Somali militants threaten to avenge Puntland killings By Richard Lough, Reuters 01 May 2013
Al Qaeda-linked Somali militants who have dug into parts of the northern Puntland province pledged vengeance after authorities in the autonomous region executed 13 suspected Islamist rebels.
Puntland long avoided being caught up in successive Islamist insurgencies that have shattered Somalia but has slowly been infiltrated by al Shabaab rebels squeezed out of former south- central urban redoubts in the Horn of Africa state.
Puntland officials say many of the insurgents have taken up positions in the mountains west of the port city of Bosasso.
"Puntland massacred innocent Muslims," al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said in an audio recording posted late on Tuesday on www.somalimemo.net, a website linked to the rebel group. "We shall avenge them. All those who spied, bore false witness, judged, and shot them will face a tough punishment." (read more)
Cars burn after al-Shabaab suicide bombers attacked the Benadir regional court complex in Mogadishu on April 14, 2013. (Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP)
Al-Shabaab in crosshairs of Somalia's anti-terrorism law By Majid Ahmed, Sabahi 26 April 2013
In the coming days Somalia's parliament will debate a proposed anti-terrorism law that targets al-Shabaab and aims to restructure the country's national security and intelligence services in the fight against terrorism.
The Somali cabinet approved the draft anti- terrorism law on April 18th, four days after al- Shabaab operatives killed at least 29 civilians in a raid on the Benadir regional court complex.
The details of the proposed draft law have yet to be released to the public, but will be available once the debate in parliament formally begins. (read more)
SOMALIA: 1,700 victims of rape in Somalia last year By Abdi Muse, RBC Radio 23 April 2013
Mogadishu (RBC) Violence against women and girls is pervasive in Somalia and are of great concern which needs more national attention, UN says.
The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Bangura, visited Mogadishu in early April.
She expressed serious concern about the reports of rape in Somalia and specifically about the high number of rapes targeting displaced women and girls. The SRSG said that there were at least 1,700 victims of rape in Somalia last year. (read more)
Badbaado camp is the largest IDP camp in Somalia capital.
Late Mohamed Ibraahin Raage was shot dead by unknown assailants in front of his home in Mogadishu late on Sunday.
SOMALIA: Al Shabab blamed for killing a journalist in Somalia By Malyun Ali, RBC Radio 22 April 2013
Mogadishu (RBC) Somali government officials and colleagues of assassinated journalist blamed Al Shabab militants in Somalia for the murdering of the journalist Mohamed Ibrahim Raage, RBC Radio reports.
Late Mohamed Ibrahim Raage [better known as Honest] was shot to death by unknown assailants late on Sunday in front of his home in Dharkeenley neighborhood in Mogadishu after he returned from his daily work shift at Radio Mogadishu, the state-run radio where the journalist was working.He is the fourth journalist murdered this year. (read more)
Eight killed in gun attack in Kenyan town - Red Cross By Duncan Miriri, Reuters 18 Apr 2013
Gunmen shot dead eight people when they sprayed bullets into a restaurant in the eastern Kenyan town of Garissa on Thursday, the Kenya Red Cross said.
The east African nation has suffered a series of grenade and gun attacks since it sent troops into neighbouring Somalia in late 2011 to pursue the al Shabaab rebels linked to al Qaeda.
Though the wave of attacks on the capital Nairobi, the port city of Mombasa, and Garissa has tapered off in recent weeks, the latest incident shows the new government of President Uhuru Kenyatta will still have to wrestle with insecurity. (read more)
Suspected militant kills himself in Mogadishu blast: police By Edmund Blair, Reuters 18 April 2013
A suspected al Shabaab militant was killed on Thursday trying to plant a bomb in a busy district of the Somali capital, a police official said, after the Islamist group threatened more attacks following two deadly assaults this week.
Western and Somali officials are concerned that al Shabaab, who were driven out of Mogadishu two years ago but still control swathes of mainly rural areas, may be regrouping and seeking to rebuild their strength in the capital.
At least 30 people were killed on Sunday by a car bomb, suicide bombers and gunmen at Mogadishu's law courts and a car bomb explosion near the airport. (read more)
Somalia: New Al-Shabaab Attacks are War Crimes Human Rights Watch 16 April 2013
(Nairobi) – The attacks claimed by the Islamist armed group al-Shabaab on the Mogadishu regional courthouse and on an aid workers’ convoy on April 14, 2013, were grave violations of the laws of war. At least four legal professionals were killed, including a judge and three lawyers.
