Monday, November 30, 2009
MOGADISHU, Somalia — The recruits gather in scorching desert hideouts in Somalia, use portraits of President Barack Obama for target practice, learn how to make and detonate bombs, and vow allegiance to Osama bin Laden. Training camps in the lawless nation of Somalia are attracting hundreds of foreigners, including Americans, and Somalis recruited by a local insurgent group linked to al-Qaida, according to local and U.S. officials. American officials and private analysts say the camps pose a security threat far beyond the borders of Somalia, including to the U.S. homeland. In interviews with The Associated Press, former trainees gave rare details on the camps, which are scattered along desert footpaths, rutted roads and steamy coastal dens. They say the recruits are told the United States is the enemy of Islam. U.S. and Somali officials say Somalia’s al-Shabab jihadist, or holy war, movement is growing, and uses foreign trainers with battlefield experience from other conflicts. The threat posed by the training camps was underscored in federal court documents unsealed Nov. 23 in Minneapolis, home to a large Somali-American community. An indictment against several Somali-Americans who allegedly fought in Somalia said trainees at one camp included dozens of ethnic Somalis from Somalia and other African countries, Europe and the United States. “The trainees were trained by, among others, Somali, Arab, and Western instructors in … small arms, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and military-style tactics,” said an affidavit from FBI Special Agent Michael N. Cannizzaro Jr. that was unsealed with the indictment. H/T http://gatewaypundit.firstthings.com/2009/11/change-somali-terrorists-use-obama-portraits-for-target-practice/
Somali pirates seize oil tanker. Where are the anti-piracy forces?Somali pirates hijack US$20 mil. of crude oil
Somali pirates hijack US$20 mil. of crude oil
Nairobi, Kenya - Almost exactly a year ago, a handful of modern-day pirates from Somalia in small, open skiffs shocked the world by hijacking a 1,090-foot oil tanker carrying $100 million of crude bound for the US. Within months, a three-dozen-strong flotilla of vessels flying the flags of at least 12 different international navies had been deployed to protect shipping passing through what had become the world's most dangerous waters. Yet, on Monday, the pirates did it again.A second Very Large Crude Carrier, the Greek-owned Maran Centaurus, was seized more than 800 miles east of Mogadishu fully loaded with an estimated 2 million barrels of oil heading for New Orleans from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Monday's attack is raising fresh questions about the effectiveness of the international effort to curb piracy, headquartered at the US Fifth Fleet's base in Bahrain. "The reason it's still happening is that the big international naval deployment is concentrated in the Gulf of Aden, where there is a clearly defined, narrow shipping corridor, which is a much easier area to police," said Roger Middleton, piracy expert at the Chatham House think tank in London. "Now the pirates have packed up and moved much deeper into the Indian Ocean, which is just an enormous area. With the 30 or 40 ships available to the international naval force it is just not possible to police it properly." How to pirate-proof your ship Since the surge in piracy off Somalia, many commercial ship owners are paying for armed security to guard ships as they pass through the most dangerous stretches of water. But "it is just not an option for these kinds of oil and gas ships," says Mr. Middleton. "No ship owner is going to think it is safe to have guys with guns standing on top of millions of barrels of flammable cargo." Security consultants advise ships to drape barbed wire around their decks, to line dummy crew along the guard rails, and to employ evasive maneuvers once under attack.
This last tactic, at least, is difficult aboard a fully loaded 300,000-ton supertanker, which would also have been low in the water and thus easier to board. So what to do to protect the world's shipping?Rashid Abdi, Horn of Africa analyst at the International Crisis Group's Nairobi office, says there must be significant progress in creating a stable and effective government in Somalia itself, which can then police its own waters and prosecute the criminals on its own soil who orchestrate the pirate attacks. "The solution lies in fixing the governance crisis that feeds it (piracy)," he says. "This requires a multi-pronged strategy, in which the military component is less dominant." A ransom payment in the works?By late afternoon, the Maran Centaurus had changed course and was heading toward the Somali coastline, according to Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarer's Assistance Program in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa. The 1,085-foot vessel's 28 crew members – from Greece, Ukraine, Romania, and the Philippines – were believed to be unharmed.Once it is at anchor, likely close to the Somali coastal towns of Haradheere or Hobyo, ransom negotiations will begin.The Sirius Star, the only other supertanker ever to have been hijacked off Somalia, was freed in January after a payment reportedly of more than $3 million was paid.
