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COMMENTARY ON ISLAMIC WEBSITES
Somali Memo - The pro-al-Shabaab website posted an audio recording and brief commentary of Deputy Leader of Al-Qaeda of Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Sheikh Abu Sufyan Alshihri who praised and congratulated Sheikh Zubeyr of Al-Shabaab. Sheikh Abu Sufyan Alshihri stated, "I am talking to Amir Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr and I am praying for Allah to protect him. And I congratulate Abu Zubery for the victories gained against the infidels and infidel-supporting forces and also the clans who stood against the oppression of the infidels. Praise is to Allah, today, the Islamic fortress stretches from the borders of China to Maghrib and all the way to East Africa and their goal is to support Allah.Somali Language
Hiiraan Online - The presidential candidate Haji Mohamed Yasin has criticized the Somali roadmap because it is a roadmap advocated and implemented by special interest groups. Speaking to the media at Nairobi, Kenya, the presidential candidate Haji Yasin warned against the involvement of TFG's senior leaders in selecting the parliament members for their own re-election. Haji Mohamed Yasin is a businessman based in Nairobi and a former member of Siad Barre's military regime. Somali Language
Garowe Online - Key leaders in Somalia met in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Monday aiming to discuss critical issues relating to the war-torn country’s new constitution and the upcoming election process, Garowe Online reports. The meeting opened up at 4pm at the African Union headquarters building in Addis Ababa. The three leaders of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government – President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Prime Minister Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, and Speaker of Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden – attended the meeting organized by the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) under the leadership of Tanzanian diplomat Dr. Augustine Mahiga. Key Somali leaders, including Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole, and officials from Galmudug region and Ahlu Sunna group, attended the meeting of principals as signatories of the UN-backed Roadmap agreement and the subsequent Garowe Principles I and II and the Galkayo Principles. The international community was represented by ambassadors and diplomats from the African Union, IGAD, European Union, Arab League, the U.S., the U.K. and other countries.
ISS News - Turkey has suddenly and vigorously undertaken a series of initiatives to help Somalia out of its dire political and economic crisis. It can be asked what the real purpose is of these mostly unilateral initiatives, and of Turkey’s dynamism in Somalia. It is also noteworthy that its diplomatic efforts in Somalia presented Turkey with an important opportunity to illustrate its soft power in Africa. It is certainly an indication of Turkey’s foreign policy ambition to become a major economic and political player in Africa. Indeed, Turkey announced in 2003 its new and more assertive foreign policy towards Africa, which was fast-tracked by Erdogan’s 2005 high-profile visits to South Africa and Ethiopia.
Associated Press - A federal court in the United Arab Emirates has convicted 10 people captured during a raid to retake a ship hijacked by Somali pirates and sentenced them to life behind bars. State news agency WAM says the federal criminal court of first instance in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday found the men guilty of charges related to the hijacking of bulk carrier MV Arrilah-1 last year. The defendants' lawyer did not immediately comment on the case when reached by phone.
Reuters - Six Somali pirates went on trial in Paris on Tuesday charged with hijacking a French yacht in 2008, the second case of its kind to be brought before a French court in a bid to tackle the problem of piracy in the waters off the Horn of Africa. The men, aged 25 to 50, are accused of hijacking an 88-metre luxury yacht, the “Ponant”, in the Gulf of Aden in April 2008, and holding 30 members of its crew hostage in exchange for a ransom of 2.15 million euros ($2.75 million). Five of the six pirates say they are innocent and played no direct role in the assault, while a sixth pleaded guilty and apologised to the crew, their families and the French nation.
The Rwanda Focus - Somalia-based pirates have evolved into a huge security threat – probably of equal proportion to the one posed by their politically-inclined brothers, the al-Shabaab. The pirates are said to be holding up to 17 cargo ships and over 300 crew members for ransom. This calls for a more comprehensive international solution to rid the high seas of this menace. Alongside Al-Qaeda, pirates should be categorized as the number one terrorist organization. European Union forces last week made the first ever raid on one of the inland bases of Somali pirates who have recently stepped up their banditry on the high seas of the Indian Ocean. This looks like the first attempt at pursuing the pirates to one of their hideouts near the port of Haradhere. Time is now to take the fight right at the bases of these thugs.
