Thursday, February 13, 2003

Millions lost on Somali talks
NAIROBI, 14 FEB 2003--Millions of shillings were lost in financial irregularities unearthed in an audit of the ongoing Somali peace talks. The audit, ordered by agencies funding the national reconciliation talks in Kenya, discovered fictitious payments, records of non-existent delegates and double registration of representatives, among other things.
SOMALIA: Some food security improvements in south
NAIROBI, 13 FEB 2003 (IRIN) - A food security watchdog for Somalia has predicted a good secondary harvest during January-February in southern Somalia, following a satisfactory Deyr, or short rainy season, in the country.
SOMALIA: Measles outbreak in south
NAIROBI, 13 FEB 2003 (IRIN) - Three children have died in an outbreak of measles in the Middle Juba region of southern Somalia, according to an international aid agency operating in the area.

The outbreak reportedly started in and around the town of Sakow, some 540 km southwest of the capital Mogadishu, on Monday, World Vision (WV) Somalia said.
Glad to be back to prosperous and peaceful home:Abdirahman Tuur
HARGEISA, 13 FEB 2003--Abdirahman Ahmed Ali (Tuur), Somaliland's first President, who recently reurned home said that his return was to spend the rest of his days in his home country. Speaking to the press, Tuur said that he was delighted by the warm welcome accorded him by the goverment, asserting that he would work for the wellbeing of his country, people and the government. He added that Somaliland people should be grateful to the Almighty for the peace and prosperity they had.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Churches group asked to mediate between Somali warlords and civil societies
ADDIS ABABA, 12 FEB 2003--Serious tension has developed between Somali war-lords and members of Somali civil society currently locked in peace talks in Eldoret, about 300 kilometres North-west of Nairobi, AANA/APTA has learnt.

The tension is due to mistrust between the two groups. Accordingly, a meeting of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working for peace and reconciliation for Somalia has proposed that the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) should play a leading facilitator role.

They said AACC has a strategic significance as a continental body, with a wealth of experience in peace-making and reconciliation in Africa.
Frontline States to Form Peace Overseer Committee
ADDIS ABABA, 12 FEB 2003--A committee to oversee the implementation of last year's Declaration on Cessation of Hostilities in Somalia, is to be set up with immediate effect, by foreign ministers of three frontline states on Somalia peace discussions.

The committee, agreed upon by ministers Kalonzo Musyoka of Kenya, Abdi Farah of Djibouti and Hamad Bashir of Ethiopia, will be entrusted with the responsibility of monitoring any violations of the declaration, and taking appropriate action. The decision was reached at in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at a meeting during last week's African Union (AU) Summit (February 3-4).
SOMALIA: Fishermen accuse foreigners of depleting coastal waters
NAIROBI, 12 FEB 2003 (IRIN) - Large foreign ships are harassing and intimidating Somali fishermen around the southern coastal towns of Marka and Barawe, according to local fishermen.

Why Is the Muslim Hajj So Dangerous?
MSN, 12 FEB 2003--Fourteen Muslim pilgrims were trampled to death Tuesday, while performing the annual hajj in Saudi Arabia. Such tragedies seem to occur with depressing frequency—since 1997, at least 570 worshippers have been accidentally killed during the annual trek to Mecca. Why is the hajj so dangerous?

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Death of pilgrims casts cloud over hajj
LONDON, 12 FEB 2003--Fourteen Muslims were trampled to death in Mecca yesterday, the latest tragedy to sadden the annual pilgrimage to the holy city. The accident occurred during the "stoning the devil" ritual, in which pilgrims throw pebbles at three pillars marking the places where Satan is believed to have tempted the prophet Ismail.
Bin Laden urges suicide attacks on US
LONDON, 12 FEB 2003--Osama bin Laden last night returned to haunt America in the midst of preparations for a war in Iraq, when a new tape attributed to the al-Qaida leader was broadcast on the leading Arab television network, urging Iraqis to carry out suicide attacks against the United States.
Factions Violate Ceasefire
NAIROBI, 11 FEB 2003--SOME FACTION leaders attending the Somalia National Reconciliation Conference in Kenya are encouraging their militias in Somalia to fight so that they can gain negotiating power during the peace talks, delegates and international observers have said.

