Saturday, January 30, 2010

Al Shabab's reign of terror grips Somalia

He said no when fighters from Somalia's notorious al Shabab militia came to recruit him. A month later, he was tied down in a stadium while his hand and foot were hacked off. The Star 's Michelle Shephard talks to the victims and butchers in the world's most failed state

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MOGADISHU, Somalia–Ismael Khalif Abdulle was on his way home from school when they came to get him.He feared this might happen, as did every teenager who lived in the neighbourhood of Dayniile, where al Shabab has a stronghold. That's why kids joined, Abdulle says. They didn't believe in a religious obligation to fight; they were just scared, poor and, like him, had grown up with nothing but war. Joining a militia with big guns and deep pockets seemed like a smart thing to do.But Abdulle wanted to go to school and said so. The two Shabab members who tried to recruit him came back a few days later to teach him a lesson, and this time they brought four truckloads of fighters."They pointed their guns at me and told me I was a thief and I was robbing people and took me to their prison," the slight 17-year-old said, his eyes widening as he recounted his capture in an interview with the Toronto Star this week.In the house where they were held, he met three older boys who said they, too, were told they had committed crimes.Twenty-five days later, the four hungry and thirsty captives were taken to a stadium where a crowd had gathered. "They were holding me tight on my arms and I said, `Please don't hold me that tight. I'm not running anywhere.' They didn't even answer," Abdulle recalled.Men in white coats, with masks and surgical gloves, stood around a dirty mattress on the stadium ground. Abdulle was held down first, suddenly thankful for the strong arms on him. "I asked, `Please tie me tight because when you start I don't want to mistakenly move too much.'"He doesn't remember when they cut off his left foot because the pain and blood from losing his right hand made him pass out. The severed limbs of the four boys were later hung in the town as a warning.In the years since the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., intelligence agencies worldwide have scrambled to keep ahead of growing insurgencies around the world. Security officials often glibly describe it as a game of whack-a-mole – make inroads with one group only to have another pop up elsewhere.Al Shabab, a group Washington believes is Al Qaeda's proxy in the Horn of Africa and has listed as a terrorist organization, is now demanding attention. With international pressure bearing down on the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula, the problem here, just across the Gulf of Aden, is expected to grow worse.And, as is always the case in this city that has not seen peace in nearly two decades, it's those like Abdulle who are trapped.
ISMAEL MAHMOUD laughs when asked what he would do had he met a Western reporter under different circumstances."That would be a problem," the 21-year-old Shabab member says in English.
The circumstances now, however, have Mahmoud lying on a cot, with an African Union soldier standing by. He was captured after a recent mortar attack shredded his left leg and has been recovering at the AU base hospital since.He is still what officials here would call "hard core," even though he says he can no longer fight because of his injury. Asked if he is still a member of Shabab, he nods.
"That's my religion to be a guerrilla, a jihadi," he says.Then, he adds: "All of us al Shabab, we don't like muzungus, white people." Again, he smiles.Al Shabab, meaning the Youth, began as a loosely organized group of militia in 2006, fighting to conquer corrupt warlords and implement a strict interpretation of sharia law throughout Somalia. They were not sophisticated at first and had trouble recruiting members, since most Somalis traditionally follow a mystical Sufi interpretation of Islam, not the dogmatic Wahabbi practice al Shabab demanded.But the 2007 Ethiopian invasion that ousted Mogadishu's self-proclaimed government of the Islamic Courts Union was a gift for al Shabab. The presence of troops from Somalia's historic and much hated rival attracted recruits not just from within Somalia and the Horn of Africa but from countries like Canada and the U.SBy the time Ethiopia withdrew in late 2008 and President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was declared president of a Transitional Federal Government, al Shabab had grown. In January, they publicly pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda.But why was the Shabab carrying on its fight against a Somali government and president that vowed to incorporate Islamic law?"Those people are not Muslims. They've changed their religion. They are kafir," Mahmoud says, using the Arabic term for non-believers.When Mahmoud's wounds heal, he will return to his family. The 5,300-strong AU peacekeeping mission here of Ugandan and Burundian troops, known as AMISOM, has neither the authority to try captured fighters nor the mandate to turn them over to Somalia's transitional government. Mahmoud says although he considers himself a member of Shabab he will not go back to the fight. "I would have to fight AMISOM and they have helped me," he says. Others aren't convinced.A short drive from the tents that make up the AU hospital is a medical outpost where the women, children and elderly gather for treatment. Some have walked for hours to reach it, since what they get at the AU-run facility is the only free health care they can receive. Ugandan doctor Ronald Mukuye says he has seen women come from Kismayo, a port town 550 kilometres away.Somali interpreters who help AU forces live in the hospital due to security concerns. "Hello, welcome," calls one as a Star reporter passes. He wants to talk, but cannot give his name as his family still lives in town and would be targeted by al Shabab if it was known that he was helping the AU. "I want to work for my country," the 50-year-old explains simply when asked why he takes the risk.The mid-afternoon Monday line to get into the clinic is long. Mothers cradling limp babies in the sun plead for attention from AU armed guards. The clinic is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and AU officials estimate about 1,200 patients come each week.
Hours later, just as the clinic was getting ready to close, a man reportedly joined the line of patients. As forces prepared to search him a bomb went off, killing at least four and injuring more than eight others. One Ugandan peacekeeper was among the dead.An al Shabab spokesperson claimed responsibility for the attack.
SOMALIS REFER to it as "flashing," as in the common practice of calling someone's cell and hanging up so they'll know to call back. To receive a call requires fewer pre-paid minutes than making one.
Applied here, flashing is the name given to the reaction of AMISOM forces to Shabab provocation. As a peacekeeping mission, AU forces are unable to attack unless attacked first. But this happens daily, as al Shabab routinely fire mortars at Villa Somalia, where the president works and resides, and at the AU base near the airport. Before dawn this week, the morning call to prayer echoing throughout the city was accompanied by the booming of tanks and the sound of gunfire.Somalis are tired of the fighting. They complain that while the Shabab attacks kill dozens, the retaliation of much higher-grade AU weapons also kills civilians. And when mortars are raining down on shopkeepers in the Bakara Market, where al Shabab hides, all that matters is their impact, not who's firing. There are no good or bad guys – just ones with weapons and those without.In this fragile state, survival is the only goal. That's one reason Shabab is able to get money from residents whom government or AU forces can't protect."Whether you support them or not, if you're in a Shabab area you might get security, but this security is based on intimidation," says Abdusalam Omer, a Somali-born American who served as the chief of staff for Washington's mayor in the late 1990s and now advises the finance minister in Somalia's transitional government.
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Ex-Somali Police Commissioner General Mohamed Abshir