• Staff writer Scott Baldauf contributed to this report from Johannesburg, South Africa.http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/1130/p90s01-woaf.html
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Somalia’s al-Shabaab insurgents have captured a key town close to the border with Kenya. The al Qaeda linked rebels are said to have driven out combatants of Hizbu-Islam, another Islamist group opposing the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG), to take control of Dhobley, the border town.Sheikh Hassan Yakoub Ali, a resident, said that Hizbu-Islam fighters had crossed the border into Kenya, adding that the rebels held talks with Kenyan officials. With this victory, al-Shabaab appears to have consolidated its presence in the strategic Juba region.Sheikh Yakoub said the al-Shabaab officials held talks with Sheikh Hassan Abdullahi Hersi alias Sheikh Hassan Turki at Dhobley.
Despite claims by al-Shabaab officials that Hizbu-Islam combatants fled to the Kenyan side of the border, residents said that the forces of Sheikh Ahmed Madobe disappeared into the bushy areas known as Bada Madoow (black sea).The residents said that al-Shabaab fighters reached Dhobley, which neighbours the Kenyan town of Liboi, at midday on Saturday. There was no confrontation, they said.So far, Hizbu-Islam has not issued a statement on the issue. Meanwhile, al-Shabaab leader Sheikh Mukhtar Abdurahman Abu Zubayr has rejected any reconciliation offers by the government.He said that unless foreign forces leave the country and an Islamic state is established, his movement would intensify attacks. Over http://www.nation.co.ke/News/-/1056/814594/-/vnhwff/-/
U.S. and Somali officials say Somalia's al-Shabab jihadist, or holy war, movement is growing, and uses foreign trainers with battlefield experience from other conflicts. The threat posed by the training camps was underscored in federal court documents unsealed Nov. 23 in Minneapolis, home to a large Somali-American community. An indictment against several Somali-Americans who allegedly fought in Somalia said trainees at one camp included dozens of ethnic Somalis from Somalia and other African countries, Europe and the United States. "The trainees were trained by, among others, Somali, Arab, and Western instructors in ... small arms, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and military-style tactics," said an affidavit from FBI Special Agent Michael N. Cannizzaro Jr. that was unsealed with the indictment. Former al-Shabab fighter Hassan Yare, who works in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, said life in the camps is austere. Recruits sleep on plastic sheets and sometimes eat only one meal a day — often maize cooked with water. Phones are confiscated. Recruits are only allowed to speak to their parents once every other Friday — Islam's holy day. "The message is simple," Dahir Muhiyadiin, 18, said three months after finishing his training at a camp run by Somalia's main insurgent group. "We are taught how the Western infidels want to eradicate pure Muslims, about how the U.S. government does nothing as Israel harasses our Muslim Palestinians." Al-Shabab — "the youth" in Arabic — controls much of the desert nation's southern region and holds large parts of Mogadishu. It wants to overthrow the government and install a strict form of Islam. Analysts say the group has between 2,000 and 3,000 fighters. Among al-Shabab's ranks are an estimated 200 to 400 foreigners from Pakistan, Chechnya, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania and other countries — many of them veterans of fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, said Mark Schroeder, an Africa analyst at the global intelligence firm Stratfor. The proliferation of jihadist training camps raises concerns that Somalia will become the next Afghanistan — a sanctuary for al-Qaida-linked groups to train and plan attacks. The Somali government seems powerless to do anything about it...more..http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iILUA9KXVuq9lggf2bBgrPCa9MdAD9C993BG0
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Al-Qaida-Linked Militants Capture Key Somali Town
"Some of them felt America is the land of the devil," said Said Ali, who is 20, rail-thin and jobless. "They were losing their culture, their language and their religion. They've got family there. They feel at home."If he had the money, he said, he would go to Somalia too."My friend went," he said. "He's running a hotel. He carries an AK-47. He's living life good."Ali Mohamed, also 20 and unemployed, jumped in. "These guys are blowing up women and kids," he said. "That ain't right."The difficult search for identity is an old story in this area.Minnesota long has waved a welcome mat for war refugees -- first Koreans, then Hmong, Vietnamese and Ethiopians. Minneapolis provided subsidized housing and generous benefits. The newcomers found low-wage jobs at chicken-processing factories where English was not required.The first wave of Somalis arrived here after 1991, when the country descended into a fierce clan-based civil war that still rages. More Somalis came each year, and family members soon followed, as was mandated under U.S. law. Others moved here from other U.S. cities.
