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Somalia News Highlights: The third meeting between the Somali president and parliament speaker ended in disarray over TFG mandate; AMISOM ordered Baraka Market businessmen to move out; Somaliland is jostling to open embassies in the Gulf States; al-Shabaab urged Bardhere youth to join the jihad; TFG forces captured a strategic island in the south; a senior African Union official visited territories captured from al-Shabaab in Mogadishu; and al-Shabaab is accused of torturing elderly detainees.
Shabelle – In their third meeting, the two top Somali leaders, the president and parliament, speaker failed to reach consensus on ending the political quagmire crippling the political progress in Somalia. The political rift between President Sharif Ahmed and speaker Sharif Hassan is centered on the transitional government mandate and holding new elections as TFG term expires by August 2011.
Mareeg – African Union forces (AMISOM) ordered Somali businessmen to remove all their property from the Bakara Market since the market is serving as a military base for al-Shabaab. It is not the first time AMISOM or TFG ordered the Bakara businessmen to move out, but the people stayed put since Bakara is the largest market in Mogadishu. Somali Language
Gulf News – Somaliland is trying to open embassies in the Gulf States, especially the United Arab Emirates. Somaliland Foreign Minister Dr. Mohammed Omar stated that his government is working hard to convince the Arab nations to recognize Somaliland or at least allow diplomatic representations.
Bar Kulan – After losing large swaths of Gedo region, al-Shabaab urged the youth of Bardhere to join the jihad against TFG and the forces allied with the Somali government. A senior al-Shabaab leader of Bardhere, Mas’ud Ali, announced that they will start training camps for the interested youth in the near future. Somali Language
All Headline News – The Somali government claimed it capturing a strategic hideout called Kudha Island in Lower Juba region from al-Shabaab after fierce fighting on Friday. A Somali government army officer, Mohamed Hassan Bule, said, “We have killed 8 militants and seized armed vehicles and ammunition from them. Now the island is secure and we are calling on those who fled from here to return to their homes."
Bar Kulan – The deputy head of operations of the African Union for Somalia, Wafula Wamunyinyi, visited territories captured from al-Shabaab in Mogadishu today. Mr. Wamunyinyi was briefed by TFG-AMISOM officials and said the forces are committed to removing al-Shabaab from the entire capital of Somalia, Mogadishu. Somali Language Shabelle – Al-Shabaab is accused of torturing elderly detainees of Balad town of Middle Shabelle region.
TODAY’S SPOTLIGHT ARTICLE
“What’s Next for Al-Qaeda in the Horn of Africa?”
By Abele Abate
All Africa News
US president Barack Obama announced the death of Osama Bin Laden, the world's most wanted terrorist on Monday May 2, 2011. From 2001 to 2011 Bin Laden was a major target of the War on Terror, which has resulted in a total of between 80,000 and 1.2 million civilian deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
The news was a relief for many people across the world including those who have suffered from al-Qaida's indiscriminate killings and injuries in the Horn of Africa. It can be argued that Al-Qaida has had greater success in the Horn of Africa than in any other part of Sub-Saharan Africa because of the relative proximity to the Middle East, the presence of a large Muslim community and the region's relative instability, particularly in Sudan and Somalia.
The rise of extremism in Somali politics has become a threat for not only the U.S and Europe, but also for neighboring African countries, especially those with a large Somali population such as Ethiopia and Djibouti. In 2006 al-Qaida inspired the UIC to declare Jihad against Ethiopia for its support for the weak Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia that is backed by the international community.
Yet, it cannot be doubted that the global leadership void that Bin laden's death has left will in time temper both the ideology and operational capability of Al Shabaab. One can never be entirely certain, but we can hope that the Horn of Africa and perhaps the world will be relatively more peaceful, now that Osama Bin Laden is dead.