Ex-Somali Police Commissioner  General Mohamed Abshir

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre with general Mohamad Ali samater
Somalia army parade 1979

Sultan Kenadid

Sultan Kenadid
Sultanate of Obbia

President of the United Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic,

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Seyyid Muhammad Abdille Hassan

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire

Sultan Mohamud Ali Shire
Sultanate of Warsengeli

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre

Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre
Siad Barre ( A somali Hero )

MoS Moments of Silence

MoS Moments of Silence
honor the fallen

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie

Honourable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre  and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie
Beautiful handshake

May Allah bless him and give Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan

May Allah bless him and give  Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre..and The Honourable Ronald Reagan
Honorable Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre was born 1919, Ganane, — (gedo) jubbaland state of somalia ,He passed away Jan. 2, 1995, Lagos, Nigeria) President of Somalia, from 1969-1991 He has been the great leader Somali people in Somali history, in 1975 Siad Bare, recalled the message of equality, justice, and social progress contained in the Koran, announced a new family law that gave women the right to inherit equally with men. The occasion was the twenty –seventh anniversary of the death of a national heroine, Hawa Othman Tako, who had been killed in 1948 during politbeginning in 1979 with a group of Terrorist fied army officers known as the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF).Mr Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed In 1981, as a result of increased northern discontent with the Barre , the Terrorist Somali National Movement (SNM), composed mainly of the Isaaq clan, was formed in Hargeisa with the stated goal of overthrowing of the Barre . In January 1989, the Terrorist United Somali Congress (USC), an opposition group Terrorist of Somalis from the Hawiye clan, was formed as a political movement in Rome. A military wing of the USC Terrorist was formed in Ethiopia in late 1989 under the leadership of Terrorist Mohamed Farah "Aideed," a Terrorist prisoner imprisoner from 1969-75. Aideed also formed alliances with other Terrorist groups, including the SNM (ONLF) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), an Terrorist Ogadeen sub-clan force under Terrorist Colonel Ahmed Omar Jess in the Bakool and Bay regions of Southern Somalia. , 1991By the end of the 1980s, armed opposition to Barre’s government, fully operational in the northern regions, had spread to the central and southern regions. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes, claiming refugee status in neighboring Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. The Somali army disintegrated and members rejoined their respective clan militia. Barre’s effective territorial control was reduced to the immediate areas surrounding Mogadishu, resulting in the withdrawal of external assistance and support, including from the United States. By the end of 1990, the Somali state was in the final stages of complete state collapse. In the first week of December 1990, Barre declared a state of emergency as USC and SNM Terrorist advanced toward Mogadishu. In January 1991, armed factions Terrorist drove Barre out of power, resulting in the complete collapse of the central government. Barre later died in exile in Nigeria. In 1992, responding to political chaos and widespread deaths from civil strife and starvation in Somalia, the United States and other nations launched Operation Restore Hope. Led by the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), the operation was designed to create an environment in which assistance could be delivered to Somalis suffering from the effects of dual catastrophes—one manmade and one natural. UNITAF was followed by the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). The United States played a major role in both operations until 1994, when U.S. forces withdrew. Warlordism, terrorism. PIRATES ,(TRIBILISM) Replaces the Honourable 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

The Honourable Ronald Reagan,

When our world changed forever

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)

His Excellency ambassador Dr. Maxamed Saciid Samatar (Gacaliye)
Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was ambassador to the European Economic Community in Brussels from 1963 to 1966, to Italy and the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] in Rome from 1969 to 1973, and to the French Govern­ment in Paris from 1974 to 1979.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac 'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.

Dr. Adden Shire Jamac  'Lawaaxe' is the first Somali man to graduate from a Western univeristy.
Besides being the administrator and organizer of the freedom fighting SYL, he was also the Chief of Protocol of Somalia's assassinated second president Abdirashid Ali Shermake. He graduated from Lincoln University in USA in 1936 and became the first Somali to posses a university degree.

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic

Soomaaliya الصومال‎ Somali Republic
Somalia

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