The attack on the court consisted of a suicide bombing followed by additional explosions, and several assailants stormed the court complex shooting live rounds. Shortly afterward a car bomb detonated hitting several cars carrying Turkish aid workers on the airport road several kilometers from the court complex. An al-Shabaab spokesman who claimed responsibility for the attacks told the media that the court was a legitimate military target as they were ruling contrary to Sharia, or Islamic law. (read more)
“Are you al-Shabaab or soldiers?” By Feisal Omar, Reuters 16 April 2013
At 11:30 on Sunday morning I was sipping a cup of coffee at the Village restaurant near the palace when I heard a blast followed by gunshots.
I walked out onto the street and could see pickup trucks with anti-aircraft guns mounted on them, rushing toward the Mogadishu court. I started my vehicle and drove speedily in the direction of the court. I arrived moments later at the court building where there was an intense exchange of gunfire.
I could not believe armed fighters had broken into the court, killed the soldiers that guarded it, the lawyers and others. “How did al-Shabaab take over such a well-guarded building in the heart of the town!’ I whispered to myself as I got closer to the building. (read more)
A Somali girl and her brother run to safety near the scene of a blast in Mogadishu April 14, 2013. (Reuters/Feisal Oma)
Somali militants threaten more attacks after killing 30 By Abdi Sheikh and Feisal Omar 15 April 2013
Somali militants linked to al Qaeda warned on Monday of further attacks in the capital, a day after killing at least 30 people in a wave of coordinated bombings and shootings that exposed the fragility of security gains in Mogadishu.
African peacekeeping troops blocked streets and searched houses across the city at dawn to flush out suspected members of the Islamist militant group al Shabaab, which claimed responsibility for the strikes.
But the rebels warned of more attacks and taunted the Mogadishu government, which they consider a Western stooge, over its trouble securing the city as Somalia struggles to emerge from more than two decades of conflict and anarchy. (read more)
Somalia President Admits Rapes by Security Forces By Abdi Guled, Associated Press 9 April 2013
After months of denial, Somalia's government has for the first time acknowledged that its security forces were involved in rape cases that drew an international outcry by human rights groups.
Army commanders often denied accusations that soldiers were involved in a spate of rapes, blaming the crimes on the Islamic extremist rebels of al-Shabab who wore army uniforms to smear the reputation of the military.
"Those few among the security forces who rape and rob our citizens must be fought and be defeated just like Shabaab," said President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, while speaking to military cadets at a training camp in Mogadishu on Monday. (read more)
Somalia: Amisom Commander - Alshabab Wiped Out Along Mogadishu and Baidoa By Maalik_Eng, AllAfrica 7 April 2013
Mogadishu (Sh.M.Network ) the commander of the AMISOM troops in Somalia has assured the Somali public that members of the outlawed group Alshabab have been wiped out of the long highway that connects the city of Mogadishu and Baidoa city. The long highway is estimated to be 241 KM.
The federal Government troops and the AMISOM troops are reported to be finalizing a joint assault on the militia group to eradicate the terrorist along the main highway that connects the two cities. (read more)
Explosion hits Somalia's Dahabshiil bank headquarters Reporting by Abdi Sheikh; Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Jon Hemming, Reuters 2 April 2013
A loud explosion hit the headquarters of Somali's leading money transfer agency in the capital Mogadishu on Tuesday, wounding at least two people hours after al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants warned the bank to cease operations in areas under its control.
Police said they were still searching the rubble outside the Dahabshiil bank, whose doors were shattered by the blast. It was not immediately clear whether anyone had been killed by the explosion.
Somalia: Human Rights Worker Shot and Killed in Mogadishu Garowe Online 23 March 2013
Mogadishu, Somalia — A woman working for human rights agency was shot and killed in Mogadishu's Dharkenley district on Saturday, Garowe Online reports.
Media in Mogadishu reported that the woman's name was Zaynab and was shot and killed by 2 men armed with pistols.
Authorities said that she was shot and killed Saturday morning in Mogadishu's southern district of Dharkenley for unidentified reasons. (read more)
String of bomb attacks in Somalia’s capital empties beach restaurants, holds back progress By Associated Press 20 March 2013
MOGADISHU, Somalia — Isaq Ahmed lifted his head from his hands, his eyes clouded with tears, as he looked at the crowd gathered near the twisted wreckage from a car bomb blast that ripped open buildings and killed at least seven people in Somalia’s capital this week.
