Saturday, May 17, 2003

Al-Qaeda fugitive sighted in Somalia
NAIROBI, 17 MAY 2003 (The Stratis Times)--Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the fugitive whose sightings have prompted security scares across East Africa, is one of the FBI's most wanted men and considered a main player in the Al-Qaeda terrorist network.

Mohammed, from the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean, is accused of masterminding the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi and is also believed to be the linchpin in last November's attacks on a hotel in Mombasa.

The US State Department is offering a US$25-million (S$43-million) reward for his capture.

It is the same bounty offered for Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Washington's prime suspect in the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. MORE

Friday, May 16, 2003

80 feared dead in Gulf of Aden
MOGADISHU, 17, MAY 2003(The News)-- More than 80 Somalis and Ethiopians were feared dead after a wooden boat they were travelling in from Somalia to Yemen was seen floating in pieces in the Gulf of Aden, a Somali diplomat said on Friday.

Passengers of another boat making the same voyage said that they saw 17 bodies, including two they recognised to be crew members, pieces of wood and water barrels from the vessel, said Hussein Haji Ahmed Muhammad, acting consul at the Somali Embassy in Yemen.

Muhammad said that he had spoken to passengers of the second vessel, which made it safely to Yemen. Residents in the north-eastern Somali port of Bossaso said that the boat, called a dhow, which had broken up had left Mareg village, near Bossaso, on Monday with 85 passengers, 40 of them were Somali and rests of 45 were Ethiopians. Yemeni fishermen told Yemeni authorities that they had seen lots of bodies in the sea, Muhammad said. He said that he did not have any further details.

BA 'targeted by al-Qaeda'
LONDON, 17 MAY 2003 (BBC)--The suspension of UK flights to and from Kenya was sparked by a specific threat by terror network al-Qaeda to British Airways, a Kenyan minister has said. The UK Government halted flights by British airlines to the east African country on Friday amid fears an al-Qaeda terrorist attack on a British jet was imminent.

Kenya's national security minister said the threat had been directed at British Airways planes flying to the capital Nairobi.

"Intelligence reports received indicate that British Airways was a target of attacks - that is why they took such pre-emptive measures but we are assuring them and other international airlines that Kenya has stepped up security everywhere," said Kenyan minister Chris Murungaru.

He added that the "timeframe" for the attacks was from this week until the end of May.

The Kenyan flight ban was introduced as the Foreign Office issued a new warning of a "clear terrorist threat" in six East African countries - Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda. MORE

UN Appeals for Funds to Fight Polio in Somalia, Sudan
NAIROBI, 17 MAY 2003 -- Two UN agencies appealed for 275 million dollars to wind up vaccinations against polio in Somalia and Sudan, warning of a disaster if a cash shortfall persisted. AFP quoted the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as having said in a joint statement that they require "substantial external financial resources" to fill "a 275 million dollar gap to finish the (immunization) job by 2005."

"A lapse in funding for Somalia and Sudan would not only jeopardize the goal of stopping polio transmission, but could allow the virus to spread to other regions," the statement said.

"If the initiative falters now in Somalia and Sudan, the consequences would be disastrous," it warned.

UNICEF and WHO said early this year, lack of enough cash had scaled back the polio eradication operation. The war against polio, which hits children, in Somalia and Sudan started in 1997 and 1993 respectively.
Kahin sworn in as Somaliland's President for for a five-year term
HARGEISA, 17 MAY 2003--Dahir Riyale Kahin took the oath on May 26 as the first elected president of Somaliland since the former British colony restored its sovereignty and seceded from Somalia.

Kahin and his Vice President Ahmed Yussuf Yassint were sworn in a ceremony attended by members of Somaliland's two legislative chambers, cabinet members, foreign dignitaries and other personalities.

The swearing-in came as the climax of a dramatic election in which the ruling party UDUB won by a slim majority and the opposition Kulmiye party contested the election results. The court issued a verdict on 13 May upholding the Election Commission's outcome and giving the victory to UDUB.MORE

Thursday, May 15, 2003

SOMALIA: Puntland talks hit snag
NAIROBI, 15 MAY 2003 (IRIN-- Peace talks to end conflict in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland have become bogged down over the issue of power-sharing, sources in Bosaso told IRIN on Thursday.

