Saturday, April 12, 2003

Dear Somalilanders
OTTAWA, 13 APRIL 2003--Dear Somalilanders, I am a Somalilander who lived overseas since 1976 and though I know I am obligated to contribute toward the rebuilding of my country, I do not really do that much. Please accept my sincere apology and forgive me!

Today I am writing the following paper appealing to all Somalilanders to do what is right …keep peace and order no matter what! It is the pillar of what you have to date achieved that differs you from your counterparts in the South! It is what you should be proud of and is basis of all your future successes. In fact, it is what the whole international community knows you for and admires most of you! MORE

Embargo Violations In Somalia Investigated
BRUSSELS, 11 APRIL 2003--Recognizing the important need to improve the implementation and monitoring of the arms embargo against Somalia, the United Nations Security Council this week re-established for six months a panel of experts to investigate any violations of the ban.

The decision to extend the mandate of the Panel of Experts, to be based in Kenya, came after the Council considered a report submitted last month by the three-person panel stating that even after the signing of the Eldoret Declaration, most factions have continued to import or receive weapons in breach of the arms embargo against Somalia. Somali leaders who participated in last year's conference in Eldoret, Kenya, had rededicated themselves to the search for peace.

By unanimously adopting resolution 1474, the Council mandated the Panel to investigate the violations of the arms embargo, covering access to Somalia by land, air, sea and any other sources that might reveal helpful information.

Somaliland gears up for poll
HARGEISA, 12 APRIL 2003 (BBC)--Campaigning for the presidency of the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland ends on Saturday, with three candidates promising peace and recognition by the international community.
On Monday, more than a million voters will cast their ballots in the country's first multi-party presidential election.

The current leader of Somaliland, Dahir Riyaale Kahin, is being challenged by candidates from two opposition parties.

Mr Kahin took office last year, following the death of the long-standing leader of the breakaway republic, Mohamed Egal, in May.

Somaliland announced its secession in 1991, as the rest of Somalia descended into anarchy.

Mr Egal was elected president two years later, but the territory has never won international recognition.

Main challenger

The three parties have given themselves names in the Somali language. They are:

the ruling UDUB, or United Peoples Party
the Kulmiye party, which translates bringing people together
the UCID or Welfare and Development Party. MORE

Friday, April 11, 2003

President Riyale says UDUB will accept the election outcome, urges peaceful polls.
HARGEISA, 11 APRIL 2003--Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin today said that his party will accept the outcome of the Presidential elections to be held on Monday. Speaking to thousands of UDUB supporters at the Khayriyah Park, Riyale also called upon opposition parties to accept the results of the elections.

He urged the Somaliland people to maintain the peace and stability during the election day and asked them to vote for UDUB party, which he said stood for the perpetuation of peace and development. He outlined the agenda of the party for the development of the country.

The President arrvied at the Park in a large convoy of cars while thousands of other people arrived by buses.

In another development, UDUB women supporters had welcomed a large number of former women supporters of opposition parties who had now joined the ranks of UDUB. The new members, comprising 480 former HORMOOD members and 85 who defected from Kulmiye, were given a special reception in a ceremony held at the Workers' Union Headquarters. READ MORE

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Unanimous Support for Somali Reconciliation Process in Kenya (Italian Embassy -press Release)
ADDIS ABABA, 10 APRIL 2003--The Joint IGAD Partners Forum (JIPF) of Ambassadors met in Addis Ababa on Tuesday and reiterated their unanimous support to the Somalia National Reconciliation Conference at Mbagathi (Nairobi), the Italian Embassy here said.

They commended the Government of Kenya for hosting the Conference and the IGAD Front Line States Technical Committee for its crucial role in the process. They commended the Kenyan Special Envoy, Ambassador Kiplagat, for having inspired a new dynamic in the Reconciliation Conference.

The Ambassadors expressed satisfaction with the completion of the work of the six reconciliation committees.

SOMALIA: Puntland warns of drought
NAIROBI, 10 APRIL 2003 (IRIN) - Parts of the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland are facing serious water shortages, Puntland's acting information minister, Abdishakur Mire Adan, told IRIN on Thursday.

He said the problem is most acute in the regions of Sool and Sanaag, which are claimed by both Puntland and the neighbouring self-declared republic of Somaliland.

Also seriously affected by are the districts of Bargal, Iskushuban, Qandala, Alula, Badar Beyla and Qardo, all of Bari Region, and parts of Nugal Region, said Abdishakur. "We have had very little rain in the Gu season [April-June] so far and the delay of Gu season has exacerbated an already bad situation."

DJIBOUTI: Rights record poor, says US
NAIROBI, 10 APRIL 2003 (IRIN) - The Djibouti government's human rights record last year was poor and "serious problems remained", according to the US State Department's annual report.

The report, covering 2002, said the ruling People's Rally for Progress had continued to dominate the political system and suppress organised opposition.

