Monday, March 31, 2008
he started to play a key role in the emerging mostly hawiye Islamic courts, they controlled lawless south Mogadishu. In the past two years, separate clan-based Islamic courts joined forces, becoming Somalia's strongest militia. Mr. Aweys was always the courts' leader, although...Aweys with organising the fighters' training and strategy, he was always moving between Mogadishu and the central Galgudud region.town of guraeel were he is originally from . . After the defeat of the ICU He want to Asmara (Eritrea) Earlier this year, a UN report said that he had been getting significant military aid from Eritrea - a claim Eritrea has denied. ... US consider putting Eritrea on terrorism list .Eritrea was supporting the Islamists because of its long-standing rivalry with Ethiopia, Terrorist. Ethiopia helped the interim president, Abdullah You, defeat al-Itihaad forces in the 1990s. Mr. You was elected president in 2004, Sheik Aweys takes over chairmanship of Insurgent group,Somali radical takes over militia,Aweys to lead Hizbu Islam militants he Declares War against TFG, US and Ethiopia.and AU peace keepers
Since 1991, Warlordism terrorism " PIRATESM, TRIBILISM Replaces the Honorable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre administration .While the terrorist threat in Somalia is real, Somalia’s rich history and cultural traditions have helped to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. The long-term terrorist threat in Somalia, however, can only be addressed through the establishment of a functioning central government
BOSSASO, Somalia - The regional president in Somalia's semiautonomous state of Puntland has denied growing speculation that Ethiopian soldiers might be deployed in the relatively stable territory.
President Mohamud "Adde" Muse spoke with reporters in the port city of Bossaso Sunday before he flew to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for talks with Ethiopian government officials.
He was accompanied by Security Minister Abdullahi Said Samatar, army commander Ali Badiye and intelligence chief Osman "Diana" Abdullahi.
The Puntland leader said his trip to Addis Ababa is linked to strengthening economic and security relations with Ethiopia.
President Muse dismissed reports that Ethiopian soldiers might be deployed in the region to protect the investments of foreign companies intending to explore for oil in Puntland.
A military delegation from Ethiopia was in the Puntland capital of Garowe earlier this month, where they held private meetings with oil company representatives and Puntland government officials. [ READ: Ethiopian factor surfaces in Puntland oil dispute]
Thousands of Ethiopian troops are deployed in central and southern Somalia, where they are frequently targeted in guerrilla attacks by Islamist rebels.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Mogadishu, March 30, 2008 (Addis Ababa) - Foreign Affairs Minister Seyoum Mesfin said the issue of stabilizing Somalia and building the capacity of institutions in that country is equally important as the ongoing activities to maintain peace, speed up development and build a democratic system in Ethiopia...... dig more http://www.ena.gov.et/EnglishNews/2008/Mar/30Mar08/54013.htm
March 30, 2008: Somalia has become too dangerous for aid agencies. The clan militias have gotten greedy, and been stealing so much of the aid, and plundering the aid organizations as well, that the flow of foreign food and medical help is stopping. About a third of the population is safe .dig more http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/somalia/articles/20080330.aspx
By Daniel Wallis
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Somalia's embattled central bank plans to revamp the anarchic country's currency because of a flood of fake notes printed by warlords and businessmen.
Addressing donors meeting in neighbouring Kenya on Saturday, the bank's director general, Sharif Mohamed Hassan, said "greedy" individuals had pumped counterfeit cash into the market for years, driving the local unit to its lowest ever level. dig more http://africa.reuters.com/business/news/usnBAN946551.html
Abdi Affey's dreadful days as
BY NJONJO KIHURIA
Sunday, March 30, 2008
|Former Keny's Envoy to Somalia Ambassador Mohamed Abdi Affey|
Since the end of the Cold War, diplomatic postings have become more of prolonged fully-paid-for overseas holidays. One only gets to hear of envoys representing African countries abroad when they are appointed or recalled. dig more http://www.hiiraan.com/op2/2008/mar/the_world_s_most_dangerous_job.aspx
The soldiers were reported to have left the provincial capital Marka and the town of
Residents in Barawe said
The soldiers have not set up any base in Barawe but were reported to be standing guard on roads inside and leading to the port town, which is notorious for the illegal export of charcoal.
Ethiopian troops first arrived in
So far, the troops have not found any base or arrested any suspects.Earlier Friday, an unmanned
Friday, March 28, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Supporting a joint statement issued by dozens of humanitarian agencies warning of an impending catastrophe in Somalia, the United Nations relief chief today said that political reconciliation is essential to solve the problem.
“We have to make clear that the people of Somalia deserve an urgent solution,” John Holmes, who serves as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and as Emergency Relief Coordinator, said in an interview with UN Radio. DIG MORE http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=26108&Cr=somalia&Cr1=
The Governor of the central Somali region of Hiran escaped assassination attempt after a roadside bomb targeted his convoy, killing one of his bodyguards and injuring five others, witnesses and local media reports said Thursday. DIG MORE http://firstname.lastname@example.org
MOGADISHU, March 27 (Reuters) - Somalia's Islamist insurgents vowed on Thursday to launch more hit-and-run attacks against the government, saying their tactics were designed to reduce civilian casualties. dig more http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L27336441.htm
The United States gives Africa assistance to deter international security threats that arise through conflicts within the continent, according to an international relations expert.