Many in the community started families, opened businesses and achieved financial stability. They wired money to relatives back home, followed Somali news in ethnic papers and websites, and in some cases invested in Somali businesses even as their children became American doctors and lawyers.Others became mired in brutal poverty. Many of the women were illiterate, and old men who had herded goats struggled in the rugged winters. Unemployment and school dropout rates soared. So did incidents of intolerance."We're an obvious minority here, and have a different religion and culture," said Abdiaziz Warsame, 37, an interpreter and youth counselor who has worked with local gangs such as the Somali Hard Boys and RPG's. "So people feel a high level of racism."A 2007 tally counted 35,000 Somalis in Minnesota, the vast majority of whom live in Little Mogadishu, the gritty Minneapolis zone between two highways and the Mississippi River.
The Riverside Plaza, a public housing project, looms over the area. The grim concrete structures house more than 4,500 people, most of them Somali, in Soviet-style apartment blocks.
Pungent spices waft through the halls, and posters advertise travel agencies that sell visits to Muslim holy shrines in Saudi Arabia. The Halal Minimart outside sells meat acceptable to Muslims, one of more than a dozen in the neighborhood.The Brian Coyle center is the logistical heart of the community. Its food pantry serves more than 1,000 families per month, and various groups help with food stamps, legal services and other needs. The gym does double duty as a wedding hall.But the neighborhood's cultural focus are the mosques and ubiquitous coffee shops, where people gather to discuss community news, politics in their homeland, religion or myriad other subjects.The young have other avenues, including the Internet.Some members of the group that went to Somalia were said to be followers of Anwar al Awlaki, an American-born firebrand imam who preaches on the Internet in flawless English about the need to fight for Islam.Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the accused killer of 13 people at Ft. Hood in Texas this month, had exchanged e-mails with Awlaki, who is based in Yemen.Omar Jamal, director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center here, said Awlaki's fierce sermons helped inspire several of the youths who later joined Shabab in Somalia. Awlaki has praised the militia, which U.S. officials say is allied with Al Qaeda."They exchanged messages on his blog," Jamal said. "They prayed for him. They watched his videos. They fell under his spell of influence."But in the flux of Little Mogadishu, not everyone hears the words of jihad as clearly as others.Outside the community center, the group of young men continued their discussion about the fighters who had gone back to Somalia.To Noor Bosir, an 18-year-old student, the jihad seems a world away.
Although he was close to Burhan Hasan, one of the youths who was killed last summer in Somalia, Bosir can't understand the alienation many young men here feel."All these guys who left, we looked up to," Bosir said. "When we came here to play basketball, they would go to the mosque. And somehow, they got brainwashed. And now they're dead."
|Terrorism probe casts scrutiny on Minneapolis' Somali immigrant ...|
will the media look into The Hawiye clan influence?
Here are some tips
May 28, 2007 at 03:59 PM
HAWIYE COMMITTEE OF MINNESOTA, U.S.A
Press Release on Somalia
Hawiye clan spreads rumours and propaganda ,the hate propaganda at the time
Hawiye clan Using Religion for Political Purpose
Imam Cabdi Yusuf Ugas aka (imam Abdi yusuf ). Xasan Jarmal Ugas aka(Hasan Ugas ) aka Jarmal. Xuseen Iidle aka Husian Idal . Mohamed Ismail (Shuke)Col. Cabaas Mohamud Adow aka (abaas mohamad) Col. Abukar Xuud aka(abukar xud) Dr. Cabdullahi Sh. Mohamed aka (abdilahi sheik mohamed ) Cabdijabar Cabdullahi Cali aka (abdi -jibar abdulahi ali) Xaji Xusen Caraale )aka( hussan araale) Cabdinasir Macalin Aden aka abdinasir mailan aden )Abdi Ali (Faroole)Mohamed Godax aka (mahamad godah)Abdi Muxumud Macalin (Abdi-door)aka (abdi mahamud malin )Raage Xaji Dhoore aka Rage haji dore)Khalif Ali Shire ( kalif ali shire)Mohamed Farah Ahmed ,Bashir Farah (Bashir Gurey),Mohamed Xusen Xassan aka (mohamad hussan hasan)Cabdi Mohamed (Abdi-dheere)aka abdi Mohamad (abdi dere)Mohamed Abdullahi (Tiiceey), Abdiaziz Xogolof aka abdi aziz hogalof) Siciid Siigaale aka (said sigale ), Hassan Jocle
Friday, November 27, 2009
Shamsul Bari said the public stonings, floggings and summary executions carried out by Islamist armed groups in central and southern Somalia highlight the “deteriorating” human rights situation in the strife-torn nation, where Government forces have been battling Al Shabaab and Hisb-ul-Islam opposition groups for many months. Mr. Bari, the Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Somalia, noted that under Al Shabaab's interpretation of Sharia law, anyone who has ever been married – even a divorcee – and has an affair is liable to be found guilty of adultery and punished by stoning. According to reports from a village near the town of Wajid, 400 kilometres north-west of the capital, Mogadishu, a 20-year-old divorcee accused of committing adultery was stoned to death by Islamists in front of a crowd of 200 people on 18 November. Earlier this month, a man was stoned to death for rape in the port town of Merka, south of Mogadishu, and in October two men are reported to have been executed after being accused of spying. Similar executions took place earlier in the year. “I strongly condemn these recent executions by stoning in Al Shabaab-controlled areas of Somalia,” Mr. Bari stated in a news release. He called on all parties to immediately end such cruel, inhuman and degrading practices, including stoning, amputations, floggings and other unlawful acts of torture and murder. In addition, he urged all Islamist groups, including Al Shabaab and other armed groups, and religious leaders to abide by their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian laws. He also urged the international community to engage with Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to identify priorities in terms of security, humanitarian and human rights, and to strengthen the Government's capacity to investigate rights abuses and hold the perpetrators accountable.
