Sunday, August 21, 2011

Somaliland says PetroTrans to extend Berbera port | Reuters

An oil rig is seen on the outskirts of Havana April 5, 2011.  REUTERS/Desmond Boylan
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HARGEISA (Reuters) - PetroTrans, a Chinese petroleum firm, will carry out extension works to Somaliland's Berbera port, after it signed a deal with the government of the breakaway enclave of Somalia, the foreign minister of Somaliland said on Saturday.

The Horn of Africa has been attracting increased investments in the area of exploration by foreign oil firms, due to its proximity to east Africa, where oil has been discovered in Uganda and natural gas found in Tanzania.

"Redevelopment of Berbera Port to make it a gateway to East Africa is the major project of the framework of an agreement signed by the government of Somaliland and PetroTrans Company," Mohamed Abdillahi Omer told Reuters.

"The agreement has not been finalised as financial and technical details will be finalised in the next few weeks."

In addition to extension of the port, other projects will be carried out under the terms of the deal that was signed when the Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo visited China last week.

They include laying pipelines for natural gas and fuel to Ethiopia. A refinery will also be built at the port, as well as a road linking Berbera to Wajale, a town on the Ethiopia-Somaliland border.

PetroTrans has signed a separate agreement with the Ethiopians.

Somaliland, which has been contributing to the fight against piracy off the Somali coast, hopes the deal will create thousands of jobs, raise its profile and attract more investments into the region.

It declared independence from Somalia in 1991.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Police accused by of raping Somalis seeking refuge

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos (R) visits Somali refugees on August 14, 2011 at the Dadaab refugee complex. PHOTO /  AFP
UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos (R) visits Somali refugees on August 14, 2011 at the Dadaab refugee complex. PHOTO / AFP
Posted Monday, August 15 2011 at 22:00
  • Government also said to have provided military help to militias whose troops abuse rights

Police were on Monday accused of human rights violations including gang raping and extorting money from refugees.
The report also accused the Kenyan government of also providing military assistance to militias supporting Somali’s transitional government (TFG) without acting to ensure accountability for abuses by their troops or by the militias they support.
The Human Rights Watch report, “You don’t know who to blame: War Crimes in Somalia”, reports extensively on human rights violations by the Kenya Police on the Somali asylum seekers and refugees face as they try enter into the country.
The report gives accounts of two women who were raped by police near Daadab.
However, despite the promise by police to conduct investigations into the allegations of rape and other abuses nothing has happened so far.
In another allegation, the reports says that in January, three policemen from Daadab station gang raped a newly arrived asylum seeker.
“Police told us they were aware of the rape case but claim their investigation did not enable them identify the perpetrators. No one was prosecuted for the crime. Instead the police response was to transfer the implicated police office from Daadab to other stations,” said one of the UNHCR staff in an interview with Human Rights Watch.
Attacked by bandits
The report details that the Somali refugees and asylum seekers prefer to pass though panya (illegal) routes where they risk and are indeed attacked by bandits who beat them and rob them, than face the incarceration Kenyan police who were notorious in arresting, detaining and deporting.
“Kenyan police would ask you for an ID and if you don’t have it, you have to pay a bribe or you are put in a cell. I was arrested but released before I was taken to the main police station. The people I called brought Sh5,000 and paid the police officer who arrested me,” said one refugee.
Kenyan Refugees Act provides that asylum seekers have 30 days from the moment they enter the country to be registered at the nearest office of the Kenya refugee’s commissioner. They may not be refused entry into the country if the country they are going back to is the one they have been expelled from.
Human Rights Watch report also accused the Kenyan and Ethiopia governments and its parties to the conflict, of having deployed units of their armed forces in military operations in southern Somalia in 2011.
It gives details of how informants have reported the presence of Kenyan and Ethiopian soldiers, military advisers and equipment in Somalia during the most recent phase of armed conflict.
A resident of Bula Hawo interviewed by the world rights body said Kenyan forces were responsible for the destruction of the town.
“What destroyed Bula Hawao were the weapons that the Kenyans were firing using tanks,” said the resident.

In the border town of Dhobley, a community hospital was seriously damaged by possible deliberate or indiscriminate shelling from Kenyan tanks and artillery. Witnesses say that the shelling of Dhobley begun from the Kenyan side of the border.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Al-Shabaab changes tactics, withdraws from Somali capital -

African Union peacekeepers in Mogadishu, where they engaged in heavy fighting with Al-Shabaab militants on July 29.
African Union peacekeepers in Mogadishu, where they engaged in heavy fighting with Al-Shabaab militants on July 29.
  • NEW: U.N. official calls the retreat "a positive development"
  • The Somali president warns residents to avoid former rebel areas
  • He says the militants may have booby-trapped some areas
  • Al-Shabaab controls areas of southern Somalia struck by famine
(CNN) -- Al-Shabaab has withdrawn from Somalia's war-ravaged capital in what the Islamist militant group called a "change in tactics."
The Somali president said Al-Shabaab, which controls much of southern Somalia, retreated from Mogadishu after heavy fighting early Saturday with government and African Union forces.
The al Qaeda-linked group has been waging an insurgency against Somalia's transitional government since 2006.
"Al-Shabaab and al Qaeda are a menace to Somalia and it is happy news that we defeated them in Mogadishu," Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed told reporters.
Al-Shabaab fighters pull out of Mogadishu
But he warned Mogadishu residents not to rush to areas vacated by Al-Shabaab fighters, saying the group may have booby-trapped the area. He also warned of possible suicide bombings.
U.N. special representative Augustine Mahiga lauded the retreat, saying "there is no doubt that the departure of Al-Shabaab would be a positive development and a step in the right direction for a city that has seen so much misery and devastation."
Spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage confirmed Al-Shabaab fighters left the city but said the fighting was hardly over.
"The reasons we withdrew from Mogadishu is we have made changes in our tactics of war," he told the group's radio station, Andalus. "We withdrew because we want to save lives of the poor civilians but we will launch operations against government (and African Union) forces in the coming hours."
Some believe the Islamists withdrew because of funding woes and drought-related issues.
The United Nations has declared famine in five areas of southern Somalia in June, including Mogadishu. In all, about 12 million people in the Horn of Africa region need assistance. Somalia is the worst hit.
"The immediate priority must now be to focus on the humanitarian situation and I call on all parties, from the donor community to all parts of the Transitional Federal Government, to do everything possible to ensure and facilitate the immediate delivery of assistance to those most in need," Mahiga said.
Al-Shabaab has called the famine a "crusader" invention and an excuse for occupation, and issued threats to aid agencies delivering food to afflicted areas.
As crops withered, thousands of people fled and livestock starved. But the militants kept their ban on aid groups operating in their territory in southern and central Somalia, and parts of the capital.

About Me

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Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change &  Liberation  in Europe, Africa and Americas. He has obtained  Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva.   A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies.  He wrote on the  problematic of  the Horn of  Africa extensively. He Speaks Amharic, Tigergna, Hebrew, English, French. He has a good comprehension of Arabic, Spanish and Italian.