Dr. Robert G. Patman, professor of international relations at the University of Otago in New Zealand, in a Global Awareness lecture Wednesday, discussed American policy toward Sub-Saharan Africa before and after 9/11. dig more. http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/68108
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Those who claim we should withdraw from Iraq in order to fight Al Qaeda more effectively elsewhere are making a dangerous mistake. Whether they were there before is immaterial, al Qaeda is in Iraq now, as it is in the borderlands between Pakistan and Afghanistan, in Somalia, and in Indonesia. dig more http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/News/Speeches/872473dd-9ccb-4ab4-9d0d-ec54f0e7a497.htm
Surrounded by Somali immigrants, veterans, his family and an array of Republican stalwarts, Sen. Norm Coleman formally launched his reelection bid in St. Paul on Wednesday, declaring himself to be a "voice of optimism in cynical times." dig more http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/senate/17016876.html
MARKA, Somalia - Ethiopian troops have deployed in parts of Lower Shabelle region for the first time since the Ethiopia's military intervention in south Somalia in December 2006 dig more http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Ethiopian_army_searching_for_insurgent_bases_in_Lower_Shabelle.shtml
The courses are encouraged under a new government policy to "empower" Muslim women, ultimately to combat the threat from Islamist violence, a threat made brutally clear when four home-grown suicide bombers killed 52 people in London in 2005. dig more http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=topNews&storyid=2008-03-26T013524Z_01_L19739136_RTRUKOC_0_UK-BRITAIN-MUSLIM-WOMEN.xml
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Yared Bekele Mekonnen
March 24th 2008
As an Ethiopian-American, I read with great interest your recent article http://www.thecuttingedgenews.com/index.php?article=326 focusing upon Rep. Donald Payne's embrace of terror-state Eritrea at the expense of U.S. allies Ethiopia and Somalia.I offer my congratulations to The Cutting Edge News for truly living up to your name and delivering the cutting edge revelation of Rep. Payne's trip to Asmara. I do not recall reading about his strikingly low-profile visit to that terror-sponsoring regime in any other U.S. media outlet.
I share Abdirahman Warsame's righteous indignation regarding both the trip itself, as well as Payne's “misguided” vision for the Horn of Africa. I can only scratch my head in wonderment at how an individual clearly so out of step with rational U.S. Africa policies has managed to find himself in such a powerful position.
Evidence of just how detached Rep. Payne appears to be from reality emerged last week during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S. policy options for the Horn of Africa. The transcript that I read of the hearing suggests that it was a wide-ranging conversation that competently illustrated the complex dynamics in the Horn, and explored how critical the region is in terms of American interests in Africa.
If there was one central theme that seemed to run through the testimony of the senior U.S. officials called upon to testify before the committee, it was the overwhelmingly negative role that Eritrea continues to play.In her prepared statement and in answer to questions from the senators, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer assailed Eritrea, saying its human rights record is “deplorable and is steadily declining” and accusing the regime of sponsoring instability in neighboring nations and undermining the efforts of U.N. peacekeepers along its border with Ethiopia.
I found it heartening to hear a top administration official speaking the truth about a country that restricts religious freedom and has been accused of detaining, torturing and deporting members of minority religious parties, according to the State Department's 2007 International Religious Freedom Report.
Frazer also provided extensive evidence of ties between al-Qaeda and terrorist groups operating in Somalia that are funded, armed and trained by Eritrea. Just days after the hearing, the State Department added one of the deadliest of these groups, al-Shabaab to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorist Organizations.
With Eritrean support, al-Shabaab has undermined regional stability in the Horn of Africa by threatening Somali civilians and shooting and bombing Ethiopian and African Union troops and Somali political leaders trying to stabilize Mogadishu.
Surely Rep. Payne has access to the same information as the State Department regarding Eritrea's support for such repugnant terrorism. So how can it be that he seems so hell-bent on embracing this rogue regime and attacking Ethiopia?
The senators in attendance at the hearing asked tough questions of the administration's representatives and certainly challenged their approach to the Horn of Africa. However, not a single senator seemed to even remotely suggest that the United States should shift its alliance away from its proven ally Ethiopia and toward Eritrea. In fact, HR 2003 - the official number of the legislation introduced by Payne that would threaten the U.S.- Ethiopian relationship - was not mentioned even a single time during the course of the two-hour long hearing.
As a supporter of a strong U.S. - Ethiopian relationship, I hope that this is a signal that the Senate will not be so quick to take up Payne's bill, which Mr. Warsame correctly noted is a thinly disguised attempt to undercut American support for Ethiopia and drive America toward a partnership with the terror-sponsoring state of Eritrea.
Thanks in large part to The Cutting Edge News, the unbridled animus of Donald Payne toward Ethiopia and his clear affection for Eritrea (as evidenced by his slinking off to Asmara below the radar screen during a Congressional recess) is no longer a secret. Armed with the facts, the American public is wholly justified in questioning Payne's motives and judging him by his actions.
Yared Bekele Mekonnen
The writer is vice chairman of the Ethiopian American Forum.
The two fibreglass boats, stolen at midnight on Sunday, were found near the port, said WFP spokesman Peter Smerdon. DIG MORE http://www.thetimes.co.za/News/Article.aspx?id=732723
Monday, March 24, 2008
MOGADISHU (AFP) - Four policemen and two civilians were killed Monday in the latest fighting in the Somali capital, witnesses and police said... dig more http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080324/wl_africa_afp/somaliaunrest_080324113829
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Somali Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein said Sunday the council of Hawiye clan elders will be part of the reconciliation process by his government, following the first face-to-face meeting between the two sides. DIG MORE http://email@example.com
New York — A Vietnamese representative to the United Nations said on Thursday that Viet Nam supports a comprehensive approach to fully resolve the root causes of the Somalia conflict.