WATER SHORTAGES/US GEOLOGICAL SURVEYS
UNESCO - The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, (UNESCO) and officials from Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia Tuesday launched a regional initiative to identify and improve groundwater resources in the region. UNESCO's “Strengthening Capacity to Combat Drought and Famine in the Horn of Africa” project aims to ease the water and food shortages faced by some nine million people who are still struggling to recover from last year’s drought and famine, the worst in 60 years. It aims to do so by identifying, assessing and developing groundwater resources in the three countries using leading-edge technologies.
Radio Mogadishu - A pro-government radio station
At least 50 Al-Qaeda linked fighters have surrendered to Ahlusunna Wal Jama' (ASWJ) administration in Hiiraan region on Tuesday. ASWJ military officer Abdi Hassan Mohamed told Radio Mogadishu that the fighters defected with one vehicle and their weapons. The report was also confirmed by TFG officials in Hiiraan region who spoke to Radio Mogadishu.
Radio Andalus - A pro-al-Shabaab radio station
Over 25 pro-infidels militias and top military officers, including Colonels Cagaweyne and Afmadoobe, were killed and large number were also injured as al-Shabaab Mujahideens repelled an attack waged by infidels who wanted to capture Daynile district of Mogadishu. Military sources also indicated that French and USA military officials were leading the fighting and the Mujahideens killed some of those foreign infidels. The infidels and their slaves failed to seize Dayniile airport and other main bases in Dayniile district.
Radio Al-Furqaan - A pro-al-Shabaab radio station
An unspecified numbers of TFG soldiers were killed as huge explosions hit their military base in Aymiska village of Hiliwa district in Mogadishu on Monday night. An eye witness told Radio Al-Furqaan that the militias evacuated their casualties from the scene.
Radio Bar-Kulan - An independent radio station
A conference, attended by officials and delegates from Arab Cooperation Council (ACC), was held in Saudi Arabia to discuss the current situation in Somalia. Various topics including the war against pirates to terrorism were discussed. In a statement issued after the meeting, the members of the ACC were largely concerned about the security situation and the dangers posed by pirates in Somalia. The ACC-member nations urged the international community to continue its humanitarian and political support to Somalia.
Seven centers for Mother and Child Health (MCH) were opened in areas under the control of Himan and Heeb administration in Galgadud region of central Somalia and were inaugurated by UNICEF and local non-profit agencies. The Chief of Health Department of Himan and Heeb Administration, Abdullahi Warsame Abtidon, told Radio Bar-Kulan that the new centers will provide free medical services to all the people, especially pregnant women and children. The seven MCH centers were opened at Godi Labe, Bahdo, Ado Kibir and Dolley areas of Galgadud region.
Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked militants of al-Shabaab issued a new warning to all Somali businesses to avoid signing any deals with the Western aid agencies who are working in Somalia’s southern parts of the country, especially World Food Programme.
Radio Shabelle - An independent radio station
The administration of Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a (ASWJ), a pro-government group in central Somalia, announced on Tuesday that the ASWJ group is not represented at Somalia’s Roadmap meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Sheikh Mohammed Yusuf Hefow, the chairman of ASWJ executive council in central Somalia, told Radio Shabelle they are not represented at the Addis Ababa Conference. A rift emerged among the dignitaries of the Somali Roadmap and these differences mainly centered on the newly drafted constitution. Both Puntland state and Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a (ASWJ), both signatories, have recently opposed to the draft constitution.
A curfew was imposed on residents of Mandera town of northeastern Kenya following a deadly bomb blast on Monday, causing an unconfirmed number of casualties on the Kenyan military when their convoy struck a landmine, as residents stated. Kenyan police forces halted public movements in the town as they have been conducting patrols to secure the border town. “The security personnel had embarked on a door-to-door operation to mop up arms and other crude weapons this morning, but as far as I know no arrests were made until now," a local resident, told Radio Shabelle. The town is less than 100 meters from the Kenya border. The security has worsened since Kenya sent its troops into the neighboring Somalia last year to pursue al-Shabaab militants.