14 July 2015 - Daily Monitoring Report‏ Somalia Prime Minister On Visit To Puntland As Relations Worsen

Tuesday July 14, 2015 - 16:36:06 in News In English by Web Admin
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    14 July 2015 - Daily Monitoring Report‏ Somalia Prime Minister On Visit To Puntland As Relations Worsen

    Federal Government of Somalia's Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke has kicked off a two-day visit to Puntland amidst worsening ties, Garowe Online reports. Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, his Vice President Abdihakin Abdullahi

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Federal Government of Somalia's Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke has kicked off a two-day visit to Puntland amidst worsening ties, Garowe Online reports. Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, his Vice President Abdihakin Abdullahi Haji Omar, cabinet ministers, parliamentarians and hundreds dressed in national and Puntland flags greeted Sharmarke at the Garowe airport. Prime Minister, Sharmarke said at a media briefing while sitting next to Ali that he arrived in Puntland to discuss sign of strain in relations between the northeastern state and Mogadishu. Moreover, he hoped that his delegation and Puntland leadership would reach a consensus on the standing differences.

On Tuesday morning, Somalia Federal Government, Puntland and Jubaland will be gathering for a roundtable meeting, expected to focus on normalization of ties. Despite Puntland’s sagging clout, Sharmarke will ask Ali and Jubaland leader Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Islam (Madobe) to attend the third phase of leadership forum in Mogadishu. The two federal states reportedly expressed reservation over the conference in which the federal government and member states are set to discuss the country’s framework for action.

Ali participated in the first phase in Mogadishu in 2014, and the second roundtable held in Garowe ended in controversial communiqué in early May. Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is aiming to put differences with federal member states under the bridge before 2016 election. Pressure has mounted on Sharmarke who hails from Puntland over his position in the constitutional dispute brewing between Mogadishu-based Federal Government and the northeastern state. The newly elected President of Galmudug, Abdikarin Hussein Guled is more likely to be invited to Mogadishu conference in late July.

Key Headlines

  • Somalia Prime Minister On Visit To Puntland As Relations Worsen (Garowe Online)
  • Government Finally Pays Civil Servants After 4 Months Delay (Goobjoog News)
  • Connecting Families Fleeing Yemen Conflict (Somali Update)
  • Second Woman From Diaspora Announces Candidacy For President Of Somalia (Sahan Journal)
  • Women Milk Sellers Get Cool Boxes (Radio Ergo)
  • At Least Three Killed In Bomb Attack On Kenyan Police Vehicle (Reuters)
  • US Issues Travel Warning Ahead Of Obama's Kenya Visit (e-NCA/AFP)
  • Kenya Dismisses Somalia Suit In Border Dispute (The East African)
  • What If Uganda And Kenya Pulled Out Of Somalia? (New Vision)
  • We Want To Show Our Identity As Somali Muslim Women — But Also We Want To Look Good (Minnpost.com)


Government Finally Pays Civil Servants After 4 Months Delay

14 July - Source: Goobjoog News - 326 Words

Hundreds of government civil servants have been queuing at the Central Bank of Somalia in Mogadishu to receive their overdue salaries. Deputy Minister of Finance, Mohamoud Hayir Ibrahim and the newly appointed Chief Accountant, Ahmed Yusuf Mumin visited the bank to ensure the smooth running of the payment. Speaking to members of the press, the deputy minister said the government will ensure salaries are paid off every month without any delay. He also said that this exercise was now possible after the government signed a 5 year deal with the World Bank which would pay the salaries. The government explained the overdue salaries of the civil servants and armed forces was as a result of a shortfall in the national budget. However, the finance minister came under fire during a briefing of a parliamentary committee after it emerged the government had already secured enough funds for the military and civil servants but diverted it to what parliament referred to as ‘lesser priorities.’ The members of parliament even demanded for the removal of the minister.

Member of Parliament, Dahir Amin Jessow who is also the deputy chair of the parliamentary committee on security told Goobjoog News on Sunday, that the unpaid salaries for the armed forces was the main reason for the security lapse in the country. The newly appointed Chief Accountant Hon. Siraji while speaking to the civil servants said, "I am very happy for your dedication and resilience for waiting such a long time for payment, and you were still able to carry out your duties. This is the kind of loyal citizens we want in this country.” Some of the government employees who were at the bank to get their salaries expressed their joy after months of waiting. "I am extremely in debt so I have to pay every penny I received today from the bank to my creditors. Even so I am so happy to have got my money after waiting for such a long time,” said an employee.