As smoke filled the air, the 30-year-old car washer recalled another suicide blast that rocked a restaurant last year where he also works and killed more than 15 people.
“I’d been feeling that peace was almost achieved, but I was wrong,” the grief-stricken Ahmed said before shuffling off to wash another car, despite the destruction nearby. “I don’t think I can keep working, because horrible images and agony are really weighing me down.” (read more)
A Somali soldier stands guard near destroyed shops after a car bomb blast close to the Somali government’s headquarters in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia Monday, March 18, 2013. (Farah Abdi Warsameh/Associated Press)
Deadly car bomb rocks Somali capital Al Jazeera 19 March 2013
At least 10 people have been killed by a car bomb claimed by al-Shabab in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, police have said.
Monday's attack targeted Khalif Ahmed Ilig, the Mogadishu security chief, in one of the bloodiest assaults in the war-ravaged capital in recent months. (read more)
Somalia: U.S. Recognizes Government By Agence France-Presse, New York Times 18 January 2012
The United States on Thursday recognized the government of Somalia for the first time since 1991. Somalia has not had an effective central government for two decades. But a new Somali administration took office last year, ending eight years of transitional rule by a corruption-riddled government. And in recent months, an African Union force, fighting alongside government troops and Ethiopian soldiers, wrested several key towns from the control of Islamist insurgents. “Today is a milestone,” said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton after talks with Somalia’s president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. “It is not the end of the journey, but it is an important milestone toward that end.”
Christian Convert from Islam Beheaded in Somalia By East Africa Correspondent 17 November 2012
Islamic extremists accuse young man of being spy, embracing ‘foreign religion.’
NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – Islamic extremists from Somalia’s rebel Al-Shabaab militants on Friday (Nov. 16) killed a Christian in Somalia’s coastal city of Barawa, accusing him of being a spy and leaving Islam, Christian and Muslim witnesses said.
The extremists beheaded 25-year-old Farhan Haji Mose after monitoring his movements for six months, Christian sources said. Mose drew suspicion when he returned to Barawa, in Somalia’s Lower Shebelle Region, in December 2011 after spending time in Kenya, underground Christians in Somalia told Morning Star News. (read more)
UPDFs Success in Somalia Hinged on Discipline Uganda Media Center 14th November 2012
President Yoweri Museveni has attributed the success of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in Somalia to the discipline on which the force was formed.
Mr. Museveni, on his third day visit to Sri Lanka at the invitation of his counterpart, President Mahinda Rajapakasa, was talking to the top brass of the Sri Lankan army, including the Army Commander, General Jagath Jayasooriya.
President Museveni is in Sri Lanka together with his wife, Mrs. Janet Museveni, who is also Karamoja Affairs Minister and MP for Ruhama. The First Lady had a parallel program which included meeting several senior government officials on matters related to her Ministry. (read more)
Many Somalis Still See al-Shabab as Threat Mohammed Yusuf Voice of America 23 October 2012
A United Nations report this month said half of Somalia’s population wants to leave the country despite security gains and the creation of a new government. Some Somalis who have fled still see the al-Qaida linked group al-Shabab as a threat to both their lives and the future of their country.
In 2008, Ismail Maalim Ahmed, was working with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Somalia’s Bay region. That year, in July, he came under attack from al-Shabab.
“I was working with WHO as a health surveyor. Al-Shabab kidnapped me at a place which is 25 kilomteters away from Baidoa and took me to a remote place. In the first place they deceived me by asking me a favor to give them a lift to some place. When we arrived at the village they told me to come out of the car at a gunpoint and they said to me I was infidel and a spy and they shot me nine times,” Ahmed said. (read more)
Somalia: After Kismayo - What Next for Al-Shabaab and Somalia? Seifulaziz Milas Allafrica 10 October 2012
Kenyan soldiers of the African Union Mission in Somalia are pictured inside their armoured personnel carrier on the grounds of Kismayo University, southern Somalia.
After a long wait, the Kenya Army finally entered the southern Somali port of Kismayo on 28 September, following an attack by sea, air and ground forces. Kenya deserves some praise for its effort to liberate Kismayo from the brutal rule of Al-Shabaab, but in the immediate aftermath it also seems to have missed the point, or an important part of it.
