Media MONITOR:Print
23 February 2012 Daily Media Roundup
02/23/2012
Somalia News Highlights: The US Secretary of State threatened sanctions against Somali peace spoilers; al-Shabaab's military was weakened by East African forces but serious threats still remain; al-Shabaab shifted to recruiting khat addicts from khat cafes in the UK; Al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab leaders have fled Kismayo for Yemen by boat; al-Shabaab fighters started evacuating central Somalia and Lower Shabelle after losing Baidoa to TFG-Ethiopian forces; three Kenyan soldiers were killed by al-Shabaab fighters in southern Somalia; al-Shabaab claimed the support of 150 Somali traditional elders in Lafole village of Lower Shabelle; al-Shabaab claimed to have killed dozens of TFG soldiers in attack in Bakol region; a Somali government official was assassinated by unknown gunmen in Mogadishu; Ethiopian and TFG forces continued security operations in Baidoa after they recaptured it from al-Shabaab; and 14 al-Shabaab fighters were killed by Kenyan forces in Lower Juba region.

COMMENTARY ON ISLAMIC WEBSITES

Somali Memo - The Islamist website posted an English language press release issued by al-Shabaab Mujahideen in response to today's final communique of the London Conference. The website claimed the intention of the international meeting on Somalia was solely for 'carving up the Somali nation'. "Somalis have a long history of repelling invasion of all kinds and the London Conference is not in any way different from the various other conferences aimed at bolstering the invading African forces that are prolonging the instability in Somalia. The Muslims of Somalia must understand that the signatories to the London Conference do not hold the keys to the future or the stability of Somalia and should, therefore, categorically reject all mandates and constitutions prepared in foreign countries under the deceptive notion of restoring lasting peace."

Somali Memo - The Islamist website posted a 16 minute video of Kenyan Prisoner Of War (POW), Mule Edward Messe, who was captured by al-Shabaab Mujahideens during clashes with Kenyan Defense Forces. The Islamist website posted the video, pictures and a commentary about the POW.

POLITICS

Reuters - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday threatened sanctions on anyone blocking reforms intended to end Somalia's "hopeless, bloody conflict" and counter militant and pirate groups seen as a growing menace to world security. Addressing a conference aimed at energizing attempts to end more than 20 years of anarchy, Clinton also demanded greater efforts to cut funding for al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants fighting Somalia's weak Transitional Federal Government (TFG). "The position of the United States is straightforward: attempts to obstruct progress and maintain the broken status quo will not be tolerated," Clinton told the one-day gathering in London of about 40 African, Arab and Western leaders and government ministers.

SECURITY/AL-SHABAAB

AFP - Military pressure by Horn of Africa countries is slowly dismantling Somalia’s al-Qaeda-allied Shebab rebels, who have lost two bastions in six months but can remain a serious threat. "They are at their weakest. A little more push and we will stabilise this country so that Somalis can live a better life," said Fred Mugisha, the commander of the African Union troops protecting the feeble Somali government. "They are losing ground all the time, we are looking at an implosion. Shebab is most likely going to implode in not so distant future."

PHOTO ESSAY

The Guardian - This is an 18-picture historical photo essay of Mogadishu, which depict both the physical and political evolution of the capital.

VIDEO

CNN - This is an over 5-minute video report of al-Shabaab's recruitment of khat addicts from cafes in UK. The video includes interviews with community leaders and parents of children recruited by al-Shabaab. Abubakr Awale is an anti-khat campaigner in the UK, "Young people become vulnerable, not clearly thinking and the paranoia kicks in and that's when they start to hate the British public -- especially the police," Awale told us. "They are thinking everybody is out to get them and that's exactly the kind of individuals the likes of Al-Shabaab are targeting."

RADIO ROUNDUP

Radio Mogadishu - A pro-government radio station

Reports from Kismayo of Lower Juba region in southern Somalia indicate that at least 120 al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda leaders fled from the town to Yemen by boat due to recent advances by TFG and allied forces into al-Shabaab strongholds. (Editor’s Note: Somalia Report is investigating this and will publish a full story on February 24, 2012)

Al-Shabaab militias fled from Mahas, Wabho, Gorof, War-holo, Dac, El-dher, Elbahay, and other villages in Galgadud and Hiiran regions in central Somalia. Fighters from the extremist group also ran away from Wanlaweyn and Burhakaba districts in Lower Shabelle and Bay regions respectively. This comes one day after the Somali National Forces took control of Baidoa town with the help of Ethiopian forces.

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

At least three Kenyan soldiers were killed and several others injured after al-Shabaab Mujahideen attacked their bases in Tabta and Qoqani districts of Lower Juba region. Al-Shabaab military officers confirmed to Radio al-Furqaan that the Mujahideen entered two Kenyan bases and seized military equipment.

Radio Andalus - A pro-al-Shabaab radio station

More than 150 Somali elders and elites in Lofole district of Lower Juba region on Thursday opposed the London Conference, saying the international infidels want to colonize Somalia. Abdirahman Salayman, an elder, vowed they would fight against any result that comes from the London meeting. They also expressed their support for the recent merger of al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab.

Dozens of pro-infidels militias were killed after the Mujahideen of al-Shabaab fought against the militias in Abore and Teed villages of Bay region on Thursday. The fighting erupted when the pro-infidels attacked Abore village, 30 kilometer from Hudur district, and the Mujahideen rebelled and chased them away. The Mujahiden also attacked Yeed village and burned one military vehicle and seized another.

Radio Shabelle - An independent radio station

Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a Somali government official in Wadajir district of Mogadishu on Thursday morning. The deputy commissioner of Wadajir district, Mo’allin Mohamud Saney, told Radio Shabelle that unknown masked gunmen assassinated Tuure Digtiin Afrah, the Hawo Tako village chief, as he was sipping a tea at a café near Suuqa-Weyn village. Witnesses said the assailants escaped from the scene after shooting the official. Security forces have reached at the area and quickly began search operations.

Radio Bar-Kulan - An independent radio station

Somali and Ethiopian forces in Baidoa of Bay region are reportedly conducting security operations in the city, which they seized on Wednesday. Reports say the operation started after a landmine exploded in an area called Afar-Irdod, targeting Ethiopian troops. There has been no official Somali government comment regarding the operation.

Radio Kulmiye - An independent radio station

The spokesman for the Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF), Major Emanuel Chirchir, claimed their troops killed 14 al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia’s Lower Juba region. He said al-Shabaab fighters are still trying to carry out defensive strategies, but fail to stay in their barriers or bases. “We have killed at least 14 fighters in latest fighting in Juba region,” he told the reporters in Nairobi.