Posts by AAH

Breaking News
Conflict Over Mentor and Livestock
02/04/2012
Shabelle Valley highlighted on a map of the drought-affected areas of Somalia
UN System
Shabelle Valley highlighted on a map of the drought-affected areas of Somalia
Five people died and four were seriously injured during heavy fighting on Saturday between al-Shabaab militants and locals in Geyfo village of Middle Shabelle region, according to residents who spoke to Somalia Report.

Ahmed Moalim Mohamud, a resident of Ragge Elle village near Geyfo who spoke to Somalia Report, confirmed that the locals who were killed were fighting to defend their farms and livestock. ‘Three people who died were locals, while the other two were al-Shabaab,” he said.

He added that the injured were taken to Jowhar, the provincial capital, to get medical assistance.

Muna Abulkarim Jima’ale, a resident of Geyfo village, told Somalia Report that the fighting between the locals and al-Shabaab fighters used artilleries and heavy guns, due to al-Shabaab's demands for locals' farms and livestock. She added that the conflict ended around 6PM local time (1600 GMT) when residents started to flee, noting that most of the people are pastoral herders and farmers who fear that the conflict will start up again and cause yet more damage.

The locals protested when al-Shabaab fighters attacked a religious woman who lives in Geyfo who has many supporters in the area. “More than 20 fighters from insurgents attacked the home of a well-supported and respected religious woman in Geyfo village, that is why the locals protested and started to fight with the militants,” she said.

Local elders from Raage Elle arrived earlier in the day and opened negotiations between locals and al-Shabaab fighters, although the militants refused to bury the bodies of the locals who fought against them.

Acts of resistance from locals against al-Shabaab's presence in southern Somalia have been increasing during the recent months, although the militants still control large swathes of southern Somalia.

Mohamed Ahmed Afweyne, a political analyst based in Mogadishu, told Somalia Report that actions, such as the killing of civilians today, will bolster resistance by locals against al-Shabaab and this will lead to the militants losing large parts of southern and central Somalia.

Breaking News
Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullah, Mayor of Israac near Galkayo, Killed
02/05/2012
Galkayo
Galkayo
Unknown gunmen armed with pistols killed Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullah, the mayor of Israac village in the city of Galkayo, while he was leaving the mosque after Sunday evening prayers, according to Puntland government officials.

The mayor was killed near East Africa University in Galkayo according to Mohamud Dalmar Yussuf a Mudug security official in Galkayo who spoke to Somalia Report. "The chairman was killed by unknown militias, as he was passing near the East Africa University, heading home on foot," he said.

Dalmar Ali, an eyewitness in Galkayo district, described the scene for Somalia Report, "Unknown gunmen killed Israac Chairman Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullah while he was near Galcom company. The murderers shot bullets into his head and chest, and he died quickly. Immediately after the incident, the murderers escaped the scene," said Mr. Ali.

Chhairman of Mudug region Mohamed Jama told local media that the chairman was killed by merciless militia men, he confirmed that the security forces are on scene and have started investigations, but would not speculate as yet on who was behind the attack.

Locals told Somalia Report that the security forces have entered homes near the scene to ask residents if they have any knowledge of those who was behind the killing of Israac's chairman. The former chairman Ahmed Osman, who preceded Mohamed Yussuf, was also slain by gunmen in August 2011.

Galkayo was one of the deadliest cities in Somalia in 2011. Many people including elders members of parliament, journalists, religious leaders, community leaders and politicians have been kidnapped and killed. Most cases were blamed on al-Shabaab sympathizers in the Mudug region.

In just the past month, at least 8 people have been killed in Galkayo, including a well-known doctor and other locals.

Corruption Plagues Turkish Scholarship Program
02/15/2012
Somali Students
© Somalia Report, all rights reserved
Somali Students
Complaints over corruption cases in the ministries of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia have been on the rise, as many people are concerned over fraud, particularly within the Ministry of Education.

Students from the semi-autonomous region of Somaliland, in particular, have decried corruption that they claim is present in the awarding of Turkish educational scholarships.

The Turkish government, which seems to have made the re-building of the Somali capital a national mission, has awarded hundreds of scholarships for Somali students to study in Turkish educational institutions.