Talks have been under way in Bosaso, the commercial capital, since 10 May, between the Puntland administration of Col Abdullahi Yusuf and "the armed opposition" led by Gen Ade Muse Hirsi. But they have stalled "over the issue of power-sharing and the formation of a new cabinet", the sources said.

Ade Muse is said to have insisted on the removal of certain individuals from the Puntland administration and on the formation of a new cabinet, demands rejected by Abdullahi Yusuf.

"This is the reason why the announcement of a peace agreement - which was to have been made on Wednesday - was delayed," the sources said.

The two sides are also said to have disagreed on the length of a new administration in Puntland, before elections are held.

However, Puntland's acting information minister, Abdishakur Mire Adan, denied that the talks were faltering.

"There are some minor technical difficulties which should be resolved by the end of today [Thursday]," he told IRIN. "The people of Puntland want peace, and neither we, the Puntland administration, nor Ade Muse can deny this. The talks will succeed. We have no choice."

Abdishakur said an official statement on the outcome of the talks "will probably be issued on Sunday".

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

SOMALIA: EC funds landmine action
NAIROBI, 14 MAY 2003 (IRIN) - The European Commission has approved a major project to support the second phase of a nationwide landmine impact survey for Somalia.

In a statement on Wednesday, the EC said it had allocated €1.5 million (US $1.73 million) to the project.

An EC official told IRIN that this second phase - to be implemented by the UN Development Programme and the UN Office for Project Services - will be carried out in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland and southern Somalia, particularly in the Baidoa area, "security and access permitting".

The first phase of the project was carried out in the self-declared republic of Somaliland between 1 May 2002 and March 2003.

Landmines have been extensively used in Somalia, during conflicts with Ethiopia in the 1970s and 1980s and during the civil war in the 1990s when all sides to the conflict laid mines. Almost all regions of Somalia have been affected by mines or unexploded ordnance (UXO).

The project will include technical assistance for the Somali authorities to develop a mine-action policy, strategy for clearance and implementation of the Ottawa convention on antipersonnel mines, the statement said.

"The survey will provide Somalia and international donors with quantifiable, standardised data regarding the impact of landmines and UXO upon communities there," it added.

The official also said the project was aimed at "producing a countrywide mine-action plan" based on the results of survey.


Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Somali Refugees Return Home
NAIROBI, 13 MAY 2003(IRIN)--The first batch of 2,880 Somali refugees who have been accommodated at Dadaab and Kakuma camps in northern Kenya, this week began returning to Somalia, more than a decade after they fled their war-torn country.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR said the return operation kicked off on Tuesday, with the airlift of 50 refugees to Galkayo, northeast Somalia [Puntland state]. The UN refugee agency said it also expected to assist the return of a further 300 refugees to Bosaso and Galkayo over the next five days.

"Ten years is a long time in exile. Some of the children returning to Somalia today will be seeing their homeland for the first time, a sad truth but a happy moment," said George Okoth-Obbo, UNHCR's Representative in Kenya.MORE
Endorse Peace Talks, Aideed Urges Countries and Adan Mohamed
NAIROBI, 13 MAY 2003 (The Nation)--Somali presidential candidate Hussein Farah Aideed has appealed to the international community to recognise the Somali peace talks in Kenya.

He was speaking in a Nairobi hotel at the weekend where he addressed over 400 Somali delegates who had come to witness him officially launch his party's campaign for the Somali presidency.

Mr Aideed, a son of former president Mohamed Farah Aideed, has been endorsed by two political parties, the Somali Reconciliation Restoration Council (SRRC) and the Somali National Agency (SNA).

The party that wins the first ever free and fair elections set for between June and July will form a transitional government. "Somalia will for the first time in decades, hold a free and fair election based on the principle of one person, one-vote," said Mr Aideed.

Four other candidates who have declared their interest for the presidency but are yet to name their parties include Colonel Abdullah Yussuf; a former official with the Federation of International Football Association, Mr Farah Adow; Mr Abdikasim Salat and Dr Abdirahma Jama.

Apart from the transitional president, 450 members of parliament who will be nominated by the delegates attending the Mbagathi peace talks will also be elected. The United Nations, regional governments and international organisations will act as observers of the Somali elections.

