Thursday, March 24, 2011

Despite enticements, deserters from Somalia's militants find little help, hope for future

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia's government promised fighters like Abdi Hassan valuable rewards if they deserted from the Islamist rebels group battling for control of the country. Good salaries. Education. Health care.Encouraged by a steady broadcast of radio messages and wearied by the war, Hassan snuck away last November. But when he arrived in the government-controlled area of Mogadishu, he found that little had been done for deserters like himself.Now the skinny, bearded former rebel spends his days lounging, too afraid go outside in case his al-Qaida linked former colleagues try to kill him.Hassan's situation — along with another 50 men like him — may illustrate why there are so few defections from an insurgency with little popular support. It also underscores one key reason that Somalia's 20-year civil war continues to drag on: The weak government and its disorganized supporters have failed to present a credible alternative.Somali Defense Minister Abdihakim Haji Mohamud Fiqi said the government was providing defectors with food, accommodation and education, although he declined to provide figures. The deserters are given religious lessons and taught a few basic social skills, but appear not to be learning hard skills that can translate into a new job."We are planning to get salaries for them and we are encouraging those still with the terrorists to leave by March 30," Fiqi said. He declined to say what would happen after the end of March.The Somali government and its international backers are eager to encourage defectors, but there are few structures in place to support them. Hassan said he and others are being housed and fed by the Somali intelligence services, but their promised payments have been small and sporadic."Our main worries are being worse off and the lack of jobs. If we weren't so afraid we could go to town and look for jobs," said the 24-year-old Hassan, who said he had been lightly wounded six times and seen many friends die around him while fighting with the insurgents.Hassan said he joined al-Shabab because the militants claimed they were the "real" Muslims, but he said he later realized that claim was false.The group has instituted a Taliban-style system of rule, with strict edicts enforced by their own courts and public executions.Hassan's friend Nur Afrah, also a deserter, said many more young men are willing to leave al-Shabab, the biggest threat to the weak U.N.-backed Somali government and an 8,000 strong African Union force supporting them.An offensive begun last month by the AU soldiers and the government has pushed the insurgents out of several key positions in the capital."Al-Shabab are the worst people to work with. It's all no salary and daily fighting," said Afrah.
He pulled up his pant legs to show an Associated Press reporter shrapnel wounds on both of his legs. He said after he was wounded, he was given a week's rest before being told he would have to return to the front.Hassan agreed conditions with al-Shabab were bad."We used to use small guns but bigger and modern ones are being used against us. We suffered a lot," he said, showing a photograph on his phone of a friend he said was killed.Both men said payments from al-Shabab were small and irregular but they were bitter that the government had not delivered on its promises, either.Hassan said he had received $100 from the government the month he deserted, then two further payments of $100 each over the next four months. That's better than the $280 per year al-Shabab offered him, but not enough to properly support his wife and baby son.Successive Somali governments, hobbled by corruption and incompetence, have struggled to pay their own soldiers the stipulated $100 a month, let alone deserters. Payments were suspended for most of last year after donors Italy and the U.S. insisted on accurate lists of soldiers to try to help prevent wages being stolen. The payments restarted in December.Currently there is no international financial support for a disarmament program, partly because donors fear the costs of a successful program could mushroom out of control and partly because successful disarmament is difficult. There have been several attacks by men posing as al-Shabab deserters, most notably the assassination of a senior police officer last year."People smile at us but they don't trust us," Hassan said sadly.International donors are trying to hammer out a plan to support former fighters, but progress is slow, said Augustine Mahiga, the U.N.'s special representative for Somalia. He described sitting in a room full of high-level international officials during a two-hour meeting that didn't appear to achieve any consensus on moving forward.If the money paid in salary to the international participants in the room could have been collected and applied to the Somali deserters, then all the former fighters could be paid what they are owed, Mahiga said.
In the meantime, Hassan and Afrah sit around drinking tea, complaining and chewing qat, a mildly narcotic leaf widely used in Somalia. They say the government must do better, but that there is no way they will return to the insurgency."If I return to the militants, I will surely be executed," Hassan said. "We support the government, but we have to think of our own future too."
In the meantime, Hassan and Afrah sit around drinking tea, complaining and chewing qat, a mildly narcotic leaf widely used in Somalia. They say the government must do better, but that there is no way they will return to the insurgency."If I return to the militants, I will surely be executed," Hassan said. "We support the government, but we have to think of our own future too."Associated Press
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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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