Media MONITOR:Print
27 Jan 2011 Somalia News Roundup
Civilian casualties from Mogadishu fighting, Al Shabaab’s call to conduct suicide bombings with caution, the Somali government cancelling the Saracen International agreement, and ongoing drought and piracy news dominated both domestic and international news in the last 24 hours.


Somalia Report – Al Shabaab’s call to its members to stop suicide bombing and hasty killings could be a tactical move or publicity stunt on the part of the Islamist faction. Their message does not call for a complete prohibition of suicide bombing and killings, but rather continuation of the inhumane acts with caution. However, this is might simply be a public response to the growing outcry from the Somali people who are fed up of the harsh treatments by Al-Shabaab including their ban on humanitarian relief operations.


➢ Associated Press – The transitional Somali government officially cancelled the security training agreement with Saracen International primarily due to its reported ties with Blackwater. Deputy Security Minister Ibrahim Mohamed Yarow said that his government wanted assistance, but only from companies with distinguished records, "The Cabinet has today overwhelmingly voted against Saracen International."

➢ RFI French Radio – The UN Special Representative for Somalia, Mr. Augustine Mahiga, expanded the broader political base that will play a part in Somalia’s political system when the government mandate ends in August. Mr. Mahiga said, “he wants a ‘much broader’ political base to take over from the Somali TFG, involving the autonomous regions of Somaliland and Puntland, clan leaders, prominent religious leaders, civil society and grassroots organizations, as well as the Diaspora and business community.” (Editors’ Note: See spotlight article)

➢ Somaliweyn – Somali President Sheikh Sharif met Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in Kampala, Uganda. When asked about the meeting, President Sheikh Sharif said, “My visit to Uganda is chiefly based on how to create a strong bilateral relationship with the government of Uganda, Uganda is among the African countries which have devotedly stood in helping the Somali people, the government of Uganda has sent its troops to sacrifice their lives for the seek of the feeble Somali people, followed by Burundi, and this clearly indicates how Uganda is really a real sister to Somalia.”

➢ Civil News - The government of Georgia established diplomatic relationship with Somalia, and was signed by their respective UN Ambassadors. The communiqué stated that Georgia recognizes the unitary integrity and non-violability of the borders of Somalia.

➢ All headline News - Somaliland President Ahmed Silanyo sacked two ministers - the Minister of Fishing and Sea Resources and Minister of Telecommunications. This is the first time the Somaliland President reshuffled his cabinet, but he did not specify the motives behind the firing of the two ministers.;%20reshuffles%20cabinet


➢ Somaliweyn – A senior Al-Shabaab leader, Fuad Shangole, discouraged Al-Shabaab youngsters from hastily killing people. Fuad Mohamed Khalaf (aka Fuad Shangole) said, “It is not worthy someone to be hastily killed, if at all there is suspicion that a person works with the government please let us make sure that this person really works with the government before his throat is split apart, in religion wise it is a great sine for somebody to be killed on suspicion grounds.” (Unedited quote) ➢ Shabelle – One woman was killed and two were wounded as a Somali government soldier opened fire after a suspected young boy squabbled over the soldier’s AK-47 rifle in Mogadishu.

MARITIME & PIRACY ➢ Shabelle – The UN anti-piracy envoy called for the international community to go after pirate chiefs. In his report to the UN Security Council, Mr. Jack Lang said, “The international community must hunt the dozen Somali clan chiefs who run the pirate attacks on international shipping in the Indian Ocean. There are about a dozen brains of them. We know their names.” ➢ SIFY News - India proposed a 5-point plan to fight piracy off the coast of Somalia: tracking of piracy ransom money; prosecution of piracy ransom beneficiaries; conducting naval operations under the UN; fighting piracy on land; and enactment of national anti-piracy laws in accordance with UN laws.

➢ Oceanus Live – An MV merchant ship foiled an attempted Somali pirate attack 490 nautical miles East-Southeast of the Socotra Island in the Indian Ocean. The vessel was attacked by two skiffs and a fishing dhow used as a mother ship. In response the MV sailors defended the ship with gunfire for 15 minutes and escaped the attempted attack.

➢ Hiiraan – Some crew members from the MV JAHAN MONI hijacked on December 15th are reportedly sick. Afroza Kalam, the wife one of the sick crew said, "My husband has urged all to save the kidnapped crew and said that they had no medical facilities in the ship." ➢ Wardheernews – South Korea announced it is airlifting the captured Somali pirates to Seoul, the capital of South Korea. Somali pirates were captured in the successful rescue mission by South Korean sailors on January 15th. "The Air Force is preparing to send a transport plane to bring the captured pirates. The pirates will arrive here next Monday or Tuesday," according to a government source.