Connecting Families Fleeing Yemen Conflict

14 June - Source: Somali Update - 745 Words

In the midst of terror and panic, family members can be separated in minutes. In the chaos and confusion, tracing loved ones can be difficult and could lead to years of uncertainty about the fate of loved ones. In Somalia, the ICRC, in collaboration with the Somali Red Crescent Society (SRCS) has been trying to re-establish contact between relatives separated by conflict. The situation in the country remains fragile and efforts to locate people and put them back in touch with their families are ongoing.

More recently, the need for this crucial service has grown with the escalating conflict in Yemen. Since the conflict began in March, close to 19,000 people have fled for safety to the shores of Somalia. The bulk of the arrivals are in Bossaso, Puntland region, with approximately 13,000 people reported to have arrived there by the end of June. Zeynab, a Somali returnee from Yemen, arrived in Bossaso with her three children. The sweltering hot weather that greeted them, highs of 40 degrees, is a stark reminder that the life they had become accustomed to at Kharaz refugee camp in Lahj, South-west of Yemen, is no more. "I remember preparing breakfast for my children, but it was not meant to be. The gunfire and explosions had become intense. The fighting was at our doorstep. We had no choice but to flee for safety.”

She lost contact with her husband amid the chaos. Fortunately, upon arriving at Bossaso, SRCS volunteers helped her re-establish contact with her husband. "No news from my husband for close to a month. I was so worried. I heard his voice on the phone and was relieved he is alive.” Zeynab said after talking to him on phone. The torment of uncertainty over her husband’s fate has been eased. Ahmed Zaroug, Protection Coordinator overseeing the Restoring Family Links (RFL) program in Somalia explains ICRC’s involvement. "The situation in Yemen has consequences that extend beyond its borders. We are saddened by the impact it is having on the civilian population. While ICRC is trying to deliver essential needs in Yemen, here in Somalia, with the SRCS, we help the refugees and returnees reconnect with their families.”

He adds, "It gives them peace of mind to know the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones.” The Somali Red Crescent volunteers also provide medical aid to the arrivals, some of whom are visibly unwell after the long voyage. ICRC has been assisting victims who fled the violence in Yemen re-establishing contact with their relatives as well as seeking to clarify the fate of those who remain missing. As at the end of June, over 4000 phone calls were made to families by arrivals from Yemen.

Second Woman From Diaspora Announces Candidacy For President Of Somalia

14 July - Source: Sahan Journal - 322 Words

Anab Mohamed Dahir has been thinking about Somalia ever since she came back from Mogadishu in 2013. Now, Anab, who lives in the Minnesota town of St. Cloud, wants to do something to change Somalia’s current situation. She’s declared candidacy for president of Somalia. Anab will be the second woman from the diaspora to vie for the country’s top seat. In an interview with Sahan Journal in June, Anab said she went to Somalia in 2013 to assess the country’s situation. That’s the first time she visited Somalia since 1989, when she left the country. During her visit, Anab said she saw street children being neglected and sniffing glue, and internally displaced persons living without shelters. As a mother, that affected her personally, she said. "The current government is trying to do its best,” she said, "but it has a bad leadership.” There’s also a lack of security in the country, she said, and for the security to improve, the country needs honest leadership.

"I’ll be a true leader,” the mother of six said. Anab came close to holding a public office last year when she considered running for St. Cloud City Council. If elected to Villa Somalia, She said she will form a strong national army that will bring back security across the country. "My goal is, I want to be the woman who is challenging the man,” Anab told the St. Cloud Times. "Now, it’s the turn of women.” Anab is an interpreter for medical clinics in St. Cloud. She wants to study political science at St. Cloud State University. Anab said she wants the public to vote for the country’s leader in 2016 because she considers the current system, where parliamentarians select the president, to be unfair. "The parliament is corrupt,” she said. "They will sell their votes to the highest-bidding candidate.” Anab said she’ll go back to Somalia early next year to publicize her campaign across the county.

Women Milk Sellers Get Cool Boxes

13 July - Source: Radio Ergo - 202 Words

Milk cooling boxes given to 24 women milk traders in Mogadishu are already boosting sales of dairy products. The local NGO, Somali Agricultural Technical Group (SATG), provided the locally made boxes with training on keeping them clean and hygienic. Shukri Mohamed Jimale, who has been selling milk for 15 years, said it made a huge difference. "The milk used to go off within a short time, reducing its value and quality. So we never used to make good sales,” she said. Shukri said the cool box kept the milk fresh for several days. Livestock and their products are currently among the pillars of the economy of Somalia.