Mr. Bari reports to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council in an independent and unpaid capacity. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=33079&Cr=Somali&Cr1=
A police source added: "The arrests in Manchester were a good example of the problem and afterwards we had a lot of discussions within government. We are now relying on the UK Border Agency to sort the problem out. "Part of the problem seems to be that foreign students generate a huge amount of money and there is not a lot of incentive to do proper checks." Providing courses for foreign students has become a multimillion pound business but the Home Affairs Select Committee said in July that "tens of thousands" of illegal immigrants could have entered Britain using visas obtained through bogus colleges. It said there could be up to 2,200 colleges that were not legitimate but were accredited by the Government under a system operating until March this year. It noted there was "no adequate provision" for tracking down those that had arrived illegally and overstayed their visas. One of the bodies responsible for checking the colleges, the Accreditation Service for International Colleges, based at a semi-detached house in a village near Middlesbrough, has itself been criticised by a body representing British universities, Universities UK. ..More..http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/6672806/Hidden-threat-from-al-Qaeda-sleeper-cells.html
Canadian Somalia hostage freed when taxi lights flicked, CBC News - World - Shots fired during Lindhout release
Thursday, November 26, 2009
'They treated us like dogs'—Freed crew on Habar-gidir Hawiye Pirates, FACTBOX-Ships held by Somali pirates
MOGADISHU – "Nightmarish" is the way the crew of the Al-Meezan cargo vessel recount their time in captivity at the hands of Somali pirates.One week after being freed, this Panama-flagged ship with 18 sailors on board, including 15 Indians and two Pakistanis, is anchored in the port of Mogadishu.Somali dockers, with traditional wraps round their waists, shout as they shift sacks of flour on the quay, under the gaze of the crew members on the gangway.The second officer Niaz Mohamad, a Pakistani, welcomed the journalists on board by saying he was relieved to be able to talk to "normal" people."They treated us like dogs, they hit us, they threatened to kill us," he said, obviously still traumatized by his time in captivity.Al-Meezan set sail October 25 from Ajman (in the United Arab Emirates) for Mogadishu," said the ship's captain Mohamad Shafi Noor, a grandfather of 70 with a mane of grey hair."It was my first mission," he sighed.
"On November 3, when we were about 150 nautical miles from the Somali coast, we were chased by three small boats with very powerful engines. It's all in the logbook," the old man said, pointing to a black book on the table."We'd hardly had time to raise the alarm when the attackers were already on board. They're very intelligent. They immediately took over the controls, switched off all the electronic equipment and headed for Garacad" in north eastern Somalia where the ship anchored in the shelter of a small island, he said.Al-Meezan is one of the rare ships of this size that regularly sails to Mogadishu and was already captured by pirates last May.Great controversy surrounded its latest capture after a Somali official said the vessel was carrying a big cargo of small arms.The accusation was denied by the owner of the cargo, Abdi Ali Farah, a Somali who heads the Juba General Trading Company. He said the ship was carrying only sugar and general merchandise.Built in 1979, the 2,000-ton 50-meter long Al-Meezan is managed from Dubai by Biyat International.The Al-Meezan 7906710 is owned by a company called Shahmir Maritime based in the Carribean Grenadine Islands and described by people who know it as a front company.Chartered by Somali businessmen, the ship mostly plies between the Gulf States and Somalia. When it was captured for the first time around the pirates were already claiming it had arms on board."For this latest trip "we had on board sugar, construction materials and some vehicles," captain Noor said with an exasperated gesture.The pirates kept the 18 crew members locked up 24 hours a day in a tiny room on the upper deck.The only Somali crew member did the translating."When he wasn't around if you wanted to go to the toilet you had to raise your little finger." The most critical point came on November 17 "when they told us to take the ship in to shore – we thought they were going to kill us", Noor said.
