Monday, July 27, 2015

Deadly attack at Jazeera Palace hotel in Mogadishu -

A suicide attacker drove a vehicle loaded with explosives into the gate of the Jazeera Palace Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Sunday, killing at least 15 people, a police official said.
The Al-Shabaab terror group took responsibility for the attack, saying it was targeting Western diplomats. The luxury hotel houses the diplomatic missions for several nations, including China.
Capt. Ibrahim Liban, a police officer at the scene, said deaths occurred when a car bomb exploded at the hotel's main gate. Among those killed was a Somali journalist who worked for the London-based Universal TV channel, Liban said.
Ambulances and security forces were on the scene, he said.
Abdiweli Qanyare, a member of Somalia's Parliament who was near the hotel when the attack occurred, said it was one of the loudest explosions he had ever heard in the Somali capital.
    The bomb destroyed part of the hotel and caused damage to nearby structures, Qanyare said.
    Why Al-Shabaab is a growing threat

    Why Al-Shabaab is a growing threat 01:37
    The U.N. Assistance Mission in Somalia deplored the attack in a statement.
    The African Union Mission in Somalia also called the attack "shameful" and said it "demonstrates the demonic agenda of the Al-Shabaab to want to deny Somalia the peace that is beginning, despite such unfathomable acts, to be enjoyed across the country."
    The AU mission said it had sent a team to bring wounded people to the organization's hospital for care and to help Somali security forces evacuate foreigners from the hotel.

    Monday, July 20, 2015

    Ethiopian troops lead big new AU offensive against Al-Shabaab in Somalia; heavy fighting raging | Mail & Guardian Africa

    Last month's al-Shabaab assault on a AMISOM base left dozens of Burundian soldiers dead in one of the deadliest incidents in eight years ago.
    Somali soldiers patrol in a pickup truck near the site where al-Shabaab militants carried out a suicide attack against a military intelligence base in Mogadishu on June 21, 2015. (Photo/AFP).
    Somali soldiers patrol in a pickup truck near the site where al-Shabaab militants carried out a suicide attack against a military intelligence base in Mogadishu on June 21, 2015. (Photo/AFP).
    AFRICAN Union troops said Sunday they had launched a new offensive against Al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab rebels in southern Somalia, vowing to flush the insurgents out of rural areas.
    The African Union Mission in Somalia, or AMISOM, said “Operation Jubba Corridor” was launched on Friday in the Bay and Gedo regions south of the capital Mogadishu along with Somali government troops.
    Officials and witnesses confirmed heavy fighting was raging near the al-Shabaab strongholds of Dinsor and Bardhere, and said the militants hit back with a suicide car bomb attack against a convoy of Ethiopian troops, who are leading the offensive.
    “The operation will ensure that all the remaining areas in Somalia will be liberated and peace restored,” AMISOM said in a statement.
    A Somali military official in the region, Mohamed Osman, confirmed heavy fighting between AMISOM and Somali troops on one side and the Shabaab on the other.
    “There are heavy clashes going on between our forces and al-Shabaab militia along the road that leads to Dinsor. The militants ambushed a military convoy,” he said.
    Witnesses who live close to the battleground said a suicide attacker struck the convoy with a car bomb loaded with explosives. There were no immediate reports on casualties.
    The offensive was launched days after Kenyan government reports that a US drone strike in the region killed at least 30 al-Shabaab rebels, among them several commanders.
    It also comes several weeks after last month’s al-Shabaab assault on a AMISOM base which left dozens of Burundian soldiers dead in one of the single deadliest incidents since AMISOM soldiers arrived in Somalia eight years ago.
    The al-Shabaab, meaning “youth” in Arabic, emerged out of a bitter insurgency against Ethiopia, whose troops entered Somalia in a 2006 US-backed invasion to topple the Islamic Courts Union that was then controlling the capital Mogadishu.
    Al-Shabaab rebels continue to stage frequent attacks, seeking to counter claims that they are close to defeat after losing territory in the face of repeated African Union and Somali government offensives, regular US drone strikes against their leaders and defections.
    Currently affiliated to Al-Qaeda, there has been mounting speculation that the group could shift its allegiance to the Islamic State group.
    In a message marking Muslim Eid celebrations on Friday, al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Diriye—also known as Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah—outlined plans for the group to increase its operations outside of Somalia and particularly in Kenya.

    Sunday, July 19, 2015

    Federal government accused of 'purposely delaying’ prison transfer from Ethiopia | Toronto Star

    Toronto's Bashir Makhtal has been in an Ethiopian prison since 2009.

    Bashir Makhtal was arrested on the border of Kenya and Somalia in 2006 after fleeing Mogadishu and the fall of the Islamic Courts Union.

