Posts by Abdikafar Hosh

Militants Accept 'Compulsory Donations' From Local Residents, Businesses
07/25/2011
Al-Shabaab Sympathizer Distributing Aid in Kismayo
@Somalia Report
Al-Shabaab Sympathizer Distributing Aid in Kismayo

The militant group al-Shabaab has opened a fundraising office in the southern port town of Kismayo in Lower Juba region to support drought-affected Somalis and internally displaced people (IDPs) who have migrated to the city.

Al-Shabaab said the office is open to receive compulsory donations such as money, food and clothes from local businesses and residents to help those who are in dire need.

The opening of this office comes after the militants banned a voluntary drought committee and prevented them from fundraising for IDPs. The local drought committee was comprised of fifteen members including religious scholars, business figures and elders.

Local residents are skeptical about the intentions of the insurgency which has seen a drop in their funds and popularity in recent months.

“Al-Shabaab wants to receive the donations that are to be collected from the local residents. They are currently engaged in establishing collection points at all the mosques of Kismayo and main streets,” said Awo Guure, a mother of five children in the town.

Awo Guure donated $200 to al-Shabaab’s fundraising office in order to reach out to the drought victims in the region. She told Somalia Report she is skeptical that her funds will end up in the hands of the poor people.

“Though al-Shabaab has managed to curb the security situation in the city, there are reasons not to like them. I am not sure whether my donation will end up in the hands of the poor people or whether they will utilize it for their specific needs and their so-called Jihad offensive against the government and African Union forces in the country,” she said.

The militants ordered big businesses to pay more than $200, while smaller businesses and local residents were ordered to pay not less than $100.

Adan Alasow, a school teacher in Kismayo’s suburban neighborhood of Via-Afmadow believes al-Shabaab’s motives are not charitable.

“It is clear that al-Shabaab is struggling to get financial resources and doesn’t care about starving people. They are fighting on many fronts including parts of Gedo region, Lower Juba and Mogadishu,” she told Somalia Report.

Alasow believes that al-Shabaab has lost its financial aid from the Arab countries because of the Egypt and Tunisia uprisings.

Mus’ab Abdulkadir is a pastoralist and one of the drought affected people and IDPs in the town. He was displaced from Bula-gudud village, 30 km north of Kismayo, after he lost all his livestock to the devastating drought in the region. He is accompanied by five of his children and their mother.

Mus’ab told Somalia Report that this drought is the worst of his lifetime. “I have never experienced the severity and proximity of such a drought. It is devastating and is killing all living things.”

He praised the efforts being made by the local residents of Kismayo whom he described to be merciful people. However, he is worried that donations designated for them will end up in the wrong hands.

“I have heard al-Shabaab is planning to spend donations for their demands. They want to divide the money into two halves; half for us and half for the Jihad. We will not accept this. This money is not for Jihad. This money is for starving children. Let them fear Allah,” he complained.

Al-Shabaab officials whom we tried to contact refused to comment on this matter.

Since the office opened, al-Shabaab’s fundraising committee money has collected between $80,000 to $100,000, according to member of the committee who spoke to Somalia Report on the condition of anonymity.

Breaking News
Hassan Aw Mohamed Hussein (Hassan Walloore) Killed in Front of Mosque
08/07/2011
A famous Somali elder was killed by unidentified gunmen on Sunday in Mudug's Galkayo town in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, city residents said.

Hassan Aw Mohamed Hussein, known as Hassan Walloore, was killed after Tarawiih prayer in front of the Ma’muur mosque in the Garsoor village of the northern Galk’ayo district, according to Abdulahi Sa’di who was at the mosque.

“I met him this evening and we prayed together with Maghrib and even Isha Prayers in the mosque,” he told Somalia Report.

The first deputy of the chairman of the Mudug region, Dahir Mohamud Musse, who was one of the first officials to reach the scene told the local media that at least three gunmen fired bullets that killed the local chief. A local resident tried to shoot back, but failed to save the elder.

“The murders ran away from the venue after a city dweller who happened to be near the venue at the time of the incident tried to shoot back," said the deputy chairman.

The deceased was taken to the hospital with serious gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

The mosque is one of the most dangerous places in the city of Galka’yo at night, according to locals.

Mohamed Abdi, a close relative of the victim, told Somalia Report that another prominent official was killed earlier this year.

“This mosque is near one of the five star hotels in the city and the location where another official was killed. In February gunmen killed a judge who was the head of the Mudug general court, Mr Hussein Khaliif," said Mohamed.

