Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Somalia drone attack kills al-Shabaab commander

45 000 migrants risked Mediterranean journey in 2013
2014-01-28 21:09

(File, AFP)
(File, AFP)
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Geneva - Some 45 000 migrants braved the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to seek refuge in Europe in 2013, the International Organisation for Migration said on Tuesday.

Most of the migrants were fleeing war or abuses in Syria, Eritrea and Somalia, said the inter-governmental organisation.

While the figure was down from 2011, when 63 000 undertook the journey, it was a sharp jump from the 13 000 recorded in 2012.

"What these figures tell us is that in 2013, there were more people fleeing wars and dictatorial regimes," IOM spokesperson Christiane Berthiaume told reporters.

The overwhelming majority of migrants headed to the Italian islands of Lampedusa and Sicily while a smaller proportion went to Malta.

Some 11 300 of those who crossed last year were from war-torn Syria, while 9 800 came from Eritrea, whose regime repeatedly faces international condemnation of its human rights record.

And 3 200 were from Somalia, which has been gripped by violence for decades.

The risks of crossing the Mediterranean in rickety and overloaded smugglers' boats were underlined last October when 336 migrants died in a shipwreck off Lampedusa, most of them Eritreans.

In total, some 700 migrants perished last year while attempting the sea crossing, while over the past two decades, some 20 000 people are thought to have died, according to the IOM.

"There are probably many more who are dead and about whom we know nothing, and never will," noted Berthiaume.

"Behind these cold, impersonal figures are women, men and children who flee violence and are seeking a better life. It's urgent to prevent people dying and to make migration a matter of choice and not of desperation," she added.

Somalia drone attack kills al-Shabaab commander

South Sudan Conflict: Fighting carries on in despite peace deal

FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 13, 2012 file photo, an armed member of the militant group al-Shabab attends a rally on the outskirts of Mogadishu, in Somalia. Abu Mohamed, an al-Shabab commander, told The Associated Press Monday, Jan. 27, 2014 that Sahal Iskudhuq, who was killed in Sunday’s U.S. missile attack, had previously been in charge of kidnappings of foreigners and ransom deals for the group but recently turned to working with its intelligence unit. (AP Photo, File)Deadly US missile attack in Somalia underscores stepped-up pressure on al-Shabab militants

FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 13, 2012 file photo, an armed member of the militant group al-Shabab attends a rally on the outskirts of Mogadishu, in Somalia. Abu Mohamed, an al-Shabab commander, told The Associated Press Monday, Jan. 27, 2014 that Sahal Iskudhuq, who was killed in Sunday’s U.S. missile attack, had previously been in charge of kidnappings of foreigners and ransom deals for the group but recently turned to working with its intelligence unit. (AP Photo, File)

Abdi Guled
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - A U.S. missile strike that killed a high-ranking intelligence officer for al-Shabab has illustrated the stepped-up pressure on the al-Qaida-linked militants, both from American attacks and from African Union ground troops.
An al-Shabab commander said one of two men killed in Sunday's attack on a moving vehicle was Sahal Iskudhuq, who helped choose bombing targets and used to be in charge of kidnapping foreigners.

Commander Abu Mohamed told The Associated Press on Monday that al-Shabab will "retaliate with a bigger blow and pain against the enemy."

It was al-Shabab gunmen who attacked Nairobi's upscale Westgate Mall with guns and grenades last September, killing at least 67 people. But there was no immediate indication Iskudhuq had been involved in planning that assault.

Somali officials said they believe the missile was fired from a drone.

The U.S. has carried out several airstrikes in Somalia recent years, though not nearly as many as in Pakistan, which has seen hundreds of attacks, or in Yemen, which has seen scores.

A Pentagon spokesman, Army Col. Steven Warren, said Monday he could confirm a U.S. military operation against a senior al-Qaida and al-Shabaab leader in a remote area near Barawe. He would say nothing else about it, including the outcome of the operation or the name of the target.

But Mohamed identified the probable target as Iskudhuq, who he said was with al-Shabab's intelligence unit, helping plan attacks.

Previously, Iskudhuq had been in charge of kidnappings of foreigners and organizing ransom deals, he said. He also was a trusted friend of al-Shabab's spiritual leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, under whose direction the extremists forged an alliance with al-Qaida.

Iskudhuq's driver was also believed killed in the strike, the commander said.

Under cover of darkness Sunday night, masked fighters collected what remained of the militants — bits of flesh from the charred hulk of the car in which they had been travelling, Mohamed said.

Mohamed, who visited the scene, said the fighters chanted, "God is great" as they put the body parts in sacks. They then sped away in pickup trucks to bury the men, whose bodies were charred beyond recognition, he said by telephone.

Somalia's president said the killing is "another blow" to the Islamic rebels who have been pushed back by African Union troops. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said on Twitter that Somalia's government is working with its partners to eliminate al-Shabab from Somalia.

Last week, more than 4,000 troops from neighbouring Ethiopia officially joined a peacekeeping force under the African Union banner.

Al-Shabab has been in decline since being ousted from the Somali capital, Mogadishu, by African Union forces in 2011, and now the group's leaders also are being targeted by missiles fired by U.S. drones.

Sunday's strike underscores the increasing importance with which Western powers view counterterrorism operations in the Horn of Africa.

Last October, a U.S. military strike in Somalia hit a vehicle carrying senior members of al-Shabab, killing its top explosives expert.

