Media MONITOR:Print
21 March 2012 Daily Media Roundup
03/21/2012
Somalia News Highlights:

AMISOM's commander was replaced with a newly promoted Ugandan general; the Somali president took a midnight stroll through Mogadishu; a blast from a car bomb rocked Mogadishu and killed two civilians; young Somali-Americans used poetry for conflict resolution and a means of rediscovering their heritage; Minnesota's largest Islamic center urged it's member to close their Wells Fargo Bank accounts if Hawala is not reinstated by May 1st; ASWJ displayed the bodies of over 70 Al-Qaeda fighters, including three foreigners, killed during fighting in Dhusamareb; TFG security forces foiled an attempted suicide attack in Mogadishu and arrested several suspects; a former Somali military expert praised the recent al-Shabaab attacks against Villa Somalia; al-Shabaab claimed to have received the support of clan elders of Lafole district of Lower Shabelle; an al-Shabaab spokesman warned civilians to stay away from TFG and AMISOM bases they plan to attack; Puntland security authorities displayed weapons believed to be used in the killing of a prominent religious leader in Bosaso; and al-Shabaab claimed to be responsible for the recent attacks in Mogadishu as a show of their military presence in the Somali capital.

COMMENTARY ON ISLAMIC WEBSITES

Somali Memo - The pro-al-Shabaab Islamist website claimed that the wave of attacks on Villa Somalia, the presidential compound for the TFG, are a sign that changes are coming to Mogadishu. The shelling on Villa Somalia posed new security threats for the infidels who invaded the Muslim nation and the infidel-supporting TFG leaders. The new attacks have undermined AMISOM's capability and they will face backlashes from the international community for failing to protect Villa Somalia as they are mandated to do. Somali political analysts believe that the Mujahideens will be fully back in control of Mogadishu before August, 2012. Somali Language

POLITICS

Daily Monitor - President Museveni yesterday promoted Maj. Gen. Andrew Guti to the rank of Lieutenant General and deployed him to Mogadishu to replace Maj. Gen. Fred Mugisha as the African Union force commander in Somalia. Gen. Mugisha’s tenure in Mogadishu has been cut short by a year in surprise changes that follow the reconfiguration of Amisom command structure which requires the new Amisom commander to be at the rank of Lieutenant General.The army spokesperson, Col. Felix Kulayigye confirmed the changes, saying Gen. Mugisha could not be promoted to remain the force commander “because it’s less than a year ago” since he was promoted to Major General. "It would be unfair," he said, "the Commander-in-Chief has the right to appoint and promote the soldiers at his will," Col. Kulayigye said.

Garowe Online - President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed accompanied by his bodyguards took a midnight walk in Mogadishu, in an attempt to assess security nearby the presidential palace, Radio Garowe reports. At 1am, TFG President Sharif, accompanied by his Minister of Interior and Security Abdisamad Ma’alin Mohamed and military officials, visited major junctions in Mogadishu like KM4 and Tarbunku overnight Tuesday where he spoke briefly with troops stationed at the junctions. "We have attacked the presidential palace three times; they are battling us in other regions but are not safe in their homes," said Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage, Al Shabaab spokesman.

SECURITY/AL-SHABAAB

Reuters - A car bomb exploded in the heart of the Somalian capital Mogadishu on Wednesday, wounding two people and triggering bursts of gunfire from police, witnesses said. The blast adds pressure on the embattled U.N.-backed government struggling to secure the city against al Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels, even with the help of nearly 10,000 African troops. "A car bomb has just exploded in Maka al Mukarram road. Then the police opened fire," resident Hussein Omar told Reuters.

CONFLICT/POETRY

The Star Tribute - Today's poets walk in the footsteps of their ancestors, inspired by their homeland's history as a "land of poets," where poetry was used for communicating information and for offering social commentary. It wasn't until 1972 that Somalia had a written language. Before then, history was recorded and preserved orally. So striking was the musical speech of the people of Somalia that 19th-century British explorer Richard Francis Burton famously wrote: "The country teems with poets."Poets coming of age in Minneapolis, Toronto and London take their cues from the spoken word and hip-hop styles pioneered by African-Americans. Poems from this new generation take on issues that reflect their experiences as children of war, and the struggles that come with trying to make it in a new homeland. "Being a young Muslim, Somali man, I realized I have a role in my community," said Phenomenal. "Poetry is not just a speech. It's an action."