A close relative of the deceased elder confirmed the killing and said it wasn't the first time an official has been killed in the area.

“This act of killing important public figures like elders, businessmen, and government officials has been increasing over the last two years. Gunmen have killed at least 10 officials recently," the relative told Somalia Report.

The deceased chief was part of the the Puntland local committee of Gal’kayo city who were dismissed by the Puntland President Farole in March this year of 2011.

The local chief was a prominent peace arbitrator across Puntland regions and was a member of the Somali elders who participated in the Somali tribe elders conference in Mogadishu of 2007.

Reasons for the attack are unknown and the gunmen have not yet been arrested.

Feature
Cabinet Members Seen as Newcomers to Somali Politics
08/17/2011
Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali
Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali

Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, a Harvard-educated technocrat, was appointed as Somalia’s prime minister following the June 2011 Kampala Accord that was endorsed by Somalia's President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and the speaker of the transitional federal parliament, Shariff Hassan Sheikh Aden. In turn, the new prime minister was responsible for appointing a new cabinet despite fierce political infighting between the speaker and the president.

In an effort to understand the make-up of the prime minister's cabinet, Somalia Report examines how the new ministerial posts are shared amongst the president, prime minister and the speaker using the 4.5 clan formula.

Sharing Cabinet Appointments

Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali appointed 18 members to his cabinet, most of whom were drawn from the Somali community in the Diaspora and are viewed as newcomers to Somali politics.

But just how were the ministerial posts divided among Somalia's top three bickering officials?

“First the president believed that some members of the previous cabinet needed to be retained and he shared this viewpoint with the other two executives," said an official working in the president's office in Mogadishu.

However, the official, who sought anonymity, revealed that the speaker disagreed with the president's proposal and argued that the members of the the former administration had to quit to pave way for a new team.

“Although the speaker made that suggestion, his list still had some key members from the previous administration including Gen. Yussuf Siyad Indha’ade, Ali Ahmed Jama, Abdirisaq Jurille, Prof. Abdurahman Ibbi, Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail, and Abdirahman Abdishakur," said the official.

How 3 Top Officials Agreed on the Cabinet
@Somalia Report
How 3 Top Officials Agreed on the Cabinet

However, his proposed list was rejected by both Sheikh Shariff and Abdiweli, a move that sparked off a heated dispute between the men, according to Kaafi Abdalla Ali, a Somali political analyst in Mogadishu.

“The local media on many occasions reported the row between the president and the speaker and from my visits to the president's office I could clearly tell that the international community had to step in and persuade the two to come to some agreement,” Ali told Somalia Report.

He says the United Nations and leaders of the East African countries tried to persuade the politicians to abide by the Kampala Accord.

“Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni whose army soldiers are part of the peace keeping forces in Mogadishu and the Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Somalia, Dr. Augustine Mahiga, tried to persuade the Somali leaders to respect each other and allow the country to move forward by naming the new cabinet," he said.

Before the men could agree on a cabinet sharing deal, they had to abide by a specific procedure, according to Samiya Abdi Egal who works in the prime minister's office.

"I can assure you that before the appointment of the new cabinet ministers, the 3 officials agreed on a particular procedure whereby leader could suggest the members of his tribe, although the prime minister asked the president and the speaker to give him a green light to nominate the cabinet ministers," Mrs. Egal told Somalia Report.

She added that when the premier faced obstacles over nominations, he and the other two principles agreed that each leader must discuss with the former ministers from his tribe and stop the intervention of other tribes.

“The president consulted with the former ministers from his Hawiye tribe. The speaker consulted with former ministers from his Digil & Mirifle tribe, while the new Prime Minster discussed the available former ministers from his Darod tribe to facilitate the nominations," she explained. "This new plan forced the speaker to refrain and renounce the appointments of the other Somali tribes except the others or 0.5 and Dir tribe."

The newly cabinet was chosen based on the traditional clan 4.5 formula:

1 - Digil and Mirifle Clan (Speaker)

1 - Hawiye (President)

1 – Dir Clan

1 – Darood (Prime Minister)

.5 - minority clans

Clan Affiliation in the Cabinet
@Somalia Report
Clan Affiliation in the Cabinet

Speaker Hassan's Digil and Mirifle Clan Appointments

Speaker Hassan was forceful in seeing that people from his Digil and Mirifle clan be appointed to the cabinet. To do this, he consulted closely with former Defense Minister Abdihakim Mohamud Fiqqi, former Minister for Reconciliation Mohamud Mohamed Bonow, and former Minister of Energy and Minerals Abdirisak Sheikh Muhiyadin.