After having passed local examinations administered by Turkish, TFG, and Somaliland officials in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, the 60 students have come to Mogadishu to receive the fruits of their studies.

Zamzam Du’alle is one of these students. She told Somalia Report by telephone that President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali had visited the Somaliland students in Mogadishu hotels and promised them the first available spots in Turkey, a commitment that has not been fulfilled.

“Many scholarship opportunities have opened up, while the president and prime minister have not come back under our roof,” she said.

An official in the Ministry of Education involved with higher studies told Somalia Report, on the condition of anonymity, that there is much corruption surrounding the awarding of scholarships.

He said many scholarship opportunities allocated to the local Somali students are acquired through bribes.

“The lists of scholarship recipients were not selected through evaluation tests, they were selected though other procedures, like the politically based 4.5 clan formula, as well as bribes,” he said. The 4.5 tribal formula is the same clan-based system used to apportion Somali members of parliament (for every placement allocated to each of Somalia’s four major clans, half a placement is allocated to all minority clans combined).

Some sources have suggested that the cost of obtaining a scholarship falls in the range of $8,000 to $10,000, an enormous sum in Somalia.

Mohamed Abdi, a Ministry of Education official involved with higher studies, claimed that there was no corruption surrounding the awarding of scholarships, either to Somaliland or other students.

He said a quite number of students from Somaliland had already reached their universities in Turkey, while the others are waiting for upcoming openings.

Some of the students from Somaliland had gathered in Mogadishu and vowed if they did not get any results from the TFG leaders, particularly the president and the prime minister, they may go back to their homes.

Officials in the Turkish embassy in Mogadishu expressed the belief that the corruption surrounding the awarding of scholarships will decline, now that the Turkish envoy to Somalia, Cemalettin Kani Torun, has expressed annoyance that the scholarships were being handed out based on the 4.5 clan formula.

This is not the first instance of complaints over corruption and misconduct in the TFG Ministry of Education.

Last year, Somali students living the Kenyan refugee camps complained of fraud in the Turkish higher studies application process.

Breaking News
MP Yusuf Hassan Speaks with SR
03/10/2012
A Kenyan Policeman Secures the Machakos Bus Station
AAH
A Kenyan Policeman Secures the Machakos Bus Station
Five people were killed and more than 21 others critically injured when multiple grenade attacks struck downtown Nairobi after 7:50pm (1750 GMT) Saturday evening, according to Kenyan police and eyewitnesses. The attacks occured on Landhies road, near the Machakos country bus station in Nairobi.

Witnesses told Somalia Report that at least three people were killed directly by the grenades, while 15 others were taken by ambulances and rushed to the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi. An eyewitness, Dennis Mutula,told Somalia Report that the grenades were thrown out of a Toyota pickup towards the bus terminals.

Police said that the four grenades were thrown from a moving vehicle over about 100 meters. The blasts targeted Kenyan civilians heading home for the weekend. Kenyan security agencies and emergency services, including the Kenyan Red Cross, rushed to the scene to offer medical assistance.

Al-Shabaab are the obvious suspects behind the attacks, thought to be a by al-Shabaab militia, as it follows hours after an offensive in south-west Somalia has left 50 troops and al-Shabaab fighters dead.

Somalia Report Speaks with MP Yusuf Hassan On The Attacks

A Kenyan Member of Parliament (MP) of Somali background, Yusuf Hassan, showed up on the scene of the attack to investigate. He spoke with Somalia Report about the attack.

Honorable sir, can you talk about what happened tonight in downtown Nairobi?

MP Yusuf Hassan, Kenyan-Somali MP in Nairobi
AAH
MP Yusuf Hassan, Kenyan-Somali MP in Nairobi
Tonight after sunset prayers in Nairobi, unidentified men hurled grenade bombs which targeted civilian buses in the Machakos Bus terminals in the down town of Nairobi. This terminal serves the north, east and west parts of Nairobi as well as some of the Kenyan Provinces. This is a tragedy, causing casualties and injuries, as well as damage to the Machakos bus station.

Does the Kenyan government have any information about who was behind this attack? Were there any arrests as yet?

No arrests have been made, and we have no information as yet as to who was behind the attack, but we are waiting for the Kenyan security forces to identify who was behind this miserable incident.