The boat was freed the next day. The captain and his men said they had no idea if a ransom had been paid. "It was the duty of all those people who made a lot of money out of us to pay up and save us," one tearful crew member told Agence France-Presse in his cabin. Noor, who feels "relatively safe" in Mogadishu port, said he was waiting for instructions and was ready to go back to sea. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/regions/view/20091127-238705/Unicef-employee-shot-dead
FACTBOX-Ships held by Somali pirates
Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout is said to be receiving medical attention for the trauma she endured during 15 months in captivity in Somalia, a country she finally left Thursday morning.
After meeting with the prime minister of Somalia's transitional federal government, who offered an official apology, Lindhout and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan — who was kidnapped with her — left Mogadishu and flew to freedom in Nairobi in neighbouring Kenya, where they were taken to a hotel by Canadian and Australian officials and reportedly were met by Lindhout's mother. The pair made no comment on their arrival.
Daud Abdi Daud Dhimbil of the Somali Journalist Rights Agency, which has been tracking the case, said the two journalists were receiving private medical care in Nairobi. "The current condition of the journalists is not good," Daud said from Nairobi. "They need to rest and get enough medication. They suffered torture and were beaten. "You can understand there is some amount of confusion, so they need more medication and more rest. They feel tired, and mentally as well, they feel tired." He said Lindhout and Brennan were being treated by medical staff, but not in one of the city's hospitals, adding that Lindhout was with her mother and government officials. At home, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canadians were relieved at the news of Lindhout's release from captivity, but offered a direct warning to other Canadians in Somalia or those considering travelling to the lawless nation...more..http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Canadians+warned+stay+Somalia+hostage+freed/2268520/story.html
Dick Smith helped pay Aussie ransom
Freed journalist arrives in Nairobi,Tortured and locked in chains: Two journalists are released after 15-month kidnap in Somalia
Geddes said that Brennan has also been reunited with his family.Sources with knowledge of the negotiations have confirmed to CBC News that the total ransom paid for the release of Lindhout and Brennan was $600,000 US.Lindhout said Wednesday that she was kept in "extremely oppressive" conditions that included torture and beatings.A freelance television and print reporter from Sylvan Lake, Alta., Lindhout was usually based in Baghdad. She wrote for the Red Deer Advocate newspaper, reporting from war zones in Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan...more..http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/11/26/amanda-lindhout-freed-kenya.html?ref=rss
Stinking filthy habar-gidir hawiye Taking people hostage. Shows what animals the hawiye bastards are.
Canberra refused to comment on what, if any role it had played in securing Brennan's release, or whether it objected to the payment of a ransom...more..http://www.canada.com/news/Australian+photographer+pistol+whipped/2268686/story.html
Finally freed from her Somali kidnappers, an Alberta journalist is recalling being tortured and beaten while held captive for 15 months.Amanda Lindhout told CTV in a telephone interview that she and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan were released Wednesday after a ransom was “paid by our families” to their captors.Lindhout and Brennan were kidnapped in Aug. 23, 2008, while doing freelance journalism work in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.Lindhout told CTV she was doing research on “internally displaced people” in Somalia when the vehicle she was riding in was ambushed. She and Brennan were then taken around the country and kept in different locations under “extremely oppressive conditions.”“There were times that I was beaten, that I was tortured. It was an extremely difficult situation,” she said, adding food was scarce and she was only permitted to use the toilet five times a day.She said she didn't know her kidnappers but figured they were criminals “under the guise of being freedom fighters for Somalia.”When she was allowed to speak to her mother once every few months, she was given a script and forbidden to say what she wanted. She said she was also forced to contact various media outlets as her captors believed this would lead to the payment of a $1-million ransom.“In that darkness, I would just try to escape in my mind to a sunny place, usually Vancouver — in my mind — I would imagine running around Stanley Park and things like that, and that kept me going.”The press secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon issued a statement declining to comment on the case.“We are aware of the reports. We will not comment or release any information which may endanger the safety of a Canadian or other citizen,” said Natalie Sarafian.Lindhout's aunt also declined to comment when contacted by phone, adding the only news she was aware of was what had been broadcast on television.Group members on several Facebook groups dedicated to Amanda Lindhout's rejoiced upon learning she had been freed.“Extremely wonderful news. Praying for the safe transit home and back into the arms of their families so desperately waiting to be reunited. Alberta is waiting for you, Amanda,” one woman wrote.http://www.edmontonsun.com/news/canada/2009/11/25/11923471.html
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The U.S. military has been providing weapons and training to forces loyal to Somalia's President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, but the government still only controls a few blocks of the capital with the rest of the country in the hands of Islamist rebels.
