Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Somali faction leaders jet in for peace talks
NAIROBI, 11 JUNE 2003 (KBC)--Somali factional leaders on Tuesday evening streamed into the country to participate in the final phase of the ongoing Somali National Reconciliation Conference at Mbagathi, Nairobi.

The leaders who jetted in through the Wilson Airport said they had resolved to participate in the talks in order to end the 13 years of bloodshed in the Horn of Africa.

Among them was Punti-Land President Abdullahi Yusuf. Hundreds of Somali refugees living in the country converged at the airport to welcome the leaders who will determine whether peace and stability will prevail in the war torn country. END
Renewed Fighting in Mogadishu, At Least Seven Killed
NAIROBI, 11 JUNE (IRIN)--Fighting broke out again on Tuesday in the Medina district of Mogadishu, according to local sources in the Somali capital.

The fighting was between militias loyal to faction leader Muse Sudi Yalahow, and those led by his former right-hand man, Umar Mahmud Muhammad Finish. At least seven people were killed and scores wounded in the latest violation of an October 2002 ceasefire agreement, Muhammad Yusuf, a reporter with Shabelle Radio, told IRIN from Mogadishu. Among those killed was Muhammad Sudi Yalahow, Muse Sudi's younger brother, he said.

The journalist said the latest round of fighting was a continuation of battles which erupted in late February and continued into March. "The two sides have been confronting each other for the last three to four months, and it was no surprise that they started again." MORE
Somaliland's opposition party accepts election result
NAIROBI, 11 JUNE 2003 (IRIN) - The main opposition party in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, northwestern Somalia, says it now recognises the legitimacy of disputed April elections. The Kulmiye party's presidential candidate, Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo, told IRIN on Wednesday that "after the intervention of elders and others, we have decided as a party to accept the results".

Silanyo had rejected the result of the election in which incumbent President Dahir Riyale Kahin of the Unity of Democrats Party (UDUB), was declared the winner. Silanyo at the time told IRIN that his party "categorically rejected" the results of the 14 April poll.

On 19 April, the Somaliland Election Commission (SEC) declared Kahin the winner of Somaliland's first multiparty presidential election. The SEC's decision was later confirmed by the constitutional court.

Silanyo maintained that "there was a lot of injustice in the election process, but we decided to accept the results in the interest of the people". He said that Kulmiye was ready for talks with UDUB and the government, but declined to say when such talks were likely to start.

Several sources, however, told IRIN that Kulmiye's acceptance of the election results followed "intense pressure from elders and other local and business leaders". UDUB has also reportedly agreed to discuss "Kulmiye's concerns", one of the sources said. MORE

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Somalia: National armed force regrouping ahead of disarmament operations
MOGADISHU, 10 JUNE 2003(BBC)--Former members of the Somali National Armed forces have been reorganizing and re-mobilizing themselves in the past few days in several cities, including Mogadishu, Baled Weyne [central region ] and Baydhabo [south central] and others.

According to some senior officials of the armed forces, the preparatory efforts began after holding talks with an international fact-finding and disarmament committee, which visited the country recently and advised the forces to reorganize themselves.

The city of Baled Weyne, Hiiraan Region, was first to witness the preparatory efforts, following a meeting between the army officials and the disarmament committee in the city. Yesterday in Baydhabo [alternative spelling Baidoa], members of the former armed forces gathered in the town, saying they were discussing the proposals of the fact-finding committee regarding the disarmament plan.

SOMALIA: Women call for peace
NAIROBI, 10 JUNE 2003 (IRIN) - Sixty women peace activists in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, have appealed for the restoration of peace and stability in the city.

Their call was made during a women's forum held in Mogadishu, organised by the Centre for Research and Dialogue (CRD), an affiliate of the War-Torn Societies Project International, according to Maryam Mahmud Haji, a CRD gender officer.

Maryam told IRIN on Tuesday that women could make a difference, and that the leaders would have to listen to them. Women's "support is very crucial to any leader who has future political aspirations," she said.

The women, from a cross-section of the Banadir Region (Mogadishu and environs), were peace activists who had been trying to persuade the various Mogadishu factions to agree on a common administration for the region, Sharifo Adow, a member of the group, told IRIN. She said the forum provided women with an opportunity to share their ideas and "put together a plan of action". MORE

Monday, June 09, 2003

SOMALIA: Fresh fighting in Middle Shabelle
NAIROBI, 9 JUNE 2003 (IRIN) - Fighting has again broken out around the village of Raghe-Eil, some 95 km northeast of the capital, Mogadishu, in the Middle Shabelle region of south-central Somalia, local sources said.

The fighting was between the two Abgal subclans of Muhammad Muse and Warsangeli, sources told IRIN. It reportedly started after forces loyal to the self-styled "governor" of Middle Shabelle, Muhammad Umar Habeeb, alias Muhammad Dhere, a Warsangeli, captured the village of Raghe-Eil, a Muhammad Muse stronghold, on 29 May.

At least six people were killed in the latest battle, which was fought in the village of Meraley over the weekend, a local journalist told IRIN. Ahmadey Shaykh Hasan, a leader of the Muhammad Muse, told IRIN that a convoy he was travelling in was attacked by militia of Muhammad Dhere in Meraley, 15 km east of Raghe-Eil.

"I was ambushed by Muhammad Dhere and we defended ourselves," Ahmadey said. According to him, the Muhammad Dhere militia lost two battle-wagons.

However, a source close to Dhere denied that their group initiated this round of fighting. "Our positions were attacked by forces of Muse Sudi [Yalahow - a Mogadishu-based faction leader]," the source said. MORE