Media MONITOR:Print
15 February 2012 Daily Media Roundup
02/15/2012
Somalia News Highlights: The 2nd Garowe Conference for Somalia opened in the Puntland capital of Garowe; the Somali PM is expected to address the ACP leaders at a Brussels Summit; Somali MPs questioned the UK's agenda in Somalia and the reasons for hosting the London Conference; a Somali-American charged of supporting al-Shabaab is allowed to move to Ohio while waiting his sentencing; Puntland authorities denied terror attacks occurred around Bosaso as reported by Somali websites; hundreds of Somalis have protested against al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab's partnership and their terror acts against the Somali people; Somali womens's leaders called for greater participation at the Garowe Conference; a crisis group released a dismal report on the Kenyan troop incursions into Somalia; the TFG's defense minister pledged continued and intensified fighting against al-Shabaab in Mogadishu; the TFG claimed to have killed at least 12 al-Shabaab fighters in Gedo region; two top aides of President Sharif resigned and others are expected to resign before the London Conference; hundreds of al-Shabaab supporters demonstrated in various regions under al-Shabaab; over 28 bodies of Somali immigrants were found on the shores of Lasqoray; a women's Somali charitable organization distributed food and clothes to 2,000 IDPs in Mogadishu; and ASWJ arrested 11 pirates in a security operation in Dusamareb.

COMMENTARY ON ISLAMIC WEBSITES

Amiir Nuur - The pro-al-Shabaab website posted a documentary on the El-Wak battle between al-Shabaab and the infidel forces. The 24-minute film is dedicated to the martyr of Da'wa, Sheikh Anwar Al-Awlaki and the video shows the actual war footage, dead soldiers and weapons seized from the TFG-supporting forces. The battlefront video is produced by Al-Kataib Media foundation and titled "El-Wak: Repelling the Kenyan Proxies." Somali Language

POLITICS

Garowe Online - A national conference opened in northern Somalia’s stable Puntland State on Wednesday whereby Somali delegates will discuss the country’s future federal constitution, Radio Garowe reports. The conference opened at Puntland State University compound in Garowe, capital of Puntland. More than 180 delegates were present for the opening session, which featured speeches by Somali leaders and international diplomats. The opening ceremony was attended by the host, Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole, and Puntland Vice President Abdisamad Ali Shire.

All Africa - The Prime Minister of Somalia H.E Abdiweli Mohamed Ali will make a presentation to the Committee of Ambassadors of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP Group) on Monday afternoon, 20th February, in Brussels, on his way to the London-Somali conference scheduled for the 23rd. Somalia is a signatory to the ACP-EU Lomé Conventions and the 1975 Georgetown Agreement which founded the 79 member ACP Group of States. The Somali Ambassador to Brussels and former Prime Minister H.E Nur Hassan Hussein said the purpose of the visit was to reaffirm Somali relations with the ACP Group and the European Union, and also to rally support in calling for deeper attention to Somalia’s on-going humanitarian, security and nation-building efforts.

All Africa - A section of Somali MPs are petitioning Britain through its Nairobi Embassy to come clean on the upcoming London conference and its latest interests in the country. Talking to the Star yesterday in Nairobi ahead of February 23 planned UK meeting on Somalia, the MPs said they were suspicious of the meeting as Somali representatives were left out of the formulating the agenda and details on the where the meeting should be convened and those to attend. "UK's main interest as a far as we know now is to eliminate piracy which is affecting their trade, but this will only be trying to fight a consequence but not the course, the main problem with Somalia is instability inland and if an organised stable government can be established then the rest of the problem can be fought to their conclusive end, and this is what we want and at this moment therefore we want Britain to explain in detail why their interest has heightened at this moment," an MP Hassan Warsame said.

SECURITY/AL-SHABAAB

The Republic - A Somali-American who pleaded guilty to a terror charge in Minnesota will be allowed to live in Ohio with his wife and child pending sentencing. Twenty-seven-year-old Ahmed Hussein Mahamud admitted this month that he helped raise money so others could travel from Minnesota to Somalia to join al-Shabaab. Mahamud lived in Eden Prairie until last year, when he moved to Westerville, Ohio. He's been at a halfway house in Minnesota since his June arrest, but a judge says he can now leave. Prosecutors did not object to Mahamud's request to return to Ohio pending sentencing. A date has not been set.

Garowe Online - Puntland Government strongly rejects false media reports of a terrorist attack near the commercial port city of Bosaso. Reports broadcast by Mogadishu media, namely Radio Shabelle and Hiiraan Online, falsely claimed that 15 Puntland soldiers were killed in a militant ambush. This report is false and there was no attack at Sugurre, a village where Puntland government forces maintain security checkpoints. This false report is intentionally timed to coincide with the opening of the Second Somalia National Constitutional Conference (Garowe II). The Conference opened peacefully on time in Garowe on Wednesday 15 February 2012.