"What's going on in Somalia did not just get that way. It won't correct itself overnight either," General William E. Ward, commander of the U.S. military's Africa Command, told reporters during a visit to Algeria.
"And so the current policy, that has international support, not just from the United States, to reinforce, to help the transitional federal government, and be supportive of the African Union mission to Somalia is where we ... also see our big contribution," he said.
The al Shabaab militant group, who Washington says is al Qaeda's proxy in Somalia, has been waging a two-and-a-half year insurgency against the central government to impose its harsh version of Sharia law throughout the country.
Troops from the African Union are protecting government sites in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.
Western security agencies say Somalia has become a safe haven for militants who use it to plot attacks on Western targets, and also a bolt-hole for pirates who have been hijacking ships in the Indian Ocean.
Ward was in the Algerian capital for meetings with officials that focused on the threat from violent extremism in another part of Africa, around the Sahara desert.
He said the U.S. military would continue to provide counter-terrorism training to Sahara region governments but that there were no plans for U.S. forces to take part directly in operations against insurgents. Continued... 2 Next Page
Kidnapped journalists' 15 months of hell is over...Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.Freed journalists leave Somalia
Freed foreign journalists leave Somalia
Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan says he was kept isolated and tortured during the 15 months he was held captive in the troubled African country of Somalia.
Mr Brennan says he is OK after he and Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout were released on Wednesday. It has been reported that their families paid a $US1 million ($1.09 million) ransom to the kidnappers to secure their release, but that has not been confirmed.
Relieved relative warns: 'Not out of harms way yet'
'My day was sitting in a corner, on the floor, 24 hours a day for the last 15 months'
Brennan said he was relieved and safe and looking forward to going home after being released after 15 months in captivity.He has spoken to his sister in Australia, but had been instructed not to talk any further, the Seven Network said.But he also spoke to the Reuters news agency, saying it had "been pretty arduous, the last 15 months"."Locked in a room, very little light. I haven't been able to exercise at all. You know, simple things like being told not to smile, not to laugh - not that there was much to laugh about," he told Reuters by phone from his hotel in Mogadishu."But my friend Amanda had a pretty rough time, I know that. She was severely beaten and we were both tortured both mentally and physically."Being pistol whipped is sort of torture, being completely stripped of everything and then locked in a room, no one to speak to, is a form of torture really."Mr Brennan's sister-in-law Kellie Brennan will make a brief statement to the media in Sydney at 11am (AEDT). Australian and Canadian government officials have made no comment so far.Mr Brennan said he and Ms Lindhout - who were held separately - had no idea they were about to be released."Tonight we were ripped out of our rooms, stripped of everything, told to put on new clothes and then thrown in a car and then driven - we had no idea what was going on," he said."We've been through a pretty rough time, both of us. Just to be free is amazing."Ms Lindhout told Canadian television she was beaten and tortured during her captivity."It was extremely oppressive. I was kept by myself at all times. I had no one to speak to. I was normally kept in a room with a light, no window. I had nothing to write on or with. There was very little food. I was allowed to use the toilet exactly five times a day," Lindhout told CTV."So, basically, my day was sitting on a corner, on the floor, 24 hours a day for the last 15 months."There were times that I was beaten, that I was tortured. It was an extremely, extremely difficult situation."Earlier, Somali MP Ahmed Diiriye announced the release.
"We have now brought both foreign journalists to the Sahafi hotel. We have been working for eight days on their release, but finally succeeded."I don't want to comment on how we released them now."Brennan started his media career in the Queensland city of Bundaberg, where he is from.Bundaberg state MP Jack Dempsey said he was incredibly relieved to hear Brennan had been freed."It’s fantastic news," he told ABC Radio."It’s quite unbelievable ... it's like a whole sense of joy to hear the news and also a sense of relief for the community of Bundaberg as well as the family."He described Brennan as "very enthusiastic and passionate"."He had a lot of friends, he was a very loving and caring character," he said."It will be great to be able to have him back in the community and the community will certainly be overjoyed."Reminder of the dangers of journalismChris Warren of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, Australia's journalists' union, said it was "fantastic news to hear that they're out and they're alive".He said the capture of the two journalists was a reminder that journalism could be an incredibly dangerous occupation."It's also a reminder to the world journalism community that we should never forget colleagues when this happens to them."We should always be trying to persuade others, such as governments and those that have got influence, to get them out."15-month captivityBrennan, a freelance Australian photojournalist, and Lindhout, a Canadian freelance reporter, were kidnapped in Mogadishu in August 2008.A Somali journalist, Abdifatah Mohammed Elmi, who was working as their interpreter, was also kidnapped. He was released in January."We are happy. Our health is OK. We could not believe that we are free," Lindhout told The Associated Press."Tonight is a big day for us. We sent our family and friends a message that we are free and will be with them soon after a long time in captivity."Police spokesman Colonel Abdulhai Hassan Barise said Brennan and Lindhout were at the hotel with Somali lawmaker Botan Isse Alin. Barise and Alin declined to say if ransom was paid for their release.
