Media MONITOR:Print
5 April 2012 Daily Media Roundup
04/05/2012
Somalia News Highlights: International donors pledge $3.9 billion to avoid repeat of East African famine; US Government depicts recent theater suicide attack as al-Shabaab opposition to peaceful transition in Somalia; Somali piracy leaps to a 15-month high with more attacks expected with the coming of calm sea conditions; Prolonged Somalia internal conflict takes toll on the mental health of Mogadishu residents, with a scarcity of mental health institutions to help; Somali Olympic athletes continue training despite the killing of Somalia's senior sport officials in Wednesday's theater bombing; Sex trafficking charges against dozen of Somali-Americans is delayed once again in Tennessee State; Somali president visits the National Theater after the suicide attack yesterday; Al-Shabaab allege political rift has arisen between the Somali president and prime minister over Wednesday's suicide bombing; al-Shabaab claims shelling of the President Palace and other Mogadishu attacks; 40 al-Shabaab militants killed in airstrikes by Kenyan and TFG troops; Somali traditional leaders condemn al-Shabaab's suicide attack at the National Theater; TFG commences 45-day military training for TFG soldiers in Beledweyne town; ASWJ condemn al-Shabaab suicide attack and urges Somalis to partake the defeat of al-Shabaab; and TFG-Kenyan forces inflict heavy casualties on al-Shabaab in Gedo region on Thursday.

COMMENTARY ON ISLAMIC WEBSITES

Amiir Nuur - The pro-al-Shabaab Islamist website commentary claims the enemy within is worse than the external forces waging war against the Muslim nation of Somalia. The commentary portrays the TFG, ASWJ, regional states and moderate Somali religious leaders as the enemy within, destroying the Islamic fabric of the Somali nation by collaborating with the infidels and Christian churches which are disguised as development agencies, such as the Diakonia charity. Somali Language

POLITICS

Associated Press - International donors say they won’t allow a repeat of last year’s Horn of Africa famine and are gearing up to spend billions of dollars on programs to help communities withstand cyclical droughts. International donors have pledged to spend $3.9 billion on programs like crop resiliency over the next five years, Raj Shah, the head of the U.S. aid arm known as USAID, said in an interview late Wednesday. "The loss of life and the incredible human suffering was so tremendous during this last drought and we realized coming out of that...we need to internationalize and build a global movement to make real significant investments in resilience," Shah said.

SECURITY/AL-SHABAAB

UPI - An attack on the National Theater in the Somali capital by al-Shabaab underscores the need to support the interim national government, the White House said. "Al-Shabaab's attack on the newly reopened National Theater is another sign that it is standing in the way of Somalia's path to peace and stability and demonstrates why it is being rejected by the Somali people," the U.S. government said in a statement. "We remain committed to the people of Somalia and assisting them in countering al-Shabaab's violence and in returning peace to their country." Mark Toner, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, added that Washington remained committed to the African Union Mission in Somalia and to Somali national forces. "The fact that al-Shabaab chose this site for their attack shows their true stripes," he said.

MARITIME

Bloomberg - Somali pirates hijacked 10 ships in March, the most since December 2010, and may attack larger merchant vessels this month, AKE Intelligence said. Four of the seized craft were used to make more attacks, rather than being held for ransom, Rory Lamrock, piracy analyst at the Hereford, England-based security and risk-assessment company, said in an e-mailed report today. "Pirate syndicates will be emboldened by the latest hijackings, spurring them on to conduct more attacks over the coming weeks," Lamrock said. "Weather conditions are also forecast to be relatively calm in April, which will make it easier for pirates to launch skiffs and gain access to the deck of a targeted vessel."

CONFLICT/MENTAL HEALTH

The Guardian - Years of warfare in Mogadishu have taken a toll on the mental health of many citzens, but appropriate care facilities are limited. You could almost miss Habeb public mental hospital sitting 5-metres beyond the road. It's the only medical institution in Somalia with trained psychiatric professionals. At least 20 new patients are brought in every day, with some transferred to its other facilities elsewhere in the Somali capital. The hospital runs three other institutions in Mogadishu. On the day I visited, 333 patients were being treated in the four facilities.

SEX TRAFFICKING/DIASPORA

Associated Press - A federal trial involving more than a dozen defendants accused in a sex trafficking ring run by Somali gangs has faced a series of delays. U.S. District Judge William J. Haynes again this week ordered jurors to return on Monday as defense attorneys argued that the defendants, many of whom are refugees from Somalia, were juveniles at the time the alleged crimes occurred. The indictment said three gangs called the Somali Outlaws, the Somali Mafia and the Lady Outlaws were forcing teenage girls into prostitution and operated in St. Paul, Minnesota; Minneapolis; Columbus, Ohio; and Nashville.

