Media MONITOR:Print
5 March 2012 Daily Media Roundup
03/05/2012
Somalia News Highlights: Al-Shabaab is expected to establish a safe haven in Puntland after being defeated in southern Somalia; the Somali president vehemently denied a 'palace coup' occurred as claimed by the UN Envoy to Somalia; the UN Security Council is concerned about the global security threat posed by Islamist militants and pirates in Somalia; Africa Oil is committed to drilling oil in Puntland despite al-Shabaab's threats; the Seychelles is set to transfer 19 Somali pirates to Somaliland's $1.5 million pirate prison; 23 Somali-Americans are charged with trafficking under-age girls for sex in Tennessee; Minnesota Somalis threatened to close all their accounts at Wells Fargo Bank due to Hawalas linked to al-Shabaab money transfers; TFG-AMISOM pledged to liberate Middle Shabelle region from al-Shabaab militants and urged residents to collaborate with the national forces; Djibouti's ambassador to Somalia denied al-Shabaab claims of killing Djibouti peacekeepers in Mogadishu; al-Shabaab claimed there is continued fighting in Hilawa and Dayniile districts of Mogadishu; eight TFG soldiers were killed by a car bomb in Baidoa; al-Shabaab accused TFG soldiers of killing a 92-year old man in Mogadishu; and the residents of newly liberated town of Baidoa said life was brutal under al-Shabaab.

COMMENTARY ON ISLAMIC WEBSITES

Amiir Nuur - The Islamist website published two dozen pictures of al-Shabaab's Benadir leader, Sheikh Mohamed Omar Abdirahman, and a dozen al-Shabaab fighters marching in the streets of Dayniile district of Mogadishu. The Islamist website claimed that Dayniile is still in the hands of al-Shabaab Mujahideens and has not been recaptured by the infidel foreign troops as claimed by national and international media sources. (Editor's Note: The pictures simply show a dozen of al-Shabaab fighters marching in a single line at a street and it definitely shows it is set up for photo-op but the photo does not verify the claims of the Islamist militants.) Somali Language

POLITICS

Associated Press - The fight against Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked insurgency may be moving north to an area previously considered safer than the war-ravaged south, analysts and officials told The Associated Press on Monday. The move could mean that the Al-Shabaab militia is seeking to regroup in the semiautonomous region of Puntland, where international companies are exploring for oil, after coming under heavy pressure from three foreign armies in southern Somalia. The merger between Al-Shabaab and Atom’s militia could also be because Al-Shabaab wants to open a second front in the same way that its enemies have, said Mustafa Abdishakur, a political analyst in Mogadishu. "Clearly al-Shabaab want to use the other Puntland group as a second military front to increase pressure in northern Somalia," he said.

Shabelle - The president of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has on Monday reacted angrily to a statement from the United Nations special envoy for Somalia Augustine Mahiga. During a tour of the frontline district in Mogadishu called Huriwa, Somalia's president denied to a comment by the UN envoy for Somalia in which he said a palace coup has taken place in Villa Somalia. The Ala-Sheikh group is back in power, which should not be downplayed. (Editor's Note: The Somali president was reacting to a detailed interview the UN Representative for Somalia gave to Somalia Report.)

SECURITY/AL-SHABAAB

Reuters - The UN Security Council expressed grave concern on Monday at the threat posed by Somali pirates and extremist groups as U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon warned the African state's humanitarian situation would likely deteriorate again in the coming months. The international community has become increasingly concerned at Somalia becoming a leading global haven for Islamist militancy and the rising toll of Somali piracy, estimated to cost the global economy some $7 billion a year. "The Security Council remains gravely concerned about the threat posed to Somalia and the international community by terrorist attacks by Somali armed opposition groups, in particular al Shabaab," it said. (Editor's Note: the Islamist security threats to Puntland and the oil drilling personnel would be heightened by the defeat of al-Shabaab in southern Somalia and al-Shabaab's alliance with Al-Qaeda and Galgala Mountains militias.)

OIL DRILLING/TERROR THREATS

The Vancouver Sun - In a Somali desert that’s home to al-Qaeda-linked militia, Africa Oil Corp. drills inside a fortress of excavated earth dotted with lookout towers and armed guards to satisfy a world thirstier than ever for crude. The Canadian company is poised to complete the nation’s first oil well in at least 20 years. The prize is the more than 1 billion barrels of oil resources Africa Oil estimates is in the Dharoor Block in Puntland, a semi-autonomous northern region where the central government is battling Islamic extremists. "Security costs are significant," Chief Executive Officer Keith Hill said in an interview. Still, there aren't "many places on Earth we can go onshore with contractors and try to find a possibility for a billion-barrel oil field."