"We are happy the two are released," said Alin.
A kidnapper, who refused to identify himself, told Agence France-Presse a ransom of $US1 million had been paid for the release.Lindhout told Canadian television from her hotel room that she and Brennan were released after a ransom "was paid by our families" to the kidnappers.
"I believe [the kidnappers] are taking that money and, as far as I understand, they plan on leaving the country," Lindhout told CTV."It’s a long story. It’s been sort of going on for the last couple of weeks, and tonight finally everything came together and the men who had kidnapped us turned us over to the Federal Government in Somalia," Lindhout said."They seemed to think that if they beat me enough, then when I was able to speak to my mother - which they would put me on the line with her every couple of months - that I would be able to say the right thing to convince her to pay the ransom for me, which was $US1 million."Of course, my family didn't have $US1 million and it didn't matter what I said to them. But they didn’t really understand that. They thought: she’s Canadian, everyone in Canada is rich. She must have $US1 million."
Pierre Ambrose, the Africa co-ordinator for Reporters without Borders, told smh.com.au he could confirm that the duo's detention conditions were harsh...more..http://www.smh.com.au/world/kidnapped-journalists-15-months-of-hell-is-over-20091126-js52.html
Stinking filthy habar-gidir hawiye Taking people hostage. Shows what animals the hawiye bastards are.
Thank goodness! I never dreamed this was possible.
AllegationsAn affidavit unsealed Tuesday alleges the young Somalis' departures began with six men leaving in December 2007. Another left the following February, two more that August and another six last November. The affidavit by Assistant U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk states that before the first group left in 2007, Omar gave travel money to some "members of the conspiracy."In January 2008, Omar allegedly went to Somalia himself, stayed at an al-Shabab safehouse for several days and provided money to purchase AK-47 assault rifles, the affidavit says. Omar returned to the U.S. that April and was stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Atlanta because he had an expired Minnesota driver's license, purchased his airline ticket with cash and was returning from a three-month trip to Somalia, according to another FBI affidavit. In August 2008, Omar allegedly accompanied two men bound for Somalia to the airport and that November hosted a gathering that included several young men who left for Somalia in the following days to join al-Shabab, according to court documents. Two of Omar's brothers in Minnesota previously have said he is innocent of terror-related charges and is not an extremist. They did not return telephone calls Tuesday. Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew a Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on each other, causing chaos in the African nation of 7 million. Minnesota has the largest population of Somali immigrants of any U.S. state. Four men have pleaded guilty in Minneapolis to charges ranging from supporting terrorism to perjury and are awaiting sentencing. Another man, Omer Abdi Mohamed, 24, of St. Anthony, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to terror-related charges. He is free on bond. "Omer had absolutely no connection with a terrorist then, now, or ever," said his attorney, Peter Wold. Seven others charged in the case are believed to be outside the United States. "Some of them could have already met their demise," Boelter said. "We just don't know."