The lives of herders solely depend on meat and milk products which they take for sale to the nearest town centres. Dr Ahmed Taakow Hassan, a member of the SATG, said the project sought to increase the value of dairy products to the economy. Livestock and animal products are among the pillars of the Somali economy. Milk vendor Nadifo Ali Roble said her family had benefited. "Where I used to make 200,000 Somali shillings, I now get 300,000, so there are big benefits for us,” she said.


At Least Three Killed In Bomb Attack On Kenyan Police Vehicle

14 July - Source: Reuters - 253 Words

At least two police officers and a civilian died on Monday when a bomb blew up their vehicle in Kenya's coastal county of Lamu, police said, and Al-Shabaab militants said they carried out the attack. At least four others were wounded in the midday blast that a senior police officer said was caused by an improvised explosive device planted in the middle of the road. "We arrived and found the vehicle already burnt and three dead. We rescued five officers and three civilians,” area police Chief Chrispus Mutali said. Al-Shabaab, the militant group in neighbouring Somalia, claimed responsibility for the attack. "We targeted a police convoy near Lamu.

The remotely-controlled bomb destroyed one police car and there are casualties and damages," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, Al -Shabaab's spokesman for military operations, told Reuters. Mutali said survivors were taken to hospital with serious injuries. "Five officers have been accounted for. We are trying to establish the whereabouts of the sixth,” Mutali said, adding it was not clear who was behind the attack. The incident occurred at Bodhai area, a few kilometres from a military camp where 11 Al-Shabaab militants were killed by Kenyan soldiers last month when they tried to attack the camp. Lamu has witnessed repeated Al-Shabaab attacks. Last year gunmen left at least 60 civilians dead in a night rampage through the town of Mpeketoni. The attacks have hurt tourism, with a report from the Kenya Tourism Board describing 2014 as the worst year ever for the sector.

US Issues Travel Warning Ahead Of Obama's Kenya Visit

14 July - Source: e-NCA/AFP - 329 Words

The United States has warned its citizens in Kenya ahead of visit by President Barack Obama of the risk of terrorist attacks, singling out a conference that Obama is due to address. The US president is scheduled to give a speech to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Nairobi, which opens on July 24. "As with all large public events, there is the opportunity for criminal elements to target participants and other visitors," the US State Department said in a statement. "Large-scale public events such as this summit can also be a target for terrorists. US citizens should maintain a high level of security awareness."

Kenya has been hit by a string of attacks by the Somali-led Al-Shabaab insurgents. In April, the Al-Qaeda-linked militants massacred 148 people at the region's Garissa University, most of them students. In 2013, four Al-Shabaab gunmen killed at least 67 people in an assault on the Westgate mall in the capital Nairobi. The US embassy in Nairobi, in its previous warning last issued in May, said its citizens should be "aware of continuing and recently heightened threats from terrorism and the high rate of violent crime in some areas." Obama's visit later this month will be his fourth to Africa since becoming US president, but his first to Kenya since taking office in 2009, his father's birthplace.

Kenyan troops crossed into Somalia in 2011 to fight the Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents, and later joined the African Union force, AMISOM, which is supporting Somalia's internationally backed government. The Al-Shabaab have since stepped up their operations in Kenya, dealing a blow to plans for the troops to serve as a buffer and protect the long, porous border. After Kenya, Obama then travels on to neighbouring Ethiopia, where he will become the first sitting American leader to visit. Ethiopia and Kenya have both been on the frontline of the fight against the Al-Shabaab, and have been important security partners to Washington.

Kenya Dismisses Somalia Suit In Border Dispute

14 July - Source; The East African - 491 Words

Kenya is confident of winning a court battle against Somalia which on Monday formally filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over a long-running border dispute linked to lucrative oil and gas reserves in the Indian Ocean. The country's Attorney-General, Githu Muigai, said the case filed by Somalia was "baseless and lacked the relevant backing of international law on maritime issues”. "We have received the memorandum filed today (Monday) in the court by Somalia and we are moving to immediately evaluate it and put together a team of international lawyers to defend our case in the most professional manner possible,” Prof Muigai told Business Daily from the Hague where the ICJ is based. "From assessment of the memorandum filed in court I can say it is baseless and made out of ignorance of the relevant provisions of international law... I am confident we have a strong case against Somalia and we shall win this one,” added the AG.

Somalia on Friday vowed to file the case, scuttling an earlier deal with Kenya for an out-of -court settlement. The surprise announcement by Somalia’s Information minister Mohamed Abdi Maareeye came barely a week after Foreign Affairs secretary Amina Mohammed told the Kenyan Parliament that Somalia had agreed to pursue arbitration outside the United Nation’s highest court which was preparing to start hearing the suit. "We have received a pledge from the Federal Government of Somalia indicating readiness to withdraw a case it filed in New York against us and pull out of the case for us to resolve maritime boundary issues,” said Ms Mohammed. The assurance by Ms Mohammed. did not hold for long after Somalia opted to push on with the court case.