Ambassador Le Luong Minh, permanent representative to the UN Security Council, made the statement at the council’s debate on Somalia. DIG MORE ....http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/showarticle.php?num=02POL220308
MOGADISHU, Somalia Mar 22 - Hundreds of people gathered at a football stadium Saturday in Somalia's capital to showcase public support for interim Prime Minister Nur "Adde" Hassan Hussein's plan for national reconciliation..... dig more http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Hundreds_demonstrate_to_support_PM_s_reconciliation_plan.shtml
Saturday, March 22, 2008
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The mayor of Somalia's chaotic capital has blamed merchants for a bloody battle that killed at least 3 government soldiers yesterday.
Mohamed "Dheere" Omar, the mayor of Mogadishu who also holds the post of Banadir governor, told reporters in the capital Friday that business groups in the city's main Bakara market "organized" the ambush on government soldiers manning checkpoints.
"The al-Shabaab group and the so-called Bakara traders are behind yesterday's attack on government forces," Mayor Mohamed Dheere said,Full story]
Baidoa, -One year after a Holy Thursday donation by Pope Benedict XVI, a Catholic clinic in Baidoa is expanding its services to more people in the Horn of Africa nation.
The health centre, run by Caritas
The outpatient facility serves up to 170 patients a day, with some patients traveling more than 50 kilometers to receive free care.
Abdullahi Mumin, the medical coordinator, told CISA the common ailments in the region are respiratory infections like tonsillitis, bronchitis, rhinitis and the common cold, which often advance to the potentially deadly pneumonia due to delays in seeking treatment.
According to Davide Bernocchi, director of Caritas
"We are glad that the Pope remembered the people of
The president of Caritas
Grace Kyeyune, the UNICEF Chief of Field Office in Central and Southern region of
Source: Catholic Information Service for Africa
Friday, March 21, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
The Transitional Federal Government is guided by the principle that reconciliation is the basis for resolving the Somali political conflict, realization of lasting peace and maintenance of functioning governance institutions in Somalia. Furthermore, the TFG believes that all Somalis have a role to contribute to making the reconciliation process successful, and that each individual should take into account their responsibilities as well as rights to the Somali nation. dig more http://www.hiiraan.com/op2/2008/mar/reconciliation_strategy_of_the_transitional_federal_government_of_somalia.aspx
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- Insurgents briefly overran two government bases Thursday after hours of fighting killed at least seven people, including a 7-year-old boy, witnesses said. dig more http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/03/20/somali.rebels.ap/index.html
15-member body discuss various scenarios about ways of increasing UN involvement in Somalia.
By Gerard Aziakou - UNITED NATIONS
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Residents of Somalia's capital say six people were killed in fighting between Islamist insurgents and government troops.
Witnesses say the clashes erupted Thursday near a market in Mogadishu, in the Howlawadag neighborhood. At least two soldiers are reported to have been killed.
Residents say fighting Wednesday in northern Mogadishu involving Islamists and Ethiopian troops backing the Somali government killed at least eight people.
At the United Nations Thursday, the Security Council reviewed various options for increased U.N. involvement in Somalia, including the possible deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping force.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalizad, said the U.N. is not close to deploying peacekeeping forces to Somalia.
The U.N. assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping operations Edmond Mulet expressed concerns to the council about sending peacekeepers into Somalia while the security situation is volatile.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report this week that he is prepared to recommend sending U.N. peacekeepers to Somalia if key conditions are met.
Mr. Ban said those conditions include an agreement by the country's major factions to cease hostilities and share power. He said another condition is the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops who currently support the transitional government.
The Somali government and its Ethiopian allies have been battling an Islamist insurgency for more than a year. The insurgency began after a joint Somali-Ethiopian offensive drove a militant Islamist movement from power in southern Somalia in late 2006.
The fighting has killed thousands of people in Mogadishu alone and forced at least a half million others to flee the city.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP.
Considerable progress has been made worldwide in the fight against terrorism, including the endorsement of important treaties and the sharing of information between law enforcement agencies, UN News Service quoted a senior United Nations official as saying yesterday.
Although resolution 1373 is as relevant today as it was when it was adopted in the wake of the September 2001 attacks against the United States, “most countries in the world have now criminalized terrorism,” Mike Smith, Executive Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), told the Council in an open debate yesterday.
Since the adoption of the landmark resolution, Smith said that there have been hundreds of new ratifications of the key counter-terrorism pacts.
“There has been an almost unprecedented level of international exchange of information and cooperation among relevant agencies across borders, with the purpose of disrupting planned terrorist attacks and enabling the arrest and prosecution of those engaged in terrorism,” he observed.
Thus, the focus has shifted now to ensuring that nations have the capacity and expertise to implement the measures of resolution 1373, which calls for countries to enhance their ability to counter terrorist activities nationally, regionally and globally.
Updating the Council on CTED’s work, Smith said that the body is close to finalizing 192 Preliminary Implementation Assessments – one for every UN member – which boosts dialogue with countries on putting resolution 1373 into effect.
In addition, the Directorate will shortly finish revising a worldwide survey of the resolution’s implementation, which assesses how countries in different regions and sub-regions are proceeding with the counter-terrorism efforts and identifies gaps that need to be addressed, WIC reported UN Service as saying.
Established as a special political mission in 2004, the CTED assists the Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee in monitoring 1373’s implementation.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
March 19, 2008: About a hundred Islamic Courts Union (ICU) gunmen are wandering around Somalia, making appearances and photo opportunities for whatever journalists they can find. This crew calls itself Shabab. The government responded by offering to negotiate with the ICU, or anyone else who was a player and willing to talk. The Shabab and ICU said NO dig more
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
NAIROBI, March 18 (Reuters) - The United States has formally designated Somalia's al Shabaab militants a foreign terrorist organisation to increase pressure on what Washington says is al Qaeda's main link in the Horn of Africa nation.