Muted campaigns have already started with candidates lobbying the delegates attending the conference. Yesterday, Mr Aideed held a luncheon for his supporters at the Tin Tin Restaurant where he assured them that the elections will go ahead as planned.

SOMALIA-SUDAN: "Tremendous gains" in polio eradication
NAIROBI, 13 MAY 2003 (IRIN) - The United Nations is appealing for over US $200 million in the global fight to eradicate polio, and it noted that tremendous gains had been made in Somalia and Sudan, according to a statement issued on Tuesday by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In Somalia since an outbreak of 46 cases was reported in 2000, only three cases have been reported to date. In Sudan, there have been no reported cases since 2001.

The two agencies say they face significant challenges in both countries due to civil war and insecurity, and they have had "to create their own structures and partnerships".

The key to the success of the polio programme has been creating strong links with the community and hiring national staff in every district, said Dr Elias Durry, the WHO Polio Eradication Coordinator for the Horn of Africa.

The statement also quoted Robert Davis of UNICEF as saying that "we have reason to be optimistic, but not complacent".

"A lapse in funding for Somalia and Sudan would not only jeopardise the goal of stopping polio transmission, but could allow the virus to spread to other regions," the statement warned.


Monday, May 12, 2003

Creditor shuts Somali parliament
MOGADISHU, 12 MAY 2003 (BBC)--Somalia's parliament has been forced to shut temporarily because it has failed to pay its rent.

The national transitional government, set up in 2000, owes a year's rent for the building being used by parliament.

Police at the parliament - where many documents are stored - have been told to leave by the proprietors who are now guarding the building.

The government should pay $1,400 a month for the property, Mohamed Hassan Idleh who manages the building told the BBC.

"We won't let anyone into the building until we're paid. We've raised the issue several times, but nobody seem to care what we were talking about," he said.

The drivers of the 29 buses that transport MPs from their houses to the parliament have also stopped working because they have not been paid for one year. MORE
SOMALIA: Consensus emerging on federal charter, says talks mediator
NAIROBI, 12 MAY 2003(IRIN)--The Kenyan mediator to the Somali peace talks says a consensus is emerging on the controversial issue of a federal charter.

Ambassador Bethwel Kiplagat said the conference would soon receive a set of recommendations to pave the way for setting up new transitional institutions in Somalia.

"The main document will be the charter," Kiplagat told IRIN. He said there was a "convergence of opinion" towards the charter, noting there was basic agreement on a federal system of government.

"Secondly, there will be a parliament created here in Nairobi, and this will be based on the 4.5 formula, the clan formula," he added. "So we are now working on the details." MORE

SOMALIA: Puntland lifts broadcasting ban
NAIROBI, 12 MAY 2003(IRIN)--The authorities in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland have restored the broadcasting license of the Somali Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) radio and television, based in the region's commercial capital, Bosaso, Puntland's acting information minister told IRIN on Monday.

Abdishakur Mire Aden said the SBC had been allowed to resume broadcasting after its owners petitioned the Puntland president, Col Abdullahi Yusuf. "The president has instructed my ministry to restore SBC's license, and we did so last week. They are free to operate in Puntland," Abdishakur said. MORE
Kahin confirmed as Somaliland's President, opposition unhappy
NAIROBI, 12 MAY 2003 (IRIN)--The constitutional court of the self-declared republic of Somaliland on Sunday confirmed the incumbent president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, as the winner of last month's presidential election, local sources told IRIN on Monday.

On 19 April, the Somaliland Election Commission (SEC) declared Kahin of the Unity of Democrats Party (UDUB) the winner of Somaliland's first multiparty presidential election, which was held five days earlier.

According to the SEC, Kahin obtained 205,595 votes (42.08 percent of the poll), as opposed to 205,515 (42.07 percent) for Silanyo, out of a total vote of 498,639 votes cast - a difference of just 80 votes.

The presidential candidate for the Kulmiye (Solidarity) Party, Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo - Kahin's main challenger - told IRIN at the time that his party "categorically rejected" the results of the elections.

Kulmiye is said to be unhappy with the court's ruling, and "the party's top brass have been in meetings throughout the day to consider the next step", a Kulmiye official told IRIN.

