Real life Somalia news

PMC Somalia (ArmA), covering the somalia crisis

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Snake Man
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Real life Somalia news

Post by Snake Man » 2009-01-13 13:13:43

Here is some real life news from Somalia, feel free to post on quotes with source included when you see something related. I'll start by posting this from BBC News today.
Ethiopia troops "leave Mogadishu"

Ethiopian troops have withdrawn from two of their main bases in the Somali capital two years after they intervened in Mogadishu to oust Islamist forces.

Mogadishu residents gathered at the empty bases, singing and dancing. Some said they could now return to home.

A ceremony is being held to mark the handover of security to government forces and moderate Islamists.

Some fear that the Ethiopian withdrawal could lead to a power vacuum, others say it could pave the way for peace.

The Ethiopian presence was deeply unpopular with many Somalis and different groups were united in opposing them.

Western diplomats say their withdrawal could reduce support for hardline Islamists and lead to moderates joining a government of national unity.

A small African Union peacekeeping force remains in Mogadishu but analysts say it is not strong enough to withstand the Islamists, who once more control much of southern Somalia.

Uganda, Burundi and Nigeria are willing to send extra troops but the African Union has no money to pay for them and is wary of taking on an open-ended commitment.

Some 16,000 civilians have been killed in the conflict between Somalia's transitional government and the Islamists, and a million more have been forced from their homes.

Strategic

Violence continues in Mogadishu. On Monday, at least 10 people were killed in clashes between the Ethiopians and insurgents.

The BBC's Mohamed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu says the two bases were in the north-east of the city where there have been daily clashes between the Ethiopians and Islamist insurgents.

An opposition spokesman says the Ethiopians will also withdraw from their other bases on Tuesday.

Our reporter says there are three remaining military bases, but the withdrawal from the strategic north-east of the city is seen as a strong signal that the Ethiopians are leaving.

The withdrawal in the north-east took place overnight, he says.

When Mogadishu residents heard about it in the morning, they flocked to the area to see the empty bases for themselves.

The withdrawal was part of a peace plan agreed by the government and moderate Islamists in October which required a pull-out in late November last year.

Small group of Ethiopian troops have been seen heading for the border in recent days.

For days Somalis have been keeping a distrustful watch on the Ethiopian troops left in the country, suspicious that despite all their promises they were not really going to leave, correspondents say.

Singing and dancing

A ceremony is taking place at the prime minister's office in the centre of the city, where the Ethiopians are handing over responsibility for Mogadishu's security to the interim government, the moderate Islamist opposition and AU peacekeepers.

Increasingly urgent efforts are now going on to strengthen the small African Union force.

Potential donor countries have been invited to a meeting this Saturday at African Union headquarters.

The US has now circulated a draft resolution at the United Nations proposing that the UN take over eventual responsibility for a peacekeeping force in Somalia.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently last month the time was not right for this, as Somalia was too dangerous and few countries wanted to send their troops.

Somalia has not had an effective national government since 1991, since when various militias have been battling for control.
Source BBC News.
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Re: Real life Somalia news

Post by banana » 2009-01-13 15:29:21

Which timeline does the mod have got

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Re: Real life Somalia news

Post by Snake Man » 2009-01-15 20:25:56

Islamists take bases in Mogadishu

The last Ethiopian troops in Somalia's capital have left Mogadishu and Islamist forces have taken over most of the bases they have left behind.

A BBC reporter says four of the six vacated bases have been taken over by insurgents from different factions, seemingly working together.

Troops loyal to the interim government, which Ethiopia was supporting, have control of only two of the bases.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein says he wants to be president.

Abdullahi Yusuf resigned as president last month after falling out with Mr Hussein over attempts to negotiate a peace deal with the Islamist-led armed opposition.

But the opposition is split into various factions, and the more hardline groups do not support the peace process.

Ethiopia intervened in Somalia two years to help oust Islamists, who had taken control of much of the south of the country.

Power vacuum

The BBC's Mohamed Dhore in Mogadishu says African Union peacekeepers are guarding Mogadishu's presidential palace, but most positions in the capital have been filled by Islamist insurgents.

He says government troops are in the former Ethiopian base at the southern entrance to the city and at the empty central hospital, Digfer.

Analysts had feared the withdrawal of the Ethiopians would lead to a power vacuum and fighting between rival Islamist factions.

But at the moment all factions - whether they back the peace process with the government or not - seem to be working together.

Some 16,000 civilians have been killed in the conflict between Somalia's transitional government and the Islamists, and a million more have been forced from their homes.

Correspondents say that Mr Hussein - one of the architects of the peace deal - is hoping to capitalise on the Ethiopian withdrawal to win support for his presidential candidacy.