HAWALA/POLITICS

Minnesota Daily - A Minneapolis Islamic center asked its members this month to cancel their Wells Fargo accounts if banks don’t allow the transfer of funds to Somalia. Hassan Jama, executive director of Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center, said if remittances are not reinstated, members will cancel their accounts May 1. "This is really a matter of life or death to many people in Somalia because they rely on their family members outside Somalia," Sheik-Abdi said, "and if they don’t get support, they can’t send their kids to school, and they can’t put bread on the table."

RADIO ROUNDUP

Radio Mogadishu - A pro-government radio station

ASWJ's military officials displayed to the public the bodies of over 70 Al-Qaeda fighters who were killed the recent fighting in Dhusamareeb district of Gagadud region. The ASWJ officials also displayed military vehicles seized from the insurgents. ASWJ operations committee chief, Sheikh Mohamud Yusuf Hefow, told the media that they killed 73 Al-Qaeda fighters including three foreign fighters and injured 63 others. Hefow stated that five ASWJ fighters died and 12 others were injured. "When the extremist group entered the district, they killed one of the prominent elders in the region as well as innocent woman, also they robbed civilian vehicles," he said.

Somalia security forces on Wednesday foiled a suicide attack in Maka-Mukaram Street and seized a man who was trying to execute the attack. The security forces also arrested other individuals suspected of having connections to the attempted attack. Police captured two prominent al-Shabaab intelligence agents in Mogadishu on Wednesday.

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

One of Somalia's military experts, Colonel Mohamed Ali Osman, hailed the new military tactics employed by al-Shabaab Mujahideens against the TFG-AMISOM troops in Somalia. Col. Osman stated that the Mujahideens succeeded in terrifying the enemy through the recent mortar attacks on Villa Somalia, Somalia's presidential palace. The colonel reiterated that TFG forces have failed to secure Mogadishu since al-Shabaab is carrying out attacks against them on everyday.

Radio Andalus - A pro-al-Shabaab radio station

The elders of one of the largest Somali clans inhabiting at Lofole district of Lower Shabelle region has welcomed the recent achievement of al-Shabaab Mujahideen fighters against the infidels and their supporters in Somalia. Suldan Shire Suldan Omar, one of the elders who spoke with the media after the meeting, stated that their clan is ready to support the Mujahideen morally and technically. Al-Shabaab's military recently fulfilled successive operations against the infidels and their slaves in Diif, Dhusamareb, Yurkud and Mogaadishu of Lower Jubba, Galgadud, Bay and Banadir regions respectively.

Radio Shabelle - An independent radio station

The Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents in Somalia warned civilians to stay away from government and AMISOM buildings as al-Shabaab pledged to continue attacks against targets in those buildings. The spokesman of al-Shabaab Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage told the media that Mogadishu is a front-line city. "We are sending a warning message to all the Somalis not to get close to the TFG and AMSIOM military bases in order to avoid a significant loss of their lives as a result of planned bloody attacks," he said. Sheikh Rage challenged reports that al-Shabaab pulled all its forces from Mogadishu and stated that the group’s militants are still fighting in the city.

Radio Bar-Kulan - An independent radio station

The authorities of Puntland displayed an assortment of weapons seized during a security operation in Bosaso on Wednesday. The weapons included pistols and hand grenades, according to police sources. Puntland’s Assistant Minister for Internal Security Abdi Jamal Osman claimed that the pistols were those used during the killing of a prominent cleric, Sheikh Ahmed Hajji Abdirahman in Bosaso early last December. He said a suspect in custody leaked information relating to the seized arms cache after he was interrogated by Puntland officers, leading to the interception of the weapons.

Radio Kulmiye - An independent radio station

Al-Shabaab claimed the responsibility for the deadly attacks in Mogadishu which killed IDP civilians near the Presidential Palace known as Villa Somalia over the last two nights. The spokesman for the group, Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Rage, stated that the latest attacks are a sign of al-Shabaab's military capability despite the security gains claimed by TFG-AMISOM forces. "You see the Mujahideens are today working inside the capital of Mogadishu, shelling in the center of the pro-infidels, and those troops whose invaded our Muslim country, this is a clear signal indicating the presence of our power in Mogadishu. I want to thank the Mujahideens who serve for the cause of Muslim people around the world, especially in Somalia," he said