Media MONITOR:Print
21 February 2012 Daily Media Roundup
02/21/2012
Somalia News Highlights:The Imam of a renowned Islamic university supported the London Conference for Somalia; Amnesty International urged the agenda for the London Conference to include a discussion on the protection of civilians; a rights group accused al-Shabaab of forcing school children as young as ten to fight; UNHCR celebrated the 20th anniversary of Dabaab Refugee Camp with caution; Kenyan officials blamed al-Shabaab for the food price hikes and shortages in Somali-Kenyan border towns; nine TFG soldiers were sentenced to six months in prison for carrying weapons in public spaces; al-Shabaab claimed over 20 infidel soldiers were killed and over 40 others injured in four IED attacks in Mogadishu; TFG forces were accused of robbing a pregnant woman in Mogadishu; Puntland's security forces arrested suspected al-Shabaab members in Galkayo; a senior leader of al-Shabaab vowed to escalate ambush and car bomb attacks against African and TFG forces; the Somali PM denied reports that the TFG invited al-Shabaab representatives to the London Conference; and the US Envoy for Somalia stated that Kenyan military will benefit from US funding when they join AMISOM forces.

COMMENTARY ON ISLAMIC WEBSITES

Amiir Nuur - The pro-al-Shabaab Islamist website published a commentary titled, "Which of the Two Factions Do You Belong to?" referring to good and evil. Allah has stated there will be a fight between the two forces until doomsday just as there is a fight between the pious Islamic movement and the impious infidels (AU, UN, and Western nations) in Somalia. Therefore, it is up to the Muslims to go to the frontlines to defend Islam from the impious groups. Somali Language

POLITICS

Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Dr Ahmed El Tayyeb, the Imam of Al-Azhar has issued a statement in support of the London Conference on Somalia. Al-Azhar is the most influential religious authority in Egypt, and one of the most important authorities in the Islamic World. The conference is aimed at galvanising international engagement on Somalia and in his message Dr Ahmed El Tayyeb calls on Somalis to put their divisions aside and work to end the conflict. "We ask God to grant you success in your honourable endeavours and we look forward to a bright future for your great people who have suffered terrible ordeals."

Voice Of America - Amnesty International said this week’s international conference on Somalia in London should add human rights abuses to the agenda. The group said much more needs to be done to protect civilians and restore the rule of law in the country. Benedicte Goderiaux, an Amnesty researcher on armed conflict, said, "The UK conference...is significant for a number of reasons because it will...mainly discuss the future and the stability of Somalia. However, it is less significant in some ways for us, a human rights organization, because human rights specific concerns have not made it on the agenda."

SECURITY/AL-SHABAAB

BBC Africa - Entire classrooms of Somali children - some as young as 10 - have been forced to fight for Islamist militants, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report says. An unprecedented number of children has been abducted over the past two years, HRW said. Boys are often sent to the frontline to serve as "cannon fodder" to protect adult fighters - and girls used as "wives" for al-Shabaab fighters. Al-Shabaab controls many southern and central parts of Somalia. "Over the course of the last two years, al-Shabaab has increasingly been forcibly abducting children - not only from their homes, but also from their schools and playing fields," HRW researcher Laetitia Bader told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

HUMANITARIAN

UN News Center - The world’s largest refugee camp – the Dadaab settlement in eastern Kenya – set up to host tens of thousands of people who fled Somalia following the 1991 collapse of the government and the ensuing civil war-related humanitarian crisis is marking its 20th anniversary with the population having grown exponentially, the United Nations refugee agency said today. On the 20th anniversary, UNHCR is renewing its appeal to the international community to ensure continued support to the approximately one million Somali refugees in the region, and to Kenya and the other countries hosting them.