The Kenyan army, after spending considerable time and effort preparing the attack, allowed Al-Shabaab to escape rather than staying to fight and face annihilation. The Shabaab will however undoubtedly have left behind some of its members to provide them with information and carry out attacks. Preventing this is likely to become a major task for the Kenyan Army and Somali government forces in Kismayo. In this, they might find it useful to bring in some of the pro-government militia of the Ahlu-es-Sunna wa'l Jam'a, the Sufi group who are the prime enemies of Al-Shabaab, to help in identifying and dealing with Al-Shabaab's remnants in Kismayo. (read more)
Is this the end of al-Shabab? Peter Greste Al Jazeera September 30, 2012
In an interview with Al Jazeera, al-Shabab's military commander Abu Omar was blunt.
"(Our war) is not based on territory lost or gained," he said. "This is ideological warfare. We're fighting for an ideology that transcends geographical or territorial boundaries. We will continue to fight this war until we establish the laws of Allah on Earth."
To the African Union troops who have just succeeded in pushing al-Shabab out of their last remaining stronghold in southern Somalia, that sounds like hubris.
The AU forces – predominantly Kenyans – along with their Somali allies have been advancing on Kismayo since late 2011, slowly squeezing al-Shabab out of the region they've dominated for five years. (read more)
Kenyan troops surround port city of Kismayo, last rebel stronghold of al-Shabab fighters.
Al-Shabab was driven out of Mogadishu, the Somali capital, last August [EPA]
Kenyan and Somali troops have captured Somalia's southern port city of Kismayo, the last bastion of al-Shabab fighters, Kenya's military spokesman has said.
"[Report that] Kismayo fell today to KDF [Kenyan Defence Forces] and TFG [Somali government troops] forces is indeed very true," Cyrus Oguna, military spokesman, told Kenya's Citizen television.
Oguna said that the troops had entered Kismayo early on Friday.
Al Jazeera's Catherine Soi, reporting from Nairobi, said Kenyan forces faced "minimum resistance [but] have not yet taken the whole of Kismayo". (read more)
Mass Atrocities Alert: Somalia
(March 2012)-- Complex civil conflicts, along with devastating periods of drought over the past two decades have left the Republic of Somalia a failed state. The UNDP deems Somalia the world’s “worst humanitarian disaster.” Somalia’s instability has led to mass atrocities and human rights violations against the civilian population, being committed by all major parties involved in the conflict, but especially by Al-Shabaab insurgents, Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces, and intervening Ethiopian military forces. Therefore, Genocide Watch places Somalia at Stage 7 on the 8 Stages of Genocide, and issues a Genocide and Mass Atrocities Alert.
Since its independence in 1960, Somalia has been plagued by decades of inter-clan rivalries and warfare. Mohamed Siad Barre seized power in 1969 by military coup d’état and proceeded to turn Somalia into a Soviet-backed communist state, leading the totalitarian Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party. Resentment for the regime grew as Somalia became a proxy battleground for the US and USSR during the Cold War. A coalition of clan-based opposition groups overthrew the regime in 1991 as a response to government corruption and a major episode of politicide committed by the Barre regime after the Isaaq clan rebellion of 1988. The current armed conflict in Somalia began in 1991 with the fall of Barre and the subsequent onset of civil war. Somalia has since been devoid of stable, centralized government control. This power vacuum has given way to protracted clan warfare and lawlessness that continues to wrack the country, with thousands of casualties, periods of famine, and large refugee movements into surrounding countries. In the early 1990s there were several humanitarian intervention attempts made by the US and the United Nations, but because of violent opposition from Somali militias, both withdrew from the country by 1995.
In 2004, a two-year peace process resulted in the formation of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), marking the country’s fourteenth attempt to establish control since the 1991 start of the Somali Civil War. Representing just a few clans, and having almost no effective power over the majority of Somali territory, the TFG lacks legitimacy. In 2006, an alliance of sharia courts and Somali business men, known as the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), emerged in opposition to the TFG, and successfully gained control of Mogadishu and much of the south. However, the rise of the ICU was unacceptable to Ethiopia, the European Union and the US.