HUMANITARIAN ➢ Shabelle – Five to six people including women and children died of hunger and thirst in Gerjir village of Galgudud region of Central Somalia. The people and livestock continue dying due the worsening drought and Al-Shabaab’s ban of relief organizations. ➢ ICRC Report – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported that 2010 marked the highest ever human war casualty at 6000 Mogadishu. The ICRC reported that 40% of the wounded are civilians caught in crossfire between Somali government forces and Al-Shabaab. Mr. Pascal Mauchle, who heads the ICRC delegation for Somalia, said, “Doctors and nurses at these facilities are working tirelessly to deal with the constant influx of patients. It seems that the fighting has become more frequent. Severely wounded people arrive at all hours – even in the middle of the night. We are especially concerned about the large number of civilians, including women and children, suffering from weapon-related injuries." ➢ Somaliweyn – Al-Shabaab explained why they banned humanitarian relief agencies from assisting drought-affected Somali people. Al-Shabaab Spokesman Sheikh Mohamed Rage (aka Ali Dheere) said, “We best know why we had stopped the so called humanitarian agencies from the areas which we control these agencies are the enemies of the Somali people, they are disguising themselves under the name humanitarian agencies and are clandestinely victimizing the Somali people.” (Unedited quote.)


➢ PDF News – The Puntland Diaspora Forum (PDF) supported the decision of the Puntland government to breakaway from the transitional federal government of Somalia. PDF stated that it supports Puntland’s call for an all-inclusive process to politically reconcile Somali parties in order to bring about peace in Somalia. Puntland is uniquely positioned to host such a political gathering as it proved its capacity by holding large events in the last couple of years: the Somali Muslim Scholars Conference, Somali Women Conference, and the National Soccer Tournament.

“Somalia: UN Seeks Wide Consultation for Post-TFG Rule” BBC NAIROBI, 27 January 2011 (IRIN) - Consultations on the post-transitional government process in Somalia have started, and will involve all stakeholders and the international community, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to Somalia said.

"There was unanimous agreement, both inside and outside Somalia, that the transitional period has to end in August as envisaged under the Djibouti Peace Agreement,” Augustine Mahiga told a news conference in Nairobi. “In the meantime, consultations are under way to develop a consensus on how to end the transition and on the nature of post-transition political arrangements.”

The term of office of the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) expires in August. “We have less than seven months before the end of the transition, and yet a lot still has to be done. The question we are now asking ourselves is how to end this transitional government,” the envoy added on 26 January. “Without the constitutional process ending in time, we need to look for another way, and that will be a political way.”

A special high-level meeting to review the progress of the peace process in Somalia will take place in Ethiopia during the African Union summit this weekend. It will be convened by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Jean Ping, chairman of the AU. Other meetings are scheduled for later in the year and will involve Somali civil society.

Mahiga said the TFG itself had come up with a roadmap towards the end of transition.

“We have to tackle civil war, international terrorism, international piracy and human trafficking. We can’t afford another crisis,” he added. Photo: Siegfried Modola/IRIN A Mogadishu street, April 2010. Apart from violence, Somalia is also suffering its worst drought in years and failed rains are devastating half a million lives, according to Oxfam International focus

The international community has recently expressed growing interest in resolving the Somali question. The UN Security Council has increased support to African peacekeeping efforts and 4,000 Ugandan troops are headed to Mogadishu.

According to Mahiga, a consensus-building process has started within the Transitional Federal Institutions, with ongoing consultations between the TFIs led by the President, the Speaker and the Prime Minister. “It is critical that the consensus-building process ensures that the gains made so far are sustained and entrenched beyond the end of the transition," he said.

In Addis Ababa, civil society representatives called for peace in the war-ravaged country. “We want to see a peaceful Somalia, hunger-free and to stop the killing and turmoil in the country,” Abdullahi Shirwa, chairman of Somali Peace Line, told IRIN.

Apart from violence, Somalia is also suffering its worst drought in years and failed rains are devastating half a million lives, Oxfam warned. Twenty years of conflict, plus the drought, have pushed hundreds of thousands of Somalis beyond their ability to cope, the agency said.

The central and southern regions are suffering the most. Livestock herds have been decimated, forcing destitute pastoralists to migrate to towns and villages in search of aid.

"Drought and hunger are so severe that thousands have fled the relative security of their villages and headed to Mogadishu,” said Zachariah Imeje, programme officer for Oxfam. “They are desperate enough that they will risk the fighting and shelling there to find food.

More than two million people are dependent on humanitarian aid for survival and one in six Somali children suffers acute malnutrition, says the UN.