The al Shabaab is the militant wing of the Somalia Islamic Courts Council that took over most of southern Somalia for the second half of 2006, until Somalia's interim government and its Ethiopian military allies routed the group in a two-week war.
The group, whose leader Aden Hashi Farah Ayro survived a U.S. airstrike in January 2007, is thought by security experts to be leading an insurgency that has killed 6,500 people since last year.
The designation put the Shabaab alongside groups such as al Qaeda, Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the Palestinian Hamas group and Lebanon's Hezbollah.
"I hereby designate that organisation and its aliases as a foreign terrorist organisation," U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a notice published on Tuesday in the U.S. government's Federal Register.
The designation allows Washington to freeze the assets of any person or group linked to al Shabaab, another tool to go alongside military and intelligence efforts that have led to four U.S. military strikes in Somalia in the last 14 months.
"U.S. financial institutions can get assets of anyone involved and block them and prevent any material support getting to them," said a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We will be reaching out to other governments to get them to implement similar provisions."
Al Shabaab has adopted Iraq-style tactics, including assassinations and roadside bombs and has claimed at least one suicide bombing -- unheard of in Somalia's moderate Sufi Islamic customs.
"VIOLENT, BRUTAL GROUP"
"Al-Shabaab is a violent and brutal extremist group with a number of individuals affiliated with al Qaeda," the State Department said in a statement released in Washington.
"The designation will raise awareness of al-Shabaab's activities and help undercut the group's ability to threaten targets in and destabilize the Horn of Africa region," it added.
Western security officials and diplomats say Ayro trained with al Qaeda in Afghanistan and has provided shelter to al Qaeda operatives involved in 1998 and 2002 bomb attacks in neighboring Kenya.
They say the al Shabaab, under Ayro's command, has been responsible for killing aid workers and journalists, the desecration of an Italian colonial-era cemetery in 2004 and scores of attacks during the insurgency.
That has always been Washington's concern in the absence of an effective central government in Somalia since the ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, and
It was the second time Washington has moved to freeze assets of Somalis on terrorism grounds. Ayro's mentor, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, was one of 189 people or entities "linked to terrorism" whose assets were frozen by the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The two are among six members or associates of al Qaeda thought by the United States to be in Somalia.
In New York, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a report on Somalia which said there were indications that "international terrorists have sought safe haven in the Hiraan and Juba districts, considered to be the stronghold of (Islamic Courts Union or ICU) extremist elements."
The Security Council will discuss the report on Thursday and diplomats said it would again consider possibly sending a U.N. peacekeeping force, a move supported by South Africa but which permanent council members Britain and France are wary of.
"The security situation remains volatile throughout the country," Ban said.
The United Nations has not itself confirmed the existence of "terrorist cells" in Somalia, but Ban's report raised the concern that "the longer law and order is absent from Somalia, the greater the chance that international terrorists will use its territory as a safe haven." (Additional reporting by Mark Trevelyan in London and Arshad Mohammed in Washington, Editing by Matthew Tostevin and David Storey) (For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: http://africa.reuters.com/ )
Monday, March 17, 2008
Mogadishu,Somalia -Up to eight police vehicles from Uganda government were submitted to the transitional government by AMISOM officials at a ceremony occurred in Commando-policia centre in the capital on Sunday.At the ceremonial location the new commander of AMISOM troop’s general fransis Okello who handed over the vehicle’s keys to the Somali prime minister Nor Adde has declared that they have intended the offer vehicles to help Somali police to tight the security of the country.“Sir as you know I am the new commander of AMISOM forces we are supporting your new endeavor of talking to the opposition” Okello said in a speech he delivered at the ceremony location.Okello has also accentuated that their AMISOM forces are not in Somalia as fight principles saying their troops are working with Mogadishu people.“Our forces are not in Somalia to fight with a section we are in Somalia to assist the Somalis” he said He also called for the government police forces to work with the public and to bring to an end the infringement acts against the inhabitants made by some of the government soldiers.Following the vehicle’s conveying Somali prime minister Nor Adde has as well showed further appreciation to AMISOM officials for handing over the vehicles to the police.Mr Adde has also described the offer as encouragement towards the police force’s security providing efforts. AMISOM was initially authorized by the AU Peace and Security Council on Jan. 19, 2007 to provide for security and peacekeeping in the wake of heavy fightings in Somalia. A month later, the Security Council gave the green light to the African Union to establish the mission.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
MOGADISHU,somalia- A senior Somali Jihadist leader rejected on Sunday an offer of talks by the interim government to end insurgent attacks, including beheadings, that have sparked one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.Somali Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein said last Wednesday his government was ready to negotiate with opposition groups to end a 15-month insurgency against government troops and their Ethiopian military allies.Calling for international mediation led by the United Nations' special envoy to Somalia, Hussein said the government was willing to hold talks in any location to end fighting that local aid groups said had killed 6,500 people last year.Jihadist leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys dismissed the offer, saying his sharia courts movement and its fighters did not recognise the government of the war-ruined country."This is not a government. We believe they are people who brought the enemy forces to our country. They are criminals," Aweys, a hardline Jihadist, told Reuters in an interview."Our fight is against Ethiopia and as long as they are there Somalis cannot have dialogue," he said by phone from Eritrea, where he is living in exile after fleeing Somalia last year.Aweys who is United States terror list ,linked to al Qaeda, Jihadist aways said he is "freedom fighters"??.