    Bashir Makhtal was arrested on the border of Kenya and Somalia in 2006 after fleeing Mogadishu and the fall of the Islamic Courts Union.
    Ottawa has dropped the ball in the prison-transfer of a Canadian citizen serving a lifesentence in Ethiopia, according to Said Maktal, a cousin of the prisoner.
    Maktal criticizes Ottawa of not vigorously pursuing the transfer, saying that new minister of foreign affairs has no interest in his cousin’s fate.
    Maktal says that both Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson and Public Safety Canada Minister Steven Blaney should be doing more to bring home his cousin.
    A prisoner-transfer agreement was accepted in early March by Bashir Makhtal, said Said Maktal. And he was told then that his cousin might be home this fall, possibly before the Oct. 19 election.
    But so far there has been little movement on the transfer agreement, Maktal said. And he believes there’s only one reason for that — a lack of interest in the case.
    Neither Nicholson nor Blaney responded to the Star’s requests for a comment on Maktal’s criticism of their efforts to return his cousin to Canada.
    Fran├žois Lasalle, a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, told the Star that “to protect the privacy of the individual concerned, further details on this case cannot be released.”
    Similarly, Zarah Malik, a spokesperson for Public Safety Canada, told the Star that “the Privacy Act prevents federal government officials from discussing the specifics of an offender’s case.”
    Maktal said he has repeatedly called both Foreign Affairs and Public Safety Canada — which is responsible for international prison transfers under the International Transfer of Offenders Act — looking for answers.
    He has been told by Public Safety officials that they are working on the case, but won’t give him specifics or tell him if the minister of foreign affairs and the minister of public safety have signed the required paperwork or if it has been sent to Ethiopia.
    “The only person who was interested in the case left the office — which was John Baird— and after that nothing has happened with the case,” said Maktal, referring to the former cabinet minister who is now working in the public sector. “I think the government is purposely delaying the case . . . After eight and a half years the problem isn’t Ethiopia. The problem is in Canada.”
    Bashir Makhtal, a 46-year-old who lived and worked in Toronto, has been languishing in an Ethiopian jail in Addis Ababa since he was convicted of terrorism in 2009. He has always denied the charges.
    Makhtal was arrested on the border of Kenya and Somalia in 2006 after fleeing Mogadishu and the fall of the Islamic Courts Union.
    He was questioned in Nairobi and eventually put on a top-secret flight to Ethiopia where he was charged with multiple counts of terrorism for allegedly being a ringleader with the Ogaden National Liberation Front — an ethnic Somali group formed to fight for independence in the oil rich region.
    Baird took an interest in the case long before he was foreign affairs minister, proclaiming Makhtal’s innocence. He visited Addis Ababa, and met with Makhtal in 2010.
    “When John Baird was the minister, this case was clearly an important case for him,” says Makhtal’s lawyer Lorne Waldman. “He prioritized it because of the strong Somali community in his riding and he made it clear he was committed to the case. After he left from what we can see no one has taken any interest in the file.”
    The decision to accept the transfer followed an impassioned plea in late January to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to intervene, which failed.
    Makhtal was offered the deal two years ago, but rejected that option last year because he said he was innocent.
    But since then his health has rapidly deteriorated and he decided to accept the terms of the prison transfer which would see him serve five more years in a Canadian prison, said Waldman.
    After Makhtal made his decision, Waldman confirmed with officials in Public Safety Canada that his client wanted to proceed. Canadian consular officials also confirmed with Makhtal in Ethiopia that he accepted the terms as well, his cousin said.
    “From then until now we haven’t heard anything, zero,” said Waldman. “It’s gone into a black hole. It was already approved. It was just a matter of going forward. I can’t understand the delay at this point.”

    Sunday, July 12, 2015

    Somali Militants Carry Out Deadly Attack in Northeast Kenya - The New York Times


    NAIROBI, Kenya — Shabab militants killed 14 people and wounded 11 in the northeastern Kenyan town of Mandera on Tuesday, a government official said, the latest attack in the region by the Somali Islamist group.

    The grenade attack took place around 2 a.m. at a compound near a livestock market, according to officials, and most of the victims were miners from other parts of Kenya.

    “I can confirm an Al Shabaab attack in Mandera early this morning,” the police inspector general, Joseph Boinnet, said on Twitter. “Regrettably 14 persons dead and 11 injured.”

    A spokesman for the Shabab confirmed that the organization was responsible. “We are behind the Mandera attack. We killed over 10 Kenyan Christians,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, a spokesman for the group’s military operations, told Reuters. “This is part of our ongoing operations against Kenya.”

    Continue reading the main story

    Shabab Militants Attack African Union Base in SomaliaJUNE 26, 2015
    Carrying the body of a car bomb victim in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Wednesday.Shabab Claim Responsibility for Deadly Car Bomb in MogadishuJUNE 24, 2015
    video Kenya’s Unemployed Face Terror’s LureFEB. 23, 2015
    The Kenyan Red Cross, which sent a team of doctors and paramedics from the capital, Nairobi, said on Twitter that it had airlifted eight patients to the Kenyatta National Hospital there.

    Mandera is in the northeastern corner of Kenya, along the borders with Somalia and Ethiopia.

    Last year, 28 teachers were killed as they were traveling in the region for the end-of-year holidays. Not long after that episode, dozens of miners were shot and killed after militants separated Muslims from non-Muslims.

    The deadliest attack attributed to the Shabab in Kenya took place in April, when 147 students and university staff members were killed at a university in Garissa. One of the militants in that assault came from Mandera, which is about 440 miles northeast of Garissa.

    Kenyan officials said this year that they were constructing a security barrier that would stretch for miles along the border with Somalia, in an effort to deter attacks by the Shabab.

    Correction: July 7, 2015
    An earlier version of this article misstated the surname of a police inspector general. He is Joseph Boinnet, not Boinett.

    Monday, July 6, 2015

    Al-Shabaab attacked and killed 70 AMISON Soilders in Mogadishu

    The African Union Peacekeeping Mission (AMISOM) base at Lego village, 100 kilometres northwest of Mogadishu is manned by Burundian soldiers who are part of the 22,000 AMISOM troops that include Uganda. Spokesman of the Burundi contingent, Col. Paul Jugula confirmed the attack.

    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.