Thursday, June 26, 2008

Somalia News Bulletin: Guantanamo Detainee To File Habeas Petition; AU Says Nigeria to Send Troops, etc.

Somali Guantanamo Detainee to File Habeas Petition

Submitted by wararka on Thu, 06/26/2008 - 11:09.

Mohammed Sulaymon Barre fled his native Somalia as civil war raged in the early 1990s, receiving U.N. refugee status and landing in Pakistan, where he settled his family and worked for a financial services company. In a nighttime raid in November 2001, Pakistani authorities arrested Barre, holding him for four months and then turning him over to U.S. forces in Afghanistan as an alleged terrorist.

Soon thereafter, Barre was flown to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

More than six years later and now armed with a recent Supreme Court decision, Barre plans to file a habeas corpus petition in a U.S. federal court in Washington today, the first time he will be able to challenge his detention before a civilian judge. Barre's is among the first new habeas petitions to follow the Supreme Court's ruling June 12 that Guantanamo detainees have a right to access U.S. courts. Lawyers representing other detainees have indicated they plan to file similar cases this week.

For men like Barre, the hearings offer a chance to see the U.S. government's evidence against them and the rationale for determining that the detainees are "enemy combatants." Barre has argued that he is an innocent banker who had regular contacts with the United Nations, and Barre's lawyers now argue that the U.S. government has presented no evidence that Barre has done anything wrong.

"They have never attempted to set forth any basis for Mr. Barre's detention," said J. Wells Dixon, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights who represents Barre. "This will give him an opportunity to go into court and be heard."

Barre's new petition will join about 200 detainee habeas cases that were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before such legal avenues were blocked by Congress and the cases were put on hold pending the Supreme Court's review.

The District Court's chief judge, Royce C. Lamberth, met with lawyers for the detainees and the Justice Department yesterday to discuss how to move forward. Lamberth has appointed Thomas F. Hogan, a senior district judge, to help manage the habeas cases, and the court's judges are scheduled to meet July 1 "to discuss the lawyers' suggestions," Lamberth said in a statement.

Sources familiar with the meeting said the Justice Department would like to consolidate the cases and plans to add about 50 new attorneys to manage the workload. Justice officials also proposed filing amended court papers detailing the evidence in support of detention.

"Department attorneys have had two meetings with Chief Judge Lamberth and opposing counsel to discuss these issues informally," Justice spokesman Erik Ablin said. "We made a commitment to the court not to comment on these issues in the media while we try to work out a suitable arrangement for moving forward."

U.S. officials have said roughly 65 of the 270 detainees at Guantanamo already have been cleared for release or transfer, and about 80 detainees are expected to be tried at military commissions. That leaves at least 125 detainee cases that likely will be hotly contested in U.S. court, with judges having the power to order detainees released or transferred.

Barre, 42, is one of three Guantanamo detainees with U.N. refugee status. In Pakistan, he worked for a well-known money transfer company with offices worldwide. Military officials allege he had contact with terrorism financiers.

Barre has denied those accusations and has asked for proof, which he and Dixon say the government has never provided. "Terror is what departed me from my country and I am one of the people who hates terror most," Barre told a military panel in 2005.

Shabelle Media Network

AU says Nigeria will send peacekeepers to Somalia

Submitted by wararka on Tue, 06/24/2008 - 16:39.

KAMPALA ( - The Nigerian military has sent a reconnaissance team to Somalia and is expected to deploy troops there soon as part of an African peacekeeping force, a spokesman for the force said on Tuesday.

The African Union had planned to send 8,000 soldiers to the capital Mogadishu to support the U.N.-backed interim government, which faces an insurgency by Islamist rebels.

But deployment of the full force has been repeatedly delayed since last year as lack of funds and unrelenting violence in the city led several nations, including Nigeria, to re-examine offers to provide troops.

A smaller contingent of 1,600 Ugandans and 600 Burundians has been unable to stem the chaos. Major Barigye Ba-hoku, the Ugandan spokesman for the AU force, said a Nigerian military team visited Mogadishu last month.

"We are informed that Nigerian peacekeepers will join the mission anytime," he told Reuters in an interview in Kampala. "This would be good news for a Somali nation that is desperate for peace."

The AU force, known as AMISOM, is meant to replace Ethiopian troops whose presence has inflamed the insurgency since they helped Somalia's government oust an Islamist movement at the start of 2007.

But shorn of support, the peacekeepers have been restricted to securing the capital's air and sea ports, as well as the rubble-strewn city's strategic K4 junction.