Beginning in late 2007, dozens of young men of Somali descent started disappearing from diaspora communities in the West. It turned out they were returning to Somalia to train in Shabaab camps or to take up arms against Shabaab’s enemies within the country. Islamists of non-Somali descent were also travelling there to join Shabaab.This phenomenon has been repeating itself in a number of countries. Canadian government sources claim that 20 to 30 Canadians have joined Shabaab — a development that public safety minister Peter Van Loan has said “alarmed” him. In the U.S., the disappearances have primarily clustered around Minneapolis-St. Paul, but there are credible reports of disappearances in other U.S. cities with large Somali populations as well. The Times of London reports that British security services believe “[d]ozens of Islamic extremists have returned to Britain from terror training camps in Somalia.” SAPO, Sweden’s security service, believes that about 20 people have left that country to join Shabaab. And Australian authorities think as many as 40 Somali refugees may have gone from Australia to Somalia to liaise with Shabaab.Many factors cause young men in the West to join Somali Islamist movements. For one, the Somali diaspora is less integrated than other immigrant communities; this can lead to disaffection and the development of a mythologized sense of homeland, leaving newcomers especially vulnerable to recruitment.There is also a political dimension to support for Shabaab. In March 2009 U.S. Senate testimony, Professor Ken Menkhaus noted that Shabaab thrives on the “complex cocktail of nationalist, Islamist, anti-Ethiopian, anti-Western, anti-foreigner sentiments” that resulted from Ethiopia’s December 2006 invasion of Somalia.Of course, there’s a religious aspect too. American convert Daniel Maldonado, who pleaded guilty in April 2007 to receiving training from a foreign terrorist organization, told U.S. authorities that when he decided to travel to Somalia, it was to fight jihad — something he described in religious terms as “raising the word of Allah, uppermost, by speaking and fighting against all those who are against the Islamic State.”You can read the full article here.
By directly engaging with AQIM, the Malian authorities demonstrated their willingness to respond to armed challenges with force. Yet Mali's overall approach to conflict goes well beyond military reactions. Since the 1990s, Tuareg and other ethnic rebels have been active in Mali's arid Sahel region. By considering their political and economic grievances, the government has succeeded in persuading many fighters to lay down their weapons.
The establishment of a democratic system in 1992 has facilitated political dialogue, and provides citizens with ways to peacefully air their concerns. Mali has a vibrant civil society and free press as well as a record of respecting human rights. Although the government has few financial resources, it has devoted much attention to trying to improve conditions for its poorest citizens.
Across Africa, other countries face similar challenges as they try to address immediate security threats while simultaneously pursuing long-range priorities. But because the continent confronts so many pressing problems, tackling terrorism has so far not taken a high profile, despite the calls to wage "war on terror" that have been so prominent internationally since the 11 September 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.
As Kenyan journalist Mutuma Mathiu summarized the common African view: "For people who have to work reasonably hard to put bread on the table, have to fight AIDS and the escalating cost of living, terrorism appears to be a distant threat. The threat of having nothing for dinner is more immediate."
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The newly named suspects make up one of the largest alleged terrorist networks in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, analysts said. Assistant Attorney General David S. Kris said the government continues to investigate the alleged recruitment, and sources indicated that FBI and grand jury inquiries are active in San Diego, Boston and Columbus, Ohio, into the disappearance abroad of dozens of Muslim Americans since 2007.
The charges cap a year-long FBI investigation into the departures, most of them among men of Somali descent in their teens and 20s, to join al-Shabab, an extremist group with ties to al-Qaeda.
Al-Shabab opposes Somalia's weak but internationally supported government and seeks instead a fundamentalist Islamic state under sharia law. It has attacked Ethiopian and African Union troops, targeted neighboring countries, pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and used al-Qaeda operatives to train American recruits, U.S. officials said. The State Department listed al-Shabab as a terrorist group last year.
American officials said they worry that al-Qaeda operatives might "commission" a U.S. strike using al-Shabab's pipeline of American and European fighters, whose passports would make it easier for them to travel undetected, although officials have said they see no sign yet of such a threat.
Among those charged Monday was Mahamud Said Omar, a U.S. permanent resident arrested two weeks ago in the Netherlands. Omar paid for airfare and AK-47 assault rifles for several of the youths to join al-Shabab, officials said Monday at a news conference in Minneapolis. U.S. officials requested the arrest and seek his extradition. ..more...http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/23/AR2009112303999.html
Monday, November 23, 2009
The newly named suspects make up one of the largest suspected terrorist networks in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, analysts said. Assistant Attorney General David Kris said the government continues to investigate the alleged recruitment, and sources indicated that FBI and grand jury inquiries are active in San Diego, Boston and Columbus, Ohio, into the disappearance abroad of dozens of Muslim Americans since 2007.
The charges cap a year-long FBI investigation into the departures, most of them among men of Somali descent in their teens and 20s, to join al-Shabaab, an extremist group with ties to al-Qaida.
Al-Shabaab opposes Somalia's weak but internationally supported government and seeks instead a fundamentalist Islamic state under sharia law. It has since attacked Ethiopian and African Union troops, targeted neighboring countries, pledged allegiance to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden last year and used al-Qaida operatives to train American recruits, U.S. officials said. The State Department listed al-Shabaab as a terrorist group last year.Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09328/1015882-84.stm#ixzz0XlHn9RYj
Missing Somalis investigation leads to 14 people charged
Designation of Al-Shabaab
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