1. Mr. Mohamed Mohamud Haji Ibraahim, Deputy Prime Minster and Minster for Foreign Affairs - is from Dabare sub clan in the Digil clan and replaced his cousin Abdihakim Mohamud Fiqqi who was the defense minister. He has a degree in international relations and was part of the Somali Diaspora living in the United Kingdom.

2. Mr. Aden Abdullahi Aden, Minister for Transport - is from Hadame sub-clan in the Digil clan. He is a businessman who has been living in the Gulf states for the last several years and is close friends with the speaker, according to MP Bashiir Salaad.

3. Mr. Abdullahi Haji Hassan Mohamed Nuur, Minister for Agriculture and Livestock - is from Leysan sub-clan in the Mirifle clan and is part of the Somali Diaspora from Finland. He has a limited educational background, according to his relatives.

4. Mr. Abdirahman Sheikh Mohamed Haydar, Minister for Fisheries and Natural Resources - is from Eelay sub-clan in the Mirifle clan. He earned a master’s degree in human resource management from the University of Wales, according to MP Hassan Hussein. He replaced Abdirisak Sheikh Muhiyadiin who served as the minister of energy and minerals.

Dir Clan Appointments

Although the speaker's role in cabinet formation was supposed to be limited to his tribe, he had a strong hand in the role of other tribes particularly in the Dir clan, according Mohamed Hussein Elmi.

“I can verify you that the speaker played an inevitable role in the nomination of other tribes like Dir,” Mohamed Hussein told Somalia Report.

1. Mr. Ahmed Hassan Gabobe (Ugaas Bille), Minister for Justice and Religious Affairs - is from the Biyomaal sub-clan in the Dir clan and was part of the parliamentary committee that the speaker announced in February this year to prepare for the presidential elections. He has been an MP since the Djibouti agreement in 2009 and earned a degree in Islamic studies. He replaced Abdullahi Ebyan Nor.

2. Mr. Mohamed Muhiyadin Sheikh Mursal, Minister of Labor, Youth and Sports - is from the Isak clan in the Dir Clan of Somaliland. He is part of the Diaspora from United Kingdom and replaced Mohamed Abdullahi Oomaar who served as the deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs.

3. Mr. Hussein Arab Issa, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defense - is from Isak in the Dir clan and resides mainly a self proclaimed state of Somaliland. He left Somalia, where his family lived in southern part of the country and still has properties in the Middle Shabelle region, for the US in the 1980s, according to Ali Abdulahi Yassiin who lives in Mogadishu. He replaced Ahmed Abdirahman Abade, a former minster of transport.

4. Dr. Abdiaziz Sheikh Yussuf, Minister for Health - is from the Surre sub-clan in the Dir clan and comes from the UK. He served as the minister of health in the 2005-2006 government of Somalia but resigned after a row with then-Prime Minister Professor Ali Mohamed Geddi. He replaced Abdinuur Moalim Mohamud, the former minister for labor, sports and social affairs. Although Abdiaziz claims that he is full doctor, his close relatives told Somalia Report that he was only a nurse in Saudi Arabia.

President Shariff's Hawiye Clan Appointments

President Shariff has played a limited role in nominating members of his Hawiye tribe as compared to the speaker, according to MP Mohamed Hussein who spoke to Somalia Report.

“The president suggested two of the Hawiye minsters while the other two ministers are Diaspora from North American and close friends of Prime Minster Dr Abdiweli,” he said.

1. Mr. Abdisamad Moalim Mohamud Sheikh Hassan, Minister for Interior and National Security - replaced his late uncle Abdishakur Sheikh Hassan Faran who was assassinated on June 10th, 2011. Mr Hassan was born and raised in Dhusamareb of Galgadud region in central Somalia, but was most recently living in Toronto, Canada. He is closely aligned with the pro-government ASWJ militia of central Somalia.

2. Mr. Abdulkadir Hussein Mohamed, Minister for Information and Postal Cooperation - is from the Murursade sub-clan in the Hawiye clan. He is from Britain and earned a degree in information technology. He served as the director of the communication department of this ministry and is the owner of Radio Tusmo, one of the local radio stations in Mogadishu. He replaced Mohamed Moalim Hassan Mohamed, former Minister for Fishing, Environment and Natural Resources.