The official said that Kulmiye "does not recognise UDUB as the winner of the elections". "The court's ruling is not based on the facts and is an injustice," he said.

He added that the party leadership would issue an official statement "once consultations are concluded".

Somaliland, a former British protectorate, declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 after the collapse of the Siyad Barre government, but has not been internationally recognised. Over the past decade, it has moved away from conflict, while the rest of Somalia has been locked in civil strife.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

A message from Cumar Carte Qalib
RIYADH, 10 MAY 2003 (Kulmiye)--Anigoo ah Cumar Carte Qalib Waxaan aad iyo aad ugu mahad calinayaa Family ga BBC London ee laanta afsoomaaliga ah sida sharafta leh iyo gobanimoda ay uga qayb qaateen warbixinta doorashooyinka Somaliland.

Madaxweyne Riyaale iyo xukuumadiisii horena waxaan leeyahay walaalayaal amaanaka iyo hantida qaranka aanu ilaalino, Wanaaga umadana aanu ilaalino xukunkana si sharaf iyo qiimo wanaagsan leh u wareejiya marka la idinku xukumo, waayo maanta midhihii halganka iyo midhihii wadankeena aanu ku beernay waanu aragnaaye hanaga daadinina.

Walaal Riyaaloow In door ah ayaad marxuumkii lasoo shaqaysee khaatumada ha xumeyn, hadii food lagu dheeraadayna lawadaag walaalahaa shaqada wakhti culus ayaa lamarayaaye. Musuq maasiqa iyo talo xumadana walaal Riyaale dadku madaxdooda waligood way ku xaman jireen ee taana naga ilaali, kursi jacayl yaanu ku qaadin iyo sahan xumadana iska ilaali, gogoshana walaalahaaga kaa helay foodka u sii xaadh oo umada runta u sheeg.

Madaxweyne Riyaale waa nin masuuliyada si wacan u soo hayay, waa nin isna si weyn uga qayb qaatay wadanka xukunkiisa intii marxuunkii noolaa, hadana hadii ay timi inuu wareejiyo xukunka oo uu cidii kaga xaqsanayd uu u dhiibo waxaan leeyahay haku gacansaydhin Madaxweyne ee xilka wareeji.

Komishaanka doorashooyinkana waxaan leeyahay “beeni raad ma leh” oo wixii la qariyo horay soomaali u tidhi qudhunbaa ku jira. Markaa bal walaalayaal waxaad geysateen maanta eega, bal sidii la idiinku han weynaa iyo sida imika socota bal eega, horaan idiinka aamusaye imika aamusi maayo. Horaad aniga ii khaladeen oo aan liqay laakiin maanta nin jira oo umada wax u qaban kara ka aamusimaayo.

Somaliland asaas iyo qiimo ayay ku dhisneyd ee yaan la baabi’in, umadu yaanay qaybsamin oo xaqa ha laysku raaco.

Siilaanyo waa nin ruug cadaa ah, oo khibrad iyo macrifad leh, waa nin aan ku kalsoonahay oo aan u hanweynahay, waa nin tacliin iyo aftahan leh markaa yaan la dulmin ee xaqa muujiya. MORE

Court declares Somaliland's President winner of breakaway Somaliland's election
HARGEISA, 11 MAY 2003 (Reuters)--Somaliland's constitutional court on Sunday declared Dahir Rayale Kahin president of the breakway Somalia enclave for the next five years, following disputed April elections.

Somaliland, which declared independence in 1991 but is not recognised internationally after years of instability, held its first multi-party presidential election on April 14.
On April 19, incumbent Kahin was declared the winner by just 80 votes, but a major opposition party disputed the result.

After examining evidence from both parties, regional reports and the National Electoral Commission (NEC), the constitutional court said Kahin got 205,590 votes, 217 more than main opposition challenger Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo.

"We have seen differences between the regional reports and that of the NEC and as such based our ruling on the majority of votes from the regions," court chairman Said Farah told a court packed with officials, public and press.

Somaliland had hoped a fair, peaceful and democratic election could help it win international recognition.

In the years after declaring its independence, the central government in the Horn of Africa nation disintegrated and there was an explosion of factional fighting.