"They [faction leaders] are here to reconcile, but they are sending some encouragement to [their followers] still proceed with wars in Somalia," Mohamed Aden, chairman of the conference's youth group, Save Somali Youth, said.

Refugees Face Hostility in US Cities
NAIROBI, 10 FEB 2003--THE UNITED States reaffirmed last week that it will admit some 12,000 Somali Bantus who have been living in Kenya as refugees for the past decade. But the prospective immigrants, who are to begin arriving in the US within a few weeks, might encounter some hostility in their new home.

Racial and cultural tensions have developed in one US locality where large numbers of Somali immigrants have already settled. And leaders of a city in Massachusetts have voted to reject a US government grant intended to smooth the planned placement of Somali families in that community.

SOMALIA: EC to support road improvements in Somaliland
NAIROBI, 11 Feb 2003 (IRIN) - The European Commission has approved a major project to support rehabilitation of the core road network in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, northwest Somalia.

In a statement, the EC described the project as a continuation of ongoing support through the German Federal Agency for Technical Releif (THW), which will include technical assistance to the Somaliland Roads Authorities.

"The total budget is € 4.5 million with contributions from the European Commission (€ 4.2 million), the implementing partner - the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), and the Somaliland Road Fund," the statement said.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Rivalry for Eyes of Arab World
DOHA, Qatar, 11 FEB 2003 -- From London to the Persian Gulf, Arab journalists and investors are gearing up to challenge the primacy of al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based satellite TV channel whose professional if sometimes sensational 24-hour broadcasts have shattered taboos and created an appetite for unfettered news across the Arab world.
SOMALIA: Peace talks to be moved to Nairobi
NAIROBI, 10 FEB 2003 (IRIN) - The Somali peace talks currently under way in the western Kenyan town of Eldoret are to be moved to the capital, Nairobi, by the end of this week, according to a source close to the talks.
SOMALIA: Hijacked ship's crew escape from captors
NAIROBI, 10 FEB 2003 (IRIN) - A foreign ship and its crew, held for six months by Somali militiamen, escaped on Saturday from the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland, a local journalist in Bosaso told IRIN on Monday.

Abdirahman Tuur returns home
HARGEISA, 10 FEB 2003--Somaliland's first President Abdirahman Ahmed Ali, Tuur, returned home after spending 10 years overseas. Accompanies by his wife, Abdirahman was received at Egal International Airport by a number of Ministers, Sultans and other members of the community.

Radio Hargeisa which has aired the news said that the purpose of Abdirahman's return was to offer condolences on the death of his brother-in-law Osman Basbaas. The Radio didn't say whether Abdirahman intended to stay longer or whether had given up his pro-Somalia political stance.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

EDITOR'S CHOICE: God and American diplomacy
LONDON, 6 FEB 2003 (ECONOMIST)--ONLY one thing unsettles George Bush's critics more than the possibility that his foreign policy is secretly driven by greed. That is the possibility that it is secretly driven by God. War for oil would merely be bad. War for God would be catastrophic: the beginning of a “clash of civilisations” that would pit Christians and Jews against Muslims.

Is there anything to this? The war-for-God crowd can certainly point to bits of evidence. The current White House is the most religious since Jimmy Carter's days. In his memoirs of his time as a presidential speechwriter, David Frum says that the first words he heard in the Bush White House were “Missed you at Bible Study”. Mr Bush, a born-again Christian who turned to God after many years of hard drinking, starts each day kneeling in prayer. Michael Gerson, his main speechwriter, is a master at clothing public policy in religious language.

Somaliland President pardons 368 prisoners
HARGEISA, 10 FEB 2003--Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin ordred on Sunday the release of 368 prisoners serving sentences on minor offences in various parts of the country. The pardon was to mark the Eid Al Adha, or the Muslim pilgirmage season.