MARITIME

Associated Press - The tiny island nation of the Seychelles is punching far above its weight in the fight against Somali piracy. Pirates make up 20 percent of the 500-person prison population in the main Montagne Posee Prison. In a new development, 19 Somali pirates imprisoned in the Seychelles are scheduled to be transferred to the northern Somali region of Somaliland. The breakaway northern enclave of Somaliland has a stable, elected government and the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime paid $1.5 million to refurbish a prison there so it would meet international standards. Seychelles President James Michel and Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo said the February agreement is an important step in establishing a sustainable justice program that will see suspected pirates apprehended by naval forces, prosecuted by regional states and imprisoned in Somalia.

SEX SLAVERY/US SOMALI-AMERICAN

The New American - Twenty-three Somalis will go on trial this month in connection with operating a sex slavery ring that sold little girls into slavery in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Nasvhille, Tennessee; and other cities. According to the Tennessean, the trial will be unusual because all the defendants will appear before judge and jury at the same time. Agents from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency collared the 30 Africans in November 2010. Though the media has not mentioned it, the defendants are almost certainly Muslims. Somalia is a Muslim country. According to ICE, local, state, and federal police in Nashville, Minneapolis, and St. Paul locked up 29 Somalis "who were listed in a federal indictment which was unsealed listing various charges, including sex trafficking juveniles and conspiring to sex traffic juveniles, obstruction of justice, perjury, auto theft and credit card fraud."

BAN ON HAWALAS/US BANKS

Twin Cities Daily Planet - Saturday night, members of the Somali community and allied partners hosted a large-scale public meeting regarding the ongoing funds-transfer crisis. Elected officials, faith leaders and community members talked about the urgent need for a solution in order to alleviate hardship caused by the continued inability for Somali Americans to send money to their loved ones in the East African nation. One organizer of the event told the Uptake that Minnesota Somalis will start taking their money out of Wells Fargo Bank on May 11th unless the bank agrees to help send money to Somalia. (Editor's Note: US banks in Minnesota stopped handling money transfers by Somali Hawalas after certain Somali-Americans in Minnesota were charged of financial support to al-Shabaab militants fighting in Somalia.)

RADIO ROUNDUP

Radio Mogadishu - A pro-government radio station

TFG military officials, AMISOM commanders, and the administration of Middle Shabelle region met in Mogadishu on Monday to discuss how to kick al-Shabaab militants from Middle Shabelle region after the Somali National Forces succeeded to eradicate the terrorist group from the capital completely. The chairman of Middle Shabele region, Abdi Jinow Alasow, stated that the allied forces will reach Jowhar, Mahaday and Balcad districts over the next ten days. Mr. Alasow urged Middle Shabelle residents to get prepared to welcome the national forces.

Djibouti's ambassador to Somalia, Dayib Ali Roble, denied al-Shabaab's they claims killed Djibouti's peacekeeping soldiers in the latest Mogadishu fighting. The Ambassador stated that Djibouti troops were not involved in any fighting that took place in the capital. Mr. Roble hailed the Somali National Forces for their achievement against the terrorist group of al-Shabaab.

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

Al-Shabaab Mujahideen fighters are continuing the fight against the TFG and foreign troops in Mogadishu. On Sunday night heavy fighting erupted when both sides used heavy gunfire at Hiliwa, Yaqshid and Dayniile districts. The Mujahideens succeeded to break into some of the enemy’s bases and they kill several soldiers.

Radio Andalus - A pro-al-Shabaab radio station

At least eight pro-infidels militias were killed and several others were injured in car explosion in the center of Baidoa town of Bay region. It is also reported that two militiamen were killed and another injured after the Mujahideen threw grenades at the pro-infidel base in Hodan district of Mogadishu on Monday.

The infidels troops in Mogadishu and their slaves killed two civilians including 92 years old Haji Omar in Suqa Holaha neighborhood of Mogadishu on Monday. A relative of Haji Omar told Radio Andalus that the infidels shot the old man more than five time before he died.

Radio Bar-Kulan - An independent radio station

After being liberating by allied forces, the residents of Baidoa town have for the first time revealed the hard times they endured under the three year rule of al-Shabaab in the city. A clan leader, Mohammed Ma’allim Barhi told reporters that al-Shabaab militants have colonised them for three years and 12 days and many of the civilians were killed while others were forced to leave the city. Locals fell into poverty and their living conditions deteriorated. The clan leader also welcomed the Ethiopian troops who overran the rebel rule in the city few days ago and he urged the international community to help locals who are "very hungry", saying that their most immediate priority was meeting their basic needs. The Governor for Bay region, Abdifatah Mohamed Gesey, also claimed that the local residents were over-taxed and subjected to brutal killings during al-Shabaab's rule in the region.