Other human rights violations included the arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life by the government or its agents.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Taking the Tiger by the Tail: Somaliland's Forthcoming Elections
Rakiya A. Omaar
HARGEISA, 9 APRIL 2003--I am looking forward to 14 April, in common with most people living in Somaliland. It will be the first time ever that I vote in my homeland. Having missed the December municipal elections, the prospect of taking part in a free and fair election to choose the next president of Somaliland will not only be a new experience, but given what it has taken us to get here, a deeply rewarding one. The people whose job it is to ensure that the elections fulfil our expectations are the six men and one woman who make up the National Electoral Commission (NEC). Their task is not an enviable one, given the unique circumstances of Somaliland.

The last presidential elections took place so long ago, in 1968, that more than 60% of the electorate has no memory of them. And for those who do remember, they recall the violence, the political tensions and the deeply flawed nature of the exercise which paved the way for a military coup d'├ętat. Everyone agrees that this time, we must all play by different rules. But with everything so new, we are all learning, including, and especially, the Commission itself.

ETHIOPIA: Farmers turning to khat
ADDIS ABABA, 9 Apr 2003 (IRIN) - Farmers in lowland areas of eastern Ethiopia are increasingly turning to the narcotic khat, according to the UN’s Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia (EUE).

It said the sharp rise in the use of the mild stimulant may be due to the fact that local people were becoming despondent about their future in the drought-hit Haraghe region of eastern Ethiopia.

“In general, all over the visited Haraghe lowlands, people seem to be socially discouraged,” the EUE said in a report on the food crisis in the region.
SOMALIA: Mandate of UN arms embargo panel extended
NAIROBI, 9 APRIL 2003 (IRIN) - The UN Security Council has ordered an extension of the mandate of the UN panel of experts investigating violations of the arms embargo against Somalia for a further six months.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan named the three-member panel last September. The UN imposed the embargo in 1992, following the outbreak of civil war in Somalia.

According to a UN press statement, the Council's decision comes after it considered a report presented by the panel late last month. According to the report, the embargo was consistently being breached, and it recommended that the Council send a clear signal that all future violators would face sanctions.

Somaliland warns of water and food shortages
NAIROBI, 9 APRIL 2003 (IRIN) - Almost all parts of the self-declared republic of Somaliland are facing serious water and food shortages, according to its minister of pastoral development and environment, Muhammad Muse Awale.

The problem is most acute in the eastern regions of Togdheer, Sanaag and the Hawd. "We had very little rain in the Gu season [April-June] and we have had even smaller Deyr rains [October-November] so far," he told IRIN on Wednesday.

Awale, who heads the newly created inter-ministerial Committee for National Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation, warned that if there were no rains in the next two to three weeks, "we will have a disaster on our hands".

The livelihood of most of the population of Somaliland, like the rest of Somalia, revolves around livestock, and "livestock has already started dying", he said.

He added that the Somaliland administration was calling on the international community to assist before the situation turned into a catastrophe.

Trucking water to the most affected areas should be a priority, Awale said. Water points which had fallen into disrepair needed to be rehabilitated quickly, while those still functioning needed pumps to enable them operate, he stressed.

Awale also said that food distribution in the most seriously-affected areas should be undertaken "as a matter of urgency".


Tuesday, April 08, 2003

No elections in disputed regions, Puntland says
NAIROBI, 8 APRIL 2003 (IRIN) - There will be no elections in the disputed regions of Sool and Sanaag when Somaliland holds its presidential polls next week, according to the neighbouring self-declared autonomous region of Puntland.

Both the self-declared republic of Somaliland and Puntland claim the regions, which geographically fall within the borders of the former British Somaliland, but where the majority of the clans inhabiting them are associated with Puntland.

"There is no way that elections will take place in Sool and Sanaag," Isma'il Warsame, the chief of cabinet of Puntland's president, Col Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad, told IRIN. He said the people of the area did not want the elections, so "their wishes must be respected".

"The people of these regions have decided that their destiny is with Puntland and not with Somaliland," he added. He warned that any attempt to bring election materials to Sool and Sanaag would be regarded as "a hostile act against Puntland".

Garad Abdullahi Ali Id, a Sanaag traditional elder told IRIN that the people of Sool and Sanaag were Harti - a Darod subclan - and “therefore are part of Puntland, and do not want to be a part of the so-called Somaliland”.

"We do not want to have anything to do with this election," he said. "It is time they [the Somaliland authorities] faced realities and realised we do not want any part of their Somaliland."

However, Somaliland Information Minister Abdillahi Muhammad Du'ale told IRIN that elections would take place as planned in the two regions and that ballot boxes would be sent there.

"Sool and Sanaag have been part and parcel of Somaliland and will remain so," he stressed.

Somaliland's presidential elections are due on 14 April.


Sunday, April 06, 2003

Somalia 'not terror haven'
LONDON, 3 APRIL 2003 (BBC)--A United Nations report has found no evidence that international terror groups are based in Somalia.

However, the 62-page report does say that those responsible for recent terror attacks in East Africa passed through Somalia.

Following the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States, Somalia was often seen as a possible "terrorist haven".

It has had no effective central government for 12 years, during which rival warlords have battled for control.

Hargeisa short of water, swims in flood of banknotes HARGEISA, 6 APRIL 2003--Residents of Hargeisa are alternately looking up longingly at an unyielding sky for succour from the painful spasms of thirst while pummelled from every side by a flood of sharp-cutting, newly printed banknotes that spooked local markets to climb fast on an upward spiralling hyper-inflation.