Tag Archives: Somalia

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.

Kenya: Italian hostage liberated

President of the European Parliament David Sassoli thanked all those, involved in an operation of liberation of an Italian hostage – an NGO volunteer Silvia Romano (25) kidnapped in Kenya one and a half year ago. On his Twitter accounted Sassoli wrote that he received the news with joy, and expressed gratitude to everyone who did not “give up” working on her liberation.

On May 9 Italian Prime Minister Conte announced the liberation of an NGO worker Silvia Romano in an international operation conducted by the Italian secret services.

Silvia Romano has been freed! I thank the women and men of our intelligence services. Silvia, we are waiting for you in Italy” he wrote on Twitter micro blog.

“I was strong and I resisted. I’m fine and I can’t wait to go back to Italy” these are the first words in pubblic of the young Milanese Silvia Romano after the liberation.

The operation was directed by General Luciano Carta from the Agenzia Informazioni e Sicurezza Esterna (External Intelligence and Security Agency), known as AISE with the collaboration of the Turkish and Somali services and took place last night.

The volunteer is now in safety in the compound of international forces in Mogadishu, Somalia. The return to Italy will take place tomorrow, at 2 pm at Ciampino airport, Rome, according to the media reports.

She is well and fit. Obviously tired by the existence of captivity but she is all right” said Raffaele Volpi president of Copasir (Parliamentary Committee that controls the operator of the secret services). “The compliments – he added – go to General Carta, to the men and women of the Aise who with their tireless work, never in the light of the limelight, have allowed this very important result. Thanks guys and welcome back home to Silvia”.

Immediately after her release, according to the Adnkronos news agency which cites intelligence sources, the young woman “had a long telephone conversation with her mother and with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte”.

On November 20, 2018, Silvia Romano, a volunteer for the NGO Africa Milele Onlus, devoted to children in fragile situation, mainly abandoned, had been kidnapped by a group of armed men in the village of Chakama, 80 kilometers from Malindi. A large scale manhunt was conducted, but without any success.

In December 2018, an information was obtained about her being alive and transported to Somalia, but since then her case was shrouded in silence.

The violence during the kidnapping – commented a police inspector in the capital Nairobi –looked more like a theatrical act. The kidnappers carried Silvia up to the almost entirely dry Athi Galana Sabaki river, which is quite close. They got across the river and got to the motorcycles they had left there. They could have acted by surprise, riding to Chakama, taking Silvia and leaving quickly. Instead they took a more complicated and difficult route where someone could have followed or recognized them. But they where able to get away.”

Three of her eight kidnappers were subsequently arrested in Kenya.

On the events of the kidnapping, however, everything remains to be established. According to the sources by the Rome prosecution she was held captive in Somalia by militia close to the Al-Shabaab jihadist group, the Somali organization affiliated to al-Qaeda, and was considered a “political hostage”.

Somalia: Turkish contractors killed

In Somalia at least three people were killed and 20 injured, including several Turkish nationals, when a suicide car bomb targeted a police convoy, escorting Turkish contractors Anadolu new agency reports.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency over the phone, Somali government spokesman Ismail Mukhtar Oronjo confirmed the attack in the town of Afgoye, in the lower Shabelle region.

“Several people including soldiers were killed and 20 others wounded, and casualties could rise,” he said.

He also said among those injured were Somalia’s deputy commander of special forces.

Separately, Bashir Ahmed, a police official in Afgoye, told Anadolu Agency that three people, including soldiers, were killed in the attack.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca and the Turkish Embassy in Mogadishu said that some four to six Turkish citizens, including building contractors, were injured in the attack.

Kenya: Three American soldiers perished

Three Americans, among them one U.S. military servicemember and two contractors, were killed in al Shabaab militia attack on a military base in Kenya exploited by both U.S. and Kenyan forces, the army officials said, referring to Sunday events in Manda Bay Airfield in Lamu county, close to the Somali border.

The military’s Africa Command informed about the deaths and clarified that two other Americans who are working for the U.S. Department of Defense were wounded during the attack

The wounded Americans are currently in stable condition and being evacuated,” Africa Command (AFRICOM) said in a statement.

Kenya: Al-Shabaab attacks U.S. base

In early monrning hours around 4 AM Al-Shabaab militants launched an attack on the Manda-Magogoni naval base in Lamu. Heavy exchange of fire is ongoing, Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia confirms. (Image: sodial media).

In a brief statement the US military command for Africa, AFRICOM, confirmed there had been an attack, but did not provide any detail.

“U.S. Africa Command acknowledges there was an attack at Manda Bay Airfield, Kenya and is monitoring the situation. Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the incident. As facts and details emerge, we will provide an update.”

Militants from the Somali Islamist Shebaab group, affiliated with Al-Qaeda, launched an attack on a military base operated by American and Kenyan forces in Lamu (north of the country), near the Somali border, according to a local official Agnece France press reports. The press-release of the militants circulates in social media.

In the press-release Al-Shabaab group said the raid resulted in “severe casualties on both American and Kenyan troops stationed there.”

“The Mujahideen fighters covertly entered enemy lines, successfully stormed the heavily fortified military base and have now taken effective control of a part of the base,” the armed group announced.

The suicide bomber involved in the attack on Camp Simba in Manda Bay and fighters have taken control of part of the base, they claim. There are indications that plane was set on fire, while the heavy cloude of smoke has been seen from afar.

Turkey sends medics to Mogadishu

Military cargo plane from Turkey landed in Mogadishu on December 29 to evacuate people badly wounded in a truck bombing a day earlier that killed at least 90 people, including two Turkish nationals.

The plane also brought emergency medical staff and supplies, according to a tweet from the Turkish embassy, adding these had been transported to a Turkish-run hospital in Mogadishu.

Somali Information Minister Mohamed Abdi Hayir Mareye told state media that 10 badly injured Somalis would be evacuated to Turkey. He added that Turkey had sent 24 doctors to treat those wounded who would stay in the capital.

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