23 October – Source: Somali Affairs – 185 Words
The Jubaland regional administration yesterday renamed the Dolow District Airport after the state security minister, Abdirashid Hassan Abdinur Janan, who is being held in detention by the federal government in Mogadishu. A ceremony to make the renaming of the airport, which was held in Dolow, was attended by governors of Dolow, Beled Hawo and Luq, all in Gedo region of southern Somalia. Dolow Airport will henceforth be known as Abdirashid Janan Airport in honour of the arrested Jubbaland security minister. Janan was arrested on 31 August by security forces in Mogadishu while on a transit flight to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
On 6 Oct 2019, he appeared before the Banadir Regional Court in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, to answer charges of crimes against humanity he allegedly committed in Gedo region in 2015. The UN Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group accused Janan of murder, torture, unlawful detention and other illegal acts between 2014 and 2015. Rights watchdog Amnesty International welcomed his arrest, saying he was reasonably suspected of criminal responsibility for crimes under international law and other serious human rights violations, including obstructing humanitarian assistance.
23 October – Source: Radio Ergo – 596 Words
Mohamed Adan Qooray’s shop in the small southern Somali village of Banaanay, just two kilometres north of Jowhar town, does a brisk business charging people’s mobile phones. Herders and farmers from the area come to use the charging points that run off Mohamed’s solar panel installation. “I make 100-200,000 Somali shillings, which is equivalent to $4-$8 a day. If there is any technical problem, I just call the vendor,” said Mohamed, who purchased his solar kit from a local company, Power OffGrid, in exchange for a goat. It was back in 2017, when he had brought one of his goats to the market hoping to make a cash sale, but did not get any good offers. He heard that Power OffGrid, a new company based in Jowhar, had a deal involving the exchange of livestock for solar, and he went to visit their office in town. “They told me they would give me solar, and as I could not buy it because it was expensive for me at $220, I accepted the idea of exchanging one of my animals,” he said. Mohamed uses the solar electricity to light up his house and to protect his animals from predators, as well as to run his business.
So far 300 farmers and 150 livestock keepers living in villages around Adaale, Eel Ma’an, Jowhar and Buleburte in Middle Shabelle region have installed solar in their homes and business, according to Guled Mohamud Ahmed, the founder and chief executive of Power OffGrid. Guled’s aim is to provide cheap, renewable electricity to cater for ordinary people’s daily needs, and to empower them to improve their lives at the same time. “Livestock owners need light and they need to charge their phones, so we allow them to exchange their livestock for the solar kits,” Guled told Radio Ergo. “The farmers also need water pumps, so we give them solar water pumps in exchange for a share of their farm produce.” The arrangement is an innovative way of offering credit to farmers and herders who cannot always access cash. The value of a goat depends on the season and the market, of course, so the scheme has to be flexible. If a farmer dies before full repayment has been made, the debt is forgiven. This has earned the company a reputation for trustworthiness. Power OffGrid provides 50 to 100 watt panels for use in business and at home for lighting, refrigerating, and charging radios, phones and other devices……
23 October – Source: FESOJ – 337 Words
The Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ) welcomes the release of journalist Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed who was detained in Garowe for the past five days, and believes that his arrest was yet another attempt to press the independent media to avoid reporting the facts and realities on the ground. The release of the journalist Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed (Tall Man) on late Tuesday came after win-win negotiation efforts made by Media Association of Puntland (MAP) in reference to the recommendations by two defending lawyers of the detained journalist. Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed aka (Tall Man) was arrested on Thursday 17 October from his home in Garowe with the order from Puntland police chief, General Muhidin Ahmed Muse and since then he was arrested at Garowe central police station. “FESOJ welcomes the release of detained journalist and Puntland’s drop the case against journalist Tall Man, we note that these arrests and detention are unlawful and an outright violation of their freedom of expression and media freedoms. We call on the Puntland government to respect fundamental human rights and hold all those responsible for intimidating journalists accountable,” said Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu Secretary General of Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ). Meanwhile, FESOJ commends to Media Association of Puntland (MAP) for its leading role in ending this case by hiring two professional lawyers defending the journalist in front of the law.