Al Arabiya - Hundreds of Somalis marched through the war-torn capital of Mogadishu on Wednesday in a rare open protest against Islamist Shebab insurgents and their al-Qaeda allies. "Down with al-Qaeda! Down with al-Shebab!" the crowds chanted, as they marched through the streets near the presidential palace, passing areas recently hit by suicide and car bomb attacks set off by the hardline Shehab. Demonstrators waving banners daubed with slogans against the Islamist al-Qaeda network said they wanted to defeat the extremist insurgency battling the weak Western-backed government. "This country is for Somalis and not for foreign fighters like al-Qaeda -- we do not tolerate their violence any longer," Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed told the crowd.

WOMEN RIGHTS/POLITICS

IPS - As Somalia’s transitional government and various stakeholders meet Wednesday to discuss the inclusion of the country’s clans in the new government, women politicians have called for a greater role in the leadership of this East African nation. The Somali government, regional autonomies, civil society, and the non-militant Islamist group Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a will meet in Garowe, Puntland state from Feb. 15 to 16 to discuss the composition of the country’s new parliament as the transitional period ends this August. In exclusive interviews with IPS, the Minister for Women’s Development and Family Care, Dr. Mariam Aweis Jama, and the director for Women’s Affairs at the Presidential Palace, Malyun Sheik Heidar, said it was time that Somali women played a key part in the country’s leadership.

ICG REPORT

Crisis Group - The International Crisis Group (ICG) has released a briefing about the Kenyan troop incursions into Somalia beginning of October 2010, lack of progress in gaining substantial progress against al-Shabaab and recommendations. "The decision in October 2011 to deploy thousands of troops in Somalia’s Juba Valley to wage war on al-Shabaab is the biggest security gamble Kenya has taken since independence, a radical departure for a country that has never sent its soldiers abroad to fight. Operation Linda Nchi (Protect the Country) was given the go-ahead with what has shown itself to be inadequate political, diplomatic and military preparation; the potential for getting bogged down is high; the risks of an al-Shabaab retaliatory terror campaign are real; and the prospects for a viable, extremist-free and stable polity emerging in the Juba Valley are slim."

RADIO ROUNDUP

Radio Mogadishu - A pro-government radio station

Somali Defense Minister Hussein Arab Isse stated that Tuesday’s operation against al-Shabaab militias in the outskirts of Mogadishu is the start of massive operations against the terrorist group. "The national forces fulfilled the operations as it was planned and from now we are ready to liberate the rest regions of the country from the enemy," he said in interview with Radio Mogadishu. He urged the Somali people to support the military.

The Somali National Forces killed at least ten al-Shabaab members in Gedo region on Wednesday. TFG military official confirmed to SONNA News Agency that the TFG forces pushed back and killed the Islamist fighters after they attacked TFG bases in Gedo region.

Radio Al-Furqaan - A pro-al-Shabaab radio station

Two officials from president Sharif’s office have resigned from their posts on Tuesday. The director of Sharif’s office, Ahmed Sheikh Salah, and the head of protocol, Abdulahi Haydar, stated that they couldn’t tolerate the lack of payments, corruption and pressures from the foreign troops. Reports reaching at Al-Furqaan Radio have also indicated that other TFG top officials are planning to resign before London Conference.

Radio Andulus - A pro-al-Shabaab radio station

Millions of Somali people in Bay, Bakol, Lower Shabelle, Lower Juba, Gedo, Middle Jubba, Middle Shabelle, Hiiraan and Galgaduud regions have for the third day come out to support al-Shabaab Mujahideen. The Mujahideen officials who spoke to the people promised to continue the jihad and defend the country from the enemy.

Radio Shabelle - An independent radio station

At least 28 dead bodies were found on Wednesday morning lying on a beach in Lasqorey town of Sanag region in northern Puntland. The washed up bodies are suspected being among Somali migrants whose ferry boat capsized in the Gulf of Aden this week. Most of the people who died did not know how to swim. Residents have come out this morning and buried all bodies whose identities have not been discovered.

Radio Bar-Kulan - An independent radio station

A local aid group in Somalia, Save Somali Women and Children (SSWC), on Wednesday distributed dates and clothes to over 2,000 destitute families in several refugee camps in Mogadishu. The beneficiaries, mainly women and children, were selected from ten IDP camps in and around the capital.

ASWJ militias in Dusamareb town have apprehended 11 suspected gangs after conducting a security operation in the area. The suspects including alleged pirates and others who were allegedly involved in highway robbery were arrested to bolster the security of Dusamareb, according the area Deputy District Commissioner, Abdullahi Abdinoor Barre.