"The country is under Ethiopian colonisation and must be liberated from the enemy," Many Somalis living in the shell-shattered capital fear the Jihadist refusal to accept talks unless historic foe Ethiopia withdraws its troops signals more attacks which are already forcing some 20,000 civilians to flee Mogadishu every month.Jihadist insurgents spreading terror by cutting the heads off three Somali soldiers last week.The head of the U.N. refugee agency told Reuters last Thursday that Somalia's problem was "intractable" with no sign of improvement. Guillermo Bettocchi said Somalia was a "negelected crisis" which surpassed Sudan's Darfur region.Jihadist Sheikh Aweys led Somalia's terror group Islamic Courts Council, which ruled Mogadishu and much of southern Somalia in the second half of 2006, before it was ousted by allied Somali-Ethiopian forces.The remnants of Aweys' terror group are behind an Iraq-style insurgency punctuated with roadside bombings, assassinations and grenade attacks in somalia today.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
By Tarjei Kidd Olsen
OSLO, Mar 14 (IPS) - Charges against three Somalis in Oslo of providing "support to terrorism" have outraged many Somalis in Norway. The charges are that the Somalis may have sent money to rebels in Somalia, but their defenders say they were supporting freedom fighters. This has not gone down well with a large section of the 18,000-strong Somali population in Norway, many of whom strongly oppose the transitional government and its Ethiopian protectors. Some say the accusations fit a pattern of prejudice against Norwegian Somalis by the media or security services.
"I have my doubts regarding these accusations," Hamsa Mohamed, a Norwegian Somali politician told IPS. "Similar accusations were levelled against Somalis here in 2001, but were found to be false after four years of investigations. I would have thought that the authorities had learned from that experience so that the Somali community could be spared a repeat."According to senior researcher Stig Jarle Hansen at the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR), Norwegian Somalis are "a group that has received a lot of unfair criticism previously. What we need from the media is an increased focus on the positive things that Somalis contribute, rather than punishing whole groups because of the actions of three persons who haven't been convicted yet," he told IPS.
Somalia has not had a functioning central government since 1991. In 2006 the Islamic Courts, rooted in Sharia courts that had provided some order since the late 1990s, defeated warlords to take control of Mogadishu and other parts of southern Somalia. A UN-backed transitional government enlisted Ethiopian help to defeat the Islamic Courts in December 2006, sparking an insurgency.While the Islamic Courts were composed of many moderates as well as some extremists, the three accused Somalis are alleged to have supported an extremist rebel group known as al-Shabab (the 'Youth Organisation'), a former militant faction of the courts which has split from the other organisations battling the transitional government and Ethiopian troops.On its website al-Shabab describes itself as an organisation fighting to liberate Somalia, but also to introduce a strict version of Islamic Sharia law. It praises Osama bin Laden, and targets both civilians and the Somali bureaucracy.Two of the accused Somalis have insisted to police interrogators that they should be compared with exiled Norwegians in London who sent money to the Norwegian resistance during Nazi occupation.Given the nature of al-Shabab, Stig Jarle Hansen disagrees with this comparison."The Norwegian resistance seldom targeted the civilian service, the Norwegian resistance did not attack churches, and they did not attack soft targets," Hansen told IPS, adding that this, coupled with al-Shabab's ideological affiliation with al-Qaeda, makes it very different from other more moderate groups fighting in Somalia.Hansen says that a lot of Norwegian Somalis may not be aware of the extreme tactics employed by al-Shabab, simply viewing it as a part of the larger opposition to Ethiopia and the transitional government.The situation is further complicated by the fact that the Ethiopians and the transitional government are also responsible for serious crimes against the civilian population, including shelling of residential areas by Ethiopian troops, looting by police, and severe media repression. Sixty percent of Somalis who were living in Mogadishu are estimated to have fled the city.
This stands in stark contrast to the relatively disciplined and peaceful rule of the Islamists in southern Somalia in 2006, and has strengthened resentment among ordinary Somalis against the transitional government and its United Nations sponsors. The United States, which has labelled East Africa a new front in its 'war on terror', supported the Ethiopian invasion with bombing raids and sea patrols.
"By viewing Ethiopian and transitional government human rights violations too leniently, the international community has contributed to the support for extremist organisations. Somalis are angered by the double standards displayed when organisations like al-Shabab get criticised while the Ethiopians and transitional government are allowed to get away with their abuses," Hansen told IPS.
The presence of Ethiopia in Mogadishu is particularly galling for many Somalis. In 1964 and 1977 Ethiopia and Somalia fought wars over a Somali-inhabited territory known as Ogaden which was forcefully incorporated into Ethiopia in the 1880s. Ogaden remains a nationalist cause for many Somalis."No peoples in the world want to be occupied by others, and especially not by neighbours with this kind of historical baggage. The fact that Ethiopian forces are in Somalia makes the situation much more difficult," Hamsa Mohamed told IPS.It is alleged that the accused Norwegian Somalis transferred money to al-Shabab using the so-called Hawala system, an unofficial money transmission service that Somalis worldwide use to support their relatives in Somalia in the absence of a functioning central banking system.Partially due to the prohibitive costs of official registration, Hawala operates outside of official Norwegian control mechanisms designed to prevent money laundering and other dubious transfers.Ironically, the arrests have spurred Norwegian authorities to now take up what many Somalis here have wanted for years – regulation of Hawala transfers. (END/2008)
A Spokesman for the al- Shabab insurgents in Somalia said it will continue fighting the Somalia government even if Ethiopian troops withdraw from Mogadishu
This stance is a stark contrast to previous claims by the insurgents that other Somali-owned peace talks, after Ethiopian withdrawal, were possible to create a coalition government after Somalia’s 17 years without a government.
According to Radio Somaliweyn, Al Shabaab spokesman Muktar Robow said Somali government officials should be charged for war crimes. Muktar added that his fighters will “continue the Jihad” against the Somali government and against Somalis who support it.
