educated and refined woman being the face of Somalia to the outside world, what a better answer to Al- Shabab who couldn’t see women anything more than a bra and an obscene body to be shrouded and hidden away in dark houses. Read more…
by Eve Pearce
November 6, 2012 (ayyaantuu.com) — In a bid to help Somalia to recover from over 20 years of conflict, the European Union has granted 158 million Euros to the country. The money is earmarked to help boost its education, the legal system and security across the nation.
The sum is the equivalent of $200 million dollars and heralds the commencement of a new aid programme, backed by the UN, to end conflict and re-establish the control of central government across the nation.
Fighting over the last two decades has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people – but it is hoped that with the election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, peace and order will be restored. The president was elected in the first vote of its type since 1991 – the year the civil war began. Read more…
DOLLO ADO, Ethiopia, October 19 (UNHCR) – The number of Somali refugees in a series of camps in an arid, harsh area of south-eastern Ethiopia has passed the 170,000 mark, making Dollo Ado the world’s second largest refugee complex.
“Dollo Ado is now the world’s biggest refugee camp after Dadaab in Kenya,” UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic said, adding that although the rate of arrivals at Dollo Ado has slowed this year, people are continuing to flee conflict and insecurity in southern and central parts of Somalia. Many cite fear of harassment and forced recruitment by armed groups who control large rural areas of the country.
Between January and the end of September this year, some 62,000 Somalis became refugees in the region surrounding their country. More than 25,000 of these fled to Ethiopia – making it the largest recipient of Somali refugees in the region so far this year. Read more…
September 28, 2012, MARKA, Somalia (Reuters) – “Paradise lies under the shade of swords,” reads the Arabic inscription on an arch leading into the Somali port of Marka, abandoned last month by Islamist al Shabaab militants under pressure from advancing African Union peacekeepers and government troops.
The inscription, along with a white column by the beach where al Shabaab held public executions, is one of the reminders of the al Qaeda-allied rebels’ four-year occupation of the coastal town, 90 km (55 miles) south of the capital Mogadishu.
A determined offensive by African Union (AMISOM) and Somali government forces has made large strides over the last year to oust al Shabaab fighters from their strongholds in south-central Somalia. On Friday, Kenyan troops attacked Kismayu, the rebels’ last major bastion. Read more…
September 24, 2012 (SABC News) – Two hundred Al Shabaab rebels surrendered after African Union (AU) troops and Somalian forces captured a key rebel town.
This has dealt a huge blow to the al Qaeda linked group, itself embroiled in violent rivalry.
Amisom, the AU Peace keeping Mission in Somalia, paraded those who surrendered and called on others to lay down their weapons.
“Two hundred and fifty are already here and have joined us. Eighty guns and others are still coming because we are still coming because we are still coordinating them,” says Colonel and Commander at Amisom, Stephen Mugerwa. Read more…
Sept 22, 2012, NAIROBI, Kenya (MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS) – Four Somali journalists have been killed in the last two days in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, in what appears to be a campaign of assassination by unknown assailants.
Three were killed Thursday evening when two men blew themselves up at a popular hangout for journalists and political activists known as The Village. Six other journalists were wounded in the attack. Fourteen people in all died in the blast.
On Friday, a radio journalist was gunned down at a Mogadishu intersection.
The killings bring to 10 the number of local journalists who’ve died this year in what Tom Rhodes of the Committee to Protect Journalists called “the deadliest year for Somali journalists since this conflict began” more than 20 years ago.
Rhodes singled out militia groups and members of the previous Somali government as possible suspects in the attacks. Read more…