Media MONITOR:Print
13 March 2012 Daily Media Roundup
03/13/2012
Somalia News Highlights: Puntland's president called for three way talks between Puntland, the TFG and Somaliland; the South African government opened diplomatic relations with the TFG; al-Shabaab announced they banned the British Save the Children charity in Somalia; Kenya's incursions into Somalia caused a surge in tourism and economic growth due to a 40% piracy decline along Somali coast; a British reporter ventured into the world of piracy by traveling on a merchant tanker on the high seas; the South African government donated R100 million to the TFG for institutional building; the Somali president is headed to Addis Ababa after receiving an invitation from the Ethiopian PM; Hiiraan region's Security Committee asked the cooperation of regional elders and scholars to tighten security; TFG forces arrested a university instructor and several students in Mogadishu; al-Shabaab claimed to have killed eight Ethiopian soldiers in bomb attacks in Beledweyne town; and elders of Middle Shabelle condemned al-Shabaab for killing two and injuring several people performing a traditional dance at a wedding.

COMMENTARY ON ISLAMIC WEBSITES

Ansar Al-Mujahideen - The global Islamist website posted a press release issued by al-Shabaab's Office for Supervising the Affairs of Foreign Agencies (OSAFA) for the revocation of Save the Children's operations in al-Shabaab controlled areas. Al-Shabaab accused Save the Children agency of distributing expired food, payment of bribes to operate, exploitation of children and violation of OSAFA rules and regulations. This is a short version of the al-Shabaab memo: "In addition to the exploitation of children, under the pretence of alleviating child suffering, OSAFA investigation found the organisation to be: 1. Distributing more than 4470 cartons of expired porridge to the impoverished children as their basic source of sustenance 2. Dealing dishonestly and attempting to offer bribes to authorities at the administration office 3. Advancing their cause through the pursuance of illicit, deceptive, and often corrupt, means 4. Failing to comply with the rules and regulations set out for foreign organisations and that are stated under the OSAFA agreement 5. Failing to respond to OSAFA’s repeated requests for explanation and clarification of the events that had transpired over the months."

POLITICS

Garowe Online - The president of Somalia's Puntland government has welcomed proposed talks between Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia and the Somaliland separatist region in northwest Somalia, but warned against denying the role of Puntland, Garowe Online reports. President Farole of Puntland said he welcomes the recent announcement by TFG President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed to nominate a committee mandated with guiding the proposed TFG-Somaliland talks. "The TFG President declared appointing a committee to open dialogue with Somaliland. We welcome this dialogue. Somaliland has gone too far. It is true that Somaliland shares with all Somalis but they share particularly with a group of Somalis whose lands they invaded, such as attacks on Kalshale and Buhodle areas, and occupation of Las Anod," said President Farole, in reference to Somaliland attacks in parts of Sool region and Buhodle district.

Associated Press - South Africa says it is establishing its first diplomatic relations with Somalia in hopes it can assist in the war torn east African nation's search for peace and democracy. The South African foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday that Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane reached an agreement to exchange diplomats with her Somali counterpart in that country's transitional government. It said only peace negotiations between all Somali armed groups could restore constitutional law after more than two decades of civil war.

SECURITY/AL-SHABAAB

AFP - Somalia's al-Shabaab rebels Tuesday banned the aid group Save the Children from operating in regions under their control, levelling a string of accusations against the organisation. The al-Shabaab's Office for Supervising the Affairs of Foreign Agencies said in a statement that it "revokes the permission of the organisation known as Save the Children to operate in any of the regions under the administration of the mujahideen.". The al-Shabaab "strives to protect the welfare of the entire Muslim population of Somalia and will implement all necessary safety measures to dissuade competing organisations from degrading their quality of life," added the statement.

MARITIME

Business Daily - Piracy off the coast of Somalia has reduced by 40 per cent since the deployment of Kenya forces in the country, spurring tourism growth in the region. Kenya security officials said exclusive economic zones off the coast were now secure from attacks by Al-Shabaab, a wing of Al-Qaeda, which is suspected to have been behind the grenade attacks at the Machakos Bus Station in Nairobi on Saturday. "In fact, last December we witnessed the arrival of a tourism cruise ship which docked in Mombasa because of our intervention. Travel advisories over insecurity will be a thing of the past," said General Karangi.

BBC News - Piracy off Somalia is down from last year's record levels, but it shows no sign of stopping. As we sail north through the Bab al-Mandab Strait up into the Red Sea another report comes in of an attempted hijacking. Until Somalia's problems can be solved on land its clear that the pressure on ship owners to provide armed guards for this route looks set to increase, as seafarers continue to run the gauntlet of some of the world's most dangerous sea lanes. "Nato navies operating off the coast of Somalia have warned of a recent increase in maritime piracy. I decided to experience first-hand what seafarers go through."

DIPLOMACY/NATION-BUILDING

BuaNews - South Africa has committed to allocate R100 million to the Somali government, which will go towards building adequate institutions of governance in that troubled country. The announcement was made on Tuesday and will see the South African government working with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and international partners to ensure that Somalia has adequate institutions of governance that will be sustainable beyond the TFG's mandate - which should ultimately see that country equipped to govern itself. The R100 million will provide capacity and institution building, socio-economic support, as well as specified training in key government sectors, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told the media after her meeting with her Somali counterpart, Abdullahi Haji Hassan, in Pretoria.

RADIO ROUNDUP

Radio Mogadishu - A pro-government radio station

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed on Tuesday traveled from Mogadishu to Addis Ababa after he received an invitation from the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zanawi. During his one day visit, the president is expected to meet with the Ethiopian officials to discuss the current Somali situation including security and the operations against al-Shabaab.

The security committee of Hiiraan region met with the elders and scholars of Hiiraan and asked for their cooperation in order to tighten the security of the region. The spokesman of the committee told Radio Mogadishu that both sides agreed to work together to prevent anyone from creating insecurity in the region.

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

TFG security forces entered the Somalia University Campus in Mogadishu and detained a university instructor and several students. One of the students told Radio Al-Furqaan that the TFG militias fired at the university students and they threatened the students before they arrested the instructor and the several students.

Radio Andalus - A pro-al-Shabaab radio station

At least eight Christian Ethiopian were killed and several others were injured after a huge explosion took place in Beledweyne town of Hiiraan region on Tuesday. Reports indicated that the injured Ethiopians were rushed to their military base at east Beledweyne. Since the Christian Ethiopian entered Beledweyne three months ago, they encountered several loses from the Mujahideens.

Radio Bar-Kulan - An independent radio station

Elders in Run-nirgod settlement of Middle Shabelle region strongly condemned the al-Shabaab militant group for allegedly attacking a wedding ceremony in the area on Sunday night and killing at least two people and wounding several others. Elders who withheld their names for fear of reprisals told Bar-kulan that heavily armed militants fired at innocent people performing a local dance popularly known as “Shirib” at the ceremony. The elders demanded an explanation from the militant group within the next 24 hours, adding that locals will immediately avenge al-Shabaab’s brutality and attacks in the region.