Somalia Report heard that five people have died and 21 others wounded. As you have visited the scene and local hospitals, what have you seen there?

I visited the scene of the attack, and also visited the Kenyatta National Hospital. I saw almost 40 people who were injured in the attacks. While I was at the hospital, two of the injured people died. I can verify for you that five people died in the grenade attacks, according to the Kenyan police.

As the only Kenyan-Somali MP in Nairobi, did you see any Somalis who were injured this explosion?

I didn't see any Somalis who were injured this incident, but where the attack took place is not known for Somali people. There are no Somalis working there.

Honorable Yussuf Hassan, we know the Kenyan Defense Forces entered Somalia territory October last year. If these kind of attacks increase on Kenyan soil, will this affect the thousands of Somali refugees in Kenya?

We cannot comment on that, and we cannot say how this will affect impacts Somali refugees in Kenya. No-one has claimed responsibility of this horrible incident as yet. It is unacceptable to attack your neighbours. As the MP for Kamukunji, I will not accept attacks against Kenyan civilians.

What is your message to the Somali people in Nairobi?

I would like to tell Somalis that they must alerted and ready to work closely with Kenyan security forces. They must be aware of those who working to damage their dignity and targeting Kenyan civilians. If anyone sees suspicious people, they must report them to the closest police station to prevent harm to civilians and the security of Kenya.

UPDATE: Al-Shabaab claim responsibility

A senior al-Shabaab official in Gedo region spoke to Somalia Report today claiming responsibility for last night’s grenade attacks in Nairobi.

Sheikh Adam Mohamed Barre confirmed that the attacks were carried out by their fighters and swore that more suicide attacks would ensue in Nairobi.

“Kenya believes that we cannot carry out explosions in their capital but we are planning massive suicide attacks against Kenya and its people. Their people will never forget the pain and damage that we will inflict upon them,” promised Sheikh Adam.

The attack has bred fear among the Somali refugee population in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estates where police crackdown operations that usually victimize locals are expected to begin afresh.

Sheikh Adam also stated that they intend to increase their attacks in all the big cities during Kenya’s upcoming election year.

Officials Assess the Levels of Humanitarian Need in IDP Camps
03/11/2012
Women and Children at a feeding Center in Mogadishu
© UN, OCHA
Women and Children at a feeding Center in Mogadishu

A United Nations (UN) delegation led by the United Nations Resident Humanitarian Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative for Somalia (UNDP-RRS) Mark Bowden, visited Baidoa this Saturday.

UN officials were warmly received by government officials, local community elders, Non Governmental Organization (NGOs) and the leaders of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Baidoa.

The main aim of their visit was to assess the humanitarian situation in the city and ways they might help the IDPs in Bay region.

According to some of the local administration officials in Baidoa, the UN delegates met government officials including the Chairman of Bay region for the TFG, Abdifitah Mohamed Ibrahim (Geesey). He also visited IDP camps where hundreds of people reside due to violence and drought in their villages in the countryside.

TFG officials stated that the high level UN delegation had arrived as part of an assessment activity for the camps.

The chairman of Bay region for TFG said that they have discussed how to implement humanitarian projects in the war torn city and have reviewed available options in assisting the needy in IDP camps.

“For the past three years UN did not deliver any humanitarian assistance to the locals, so we have held a discussion on emergency aid projects for the IDPs in the city,” he said. He added that the UN officials pledged to re-open their local offices in the city to provide their continued assistance to the internally displaced people in the entire region.

The city of Baidoa in south-western Somalia is seemingly safe after Ethiopian and TFG troops captured it on the February 22 this year.

Mark Bowden who was leading the UN Delegation’s visit to Somalia said their trip to Baidoa was meant to ascertain the level of the humanitarian crisis in the city.

He confirmed that UN agencies will return and re-open their offices in Bay region to deliver humanitarian assistance to the locals.

Mr. Bowden outlined that Baidoa has its multiple share of humanitarian crises and it needs the implementation of projects to ensure the availability of basic needs for IDPs.

This is the first official UN visit to Baidoa since January 2009 when al-Shabaab fighters seized the south-western town which was the seat of the TFG from 2006 to 2009.