Al Shabab is often considered as the military wing of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) and Muktar Robow has previously worked as ICU’s Deputy Commander after his service for the Taliban, based in Afghanistan. The ICU leadership is currently based in Eritrea; however, the Al Shabaab group has also shown its dissatisfaction with some ICU members who have allied with concerned Diaspora Somalis in Eritrea.
In contrast, Prime Minister Nur "Adde" Hassan Hussein has called for a broader reconciliation with the opposition, including with the hardline Al Shabaab. He opposed the previous stance of his government to exclude armed groups from the peace talks.
The Al-Qaeda linked ICU ruled south-central Somalia in 2006. It waged jihad on Ethiopia and stated its goal to annex Eastern Ethiopian and Kenyan territories before being overthrown by allied Somali and Ethiopian government forces during the first week of 2007
Friday, March 14, 2008
Mogadishu, -Three individuals including a police officer were shot to death in Somalia's violent capital Thursday, locals and officials said.
An Islamic school teacher was killed by a group of men dressed in military fatigues, who took away his mobile telephone, according to witnesses.The teacher was shot several times moments after he walked out of a local store, where he reportedly bought phone cards.In a separate incident, a local musician named Adan Hassan Salad was killed while drinking tea at a shop.Relatives said the victim had stopped making music and was a working for his family. There was no motive for the killing and the perpetrators escaped.In west Mogadishu, a government police officer tasked with collecting local taxes was killed by suspected insurgents, who used pistols in the murder before fleeing.Witnesses said police reinforcements arrested several young men in connection with the fatal shooting.Killings continue in Mogadishu, despite the presence of an interim government backed by thousands of Ethiopian combat troops.
Souse: Garowe Online
Belarusian official reports describe the freight as 'foodstuffs and basic supplies,' while Belarusian opposition media described the freight as BTR armored personnel carriers.Galaxy Air FCZ violated contracts renting the aircraft from the Belarusian government by sending the plane to a combat zone without informing Minsk and therefore carried liability for substantial damage suffered by the Iliushin, a statement from the Belarusian Prosecutor General said.
'The plane could not be repaired,' the report said in part.
The incident took place less than three weeks before another Belarus-owned Il-76 was destroyed by a guided missile shortly after taking off.
Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko banned flights by elements of the government cargo plane fleet after the March 23 attack, which killed all eleven Belarusians on board.
Source: Africa News
Thursday, March 13, 2008
“Localism, parochialism, and tribalism are the signs of a pre-industrialised society. Somalia fits that description at the moment,” said President Yoweri Museveni at the Somali civil society Dialogue meeting in Uganda. The president started his speech by explaining the genesis of Somalia’s problems. The president said, “I suspect the problem of Somalia is underdevelopment. And it is you who can help Somalia through economic development.” The president went on to explain how economic interests have saved Europe and other countries. The president also highlighted how opportunist actors contribute to Somalia’s ills. “Somalia has become a laboratory for all opportunists and if you want to know more about opportunists, Somalia is the best laboratory to experience it.”The meeting which entered its second day also heard from representatives from different institutions. Ms. Mila Font from the European Commission (EC) has presented a Country Strategy Paper (CSP) commissioned by the European Union and Norway. The study has made need assessment and categorised identified needs under three pillars namely a) the security, human rights and rule of law b) need for basic services such as education, health, etc c) economic growth. Ms. Font added that CSP had allocated nearly 150 million Euros for European projects in Somalia for 2008. The CSP has generated hot discussions on several issues. The issues raised included the need for re-assessment as the input used for developing CSP seem to be outdated as the situation on the ground has changed and the need for involvement of local stakeholders.Ms. Font also chaired the first panel of the day which focused on how to strengthen the role of non-state actors (NSA). The panellists included Faiza Loyan, from Saferworld, Ahmed Gacal, the Chair of SOSCENSA, Mohamed Hussien Enow, a researcher from VRD/NSA and Mohamed Barre Muse from Somali Civil Forum.There was another plenary session entitled: Harmonising Somali Peace and Reconciliation Processes. This session was chaired by Nuradin Dirie of UNICEF Somalia and the panellists were Walid Muse, an expert to the European Commission, Deka Ibrahim from Concerned Citizens for Peace (Kenya), Dahir Mohamud Gele from Iqra Radio and former Spokesman of the Islamic Sharia Courts, Dahir Mire Jabril, an independent consultant, Abdirahman Osman Raghe from Interpiece, Ken Menkhaus, professor of Davidson College. The panellists discussed the challenges Somalis peace and reconciliation processed had faced and identified ways to overcome those challenges.
Today is the last day of the meeting and expected to agree a strategic vision for civil society engagement in peace building.
MOGADISHU SOMALIA- Islamist insurgents cut off the heads of three Somali soldiers south of the capital on Thursday and the U.N. special envoy said he would try to set up peace talks between the opposition and government.It was the first case of beheadings since the government and its Ethiopian military allies ousted the Islamists from power in late 2006, sparking a bloody insurgency characterised by roadside bombs and hit-and-run attacks "This morning the mujahideen attacked the so-called government troops guarding the roads for the Ethiopian forces. We killed three of them," said Muktar Ali Robow, a senior commander of the Islamists' Shabab youth wing."We did what we promised to them. People traveling in that road can be asked how we killed them," he told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.Witnesses in the area said they saw three headless corpses near Lego town, 130 km (81 miles) south of Mogadishu."We were terrified because we have never seen a human slaughtered like an animal," truck driver Hassan Mohamed Amin told Reuters.
At least 7,000 people have died, and hundreds of thousands been displaced in the 15-month insurgency, creating what aid workers call one of the world's worst yet most ignored humanitarian crises.
The government appealed again this week for its foes to join talks led by the United Nations.