In its place, a radical Islamic insurgent group, al-Shabaab, openly allied with Al Qaeda, took control of large swaths of Somalia north of Mogadishu. In support of the TFG, Ethiopia, backed by the US, launched a military intervention in 2006, which drastically intensified internal violence. Ethiopia withdrew its troops in 2009 following the Djibouti peace talks, which extended the Transitional Government’s mandate and selected a moderate Islamist president. Fighting continued against al-Shabaab, and ANISOM forces (the African Union Mission in Somalia) led by Burundi, intervened. They have steadily gained ground for the Transitional Government. Kenyan forces intervened in southern Somalia to combat al-Shabaab militants, who pose a threat to Kenya’s northeastern border, which is controlled by Somali clans.
In addition to the grave effects of protracted armed conflict, Somalia has also suffered from periods of severe drought, which led the UN to declare much of the country to be in a state of famine in 2011. Al-Shabaab worsened the crisis by imposing severe restrictions on humanitarian aid agencies, banning most Western aid agencies from entering the territory, and stopping civilians from fleeing the affected areas. Although the UN determined the famine to be over in February 2012, Somalia is still suffering from its lasting effects. Today, al-Shabaab forces continue to control much of Somalia’s southern territory, despite their “strategic withdrawal” from Mogadishu in August 2011.
Effective and relatively successful attempts at stability have been made in the autonomous northern regions of the country known as Puntland and Somaliland. Puntland, the northeastern section of the Somalia, declared itself an autonomous state in 1998, and has since had a democratically elected government while still working in cooperation with the TFG. The northwestern region of Somalia, known as Somaliland, declared its independence in 1991, though it is not recognized by any country or international organization. Somaliland also has its own democratically elected government, and since its self-proclaimed independence in 1991, has successfully avoided the instability and violence that have devastated the rest of Somalia.
Puntland has allowed a growth in piracy as a source of income, though there has been an increasingly effective naval effort to stop the pirates, including recent renewal of authorization by the UN for allied naval forces to pursue the pirates to their land bases.
For the purposes of this Mass Atrocities Alert, Genocide Watch sees the following warning signs of genocide and atrocities being committed against the civilian population of Somalia:
Prior unpunished genocidal massacres, such as those perpetrated by the Barre regime, primarily against the Isaaq clan, in the late 1980s;
Polarization and attempted rule of the clan-based society by groups with an exclusionary ideology, such as the ICU and al-Shabaab;
Systematic human rights violations being committed by all major parties (al-Shabaab, the TFG, ANISOM forces, Ethiopian and Kenyan armed forces and their respective supported militias).
These widespread systematic human rights violations include the following:
Indiscriminate killing of civilians by all major parties;
Denial of humanitarian aid and basic necessities to civilians by al-Shabaab forces;
Arbitrary arrest and detention of civilians by all major parties;
Forced recruitment and physical abuse of children by al-Shabaab forces;
Use of child soldiers by al-Shabaab and TFG forces;
Domestic and sexual violence against women;
Arbitrary arrest, abuse and deportation of Somali refugees by Kenyan forces.
Somalia is currently under a great deal of pressure to produce a new constitution by August 20, 2012, when the transitional government mandate is set to end, as stipulated in the Somalia End of Transition Roadmap. The roadmap is a comprehensive plan, designed to install more permanent political institutions, security and stability in the country, which was agreed in September 2011 by Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, the UN, AU and other regional leaders such as those from the autonomous Somali entities of Puntland and Galmudug. With the help of the UNPD, a National Constituent Assembly of 1,000 members will vote on a draft constitution in May 2012. Despite the UN’s efforts to include a diverse array of social and political actors in the process, there is growing concern within the country that the constitution will not be fully “Somali.”
The current crisis in Somalia is one of extreme complexity, but at its roots are two factors:
1. The after-effects of totalitarian communist rule under Siad Barre, followed by two decades of anarchy, war, and famine; 2. The clan-based nature of Somali society. In a classic essay in social anthropology, Prof. Marshall Sahlins declared that “the segmentary lineage system is an organization for predatory expansion.” The communist system unsuccessfully tried to abolish clans. Al-Sabaab is attempting to replace them through imposition of fundamentalist Islam. Neither totalitarian system will succeed.
Genocide Watch recommends that the UN, AU, and Somali officials convene an all-Somali congress to draw up a new con-federal constitution that recognizes the autonomy of southern Somalia, Puntland, Galmudug and Somaliland. The new constitution should draw inspiration from the Somaliland constitution of 2000, and allow Somalis to govern themselves using their traditional clan-based political system. A dramatic increase in accountability for human rights violations committed by all major parties should be enforced through a judicial system in accord with Somali tradition.