3. Mr. Abdulkadir Mohamed Dhiisow, Minister for Water and Energy - is from the Galje’el sub-clan in the Hawiye clan. He is of Somali-Finish origin and lived in Birmingham, UK for the last 10 years.

4. Dr Abdullahi Godah Barre, Minister for Planning and International Cooperation - is from Hawadle tribe in the Hawiye clan and he is from Ottawa, Canada. He is a close friend of the prime minister and he studied economics and agriculture at the National University of Somalia and attended Southern Illinois University and the University of Ottawa. He most recently worked on humanitarian projects for the United Nations.

PM Abdiweli's Darod Clan Appointments

For his list, the prime minister consulted previous ministers from his Darod clan, according to Yassin Abdulahi, a Somali politician from Puntland who was in Mogadishu during cabinet nominations.

“Dr. Abdiweli consulted with some of the previous ministers from his tribe particularly Abdikarim Hassan Jama, the former minister of information and postal cooperation, and Abirashiid Khalif Hashi, the former minster of housing and the national development,” Yassin Abdullahi told Somalia Report.

1. Mr. Abdiwahab Ugaas Hussein Ugaas Khaliif, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry - is from Ogaden in the Darod clan. He left Somalia in 1980 for Sweden where he earned a law degree. He replaced former Minister of Finance Mr. Xalane, who resigned his position after the resignation of the Prime Minster Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

2. Dr. Abdinasir Mohamed Abdulle, Minister for Finance and Treasury - is from the Marehan tribe in the Darod clan, the same as former PM Farmajo. Dr Abdinasir Abdulle earned a PhD in economics from the Utah State University where he later became an economics professor.

3. Mr. Abdirahman Hosh Jibriil, Minister for Reconciliation and Constitutional Affairs - is from Leelkase tribe in the Darod clan and is a Somali-Canadian lawyer after earning a degree from Canada's York University. He was one of the first Somali Diaspora who reached Canada in 1980s, according to Farah Shire who has lived Toronto for the last 30 years. “His father was a member of the Somali National Forces and attended a missionary school in Jowhar district of Lower Shabelle region. He travelled to Saudi Arabia after Ethiopian and Somali fought in 1977," said Farah Gessod.

4. Prof. Ahmed Aydiid Ibrahim, Minister For Education, Culture and Higher Studies - he is from Dhulbahante sub-clan in the Darod clan and is is a professor and lecturer in the Riyadh University of Saudi Arabia. He was the head of Examination Board in Somalia between the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Other Cabinet Members

1. Mr. Jaylani Noor Ikar, Minister for Housing and National Development - is from the Shaanshi sub-clan in the Reer Hamar and makes up the .5 of the 4.5 clan sharing agreement.

2. Mrs. Maryan Juma Aweis , Minister for Women and Gender Affairs - replaced Asho Osman Aqil after she refused to accept the position due to pressure from al-Shabaab militants. For Mrs. Aqil's ordeal at the hands of militants, please read here.

Making it Official

The new cabinet was sworn in on July 29, 2011 in a small ceremony held in the presidential compound of Villa Somalia Mogadishu attended by the president, prime minster, speaker and other distinguished guests.

The president urged the cabinet ministers to fulfill and their duties during the next twelve months which are massive considering that drought, famine and insurgents are ravaging the country.

“The duties in front of us are strong and tremendous. The time is very little, but if we try constructively we can manage and quickly reach our destinations next year," the president said.

Editor's Note: Some background information came from the Office of the Prime Minister.

Massive Clean Up Project Underway to Boost City's Image
08/13/2011
The residents of Mogadishu have embarked on a sanitation program aimed at redeeming the lost glory of the bullet-ridden Somali capital.

According to government officials, the clean-up campaign kicked off on Friday in Yaqshid district in northern Mogadishu, just a few days after the militant group al-Shabaab pulled out of its key strongholds in the city. The district was one of the main bases for the Islamist group.

Authorities say the cleaning program involves sweeping and clearing waste materials off the streets of Mogadishu, and followed the al-Shabaab’s withdrawal from the city a week ago. They said the campaign was expected to reach other districts and villages in the Banadir region, where government soldiers and AMISOM peace keeping forces have since taken control after ousting the al-Qaeda-linked militants.

The Chairman of Yaqshid district in Mogadishu, Muhiyadiin Hassan Jurus, who took part in the cleaning activity, said the initiative was voluntary.

