Posts by Sucaad Mire

Investor Was Targeted for Arrest in Puntland Operations
09/08/2011
Pirates in Puntland
©Somalia Report
Pirates in Puntland

A well-known pirate investor based in Bosaso, who was wounded as Puntland security forces tried to arrest him last Thursday evening, has accused a Puntland official of asking for a bribe to cancel the operations against him.

Mohamed B. Omar, speaking from a heavily guarded house in eastern Bosaso, told Somalia Report he was sick of Puntland officials extorting money from him to allow him to operate in piracy. A clan militia defended Omar in the fight, which killed three, and he said he was now hiring more militiamen to act as a security force.

Omar alleged that the vice commissioner of Bari police, Mr Jaqanaf called him a day before the attack to make his offer.

“He said to me that you are pirate and committing wrongdoing against public, so you have to pay money to cancel the operation against you,” he said. “I repeatedly said to him that I will never pay a bribe, and urged him to stop bullying me.”

Omar said clan differences were behind the attack.

However, Bari’s police commissioner, Abdi Ferrey, denied the allegation, telling Somalia Report that Puntland does not work with pirates.

“The Puntland security officials are well-disciplined and trained, so it is impossible for them to be involved in such humiliating acts,” he said. “That guy accusing us wants to spark violence here in Bosaso and we are following the news he is enlisting a clan militia to defend himself.”

Pirate "Marriages" Increase Cost of Marriage in Puntland
09/24/2011
Pirates Counting Ransom (File Photo)
Somalia Report
Pirates Counting Ransom (File Photo)

In Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland, the cost of marriage has skyrocketed in the last six months as ransoms from hijacked vessels are received and women from neighboring regions and countries flock to Puntland's pirate hubs in search of men with cash.

The pirates are allegedly spending a whooping US$35,000 for marriage, while the locals have to pay up to US$5000 to get themselves a wife.

“It really affected me. I divorced my husband and I married a pirate who works in Garacad. For the first few months we had a good time, but then he began to go out with another woman after he got another ransom. Finally I asked for a divorce and came back to my parents' home in Galkayo,” complained Anab Jama, a mother of two children, when she spoke to Somalia Report.

Local elders are upset at the pirates' need for women, and their attempts to slow the effects of increasing costs are not working.

“For marriages, pirates spend a lot of ransom money on one night. The money is forbidden in the Muslim religion since it is haram. It has increased the cost of marriage for locals,” Abdulkadir Ahmed Ibrahim, a traditional elder in Bari Region, told Somalia Report.

Local officials agree that pirate ransoms have a negative affect on the local community.

“Pirate ransom affects families deeply. Sometimes it causes divorce because the pirates like to marry new, beautiful women. We need to make people aware of this and stop it," said Puntland Minister of Women and Development Family Asha Geelle Diriye.

“New pirates are mostly from outside the cities so they don’t understand that ransom money is temporary. They don't understand thei rnew job as a pirate. They believe that it is a permanent job and they will be millionaires so they use their ransom for a high cost marriages,” she added.

Fights among pirates have increased in recent months over women and drugs.

Drought Decimates Livestock, Hits Incomes
09/28/2011
Businessmen and pastrolists from Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland are expecting to export millions of livestock, mostly sheep, to the Arabian Peninsula during Holy month of Hajj.

This comes after Saudi Arabia lifted a ban on the import of livestock from Somalia in 2009 imposed nine years earlier to prevent the spread of disease.

According to businessmen in Puntland's commercial city Bosaso, more than half a million livestock are ready for exportation to Saudi Arabia within this week.

“The first ship will go to Saudi Arabia this week. Al-Jaabiri Company (Saudi livestock import company) are planning to export to Saudi Arabia an estimate of 600.000 sheep within 45 days and millions others at the end year," Omar Ismail Waberi, livestock investor in Bosaso told Somalia Report.

"We also want to export 500,000 cows and 20,000 sheep to Lebanon, 600,000 camels and 10,000 cows to Egypt this year,” Waberi said.

A severe drought that hit most regions in Somalia is threatening to bring down the country's livestock industry which is the highest income earner for the country.

“When livestock arrives here in Bosaso, first we check their health and buy them according to their health. We have hired 21 foreign doctors who are livestock specialists," Added Omar Ismail Waberi.

According to the traders, the prices of livestock declined by almost 50 percent this year because of the famine and drought.

The livestock trade in the northern Horn of Africa links Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somaliland and Puntland with each other and with markets in the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf.

The climate situation in Horn of Africa is a reminder that behind the science, statistics and debate over global warming, climate change is already having a deep impact on Africa’s poverty, security and culture.

Somaliland Denies Links with Al-Shabaab
09/27/2011
Puntland Soldiers
Somalia Report
Puntland Soldiers

Authorities in the semi-autonomous state of Puntland are accusing Somaliland of training and prodding members of the militant group al-Shabaab.

Officials from the Sanaag Region have strongly criticized the breakaway state of Somaliland for harboring the Islamist fighters and providing them with military training in parts within its territory in order to terrorize the government of Puntland.

“The truth is Somaliland gives military training to a number of al-Shabaab members in their regions and we know it," Governor of Sanaag Region, Mohamoud Said Nur (Dabaylaqor) told Somalia Report via a telephone interview.

Nur claimed the training was being conducted in several areas within Somaliland, including Togdheer region and Godmo Biyo Cas residence.

However, Somalia Report could not independently confirm such claims.

Puntland officials argued that once they are trained, the Islamist fighters would be sent over by the Somaliland authorities to launch assaults against Puntland.

“Somaliland uses these alshabaab members to destroy Puntland, interfere with the peace and stability that our regions continue to enjoy,” the governor said.

Early this year, Puntland's former Minister for Security, Yusuf Ahmed Kheyr, told the local media that Somaliland was actively involved in training the al-Shabaab in their region and that it planned to send the group to Puntland regions to cause chaos.

But in a quick rejoinder, Somaliland’s Minister for Ports, Abdulaahi Jama Osman (known as Geeljire) refuted the claims saying his government had no links with the militant group, which is allied to the infamous global al-Qaeda terrorist network.

Government Cites Security and Esthetics as Reason Behind Displacement
10/13/2011
Shanty Homes Near Bosaso Port
@Somalia Report
Shanty Homes Near Bosaso Port

Officials in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland on Wednesday ordered Bosaso residents to move from the port within seven days citing security reasons and esthetics, according to officials who spoke to Somalia Report.

By October 19 all residents, at least 150 families, around Bosaso port, particularly those living near the entrance, must vacate their homes as a preemptive move to avoid being killed by any potential al-Shabaab suicide bomb attack and to help improve the image of the port.

‘’They have an enough time to collect their property. If the residents do not implement the order, we shall use power to evict them. These residents have created insecurity in the port and it is no longer beautiful,“ Puntland’s Police Commander General Ali Nur Omar told Somalia Report.

The government has not offered an alternative place for the residents to live.

‘’I don't know where I'm going. I want to be here. If they want to move us they have to prepare a suitable place for us to live,” complained Hawa Ali Muse, a 50 year old female resident.

While some residents are abiding by the order to leave, others have decided to hedge their bets and remain and see what happens by remaining in their homes.