They also guard President Abdullahi Yusuf, other senior government officials and visiting delegates.

Fighting in the Horn of Africa nation has killed thousands of civilians and uprooted nearly a million more since early last year, worsening a humanitarian crisis already sown by drought, high food prices and rampant inflation.

Talks hosted by the United Nations in Djibouti earlier this month produced a tentative peace deal between Yusuf's government and some members of the opposition.

But it has had little impact on the ground.

Ba-hoku said that agreement provided a "very viable option" to return calm to the country, and that AMISOM officials were encouraging other factions to join the truce.

But what was really needed was more peacekeepers, he said.

"The Somalia mission was designed to have up to 8,000 troops. We're just over 2,000," he said.

"That is a quarter of the force, so we find ourselves only

Source: Reuters

Former Somali leader blames Ethiopian troops of “Massacre”

Submitted by wararka on Wed, 06/25/2008 - 11:35.

In a news conference he held in Egyptian capital Cairo former Somali president Abdi Qasim Salad Hassan has acknowledged that the Ethiopian troops in Somalia have committed war crimes against Somali civilians.

“They made Somalis in the country those killed. Fled, and jailed “He said.

He added that they “Ethiopians” conducted supplementary killings for reprisal of 1977s Somalia-Ethiopia’s war as he put it.

He also accused the United States government of revenging Somali people from their armed resistance they ousted US troops from country 1995.

“US supports Ethiopian troops in Somalia to get revenge Somalis from SNA’s guerilla led by late General Mohamed Farah Aideed those driven American troops out from Somalia on 1995 by force” Abdi Qasim said in the news conference.

He also revealed that the Ethiopian troops killed in Somalia up to 2000 people and forced for displacement over 2m others.

“Excluding those were killed and displaced the rest are in severe undernourishment” he said.

He praised Egyptian government of coping with the influx of Somali refugees including student were offered for at no cost schooling and safe haven.

Abdi qasim was the president of the former TNG government has been given the mandate for three years during the conference in Neighboring Djibouti in which the government was supposed to restore the rule of law back to Somalia and prepare a multiparty system for the election of a government, but has failed to extend its influence throughout the country.

His government controlled parts of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, with the rest of the country being under the control of various warlords.

The mandate of his former transitional national government expired in August 2003 and Abdiqasim withdrew from the talks aimed at forming a new government shortly before the mandate expired.

The Prime Minister of his government Hassan Abshir Farah accused him of trying to make the talks fail to extend his time in office, resulting in the prime minister's dismissal by Abdiq

However, Abdiqasim pledged to step aside to make way for a constitutionally-elected leader. Abdiqasim was a candidate for the presidency of the new national unity government, but he was not among the 3 candidates who passed the 1st round of voting. He left office peacefully several days after the election.

By: Abdinasir Mohamed Guled
Shabelle Media Network

Somalia: Abducted foreigners are German citizens- German foreign ministry

Thu. June 26, 2008 02:10 am.
By Bonny Apunyu

(SomaliNet) The two people abducted by pirates off the lawless Somali coast are German citizens, the German foreign ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

"We must assume with a high degree of likelihood that this is a kidnapping," spokesperson Martin Jaeger said.

Meanwhile, early reports had claimed that four Europeans were kidnapped, including a pilot and a young child, but the ministry said there was no evidence a child had been involved. The pirates said they were holding only the couple.

The pirates Tuesday demanded a ransom for the release of the couple, believed to be in their 50s, who were abducted as they sailed through the Gulf of Aden on a trip from Egypt to Thailand.

The district commissioner of the Laas Qoray area, Yusuf Jama Dabeed, said that troops from the semi-autonomous region of Puntland found the yacht abandoned on the shore, but that by that point the kidnappers had taken their captives into the mountains.

It is believed that the kidnapping was an opportunistic action that involved both pirates and local fishermen.

A separate group of Somali pirates on Tuesday released a cargo ship they had been holding for several weeks.

"The vessel was released last night (Tuesday) around 8pm local time - the pirates took delivery of a ransom of one million dollars before they released the ship," one of the mediators, who requested not to be named, said.

Somali authorities have in the past criticised the practice of paying ransoms, saying it only encourages more piracy.

The German Navy helped the crew of the released vessel after receiving a call for help, delivering food and water.

There was some confusion, however, about whether the ship released was the Turkish MV Arean or the Dutch MV Amiya Scan.

