Tag Archives: Somalia

EU officials visit to Horn of Africa

Brussels 10.10.2020 Senior European officials have concluded their two-day visit to Ethiopa visit aimed at uplifting the cooperation between the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) in the situation of COVID-19 pandemic.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and European commissioner for crisis management, Janez Lenarcic, inspected 1.5 tons of coronavirus testing kits which were donated to Ethiopia by Germany.

This is an important expression of the European Union role in the fight against pandemic and how we do that with our partners from the African Union,” Borrell said at an airport cargo hall in Addis Ababa, surrounded by thousands of boxes containing the test kits.

Lenarcic stressed that the European Commission wants any future COVID-19 vaccine to be treated as “a global public good” which should be available to all countries irrespective of their purchasing power.

Later on Octobrr 8, Borrell met Moussa Faki, the chairperson of the AU Commission.

“… The European Union, as Africa’s close neighbour and main partner, strongly supports the African Union efforts in silencing the guns on the continent” the head of the EU diplomacy said addressing the webinar on the role of the media in promoting silencing the guns of Africa.

 

“And here, Commissioner [of the African Union for Peace and Security, Smaïl] Chergui, our cooperation aiming at sustainable peace and conflict prevention is at the top of our common agenda. It also fosters inclusive and accountable governance and recognises the role of civil society, the media, and democratic institutions”  Borrell has underlined.

“Allow me to commend the work of journalists, specifically here, in Africa, and all over the world, for their commitment to ensure that all voices calling for peace are being heard. Voices that will eventually silence the guns because they are more powerful. Your work is crucial in providing reliable and credible analysis and acting as a bridge between local communities and policy makers. I can assure you that the European Union will continue to be a strong and reliable partner in the implementation of the African Union master roadmap for silencing the guns”  the EU top diplomat Borrell said during the webinar.

In May this year the EU has provided an additional €105.5 million to countries in the Horn of Africa as the coronavirus pandemic risks worsening the humanitarian situation across the region where many continue to suffer from armed conflict, displacement, and recurrent droughts and floods. Furthermore, a large-scale infestation of locusts threatens food security and livelihoods of many vulnerable people in the region.

Funding from this aid package to humanitarian projects in Djibouti (€500,000), Ethiopia (€42 million), Kenya (€15 million) and Somalia (€48 million).

Mogadishu Elite Hotel blasts left 43 injured

At least 16 people were killed in an suicide bomb atttack on Sunday, August 16, by the Islamist group al Shabaab on a seaside hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, according to government spokesman Ismail Mukhtar Omar.

The toll includes 11 victims and five assailants, Omar underlind in a Tweet late on Sunday.

“Security forces lost one, 18 people were injured,” Omar said.

A group of armed men stormed the high-end Elite Hotel in Lido beach, after detonation of a car bomb and then opened fire with assault rifles. Later the Al Shabaab militants claimed the responsibility for the attack.

Dr Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of AAMIN ambulance services, told Reuters news agency on Monday, August 17, that in the aftermath of the attack they had transported at least 43 injured to the hosptials.

https://twitter.com/studio63_ke/status/1295289537703419906?s=21

Al Shabaab militants ambition is to topple the central government and establish Caliphate based on their own interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

The Elite hotel is owned by Abdullahi Mohamed Nor, a lawmaker and former finance minister, and is frequented by government officials and members of the Somali diaspora.

Somalia has been plagued violence since 1991, when warlords of clans overthrew leader Mohamed Siad Barre and then started a protracted armed dispute over power among them.

Car bomb Mogadishu Hotel attack

The gunmen stormed a hotel in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, following a huge explosion on its premises, witnesses and police said. Presumabley the assault has been undertakien in attempt to assassinate the Somali education Minister, experts said.

The attackers blew up a vehicle loaded with explosives and fought their way into the Elite hotel, police officer Osman Shine said by phone. The hotel is at the edge of Lido beach, an area frequented by senior government officials.

Al Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabaab launched the attack, a spokesman for the Somali government, Ismael Mukhtar Omar, said, adding that “there is gunfire ongoing inside.”

Two of the assailants have been shot dead by Somali security forces, according to Mukhtar.

Local journalists are reporting, quoting security sources, that at least four gunmen armed with AK47, suicide vests and grenades attacked the Elite hotel in Mogadishu. At least 5 people have died, dozens injured.

Al Shabaab claims suicide attack at Elite Hotel in Mogadishu, planned as assassination of Somali Education Minister, experts claim. Attack continued with fighters storming inside an engaging in ongoing clashes with security. The strike follows a long series of Shabaab attacks on hotels in Mogadishu via same strategy of suicide bombings. Local media reports on 10 people killed and 30 wounded.

Al Shabaab attack in Mogadishu

A huge blast rocked a military base in Mogadishu, Somalia capital, killing at least eight people and injuring 14, emergency workers said, and the militant group al Shabaab has already claimed responsiblity.