SECURITY/FOOD CRISIS

Associated Press - Khadra Muhamud Aden says food supplies to the area are running low because fighting between Kenyan troops and the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Somali militant group al-Shabaab is blocking food from both the Kenyan border and the Somali port of Kismayo. Officials said Somalia’s south is now in the beginning stages of a humanitarian crisis because they are not getting the needed supplies, and they urged more relief agencies to step in. The Kenyan army blames al-Shabaab for the blockage, and says that it is also slowing the army’s advance toward Kismayo.

PHOTO ESSAY/AUDIO

The Guardian - This is a photo essay accompanied by voice over portrays the life in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. "Photographer Kate Holt visited the Somali capital last year, using her vantage point alongside AMISOM troops to document the experiences of local people."

RADIO ROUNDUP

Radio Mogadishu - A pro-government radio station

The Somali Military Court on Tuesday sentenced nine TFG soldiers to six months in jail for carrying weapons in civilian populated areas. The head of the military court, Hassan Mohamed Hussein Mungab, stated that they will never allow the soldiers to carry weapons in public areas.

Radio Andulus - A pro-al-Shabaab radio station

At least 20 pro-infidels militias were killed and over 40 were injured in four separate explosions that took place in Mogadishu on Tuesday. The explosions occurred in Yakshid, San'a, Ex-control and Dharkinlay villages, while the militias fired at the civilians after the explosions. The Mujahideens increased the fight against the enemy over the last few days.

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

TFG militias robbed a pregnant woman in Wardhigley district of Mogadishu, according to her 60 year old father. The father told Radio al-Furqaan that the militias entered his house at midnight and tortured him by robbing his daughter who was nine months pregnant. "I heard the voice of my daughter appealing to save her life, but I could do nothing," he said.

Radio Shabelle - An independent radio station

Puntland security forces apprehended a number of al-Shabaab suspected militants in security operations in Galkayo town of Mudug region. Officials stated that at least five people were arrested after the security forces launched an early morning operation in parts of the divided and the volatile town of northern Galkayo in response to the deteriorating security situation.

Al-Shabaab militias vowed to increase their guerilla-style attacks and deadly car bombs in Somalia. Sheik Muktar Abu Mansour, one of the senior commanders of al-Shabaab fighters, stated that the rebels are planning to step up attacks against TFG, AMISOM, Ethiopian and Kenyan forces operating in south and central regions unless they pull out of the country. Speaking to hundreds of newly trained al-Shabaab fighters in a large militant-training camp in Somalia’s southern town of Baidoa, Abu Mansor, urged militants to be ready to carrying out massive attacks, including suicide car bombs and hit and run offensives against the TFG and foreign forces across Somalia.

Radio Kulmiye - An independent radio station

Somali Prime Minister Abdiwali Mohamed Ali dismissed news reports that the TFG considered inviting al-Shabaab to join to the upcoming London conference this month. Dr. Abdiwali stated they invited al-Shabaab for negotiations in Somalia, but al-Shabaab failed to accept. "Our efforts reach every group and everywhere in Somalia, but I hope al-Shabaab is not included in the list of groups going to the London conference, which is an international forum to discuss Somalia's future. Do you think that Somalia’s future is acceptable to al-Shabaab? I think no," said the PM.

Nation TV - An independent Kenyan tv station

The Kenya military is set to benefit from financial assistance from the US once it is fully integrated into the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The US Special Representative to Somalia James Swan stated on Tuesday that his country has given US$340 million in voluntary assistance to countries that have contributed troops to AMISOM since 2007. "The cost of an expanded AMISOM, augmented troop levels and associated logistics included, will significantly increase the assessed costs for all UN member states. Furthermore, with the proposed troop increase, the donor community will be faced with tens of millions in additional bilateral costs to train and equip the new forces," Mr Swan said. “Improving security, stability, and governance in Somalia is central to addressing many related concerns-including piracy, terrorism, human rights abuses, and under-development. The United States’ approach places Somalis and Africans in the lead, and looks to regional organisations such as the African Union as a guide," Mr Swan added.