The fate of the German MV Lehmann Timber, which was captured around the same time as the other ships, still hangs in the balance, however.

The elder said that negotiations for the release of the ship were in deadlock and that some of the crew members - who are from Russia, Ukraine, Estonia and Myanmar - were ill.

Piracy is rife off the coast of the Horn of Africa nation. Cargo ships and luxury yachts have been targeted by heavily-armed pirates, who then hold the crew ransom.

The most high-profile case in recent months involved the capture of a luxury French yacht in April. French troops rescued the hostages and captured six of the pirates, although another six are believed to have escaped.

The UN Security Council recently approved incursions into Somali waters to curb piracy, which the weak transitional government, currently engaged in countering a bloody insurgency, is powerless to prevent.

Somalia has been in a state of anarchy since the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. - Sapa-dpa

Somalia: Dutch-owned ship released on $1.1 million ransom

Thu. June 26, 2008 08:38 am.
By Bonny Apunyu

(SomaliNet) The Dutch shipping company said on Wednesday its ship seized by gunmen off northern Somalia a month ago has been released.

The MV Amiya Scan, managed by the Dutch Reider Shipping BV, was hijacked by Somali pirates on May 25 en route to Romania from the Kenyan port city of Mombasa.

The gunmen demanded a $1.1 million ransom to release the ship.

Reider Shipping said in a statement the vessel was heading for the Suez canal and all its crew members were well but it would not give details about how it.-Agencies

Somalia: UN food agency says needs ships to escort relief shipments

Thu. June 26, 2008 09:49 am.
By Bonny Apunyu

(SomaliNet) The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said on Thursday that Somalia faces a serious food crisis if no nation steps forward with naval ships to escort relief shipments through pirate-infested waters.

A Dutch frigate now is in its last weeks shepherding two WFP-chartered vessels which shuttle between the Kenyan port of Mombasa to Somalia. Where the United Nations warns 3,5-million will need food relief by year's end.

"We need a foreign navy to take over the escort system before mid-July when we hope to send a ship from Durban, South Africa loaded with WFP food to Mogadishu," WFP spokesperson Peter Smerdon said.

WFP has still not received any confirmed offer from any foreign navy, but we have been in contact with many governments and pray that someone will step forward."

Somalia's waters are among the most pirate-infested in the world - leading the UN Security Council earlier this month to authorise foreign warships to enter Somali waters to combat piracy and armed robbery at sea.

The WFP's appeal comes as it seeks to double the amount of food it ships to Somalia with a view to feeding 2,3-million people a month, Smerdon said.

Since November 2007, French and Danish frigates have escorted WFP shipments to Somalia, which has been gripped by lawlessness since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Aid groups have scaled down operations in the face of growing insecurity, largely blamed on Islamist militants who have waged a guerrilla war since their ouster by Somali and Ethiopian forces in early 2007.

Smerdon said: "If humanitarian assistance cannot reach Somalia because of piracy, we fear that we could see scenes similar to the 1992-1993 famine in Somalia that cost hundreds of thousands of lives."-AFP

Somali government troops evict traders from their businesses sites in Mogadishu

Submitted by wararka on Wed, 06/25/2008 - 07:56.

The Somali government troops based in Dharkenley neighborhood southeast of the capital have given eviction order to the dealers have business sites in the vicinity of the government’s army base in the district Wednesday morning according to the traders.

The commander of the troops made reason for his eviction order that the armed groups attack the army base melt away in the traders and their business sites before and after attack.

"The commander told us to close our business sites down with in two days with out prearranged time” trader woman Fatima Nor Abdi told Shabelle English service.

Some of the traders told that they have suddenly started to get rid of their kiosks from the area fearing violating acts from the soldiers if they are attacked by the Islamic fighters against them.

Anti government and Ethiopian troops overrun Dharkenley police station several times.

The traders attributed the eviction order from the Government troops following a remotely-controlled land mine explosion aimed at a Somali government troop convoy passing in Dharkenley neighborhood caused the death of more than five government troops and injured four others on Sunday according to eyewitnesses.

The blast was heard in Mogadishu. Eyewitness Hassan Salah Muse told Shabelle that on the occasion the bomb went off underneath, the exploded Government vehicle has rolled over to the ground.

"I saw blood flowing under the beleaguered vehicle, as well three soldiers dead on the ground," he said.

Another eyewitness Rage Yasin said that he saw three soldiers died and four injured.

No further details on that explosion could be available as well no comments could be reached from the government official about the similar incident.

Shabelle Media Network

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