Mr Hussein, a former humanitarian worker from Mogadishu and a member of the area's dominant Hawiye clan, has the backing of Igad, the East African regional grouping which brokered the agreement that led to the formation of the interim government in 2004.

"Today I want to announce that I am a candidate for the post of president which is expected to be contested soon and whoever wins it should peacefully and democratically run the country," Mr Hussein said.

Hindsight

Meanwhile, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been defending his decision to oust Islamists two years ago.

He said the reason Ethiopia had intervened was to avert a clear and present danger to its own security and because it was asked to by the Somali transitional government.

Bringing peace and stability was something Somalis could only do themselves, he said.

Speaking at a news conference in the Ethiopia capital, Addis Ababa, he said that with hindsight, he would do the same again.

"I would without hesitation, have intervened again if I had to do it all over again," he said.

"Now that does not mean I would repeat all the specifics of that intervention.

"Only stupid people would repeat everything they did in the past. So obviously if we were to do it again we would do it better. But we would do it nonetheless."

He however said Ethiopian troops would not be rushed into leaving the rest of the country - and that they would remain in force along the border.

The US wants the United Nations to take over peacekeeping duties from the African Union.

But last month UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said few countries were willing to send troops to Somalia, as there was no peace to keep.

Somalia has not had an effective national government since 1991, since when various militias have been battling for control.
Source BBC News.
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Re: Real life Somalia news

Post by Snake Man » 2009-01-25 16:26:47

Ethiopia completes Somali pullout
Ethiopia says it has completed the withdrawal of its troops from Somalia, two years after entering the country to fight Islamist insurgents.

Ethiopia's information minister told the BBC that the 3,000-strong force had ended the threat from the Islamists.

He said the troops had left Somalia, including the town of Baidoa from where the Somali government operates.

Correspondents say the Islamists and other militia have won back much of the land lost to the Ethiopians in 2006.

Addis Ababa announced late last year that it would fully withdraw from Somalia by the first days of 2009, ending its mission to help the interim Somali government.

Somalia has not had an effective national government since 1991.

About 3,400 African Union peacekeepers are taking up positions in Somalia vacated by the Ethiopians, amid concerns that Ethiopia's withdrawal could lead to further instability.

Government forces only control parts of Mogadishu and the town of Baidoa.

Power-sharing

But Ethiopian Information Minister Bereket Simon said that the extremists, known as al-Shabaab, had been so weakened they were no longer an effective force.

He said a recent suicide attack was proof that the organisation had "turned into a small terrorist group who cannot attain their goals in a democratic, peaceful and civilised way".

Meanwhile power-sharing talks have been continuing in Djibouti between the government and moderate Islamists, including the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS).

They are trying to agree on the formation of an expanded parliament - from 275 seats to 550 - to include the opposition, and how to select a new president.

Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the leader of ARS, said Somalia had to take the "historic opportunity" to correct "past mistakes".

"There's no excuse for Somalis to kill each other," he said.
Source BBC News.
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Re: Real life Somalia news

Post by Snake Man » 2009-02-04 19:41:32

Radio chief in Somalia shot dead
The director of Somalia's independent HornAfrik radio station, Said Tahlil Ahmed, has been killed in the capital.

An eyewitness told the BBC a group of journalists were attacked on their way to a press conference called by the hardline Islamist militia al-Shabab.

A spokesman for the group denied to the BBC any responsibility for the killing.

Al-Shabab does not support the new president - Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, a moderate Islamist - recently elected by MPs as part of a peace process.

Civilians and journalists gathered outside the HornAfrik station in Mogadishu after Wednesday's killing.

And fighters belonging to the Union of Islamic Courts - who are loyal to the new president - turned up to provide security.

Since the announcement of the murder, all radio stations in the capital have been playing Koranic verses.

Analysts say this may be out of respect for Mr Ahmed or possibly because they are frightened of further attacks.

Mr Ahmed is the third senior employee of the popular HornAfrik radio station to be killed in the past two years.

Masked gunmen

A journalist, who was with Mr Ahmed when he was attacked, told the BBC Somali Service that senior members of Mogadishu's radio stations had been called to a press conference by al-Shabab.

He said they were nearly at the venue in Mogadishu's central Bakara Market when masked gunmen fired on them.

Mr Ahmed fell to the ground before his attackers approached and shot him again.

Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein, the al-Shabab representative in Mogadishu, confirmed his group had invited the media to a meeting in the capital about the situation in the country.

But he firmly denied al-Shabab had been behind the shooting.

He blamed an unnamed "enemy" who he said wanted to "defame" them.

"We are going after those who are behind the killing and will bring them to justice," he told the BBC's Somali Service.

Colleagues say Mr Ahmed was a well-respected journalist who continued working in Somalia after the collapse of Siad Barre's regime in 1991 despite extremely dangerous conditions in the capital.