"I have no doubt that all Somalis and their concerned friends, governments and organisations will support this move," said U.N. envoy to Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah."As requested by the Somali parties, I will assume the leadership role and will contact all sides to propose the timing and modalities for future discussions," he added in a statement issued from his office in Nairobi.Analysts believe, however, it is unlikely Islamist-led insurgents, many of whom view their attacks on the Western-backed government as a jihad or holy war could be persuaded to join.And an Eritrean-based alliance of Somali opposition groupsMade up of former parliamentarians, Islamists and some members of the foreign Diaspora -- is insisting Ethiopian troops withdraw before talks.Ethiopia sent thousands of soldiers into Somalia in late 2006 to help the government, virtually encircled in the town of Baidoa, topple Somalia's Islamic Courts Council which had ruled most of the south from Mogadishu since the middle of that year.The scattered jehadst fighters regrouped and have waged an Iraq-style insurgency.Ould-Abdallah, who works from Nairobi due to insecurity in Mogadishu, said civil society organisations and Somalis in the Diaspora were eager to join reconciliation discussions.
(Additional reporting by Andrew Cawthorne in Nairobi,
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
United States Honors Eight Female Champions of Human Rights
Secretary Rice presents second annual International Women of Courage Awards
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hugs award recipient Farhiyo Farah Ibrahim of Somalia. (State Dept.)Washington -- Ambassadors and other diplomats, members of Congress and leaders of nonprofit organizations gathered at the U.S. Department of State March 10 to honor eight women who have risked harassment and death to fight for women’s rights.“In too many parts of the world, unfortunately, women still struggle for basic rights and liberties in places where discrimination and exploitation and violence against women is all too common and all too often accepted or tolerated,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said at the awards ceremony.The 2008 award recipients, she said, “also represent many other women around the world who fight and sacrifice so that future generations may benefit from human rights protections, access to justice and democracy, and greater prosperity and personal security in their countries.”This year’s winners are Suraya Pakzad of Afghanistan, Virisila Buadromo of Fiji, Dr. Eaman al-Gobory of Iraq, Valdete Idrizi of Kosovo, Dr. Begum Jan of Pakistan, Nibal Thawabteh of the Palestinian Territories, Cynthia Bendlin of Paraguay and Farhiyo Farah Ibrahim of Somalia.
The Women of Courage Awards were first awarded in March 2007. The initial group of honorees represented Afghanistan, Argentina, Indonesia, Iraq, Latvia, Maldives, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe.Rice said that “no culture, no religion and no tradition of any nation provides license for treating women as objects or instruments to be commanded by another.”UNITED STATES “DEEPLY COMMITTED” TO WOMEN’S RIGHTS
“The United States remains deeply committed to helping women of courage everywhere to peacefully remove the barriers to political, economic and social empowerment for themselves and for others,” Rice said.Paula Dobriansky, under secretary of state for democracy and global affairs, presented each woman with a trophy, and noted that “when women stand up for their freedom, all of society benefits.“When women are educated, have access to health care and are active and productive members of their country’s economy and governments, their countries are better equipped to reach their full potential,” Dobriansky said.
Guests at the awards ceremony included Samir Sumaidaie, the ambassador to the United States from Iraq; Tayeb Jawad, the ambassador to the United States from Afghanistan, and his wife; Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee; Representative Nita Lowey of New York; Ambassador Ellen Sauerbery, the State Department’s assistant secretary for population, refugees and migration; and Ambassador Shirin Tahir-Kheli, senior adviser to the secretary of state for women’s empowerment.Also in attendance were representatives of American Women for International Understanding, a nonprofit organization that will be holding a dinner to honor the Women of Courage awardees at the National Press Club and will present each recipient with a $1,000 grant.During their Washington visit, the awardees met at the White House with the president and first lady and with members of the U.S. Congress.March 10 is International Women’s Day. Among the activities planned at the State Department is a gathering of judges and legal practitioners from around the world to discuss action that can be taken to prevent violations against women such as rape, domestic violence, human trafficking and prostitution.For additional information, see profiles of Suraya Pakzad, Virisila Buadromo, Eaman al-Gobory, Valdete Idrizi, Begum Jan, Nibal Thawabteh, Cynthia Bendlin and Farhiyo Farah Ibrahim.
See also a transcript of Rice’s and Dobriansky’s remarks and the full text of the secretary’s statement on International Women’s Day.
MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somalia's government said on Wednesday it was ready to negotiate with any opposition groups to end a 15-month-old insurgency and called for international mediation.The government and its Ethiopian military allies have waged an increasingly bloody counter-insurgency campaign against Islamist rebels and others since ousting Somalia's Islamic Courts Council from power in late 2006."The Somali government is ready to reconcile with any Somali citizen opposing it," it said in a statement."The government approves of any location for the negotiation to take place that the international community led by the U.N.'s special representative for Somalia mediate the negotiations."At least 7,000 people have died and hundreds of thousands been displaced in an insurgency characterised by roadside bombs and hit-and-run attacks.An Eritrea-based alliance of Somali opposition groups -- made up of former parliamentarians, Islamists and members of the foreign diaspora -- insist Ethiopian troops withdraw before talks.But Somali Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein said that would not happen. "I have repeatedly made clear in the past that issues of Ethiopian forces in Somalia can be settled when the government and its opponents agree on something, but negotiations should take place first," he told reporters.
(Reporting by Aweys Yusuf; Editing by Jack Kimball)
SOURCE: Reuters, March 12, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
BAIDOA,Somalia. The commander of the Somali army's 17th Brigade said he quit and left the town of
Col. Osman Ahmed told reporters that he quit after repeatedly asking for financial and equipment resources from top military commanders, but receiving no response.He said some of his loyal soldiers backed by battlewagons left for Bardhere, a town in neighboring Gedo region. But the remaining soldiers returned to the city of
He said that his army unit "lost many soldiers" last month, when al-Shabaab guerrillas raided Dinsor town and took control following a bloody battle.