SPORT/CONFLICT

StarNews Online - Somalia's Olympic athletes returned to practice for the London Games, a day after the national Olympic committee president and another top sports official were killed in a bomb blast. Four of the country's five Olympic athletes trained at the rubble-strewn playground after Olympic Committee President Aden Yabarow Wiish and soccer federation head Said Mohamed Nur were among 10 people killed in a bomb attack at an outdoor theater on Wednesday. Runners Mohamed Hassan Mohamed, Mohamud Ali, Ayan Samow and Amal Ahmed were emotional when telling The Associated Press that the bombing, labeled an "act of barbarism" by the IOC, wouldn't stop them going to the games - and honoring Wiish.

RADIO ROUNDUP

Radio Mogadishu - A pro-government radio station

Somali president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed on Thursday visited the National Theater in Mogadishu, where the deadly suicide attack took place on Wednesday. The president spoke to the media and he affirmed that security forces are investigating the incident. The president stated that the TFG leadership is disappointed by the inhumane actions of Al-Qaeda linked militants.

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

The foreign troops in Somalia have detained five TFG security officers, including a top senior officer who was in charge of security of the National Theater where al-Shabaab Mujahideens planted an explosive device yesterday. A Somali lawmaker told Radio Al-Furqaan under condition of anonymity that the suicide attack has caused a political rift between the Somali PM Abdiweli Ali and president Sharif Ahmed, since the Somali president cancelled his attendance of the ceremonial event before the blast.

Radio Andalus - A pro-al-Shabaab radio station

Al-Shabaab mujahideen fighters shelled the Presidential Palace of Villa Somalia on Wednesday night. The mujahideen used mortars to terrify the enemy. It is also reported that three separate fighting occurred between the enemy and the mujahideen at Dharkinlay, Dayniile and Yaqshid districts of Mogadishu, while the mujahideen inflicted heavy losses on the infidels and their slaves.

Radio Kulmiye - An independent radio station

Kenya and TFG troops have killed at least 40 al-Shabaab fighters and wounded dozens in the latest fighting in southern part of Somalia on Wednesday. Kenyan Military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir stated that they waged an early morning jet fighter raid at an al-Shabaab base about 8 km east of Hosingo. "Today between 5:00hrs (0200 UTC) and 8:00hrs (0500 UTC), KDF and TFG troops on patrol supported by KDF jet fighters raided an al-Shabaab base 8 kilometers east of Hosingo. During the raid, 40 Al-Shabaab fighters were confirmed neutralized, 30 AK 47 rifles were captured, including 1 Doshika and 1 PKM," Major Chirchir said in a brief statement.

Somali traditional elders have strongly condemned the suicide bombings in Mogadishu which killed dozens of people last Wdnesday, including government officials, prominent Somali figures and members civil society individuals. Speaking to Radio Kulmiye, Somali peace activist Ahmed Diiriye Ali said the attacks in Mogadishu is a sign of aggression by the al-Shabaab fighters. Ahmed said the Somali security agents are not making any security progress and this is shameful. "We don’t want to hear our people killed without meaning, shedding their blood without meaning," he said.

Radio Bar-Kulan - An independent radio station

Government troops in Beledweyne town will soon commence military training at Jante Kundisho Training Camp, located some 5 kilometers north of Beledweyne. 45-day military training will be offered by Somali and Ethiopian officials in order to boost the military capacity of the troops. Hiran's Regional Governor Abdifatah Hassan Afrah confirmed the training to Bar-kulan Radio, and said that the officers will be equipped with the necessary military skills, adding that they have already moved their trainees to the training camp. Governor Afrah also stated that a few Ethiopian troops were left in the town to keep law and order.

Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa (ASWJ) leaders urged Somalis to take part in the fight against al-Shabaab militant group who claimed responsibility of the recent suicide attack in Mogadishu where four people were killed and several others were injured. ASWJ’s Shura Council chairman Omar Sheikh Abdulkadir stated that Wednesday's suicide attack was a catastrophe that killed innocent civilians. He also said such attacks are against the teachings of Islam and he reaffirmed that public participation in fighting such actions is vital if the militant group is to be defeated and permanently cleared out of the country.

Fierce fighting between Somali troops supported by allied Kenyan troops, and al-Shabaab militants, erupted on Thursday on the outskirts of the south-western town of Bardera in the Gedo region. Mohamed Sayyid Aden, a Somali lawmaker who is heading TFG’s push against al-Shabaab in the region told Radio Bar-Kulan that they have inflicted heavy casualties on the militant fighters.