He became the director of HornAfrik in 2007 after the station's owner, Ali Iman Sharmake, was killed by a car bomb - as he returned from the funeral of a presenter at the station who was himself murdered.

Media targets

Journalists have become targets for some of the many armed groups that roam Somalia - at least a dozen have been killed since 2007, and many more have fled the country.

President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was elected president by MPs at a meeting in neighbouring Djibouti last Friday as part of a UN-brokered plan.

A key part of that plan was the withdrawal of Ethiopian soldiers, who had entered Somalia just over two years ago to oust the UIC.

However, al-Shabab has taken advantage of the Ethiopians' pull-out to boost its control of the south and it accuses him of selling out to the West.

Al-Shabab now even controls Baidoa, the seat of the interim parliament, taking the central town while MPs were in neighbouring Djibouti for the presidential vote.

Somalia has not had a functioning central government for nearly two decades and tens of thousands of people have been killed in successive waves of violence.

About 3,600 Ugandan and Burundian peacekeepers, from an intended 8,000-strong African Union force, are deployed in Mogadishu.
Source BBC News.
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Re: Real life Somalia news

Post by Snake Man » 2009-02-05 16:25:20

Somali pirates 'free arms ship'
Pirates who hijacked a Ukrainian ship loaded with weapons have received a ransom and have left the vessel, reports from Somalia say.

The pirates seized the Kenya-bound MV Faina and its crew in September 2008.

They initially demanded a ransom of $20m (£14m), but reports suggest that a figure of $3.2m was agreed following months of negotiations.

The MV Faina was the highest-profile vessel held by pirates. The intended destination of its cargo was disputed.

The Kenyan government says the tanks, rocket launchers and small arms on board belong to it, but the manifest suggests the arms were heading for South Sudan.

'Counting the haul'

Gunmen took control of the MV Faina and its crew of 20 on 25 September 2008 as it headed for the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

It has since been moored off the town of Harardhere, along with a number of other vessels seized by the pirates.

The US navy said a ransom appeared to have been dispatched on Wednesday and Mikhail Voitenko, said to be a spokesman for ship owner Vadim Alperin, later said that the pirates were "counting the haul".

Early on Thursday groups of pirates began leaving the vessel, reports from Harardhere said. Representatives of the pirates then told journalists that the ship had been freed.

"We have released MV Faina. There were only three boys remaining and they delayed the release for one hour, but now the ship is free," one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali, told AFP news agency by phone.

"No huge amount has been paid, but something to cover our expenses," he added.

The Russian captain of the ship died shortly after the seizure - apparently of a heart attack.

The rest of the crew - 17 Ukrainians, two Russians and a Latvian - were healthy and safe, a statement from the Ukrainian presidency said, and the ship would head to Mombasa under the protection of the US navy.

A number of warships from foreign navies had been diverted to the area to monitor the situation, in part to ensure that the cargo of weaponry did not get into the hands of Somali insurgents.

Once the ship is under way, the focus is likely to shift to its cargo of weapons and its final destination, reports the BBC's Peter Greste from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

The Kenyan government would be highly embarrassed to be found supplying arms to South Sudan, analysts say.

It was Kenya that helped broker an end to the civil war between South Sudan and the government in Khartoum in 2005.

Somali waters are among the most dangerous for pirate activities in the world.

Last year pirates in the area collected an estimated total of $50m (£35m) in ransom. But a recent BBC investigation has found that it costs as much again to negotiate and deliver these ransoms.
Source BBC News.
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Re: Real life Somalia news

Post by Snake Man » 2009-03-25 16:19:19

Uganda deploys more peacekeepers in Somalia
Addis Ababa, March 25 (WIC)- Uganda has deployed another battalion of soldiers in Somalia bringing the total number of its soldiers there to over 2,000, Xinhua reported quoting a top military commander.

Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, Chief of Defense Forces of Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF) told reporters on Tuesday that the battalion left for Somalia on Sunday to beef up the already 1,700 Ugandan peacekeepers deployed in the capital Mogadishu.

"With the new president, parliament, reinforcement of AMISOM, we hope to begin seeing faster reconciliation in Somalia," he said.

The troops are deployed under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

The new deployment in the Horn of African country comes two weeks after the Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed visited Uganda and Burundi seeking for more help.

Crispus Kiyonga, Uganda's minister of defense told parliament early this year that Burundi would also be sending another battalion to Somalia to beef up its other battalion already deployed there.

He said that the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the opposition Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia had agreed to raise another 10,000 troops internally, to pacify the war-torn country.

Nyakairima said in January that once the troops are on the ground, two battalions, one battalion from Uganda or Burundi together with another from the local joint force would be deployed in Baidoa to protect parliament.