“We are all gathered here today to take part in the cleaning campaign. The people of this district have come together with one aim - to clean up the streets and government buildings in this area,” he said. He said the operation, which commenced at the headquarters of the Yaqshid district, will reach all the other villages and different parts in the district.

Speaking at the same venue, Colonel Mohamed Mohamud Yalahow, commander of the Yaqshid police station, applauded the residents and urged them to carry on with the same spirit of hard work and cooperation. “I applaud the residents of this district for showing their support towards their government and trying to create a clean, stable and peaceful Mogadishu,” he said.

He praised the residents for working tirelessly with the government soldiers and AMISOM peacekeeping forces to maintain and control the security of the region and Mogadishu as a whole.

“The security and the controlling of our stability is a general duty upon us, so allow me to urge you all in this district to respect the law and order,” Colonel Yalahow said.

Some of the community elders, who spoke at the venue, said that the operation was well-organized and urged them to carry on with similar activities that would help reclaim the beauty of the Somali capital. They have appealed to the TFG soldiers to tighten up security and ensure safety on the streets and around the government buildings.

“We want from the commanders of the AMISOM peacekeeping forces and the soldiers from the transitional federal government to ensure that everyone is safe, clear any explosive devices lying on the streets,” one of the elders said

They added that the explosive materials on the streets of Mogadishu resembled stones in the sand, and that they explode anytime.

Halima Abdullahi, a mother of 6, took part in the cleaning exercise in Yaqshid district. She said that her group was working voluntarily to boost the appearance of the district through sanitation campaigns to promote hygiene among citizens.

“We are ready to restore our dignity and unity among all the people in the district, and we have started off by sweeping the streets and government buildings,” she said.

Visiting Mogadishu for the first time, one will come across a crowded scene of collapsed buildings and streets that have been destroyed over the years due to the long standing civil war. There are sights of vacated homes and villages in all the districts within the city a clear testimony of the state of the conflict and unrest.

Another important feature that stands out in Mogadishu is a small weed plant, commonly known to the local people as 'Ali Garob’. This weed plant is almost everywhere all over the city. It has survived through times of prolonged droughts. Mustafe Dalmar, a Somali teenager, says he is happy to be involved in the cleaning initiative. “As a young Somali, I would like to contribute to the clean-up and even take part in reconstruction works of the main streets and government buildings in our district,” he said, adding that he wanted to get rid of the weed plants around the city, especially in Mogadishu Stadium where Somali youngsters frequent to play soccer.

Officials said Yaqshid district, where the campaign started, is home to some of the capital’s important landmarks, including Mogadishu Stadium, Somali National Television and various institutions, such as schools and hospitals. Some of the famous hotels in Mogadishu are also located here.

However, there are certain fears about the clean-up operations. Residents are worried over coming into contact with explosive materials left behind by the al-Shabaab group. In recent years, explosive devices have claimed more than 30 lives, mostly women, while performing clean-up activities on the main streets of Mogadishu.

Militant Group Also Refutes Claims Over Withdrawal From Mogadishu
08/14/2011
Al Shabaab
Somalia Report
Al Shabaab
The militant group al-Shabaab has vehemently denied that it had split into splinter groups, the group’s spokesman said late on Saturday.

Sheikh Ali Mohamud Raage (alias Sheikh Ali Dhere) also refuted claims that the Islamist fighters had fallen back and pulled out of their stronghold bases in Mogadishu.

His counter claims come more than a week after reports, citing al-Shabaab leaders, indicated that the group had fully withdrawn from their bases in the bullet-ridden Somali capital. Their pullout, the sources said, followed an onslaught from the African Union-led peace keeping troops against the militant fighters.

However, some al-Shabaab leaders maintained that their pullout from the capital was merely a military tactic, adding that they were prepared to launch hit-and-run revenge attacks.

But speaking on the BBC Somali service, Raage said his fighters did not withdraw from Mogadishu but they had changed ‘tactics’ to fight against their rivals. “We have not pulled out of Mogadishu, but we’ve just changed our tactics of fighting our enemy,” he said.

Raage added that the al-Shabaab fighters had abandoned some of their fighting trenches in the surrounds of Mogadishu from where they fought the government soldiers and AMISOM peacekeeping forces.

“We have vacated our trenches in Mogadishu, but that does not mean that we have abandoned Mogadishu,” he said, adding that the group’s fighters were still holding key areas, including Abdiasiis, Hamar weyne and Hamar Jajab districts in Mogadishu.

He also has denied that there was a rift between al-Shabaab militants and their leadership terming such allegations as mere propaganda.