FESOJ encourages all working journalists in Somalia not to be afraid of reporting factual information but we must always keep in mind the fundamental principles of ethical journalism and ask all sides for their side of the story before publishing, especially in the areas where the public are at greater risk of constant terrorist acts. FESOJ is also grateful to the Netherlands-based Free Press Unlimited for its continued legal aid for press freedom and the continued support of Somali journalists. The continuing media crackdown and closure of media stations and journalists is jeopardizing press freedom and freedom of expressions which are fundamental core elements of the enjoyment of basic human rights in Puntland.
23 October – Source: Hivi Sasa – 269 Words
Garissa Deputy County Secretary Abdirashid Hussein led other leaders from Garissa County in affirming their resolve in fight against terrorism on Tuesday. He said Garissa County government is committed in the fight against violent extremism for the sake of peaceful coexistence. Hussein said there is need to address radicalization adding that Garissa is among counties in the region that have suffered hugely due to attacks by Somalia-based terror group, Al-Shabaab. Hussein said many youths from the region are being lured into joining militia groups, adding that more needs to be done to address radicalization. “It is paramount to address radicalization to avoid many youth falling into the hands of terror groups like Al-Shabbab,” said Hussein as quoted by Garissa County Government Press Unit on Facebook. Hussein was speaking on Tuesday during the County Engagement forum – a stakeholders forum for actors of peace, security and counter-violent extremism (CVE) held at Garissa Agriculture Training Centre. The deputy county secretary lauded support and participation by various stakeholders in the war against violent extremism in Northern Kenya. Hussein said the stakeholders have supported the county government’s 5-year County Action Plan on Countering Violent Extremism that was launched last year by Garissa Governor Ali Bunow Korane. “Despite considerable investments and recent improvements in the security sector that have resulted in reduction in the number of terror attacks, some of the actions by Kenya’s frontline security forces often contribute to aggravating sympathy for radical groups,” he added. County Commissioner Meru Mwangi and representatives from NDMA, PGI, Womankind Kenya, KESHO Alliance, USAID, county and national government officials and human rights activists were present during the forum.
22 October – Source: KBC – 449 Words
Kenyan soldiers continue to suffer the brunt of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) attacks putting the rising use of IEDs by Al-Shabaab in the spotlight. There is no doubt that IEDs are increasingly the weapon of choice for the terror group. The group frequently targets Somali and AMISOM military convoys with IEDs as part of their deadly ambushes on supply routes in south-central Somalia. A year barely passes without IED attacks being reported in North-Eastern where Kenya shares its border with Somalia. Only last week October 12th, 11 General Service Unit (GSU) officers 11 police officers patrolling the Kenyan border with Somalia have this evening died after their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (IED). The Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai said the troop was on patrol along Damajale Harehare road at about 1730hrs when the accident happened.
What is an IED
An improvised explosive device (IED) attack is the use of a “homemade” bomb and/or destructive device to destroy, incapacitate, harass, or distract. IEDs are used by criminals, vandals, terrorists, suicide bombers, and insurgents. Because they are improvised, IEDs can come in many forms, ranging from a small pipe bomb to a sophisticated device capable of causing massive damage and loss of life. IEDs can be carried or delivered in a vehicle; carried, placed, or thrown by a person; delivered in a package; or concealed on the roadside. The term IED came into common usage during the Iraq War that began in 2003. According to the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), the growing use of IEDs is now a global problem. Annually, IED attacks kill and injure more people than do attacks with any other type of weapon except firearms. UNODA says about half of the world’s countries have currently been impacted by IEDs. In 2015 alone, suicide attacks involving IEDs occurred in over 10 per cent of Member States, a greater proportion than any recorded ever before. Government spokesman Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna in an interview with a local radio station Tuesday admitted to the IED challenge. He says the Al Shabaab terrorists pose on treetops where they are camouflage and wait for a vehicle to approach then they throw the IEDs down towards the vehicle. “Some of the IEDs Al Shabaab use are made from some backyards making them strong. This meaning that this are not signal based IEDs making it hard to detect them before detonation” he said. He, however, assures all is not lost, noting that the government is in the process of setting up systems where they can monitor movement by terrorists across the borders. On whether Kenya will withdraw its troops from Somalia, Oguna says only time will tell.