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a four-part series on the rebuilding of a key al Qaeda node in Somalia.
The main link between Somalian Islamist militant group al Shabab and al Qaeda is al Shabab’s senior leadership. Many of al Shabab’s senior leaders both trained with and conducted operations in the name of al Qaeda prime:
Aden Hashi Ayro is known to have traveled to Afghanistan sometime before 2001. While he was there, al Qaeda prime trained him in explosives and insurgent tactics. He ultimately returned to Somalia around 2003, where he established his own network and launched a series of operations. He is credited with multiple attacks against foreign aid workers and also is suspected in the murder of a journalist for the British Broadcasting Corp. He has since been described by multiple sources as al Qaeda’s military commander in Somalia. Ayro was killed in a May 1 U.S. airstrike.
Fazul Abdullah Mohammed was involved with al Qaeda prime. He was instrumental in training warlord Mohamed Farah Aidid’s militia in 1993 and helped plan and organize the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania as well as the hotel bombing in Mombasa, Kenya, and a surface-to-air attack on an Israeli jetliner in 2002. He went on to become a part of the leadership of the Supreme Islamic Courts Council (SICC) and subsequently a senior operational commander in al Shabab. U.S. forces have targeted him on numerous occasions.
Abu Taha al-Sudani, also known as Tariq Abdullah, was al Qaeda’s leader in East Africa and received training from al Qaeda prime in explosives. He is thought to have had close ties to Osama bin Laden and other high-level al Qaeda and al Shabab commanders. The United States has also implicated him as the main financier for various al Qaeda operations in East Africa.
Hassan Turki and SICC leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys are longtime allies and are believed to be orchestrating the Somalian insurgency. Turki also has links to al Shabab and al Qaeda. He operated a training camp in southern Somalia and was targeted in a March 2007 airstrike but is thought to have survived. His camp was known to have housed al Qaeda-linked militants and trained al Shabab fighters. In 2004, the U.S. government formally designated Turki as a financier of terrorism.
Gouled Hassan Dourad was part of an al Qaeda cell operated by al-Sudani and has links to al Qaeda prime. The U.S. government implicated him in a mid-2003 plot to bomb Camp Lemonier, a U.S. Special Forces base in Djibouti that hosts the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa contingent. Camp Lemonier has served as a the main U.S. operating base in the region — along with forward operating bases in Ethiopia — for many of the U.S. airstrikes on militant targets in Somalia. Dourad is currently being held at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay.
(click image to enlarge)
Most members of al Shabab’s senior command and control structure also developed links with al Qaeda prime through their involvement in a now-dissolved group that operated in Somalia. Aweys, al- Sudani, Dourad and Turki were all members of al-Itihaad al-Islamiya (AIAI), a precursor to the SICC. It was known to have supported al Qaeda prime’s operations in East Africa in the late 1990s and even into the early 21st century, helping to establish militant training camps near Ros Kamboni, a desolate marshland along the Somalian border with Kenya. When the SICC was formed, the members of AIAI dissolved their group and folded into the new organizations.
Al Shabab’s senior leadership clearly has extensive experience and involvement in al Qaeda prime operations. These links have helped the leaders arrange support for their group through arms shipments from Eritrea and Yemen and through increased numbers of foreign fighters sent in to support their cause. Al Qaeda prime has also voiced support for al Shabab. In a March 2007 al Qaeda statement, Abu Yahya al-Libi encouraged the use of suicide and roadside bombings — tactics commonly associated with al Qaeda-affiliated groups — against Ethiopian troops and pro-Somalian government forces. Bin Laden and his second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, have also made mention of Somalia in past recordings. This indicates that al Qaeda prime has recognized al Shabab as a capable entity and has taken a proactive stance in order to help promote the group’s continued growth.
Al Shabab’s Structure
Typically, al Shabab operates in groups of 100 or so fighters when raiding local villages and towns. Within the urban areas, their organizational structure tightens up, and there is more control over small-unit actions. They have proven highly successful in urban combat — a skill perfected through years of conflict, and one the United States experienced firsthand during Operation Gothic Serpent in 1993, when the militias managed to kill 18 U.S. military personnel.
Somalia: Al Qaeda and Al Shabab
Al Shabab is a somewhat loosely organized group. While there is a set command and control structure, the senior commanders usually only issue broad directives and leave the day-to-day operations to the lower-level commanders. This style of structure — along with the fact that many of the militants and low-level commanders have been working together since serving in the military wing of the SICC — means that replacing upper-level leaders such as Ayro will be fairly easy and should not greatly affect operational capabilities. In fact, some preliminary reports indicate that Sheikh Mukhtar Abu Zubayr has assumed a more senior leadership role after Ayro’s May 1 death.
Yet Ayro’s death is likely to create some short-term disruption in terms of organization within the group. This has been the United States’ tactic of late: targeting key leadership in airstrikes as a means of slowing down the growth of groups such as al Shabab and trying to keep them in a relative state of disorganization. The United States has employed a similar strategy with success in Pakistan and Yemen, utilizing Predator drones to deliver tactical strikes on key leadership targets.
Judging from the success of the May 1 strike, the United States likely had “eyes on the target,” either via Predator drones or Special Forces personnel on the ground. The United States has also received intelligence on the location and movement of high-value targets from the Somalian government, although this intelligence is often delivered late and is difficult to act upon in a timely manner. Still, the number of successful strikes since January 2007 suggests that coordination is improving.
Next: Implications of the Al Qaeda-Al Shabab Relationship
Designation of Al-Shabaab
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