"The Kenyans are demanding that following this massacre, the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta must pull out of Somalia all the Kenyan troops. People are demanding that Uganda must also pull out its troops from Somalia and let the Somalis sort out their problems of terrorism.”

What If Uganda And Kenya Pulled Out Of Somalia?

14 July - Source: New Vision - 1, 842 Words

We still remember that the whole world was gripped by the terrible massacre of 150 students of Garissa University College in northern Kenya on April 2, 2015 by Somalia’s al-Qaeda - linked Al-Shabaab gunmen. Early this month, they attacked Kenya again and they killed 14 people who were working in a quarry in Mandera in the Northern part of Kenya. This guerrilla movement is demanding that Kenya and Uganda must withdraw their troops from Somalia. It is remembered that Kenya sent in troops in 2011 following Uganda, "to maintain peace in Somalia”. The African Union formed the AMISOM force which included Burundi also, to maintain peace and train Somalia’s army. Peace is reported to have been restored in Mogadishu only. Looking at the recent history, Uganda and Kenya showed their utmost magnanimity towards the people of Somalia and the country itself, when the two countries sent in their troops to bring and maintain peace and tranquility, and to train a strong Somalia army.

It was Uganda who sent in troops first and later on Kenya followed as well as Burundi. Kenya sent troops after suffering numerous military incursions in the Northern part of the Country. There were also several bombings in the city of Mombasa and all these attacks were carried out by terrorists from Somalia. Tanzania and Rwanda which are partners in the East African Community stayed silent on the Somali problem. South Africa, with its formidable army has not come out to help end the Somali problem. I remember there was a time when some of the Somali political leaders set up a temporary "government in exile” in Nairobi and the Government of Kenya accommodated them very comfortably. It was, therefore, terribly shocking to see that the Somali Al-Shabaab paid back by killing innocent Kenyan students of Garissa University College and they have not stopped attacking Kenya.

Following that massacre, the people of Kenya, who lost 150 students, demanded that Kenya and Uganda must now withdraw their troops from Somalia. This brings out a question – what if Kenya and Uganda pulled their troops out of Somalia? More questions are being asked – what do we really gain by having our troops in Somalia and what do we really lose by pulling out and we leave the Somalis to sort out their own affairs after all we have helped them since the 1990s. They are not small children to be nursed by adults all the time.

"In the American stores, it’s hard to find the kind of dress that Muslim women would want to buy, Hersi said. You want to be fashionable, [but] you want to be modest and covered up. So what we did was that we merged the two together. We brought the fashion with the traditional outfits. So it’s basically a one-stop shop for everything.”

We Want To Show Our Identity As Somali Muslim Women — But Also, We Want To Look Good

14 July - Source: Minnpost.com - 826 Words

Sofia Hersi broke out into a smile. A pair of customers entered her small clothing store in the Karmel Square mall in Minneapolis last week, and Hersi rose from her stool to walk up to the two young Muslim women, who were shopping for the weekend Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Hersi welcomed the shoppers as they caught glimpses of an abaya — a loose, robe-like dress — hanging from the wall without a price tag. "Where did you buy this from,” one customer asked, "and how much is it?” "Abu Dhabi,” Hersi replied, "and that one is $70.” Hersi, 27, opened her shop, Modern Closet, in partnership with her friend Istar Mohamed in April. Their aim was to cater to young Muslim women who had a taste for the traditional — and for stylish clothing. The store sells various items, including traditional dresses, scarves, handbags, clutches, sunglasses, rings and necklaces — some of them imported from the Middle East and others from New York and Los Angeles.

Older women have tended to dominate the female clothing market in the Twin Cities Somali community, Hersi explained. But in recent years, the industry has seen an increase in a new generation of entrepreneurs, who have joined the field to bring new, more stylish design ideas to young Muslim women. Prior to opening Modern Closet, Hersi was a regular customer at Karmel Square. But she often came and went without buying anything, unsatisfied with what was around. "When I tried to find clothes in these stores, it was tough because most businesses were owned by older women like your mom and grandma,” she explained. "They were having a hard time finding what young women wanted.” "Modern Closet is here to fill that void,” she said. "We want to be fashionable, we want to represent our culture and we want to show our identity as Somali Muslim women — but also, we want to look good.” Since 1999, when Basim Sabri, Palestinian-born property developer, bought Karmel Square mall near Lake Street and Pillsbury Avenue, the building has been under constant expansion, with new parking ramp construction now underway.

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