Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Somalia's Shebab plays down surrender of wanted official | Daily Mail Online

Somalia's Shebab militia on Monday played down the surrender and arrest of a senior militant figure, saying the official had left the movement more than a year ago.
The Al-Qaeda-affiliated rebels said Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi, identified as a top Shebab intelligence official and the subject of a $3 million bounty as part of the US State Department "Rewards for Justice" programme, would be of little intelligence value.
"He abandoned the organisation more than a year ago," a senior militant official told AFP, insisting that the "news of the defection was only released in order to shift attention" away from last week's Shebab attack against the headquarters of the African Union force in the capital Mogadishu.
Four suspected Shebab fighters are detained by Somalian national soldiers following a gun battle in Mogadishu that left four other suspects dead on December ...

Four suspected Shebab fighters are detained by Somalian national soldiers following a gun battle in Mogadishu that left four other suspects dead on December 26, 2014 ©Mohamed Abdiwahab (AFP)
"All the information on military set up or plans he knew has been changed since he left, and therefore the so-called defector has no intelligence value to offer to our enemies," the Shebab official said.
He also said the surrender should not be seen as a weakening of the movement, which is fighting to topple Somalia's internationally-backed government.
According to Somali officials, Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi gave himself up to government and AU troops on Saturday. He had been hiding out in the Gedo region, where Somalia borders Kenya and Ethiopia.
Officials said he had once been close to former Shebab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, who was killed by a US air strike in September, but that he may have been sidelined during a series of recent bloody splits and purges within the group carried out by Godane and his successor, Ahmad Umar Abu Ubaidah.
The Shebab emerged from the Islamic Courts Union that controlled Mogadishu in 2006 before being pushed out by Ethiopian forces.
The militants were finally driven from their fixed positions in Mogadishu in 2011, and have lost several strongholds in the south and centre of the country in a recent offensive by the AU's AMISOM force. The group, however, still control vast rural areas.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Somalia: Vengeance Is In The Air