22 October – Source: Church World Service – 324 Words
Roble* was born in a small town about 15 miles from Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. His family was part of a minority clan in a country where clan is an important part of your identity. His clan faced discrimination…and worse. Men from the area’s majority clan attacked Roble’s family and killed his father in front of the family. Roble’s cousin was afraid that Roble would be killed next, so he arranged for Roble’s escape. After a bus ride to Mogadishu, a flight to Malaysia and a boat trip to Jakarta, Roble–like hundreds of other asylum seekers before him–found his way to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees office. He registered for asylum and, because he was still a child, was taken to a CWS-hosted group home for refugee boys and teenagers. He was grateful for his safety and a welcoming place to sleep. More than that, though, he was grateful to see other Somali boys his own age in his new home. “I feel safer and more comfortable here than when I was back in Somalia,” he says.
Now that he has settled into his new home, Roble has enrolled in classes and is learning English and the Indonesian language. He also recently started taking a mobile phone repair class, which he excels at. It’s a tough class because there are small differences in all the different types of phones, but Roble is working hard to learn. “Mastering this skill will change my future for the better,” he says. He knows that having a relevant vocational skill will give him a way to earn a living and provide for himself, especially once he turns 18 and ages out of the group home. By offering Roble and the other boys in our care relevant vocational training, we are helping to ensure that they are prepared for their independent lives once they turn 18.
*Name changed to protect the identity of a refugee child.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“Climate change is taking a toll right across the Horn of Africa, with increasingly erratic weather and low rainfall common in Kenya, Somalia, Uganda and Ethiopia. The recurring dry spells destroy crops and pastures, pushing millions of people to the brink of extreme hunger.”
23 October – Source: Reuters – 324 Words
Climate change is hampering peacebuilding in Somalia as droughts and floods strengthen the hand of militants and weaken the power of government, a report said on Wednesday. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said three decades of conflict – coupled with increasingly severe droughts – were posing serious challenges to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). UNSOM has been in the east African nation since 2013 to advise government on how best to cement peace, be it disarming fighters or bringing rival communities together. “What surprised me most was the impact that climate change has on pretty much every element of UNSOM’s mandate,” report co-author Florian Krampe told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Climate change deeply burdens UNSOM in its work to provide peace and security, and also in its efforts to establish functioning governance and judicial systems.” He said people escaping weather crises were vulnerable to recruitment by militants, crowded camps became hot beds for traffickers and more fights erupted over resources. Militants also exploited climate crises to win legitimacy, he added. The overthrow of President Siad Barre in 1991 plunged Somalia into almost three decades of violent turmoil – first at the hands of clan warlords then Islamist militants, Al Shabaab, which wants to topple Somalia’s central government. The insurgents, who are allied with al Qaeda, were driven out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011. They have now lost nearly all their territory but continue to carry out attacks. Add climate problems to the political instability and ever-present threat of violence, and a lasting peace becomes elusive.
Climate change is taking a toll right across the Horn of Africa, with increasingly erratic weather and low rainfall common in Kenya, Somalia, Uganda and Ethiopia. The recurring dry spells destroy crops and pastures, pushing millions of people to the brink of extreme hunger. According to the U.N., more than 2.5 million people in Somalia have been forced from their homes by drought and insecurity in recent years; many are now at risk of starvation. The report said rising conflict between cattle herders and farmers over water and land was a challenge for UNSOM, while people on the move were vulnerable to recruitment by Al Shabaab. “Climate impacts have contributed to an increase in the number of IDPs (internally displaced people) that moved to urban areas, such as Mogadishu, and who are living in improvised camps,” said the report. “These camps have become hotspots for criminal activities such as human trafficking and child exploitation, and a recruitment ground for Al Shabaab.” A pickup in migration has also robbed UNSOM of the elders who typically mediate conflicts, leaving a gap in local governance, researchers added. The report found Al Shabaab had learned to take advantage of natural disasters by helping victims and legitimizing its power. “Al Shabaab collects food and money through its distribution centres, to provide disaster relief to those affected,” it said. “The increasingly cyclical occurrence of drought, flood and famine assures Al Shabaab the opportunity to showcase its position as a relief provider.” UNSOM said it “broadly” agreed with the report, but disputed researchers’ belief there was a lack of donor awareness about the heavy social impact of environmental problems.