Soldiers opened fire after the explosion which sent clouds of smoke into the sky, said a resident of from the area.

“We ran indoors in fear,” a witness told to Reuters agency correspondent. “Soon I could see a military pickup speeding and carrying many soldiers covered with blood. I do not know if they were all dead or injured.”

Army officer Major Abdullahi Mohamud said it was an attack. “It must be a suicide car bomb, I am now transporting casualties,” he said.

Claiming responsibility for the incident, the military operations spokesman of the al Shabaab group, Abdiasis Abu Musab, said: “We conducted a successful martyrdom operation on a major apostate military base in Mogadishu.”

“The enemy suffered many casualties and wounded, military vehicles destroyed.”

Somalia has been plagued by violence since 1991, when clan warlords overthrew leader Siad Barre and then started military operations against each other.

Since 2008, al Shabaab militants has been fighting to overthrow the internationally-recognised central government and establish its rule based strictly on Islamic Sharia law.

Borrell regrets events in Somalia

“Somalia is still on a long journey of national recovery to become free of insecurity, free of debt and free to vote leaders into power. Until that time, the leaders of the Somali nation bear a special responsibility to ensure that a consensus is achieved and maintained in national politics” reads the statement of Josep Borrell the head of the European Union, while diplomacy reacting upon recent events in the Horn of Africa.

“Regrettably, the developments in the House of the People of Somalia on Saturday represent a setback for Somalia and for the confidence of the European Union in the progress of Somalia.

“The procedures under which a motion of no confidence in the cabinet was passed did not meet minimal constitutional requirements. This vote occurred a day after the conclusion of a much anticipated meeting between the President and Federal Member States at which it was agreed that consultations would follow and a further meeting would occur on August 15. These actions entail a serious disrespect for the constitutional foundations of Somalia, on which the European Union has been investing.

“The European Union will review carefully how these events have come to pass, who bears responsibility and to what extent they deviate Somalia from the progress it was making and to which it had committed itself to its international partners”.

Taiwan-Somaliland diplomatic ties

Taiwan and the African region of Somaliland, which claims independence, will establish representative offices in each other’s capitals, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said on July 8. Till present Taiwan has formal diplomatic ties with 15 countries because of pressure from the Communist China, which considers the island to be an integral part of its territory with no right to state-to-state relations.

However in February this year Taiwan signed the agreement with Somaliland, strategically located on the Horn of Africa, and Minister Wu added Taiwan’s contacts with Somaliland, a self-declared state internationally recognised only as an autonomous region of Somalia, dated back to 2009.

The top diplomat told reporters in Taipei that eight other nations or international bodies had representative offices in Somaliland, including Ethiopia, although not China.

“I think what we are doing is not much different from other countries,” Wu said, adding that Somaliland had declared independence in 1991 and since then held three democratic presidential elections.

“They have been recognised by many countries as a very free, democratic country in Africa,” the diplomat added. “So, in essence, Somaliland is an independent country.”

China’s influence is not far away, though, as it runs its first ever overseas military base in neighbouring Djibouti.

“International military forces, including those from China, patrol the waters around Somalia on anti-piracy missions.

China and Taiwan have traded barbs for years over the international recognition of the island.

In Africa only the Kingdom of Eswatini has established full diplomatic ties with Taiwan, however in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Embassy doors remain closed.

EU-Italy provide aid to Somalia

“The EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight arrived in Mogadishu from Brindisi, Italy, carrying humanitarian and medical supplies provided by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Italian civil society organisations and international NGOs. Two other flights to Somalia will take off from Brindisi in the coming days, with additional material on board, bringing the total of cargo to 42 tonnes.

“This EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operation will support the coronavirus response in Somalia with personal protective equipment and medical material. In addition, the flights are helping humanitarian organisations transport supplies needed to reinforce their projects in the recently flood-hit areas in Somalia. Given the urgency of the needs, the EU accorded utmost importance that these flights are operated at the earliest possibility,” Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, said.

“This EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operation is a tangible demonstration of a functioning and efficient Team Europe approach, strongly supported by Italy. The Italian Cooperation has a long-standing presence in Somalia, and through this important joint operation, and also thanks to all participating partners and to the collaboration of the humanitarian hub in Brindisi, we can bring additional aid and relief to the Somali population” Emanuela C. Del Re, Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said.

The EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights to Somalia have been put in place thanks to a cooperation between the European Commission and Italy. The flights are being facilitated by the Humanitarian Logistics Network and have been organised in coordination with the Somali authorities and the Delegation of the European Union in Mogadishu. The totality of the transport costs are financed by the European Commission, humanitarian organisations provide the cargo.

The EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operations form part of the EU’s global response to the coronavirus pandemic within the ‘Team Europe’ approach, bringing together the EU and its Member States. The total Team Europe’s support to Somalia in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic amounts to around €55 million. This funding helps to strengthen the health system, support the economy in these challenging times, train health staff and reinforce social support systems. As part of this package, the EU just announced a €5.85 million development programme to enhance coronavirus preparedness, response, and mitigation for internally displaced people (IDPs) and people living in the most vulnerable situations in Mogadishu. This programme will be based on previous and ongoing work on long-lasting solutions under the EU Trust Fund for Africa that support the city administration to deliver basic services in IDP settlements.

Somalia has suffered for decades from prolonged conflict combined with extreme weather, especially recurrent droughts and floods. Against a background of widespread poverty, it is now also facing the worst desert locust infestation in 25 years and a rapidly escalating coronavirus outbreak.https://twitter.com/fabiomassimo85/status/1279865042578616322?s=21

EU welcomes Somalia-Somaliland dialogue

“The resumption of dialogue between Somalia and Somaliland that occurred in Djibouti on 14 June is an important and positive step in the process of normalising their relations, bringing renewed hope not only for the people of Somalia and Somaliland but for the whole Horn of Africa. It is an essential part of confidence-building measures to reconcile differences and promote peace-building, prosperity and development in the region. Djibouti and Ethiopia played a determining role in making this dialogue happen”, reads the text of the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell.

“Somali President Mohamed Abdillahi Mohamed Farmaajo and Moussa Bihi Abdi committed to continue working on advancing this peace-making process.

“Continuation of these talks without interruption and in good faith is the only sustainable way forward for a durable peace, prosperity and security. The European Union, present as an observer to the talks, will spare no efforts to support the process”.

Both Somalia and Somaliland are intended to celebrate in a few days the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the whole of Somalia from colonizers.

A former British protectorate, Somaliland got its independence in 1960 but days later joined Somalia. In 1991, it declared independence from the rest of the country following war with the government in the capial city Mogadishu.

Al-Shabaab claims governor assassination

Somalia Mudug region governor was killed with three of his bodyguards in a suicide car bombing on May 17. The explostion was claimed by Islamist group al Shabaab, police said.

“A suicide car bomb hit the governor’s car. Governor Ahmed Muse Nur and three of his bodyguards died,” police captain Mohamed Osman told Reuters.

Al Shabaab has been fighting for years to topple Somalia’s western-backed central government and frequently carries out bombings in Somalia and elsewhere in the region. The group wants to establish its own rule in the Horn of Africa country, based on its own strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

“We are behind the explosion. It was a suicide car bomb. We killed Mudug region governor and his three bodyguards,” al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab told media.

The same day the armed group posted a statement on a pro-Shabab website that said: “The governor of the apostate administration in the Mudug region was killed in a martyrdom operation in Galkayo today.”

Galkayo lies about 600km (375 miles) north of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.

Al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda affiliate, pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011 and lost most of its strongholds, but still controls vast swathes of the countryside.

Italian hostage returned from Kenya

Liberated Italian hostage Silvia Romano landed at Rome’s Ciampino airport aboard a special flight at about 2 p.m. (1200 GMT).

Escorted by masked men from the intelligence service, young woman temporarily removed her protective mask to wave while she descended the steps from the jet before hugging family members waiting for her at the airport. “I am literally bursting with joy at this moment. But it is hard even only to think, please let me breathe. I need to withstand the shock, happiness is so big that it is exploding,” Silvia’s father Enzo was quoted as saying by several Italian media.

NGO volonteer was greeted by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the chief of Italian diplomacy Luigi Di Maio.

A group of armed men abdicted Romano, who was working for an Italian charity called Africa Milele, in northern Kenya in November 2018.

After extensive international search operations led by Italian intelligence, she was traced in Somalia, some 30 km (19 miles) outside the capital of Mogadishu, and was released due to efforts by the intelligence service, Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio underlined.

In her home neighbourhood in Milan, church bells saluted her arrival, with many people on their balconies, SKY TG24 showed.

Romano is expected to meet prosecutors in Rome later on May 10 to participate in the investigatiion case of her abdiction.

“I was strong, and resisted,” Romano was quoted by Italian media as saying publically after her release.

Prime Minister Conte said that the task force working to free Romano had been in the final stages for the last months, after receiving proof that she was still alive. The head of the government added that details were not revealed to avoid compromise of the secret service operation.

We are so glad to welcome Silvia back in such a delicate moment for the country. The State is always there, and will always be there,” Conte said.

Prime Minister expressed gratitude for the efforts of the intelligence services, the judiciary and the defence and diplomacy, all involved in the release the Italian aid worker.

Italian newspapers reported that Italy’s intelligence services had launched a vast and complicated operation together with Somali and Turkish counterparts to free Romano.

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