The over 3,500 peacekeepers now deployed in Somalia are far below the 8,000 African Union peacekeepers required to help pacify the lawless country.
Source waltainfo.com.
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Re: Real life Somalia news

Post by Snake Man » 2009-04-09 16:24:25

Islamist Insurgents Take Somali Port City Without a Fight

By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN
Published: November 12, 2008

NAIROBI, Kenya — Another major city in Somalia fell without a shot to Islamist insurgents on Wednesday, with Islamist guerrilla fighters seizing the strategic port of Merka, residents and Somali officials said.

The Islamists are now in control of a large and rapidly growing swath of south-central Somalia, and the weak transitional government seems too paralyzed by infighting to do much about it.

The government, which is recognized internationally and backed by Ethiopian troops, has repeatedly urged the United Nations to send in peacekeepers to quell the insurgency and stabilize the country. But with the continuing conflicts in eastern Congo and the Darfur region of Sudan, another major international peacekeeping effort in the region seems unlikely at the moment.

Hundreds of fighters rolled into Merka around 8 a.m. on Wednesday in heavily armed pickup trucks, meeting no resistance because government-allied militias had fled the night before, according to residents. Merka is only 60 miles south of Mogadishu, Somalia’s bullet-pocked capital, and Somali officials warned that the Islamists were now planning to lay siege to Mogadishu.

“We know their grand plan,” said Abdi Awaleh Jama, an ambassador at large for the transitional federal government. “But we’re not going to run away. We’re going to fight with whatever we have.” But, he added, “we need help — urgently.”

The Islamists have been steadily gobbling up territory — Merka, Kismayu, Bulo Marer, El Dheer and Qoryooley — and now control many strategic areas across the country.

They seem to be fast approaching Mogadishu, from the north and from the south. In some areas, they have begun imposing a strict interpretation of Islamic law, even stoning to death a young Somali who said she had been raped. The Islamists convicted her last month of adultery. United Nations officials said she may have been as young as 13.

The American government has accused the Islamists of sheltering terrorists from Al Qaeda responsible for killing Americans.

But many Somalis are so eager for law and order that they are embracing the Islamists. On Wednesday, residents in Merka said they poured into the streets to welcome the Islamist gunmen.

“I am very happy with them,” said Axmed Warfaa, an elder in the town. “I am Muslim, and our religion is fair.”

The Islamist fighters, part of a group called the Shabab, which the Bush administration has designated a terrorist organization, quickly took over Merka’s police station and government buildings, residents said.

The fighters seemed organized, with many wearing green uniforms. They addressed a crowd that gathered in one of Merka’s public squares, telling people to stay calm and to put aside clan differences and unite under the banner of Islam, according to accounts from residents. Merka’s previous officials fled to a suburb of Mogadishu.

In Mogadishu, the transitional government seems to be embroiled in another round of infighting. Officials allied with the president, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, are accusing the prime minister, Nur Hassan Hussein, of secretly helping the Islamists. Some of the president’s men have gone as far as to say that Ethiopian forces, which have been in Somalia for almost two years helping to prop up the government, now work with the insurgents.

Ethiopian officials are blaming Somalia’s leaders for not making peace with Islamist clerics, who enjoy a large degree of popular support. When the Islamists briefly ruled much of Somalia in 2006, many Somalis considered that period the most peaceful era since the central government imploded in 1991.

The Ethiopians, with American help, overthrew the Islamists in 2006, and an intense guerrilla war has raged ever since, with thousands of civilians killed.

The Ethiopians seem to be running out of patience. They recently indicated they would withdraw their troops soon, a move that many Somalis believe would spell the end of the government.

“Yes, it’s bad,” Mr. Abdi said about the fall of Merka and the overall status of the government. “These Islamists are terrorists. The American Congress and administration have to wake up. We have a common interest in defeating them.”

Complicating matters is the fact that Merka has been home to a major United Nations operation to bring in food. Somalia has been on the brink of a famine for much of the past year, because of drought, conflict-related displacement and high global food prices. Millions of people need emergency rations to survive.

United Nations officials said on Wednesday that Merka’s port was crucial to keeping people alive. More than 24 million pounds of food passed through the port in October alone, feeding as many as 850,000 people.

Peter Smerdon, a spokesman for the United Nations World Food Program, said local United Nations employees in Merka were trying to speak to the new Islamist authorities about continuing the life-saving operations. The United Nations does work in several other areas in Somalia controlled by the Islamists. In the past, United Nations officials have said they faced less interference in some Islamist areas than in those under nominal government control. Yet Islamist insurgents have been widely blamed for assassinations of aid workers.

Mohammed Ibrahim contributed reporting from Mogadishu, Somalia.
Source The New York Times.
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