Earlier that month, U.S. Navy SEALs raided a coastal Somali town to take down a Kenyan al-Shabab member. The SEALs withdrew before capturing or killing their target.

Monday, January 27, 2014


 The U.S. troops are to leave Afghanistan will be stationed in Somalia and Nigeria.Strengthen military engagement in Somalia against Al Shabab who still occupy most of the country and in respect of whom 18,000 troops to AMISOM have not achieved great progress in recent times.Except for a brief period in 2010 when the Americans helped to resume Mogadishu, will be the first time since 1993, as part of the ” Restore hope” that the U.S. will return in the Horn of Africa after the destruction of two helicopters and the killing of the victims, tied by the feet to pick up dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, the episode that remains in history as “Black hawk down “.According to Confidential report that, from January 10, there are five U.S. military advisers are already in Mogadishu, within the AMISOM base near the Mogadishu airport, in order to prepare the logistics arrival in mass of troops from Afghanistan and the offensive against Al Shabab . According to American authority sources, the U.S. presence in Somalia will not be episodic, but will result in a stable thus realizing the dream of USA, denied by the former Somali president Siad Barre during the Cold War , to have a base on the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.The arrival of U.S. troops in Somalia could prevent Ethiopia to remain among the states that have given to AMISOM soldiers in the fight against Al Shabab .  Ethiopia joint the countries officially entered the conferring of troops to AMISOM this week.There is a problem which cannot be resolved between Somalia and Ethiopia over the Ogaden region. The former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia David Shinn said that the excess of the border between the two states of Ethiopian troops, alb.eit in the context of AMISOM, would allow Al Shabab to avail of ancient grudges to harness the spirit of home and recruit new recruits among its ranks.Since the beginning of 2007 until January 2009 precisely the Ethiopian military helped oust the Islamic Courts from Mogadishu determining the split between moderates and fundamentalists who gave birth to the terrorist movement of Al Shabab . According to David Shinn Ethopia would have more to gain by staying in AMISOM, if not the remuneration of its soldiers?About ten days ago has been reached an important agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland, the semi-autonomous region of northern Somalia, Ethiopia, which allows to use the port of Berbera for their businesses. After the independence of Eritrea from Ethiopia in 1994, in fact, Ethiopia has tried tirelessly to find a solution to its landlocked, and the agreement with President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo of Somaliland has solved one of the biggest problems of ‘ Ethiopia.Source: The Republic

Somalia’s Al-Shabaab threatens retaliation as Ethiopian troops join AMISOM - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

 Al-Qaida allied Somalia’s insurgent group, Al-Shabaab on Saturday vowed to carryout a new wave of attacks against foreign peacekeeping forces.
The warning comes after Ethiopian troops officially joined the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) under United Nations Security Council resolution approved in January.
Ethiopian officials told Sudan Tribune that 4,395 Ethiopia troops on Wednesday officially joined AMISOM bringing the total number African peacekeepers in Somalia to over 22,000.
Al-Shabaab spokesperson Ali Mohamud Rageh, told the AFP news agency that in reaction to Ethiopia joining the AU force its top commanders held a meeting this week to discuss mounting new attacks.
"They [top commanders] have declared that the Somali people must intensify their war against AMISOM" Rageh said.
"We defeated Ethiopia before and we know how to battle them now” he said adding that the inclusion of Ethiopian force shows a weakening of the AMISOM force.
"It reflects the fact that Somalia has been partitioned between Kenya and Ethiopia, and the international community is legalizing that partition”, he added.
Under the new AMISOM concept of operation - to be implemented in the near future - the Ethiopian forces will take over sector 3 and help Djiboutian peacekeepers who are in charge of sector 4.
"The Ethiopian contingent will work and operate under AMISOM Force Commander Instructions and orders,” AMISOM Force Commander Lieutenant General Silas Ntigurirwa said.
Brigadier General Gebremedhin Fikadu, Commander of the Ethiopian forces to his side assured that his forces will successfully carryout their duties and responsibilities.
"I assure you that Ethiopia’s Defense Force will make a difference in AMISOM operation by clearing Al-Shabaab from sector 3 and 4 under the command of the force headquarters and completely implement AMISOM’s concept of operation in each of its military activities” he said.
Ethiopia is the sixth African country to join AMISOM, following Kenya, Burundi, Djibouti, Uganda and Sierra Leone.
AMISOM, which was established by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council in January 2007, is trying to restore peace and stability in to Somalia.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ethiopia deploys hundreds of troops to Somalia |

Ethiopia government has deployed hundreds of new troops in Somalia to eliminate al-Shabab from Bay and Bakol regions, officials said on Tuesday.
The troops have today arrived in Baidoa town, the provincial capital of Bay region, establishing a new military bases in the city.
Deputy Governor of Bay Region Shine Moalim Nurow told local media that the Ethiopian troops will assist the government’s plans to root out al-Qaeda linked group, al-Shabab.
Nurow did not provide additional information, but Somali Current Sources say Ethiopian Troops are willing to flash al-Shabab out of Bay and Bakol regions in the first weeks of the New Year.
Reconciliation conference is underway in Baidoa and local elders are expected to form a new regional administration that will rule three regions including Lower Shabelle, Bay and Bakol.
Unknown number of Ethiopian troops was in Somalia over the last three years and Addis Ababa officials said earlier that the troops would only be deployed for a period of time.

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.