More and more al Shabaab groups are leaving central Somalia and heading for the Kenyan border, where they have access to the large number of Somali refugees (in well supplied Kenyan camps) and ethnic Somalis long resident in northern Kenya. These Somali Kenyans are easier to convince or coerce into cooperating with the Islamic terrorists than the Kenyans belonging to one of the many black African tribes native to East Africa south of Somalia. Al Shabaab is still angry at Kenya for sending troops into southern Kenya and, with the aid of local clan militias, set up a new government in the area that had long been under al Shabaab control. Traditionally Somalis invade Kenya not the other way around and the fact that the Kenyans got away with their “invasion” of southern Somali still annoys al Shabaab (and a lot of other Somalis.) So al Shabaab is moving south for revenge as well as to get away from peacekeepers, anti-al Shabaab militias and the trained soldiers the government now has available. The al Shabaab forces along the border are not yet strong enough to go to war with the Kenyan Army and the local Somali militias, but terrorism is another matter. So groups of al Shabaab gunmen have been crossing the border and murdering non-Moslem civilians they come across. This has angered Kenyans who are demanding that their government do something. In response Kenyan warplanes have bombed suspected al Shabaab camps and Kenyan troops are aggressively seeking out al Shabaab men on both sides of the border. Despite that there is panic among non-Moslem Kenyans living near the Somali border and thousands are leaving.
Kenya currently has 3,000 troops on the Somali side of the border and even more on the Kenyan side (in addition to police). The government is apparently going to send more troops and police to the Somali border and Kenyans up there who are ethnic Somalis are being asked to help. Some do, but many do not and a few actually support al Shabaab. At the moment the Kenyan security forces are held in low esteem by most Kenyans and political and military leaders are under a lot of pressure to actually do something.
The UN and other foreign aid groups gave become increasingly strident about foreign donors not providing enough money to deal with growing food shortages in Somalia. So far only about a third of the money (over 800 million) needed to handle the coming food crisis has been pledged. There are 20 percent more Somalis in need of aid this year than last. Foreign donors are reluctant to spend a lot of money on Somali aid because over the last two decades so much aid has been stolen by Islamic terrorists, warlords, bandits and whatever passes for government. The drought in 2011 killed a quarter of a million, largely because al Shabaab banned the “un-Islamic” food aid from those needing it. But the donor nations note that the aid groups play down the theft and subsequent investigations revealed this and the fact that the aid groups simply paid off the thieves, often with a portion of the aid. Donor nations want better security before they provide all that is demanded.
The major problem in Somalia has long been corruption and when this problem is actually measured Somali finds that it has the dubious distinction of being best at something they would rather not be. Thus a recent international study found Somalia one of the three most corrupt nations in the world. Corruption in this Transparency International Corruption Perception Index is measured on a 1 (most corrupt) to 100 (not corrupt) scale. The three most corrupt nations have a rating of 8 (Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia) and the least corrupt are 91 (New Zealand and Denmark). A look at this index each year adds an element of reality to official government pronouncements. African nations are the most corrupt, followed by Middle Eastern ones.
Somalia also excels at terrorist violence. A recent terrorism survey (Global Terrorism Index) found that five nations (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria, in that order) accounted for 80 percent of all terrorism related deaths in 2013 and even more in 2014. Four Islamic terrorist organizations (ISIL, al Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Taliban) account for nearly 70 percent of all terrorist deaths. Many of the lesser terror groups are also Islamic. In fact, of the top ten nations by terrorist activity (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria, India, Somalia, Yemen, Philippines and Thailand) only India and the Philippines had a significant minority of terrorist deaths that were not carried out by Moslems. In those two countries the minority terrorists were leftist rebels who had not noticed the collapse of radical socialism in 1989. Meanwhile the rapid growth in Islamic terrorism violence caused the total number of terrorist acts to increase 44 percent in 2013 over 2012. Al Shabaab does what it can to keep Somalia competitive.
December 14, 2014: In Mogadishu al Shabaab fired several mortar shells at the largest peacekeeper base in the country. There were no casualties. This was apparently retaliation for an operation earlier in the day that arrested 200 men suspected of belonging to or supporting al Shabaab.
December 13, 2014: In central Somalia (Galguduud province) fifteen people (five soldiers and ten Sufi militiamen) died when troops drove the Sufi militia out of a village they had occupied. Since late 2011 Sufi militiamen have been again fighting al Shabaab gunmen in central Somalia. In the first eight months after the Sufi Ahlu Suna Waljama militia went to war with al Shabaab, the Islamic terrorists lost control of most key towns they held in central Somalia. Sufis are believers in a more mystical and peaceful form of Islam, and are looked down on by many radical Sunni groups. But the Somali Sufis got tired of being harassed by al Shabaab, and in 2008 began to arm and organize themselves for defense. In 2010 the Sufi militias became allies with the TNG (Transitional National Government) and Ethiopia, which keeps lots of troops on their Somali border, occasionally crossing into Somalia in order to discourage al Shabaab from raiding into Ethiopia.  Since 2013 there has been growing friction between local Sufi leaders and the officials the national government has sent to set up local government. The Sufi complain that they are being ignored and taken advantage of. The corruption of the government officials doesn’t help either.
December 12, 2014: In the Bakool area (175 kilometers north of Mogadishu) seven women have been killed because of an al Shabaab effort to intimidate soldiers. It began last week when al Shabaab kidnapped and beheaded the wife of a local soldier and another woman who cooked for the soldiers. In revenge soldiers seized ten women they believed were married to al Shabaab members and began killing them. Five of the ten were killed before tribal elders showed up and persuaded the soldiers to stop.
December 6, 2014: In Mogadishu parliament voted (153 to 80) to remove the current prime minister from power and thus give the president another chance to find a prime minister who will do what the president tells him. The dismissed prime minister and the president have been openly feuding for months over who gets appointed to senior positions. This is not about appointing the most effective officials, but the ones who will steal the most for the president or prime minister (the two most powerful politicians currently in government.) A recent UN study found that many officials will steal over 70 percent of the government funds they have control over.
December 5, 2014: In the central Somalia town of Baidoa al Shabaab set off a car bomb in a crowd and another bomb in a café that killed 15 and wounded three times as many.
December 4, 2014: One of Kenya’s F-5 jet fighters crashed on its way back from a bombing mission along the Somali border. Al Shabaab claimed to have shot down the fighter but the pilot reported mechanical problems before the jet went down. Kenya has obtained 29 F-5s since the late 1970s and about twenty are still in service and several more are being refurbished. Fifteen F-5s were recently refurbished after being obtained from Jordan. The F-5s is a 12 ton fighter roughly similar to the 1950s era MiG-21, and is a contemporary of that Russian fighter. The F-5 was built mainly for export to nations that could not afford the top-line Western fighters, but did not want the MiG-21s. The F-5 is normally armed with two 20mm cannon, and three tons of missiles and bombs. Introduced in 1962, over 2,200 were built before production ended in 1987.
December 3, 2014: In Mogadishu an al Shabaab suicide car bomber attacked a UN convoy killing four people (all security guards or civilian bystanders). The UN personnel were safe within armored trucks that are used to transport them from the heavily guarded UN compound to the equally well guarded airport.
Just across the border in Kenya (Garissa) someone threw a grenade into a café and wounding two people.
December 2, 2014: Just across the border in Kenya (outside Mandera) al Shabaab killed 36 non-Moslem workers at a quarry. As a result of this atrocity the Kenyan president fired his Interior Minister and the head of the national police promptly retired. Later in the day gunmen attacked a pub near the Somali border, killing one customer and wounding three others. Al Shabaab is violently opposed to alcoholic beverages and all sorts of other things (like school for girls).
November 26, 2014: The EU (European Union) agreed to keep its 128 military trainers in Mogadishu for another year. In 2014 the EU instructors trained 1,200 Somali troops and expects to train the same number in 2015.
November 24, 2014: Many Kenyans doubt their government’s claims that security forces quickly killed over a hundred al Shabaab men in the wake of the Mandera massacre. Al Shabaab denies that they suffered any losses and the government simply says that air force warplanes bombed al Shabaab camps along the Somali border while ground troops pursued and caught some of the Mandera killers. If that is so, Kenyans wonder why there are not photos or prisoners shown to prove it. Kenyans are losing faith in their security forces.
November 22, 2014: Just across the border in Kenya (outside Mandera) al Shabaab gunmen stopped a bus and killed 28 non-Moslem passengers, while leaving the Moslem passengers unharmed.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Somaliland: Ethiopia Government Unaware of any Clan Militias Amassing at Common Borders

Saturday, 13 December 2014 23:31
Says Consul General Berhe Tesfay as Hargeisa Dispatches Senior Duo to Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Consul General Berhe Tesfay says his government is unaware of any clan militias amassing in common bordersEthiopian Consul General Berhe Tesfay says his government is unaware of any clan militias amassing in common borders
By: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The government of Somaliland has dispatched its foreign affairs minister Mohamed Behi Younis and Chief of the armed Forces Gen Ismail Mohamed Shakale to Addis Ababa for negotiations with Ethiopian Authorities.

The two countries recently signed a memorandum of understanding geared towards enhancing inter-border cooperation at diverse fronts.

While no reason was given, the visit by the two comes in the heels of recent reports that a renegade traditional leader from Awdal region Sultan Abibakar Elmi Wabari is amassing clan militias along the Ethiopian border with Somaliland.

In the recent past Awdal region has been engulfed in controversies following anti-Somaliland sentiments expressed by Sultan Abikar who is also reportedly leading Samaron clan militias whom he has amaased along the common border shared by the two countries.

The two neighbouring countries share cordial relations that pertain to not only cross border movements of people and goods but security as well.

The Awdal saga started with a video clip released by the reneged Awdal region sultan in which he vomited anti-Somaliland state hood sentiments without giving clear grievances that he is attributing to his clansmen.

On the other hand the Ethiopian government is unaware of any clan militias from Somaliland being amassed on its common borders.

This was informed by the Head of Ethiopian General Consulate in Hargeisa, Brigadier General Berhe Tesfay, following querries by Somalilandsun adding that "our country's constitution does not facilitate the wrecking of havoc" in friendly countries "through hosting anti-government militias".
Somaliland FM Mohamed Behi and Amry Commander Gen Shakale in Addis for talks with Ethiopian CountpartsSomaliland FM Mohamed Behi and Amry Commander Gen Shakale in Addis for talks with Ethiopian Countparts

"While we are aware of a rumor of minor conflict happening few days ago in Borama town, we are however unaware of Somaliland clan militias amassing on our common borders," said Consul General Berhe Tesfay adding that "as far as our knowledge is concerned, the Somaliland Foreign minister and Defence chief are in the Ethiopian Capital for bi-lateral discussions with Ethiopian counterparts".

General Berhe who expressed his country's "track record of encouraging peaceful resolution of any internal differences" including in Somaliland and of the "readiness to share experiences and support any efforts aimed to resolve internal differences by peaceful means with a view to avoiding future confrontations or any forms of escalations of conflict", also noted his Government's determination "to take legal actions, based on evidence, on any peace-eroding individuals or groups hiding themselves in any cross-border areas within the Ethiopian sovereign territory while creating havoc or anywhere as this compromises the improving mutual peace and stability in the Ethiopian and Somaliland common borders".

On the other hand, the foreign affairs operative who revealed that Ethiopia has nothing to gain by supporting dissent within Somaliland, said that once the government in Addis Ababa is appraised on the allegations relevant action shall be pursued to unveil the truth thence appropriate action.
At the same time the Ethiopian government shall in pursuit of constitutional fulfillment upon ascertaining facts if approached by Somaliland provide relevant support and share experiences of similar activities.
VP Sayli and his renegade cousin Sultan he has failed to reinVP Sayli and his renegade cousin Sultan he has failed to rein

Meanwhile what is most surprising is the very conspicuous absence of the Somaliland Vice president Abdirahman Abdilahi Ismail Sayli who is not only the senior most politician and leader from Awdal region but missing in efforts towards reining the renegade his Cousin Sultan and remedy issues before they get out of hand.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Kenya, Ethiopia in talks to create buffer zone in Somalia | GlobalPost

Africa Focus: Kenya, Ethiopia in talks to create buffer zone in Somalia
by Ben Ochieng
NAIROBI, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Kenya and Ethiopia are in discussions to create a buffer zone inside Somalia along their respective borders to deter Al-Shabaab attacks, a senior government official said on Wednesday.
Deputy President William Ruto decried that the existing 800km porous border which Kenya shares with Somalia has made it difficult to curb cross-border terror attacks mounted by Al- Shabaab.
"Kenya is holding talks with Ethiopia to likewise create their buffer zone inside Somalia to police their common border against insurgency from the militants," Ruto told a local television station during a talk show.
For several years, Kenya, with international support, has been pushing for the creation of a buffer zone at upper Jubaland, just inside Somalia, to shield its territory from neighboring Somalia.
Kenya shares an 800km-long border with Somalia, whereas the length of Ethiopia-Somalia border measures 68 kilometers.
Ruto's remarks come in the wake of fresh attacks at the border town of Mandera on Tuesday in which 36 quarry workers were killed at point blank range after being told to lie facing down.
The dawn massacre occurred barely 10 days following similar killings after members of the militant group murdered 28 people whom they pulled out of a Nairobi-bound bus at sunrise.
"Terrorist activities from Al-Shabaab have been exacerbated by the 800km long porous border and the similar communities occupying both sides of the border that make it difficult to discern one from the other," Ruto said.
He said that whereas terrorism continues to pose a huge challenge to the country, Kenya will not pull out its troops from Somalia, which he said is the narrative that the insurgents use as the reason for the attacks.
"The best defense is offense. The paramount way to keep Al- Shabaab away from Kenya is to take the fight to them in Somalia and stem the problem at its base," he said.
Ruto said Kenya is winning the war against the militants hence the reason Al-Shabaab is agitating for Kenyan troops to pull out so that they can have space to carry out their murderous activities against the Somali nation.
"If Kenya and the international community had not gone into Somalia at the time they went in, we would not have a region to talk about. We are here talking about a well-armed and ruthless group in their thousands that is out to further their militaristic agenda," Ruto said.
He said the 36 quarry workers who met their fate had been requested to move out to safer areas, but they did not think they were under threat.
"Even after they were informed that this is not safe for you, you better move out that place, they still insisted on staying there, unfortunately we learn a lot of lessons. We are re- strategizing to make sure our security forces read from the same script to be able to protect Kenyans," he said.
"We have learned a lot. I admit it was a failure on our side not to have moved them out forcefully, and we will in future do what needs to be done in matters pertaining to security," he added.

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.