Saturday, November 26, 2011

Somalia News Update: US Terror Drones Kill 39 More in Somalia

US terror drones kill 39 more in Somalia

Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:0AM GMT

At least 39 people have been killed after US assassination drones launch aerial attacks on southern Somalia near the Indian Ocean coast, Press TV has reported.

Dozens of others were also injured after the remotely-controlled aerial vehicles fired several missiles, Somali tribal elders told Press TV on Saturday evening.

The incident took place on the outskirts of Kismayo -- a strategically important port city on the Somali coast located some 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of the country's capital Mogadishu.

Somalia is the sixth country, where the United States has used assassination drones to launch missile strikes. The US military has also used drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, and Yemen.

On October 28, Washington admitted to flying the terror aircraft from a base in Ethiopia.

"The US has unarmed and unmanned aircraft at a facility there (Ethiopia) to be used only for surveillance as part of a broad, sustained integrated campaign to counter terrorism," said the Pentagon spokesman Captain John Kirby.

The confirmation appeared a day after The Washington Post revealed in a report that the US flies 'armed' drones from an airfield in Ethiopia's southern city of Arba Minch.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

79 die in al-Shabab-Ahlu Sunna battle

Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:11AM GMT

Seventy-nine people have been killed in clashes between al-Shabab fighters and the pro-government Ahlu Sunna group in the Galguduud region of central Somalia, Press TV reports.

Somali military officials said 63 fighters on the two sides were killed in the battle, which broke out in the town of Dhusamareb on Friday, the Press TV correspondent in Mogadishu reported.

The officials said dozens of fighters from both sides were also injured, and 12 vehicles were destroyed.

According to witnesses, 16 civilians were also killed and over 40 others were injured during the fighting on Friday. Hundreds of women and children have started fleeing the area.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Rebels in Somalia briefly take over key central town

MOGADISHU, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- Somali rebel militants Al- Shabaab on Friday briefly seized a strategic town in the central of war-wrecked horn of Africa nation before they were pushed back by pro-government militia controlling the area, an official and residents said.

The rebel fighters from Al-Shabaab launched their attacks on the town of Dhusamareb in central Somalia province of Galgaduud, which is controlled by pro-government militia group of Ahlu SunnahWaljama (ASWJ).

The radical group of Al-Shabaab took over the town following fierce battles with local militia fighters who were forced out of the town, but the ASWJ fighters regrouped and launched a counter- attack on the militants in the strategic town of Dhusamareb on the key road linking a number of other towns in the region.

"We managed to push them (Al-Shabaab fighters) back. We are now in hot pursuit of them," Muse Gaab, military commander of ASWJ told Xinhua by phone from the town of Dhusamareb 550 kilometers northeast of Mogadishu.

It was not immediately clear if there had been any casualties from the latest fighting in Dhusamareb, which has previously changed hands between the two sides. Witnesses said the fighting has been heavy with both sides exchanging artillery and machine guns.

"We could not raise our heads during the fighting in the town. The Al-Shabaab fighters came from different directions and easily took over the town but the Ahlu Sunnah forces came back and drove them out. I don't know if anyone were hurt," Maalin Haaruun, a resident told Xinhua.

ASWJ fighters which are allied with the Somali government control a number of towns in central Somalia including the other key town of Guriel, where last week troops from neighboring Ethiopia were reported to have set up bases. Ethiopia denies its troops crossed into Somalia border region.

The Al-Shabaab fighters are currently facing major joint Kenyan and Somali government military offensive.

Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)

Somalia: New Ethiopian Troops Reach in Central Somalia

26 November 2011

Balatweyn — Hundreds of Ethiopian troops with tanks and artillery were reported to have reached on Saturday parts of Hiran region in central Somalia amid tensions run high in the area, reports and eyewitnesses said.

Local residents said that they have seen hundreds of Ethiopian troops had crossed into Somalia with armored personnel carriers, heavy artillery and tanks, who positioned locations in Hiran region.

The Islamist insurgents of the Shabab are already there and battling against moderate Ahlu sunna group allied with Somali government and Shabelle Valley.

Residents in Beletweyn town, the provincial capital of Hiran region in central Somalia said that Al-shabab fighters in the town have been waging army movement and battle mobilization to launch offensive the Ethiopian troops in Kalabayr junction who reportedly heading to Beletweyn town.

It was yesterday, when IGAD leaders who met in Addis Ababa thumbed up the Ethiopian troops to operate in the war torn horn Africa country Somalia to root Al-shabab militants linked with Al-Qaeda out of the country.

Hard Talk: Kenya alone can’t win war against Al Shabaab

Saturday, 26 November 2011 16:02
By Evarist Kagaruki

I have written elsewhere supporting Kenya’s military offensive against the Somali militant group, Al-Shabaab. My support for the operation, code-named Operation Linda Nchi (Kiswahili for operation defend the country), hinges on the fact that the country has the right to defend her territorial integrity and protect her citizens as well as her economic and security interests. The primary duty of any government is to protect its citizens against any threat, whether exogenous or endogenous.

In that piece I emphasised three crucial points: First, that in order for Kenya’s military response to the militias’ incursions into the country to succeed, the whole international community, and particularly the African countries, must support it.

Kenya alone, I said, may not be able to win the fight and could find itself entangled in a long war with no prospects of a military victory, which would be disastrous.

Its long military presence in Somalia could lead to the heightening of anti-foreigner sentiment among Somalis who, in the face of any foreign, especially non-Muslim, intervention in their conflict tend to put their differences aside and unite to fight their common enemy.

Many Somalis may not like Al Shabaab, but they certainly abhor the presence of foreigners on their motherland.

Secondly, that the Somali conflict is Africa’s problem whose solution lies in the continent; and that the AU member countries should stop paying lip service to the issue and show responsibility by supporting Kenya in terms of troop surge both to the AMISOM (Africa Mission in Somalia) to enable them keep peace in the liberated areas, and toward the on-going war against the insurgents.

And lastly, that the AU should urgently hold an extra-ordinary summit of the Heads of State and Government to deliberate a military strategy on how to confront Al-Shabaab and deal with the political dimension of the Somali conflict once the militants have been crashed.

The last point is most crucial since it forms the basis for finding a lasting solution to the conflict which is essentially political and, therefore, requires a political, not military, approach.

Regrettably, there are no signs yet to show that support for Kenya was forthcoming. The whole burden has been left to the Kenyan army and AMISOM (comprising Ugandan and Burundian troops). The only country that is said to have come to Kenya’s help is Ethiopia.

It has been reported that Ethiopian troops were already in Somalia to join the campaign against Al-Shabaab.

Although Addis Ababa has denied the reports, Somali witnesses say Ethiopian military trucks and armoured cars have been seen crossing into Somalia.

But, if it is true that Ethiopian forces are in Somalia, you can bet the Kenyan war is going to be protracted and difficult.

This is because Ethiopia is not the right “partner” in the adventure! Why? First of all, Ethiopia invaded Somalia in 2006 to fight the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) whom it defeated, but lost the war against Al-Shabaab; and, bogged down, Addis Ababa, had to withdraw its troops in humiliation three years later.

This time round, the militants would be fighting the enemy they know very well.

Secondly, all Somalis, irrespective of their differences, see Ethiopia as their enemy number one. The hostilities between Somalis and Ethiopians go back more than a century and the anti-Ethiopian sentiment among many Somalis runs deep. So, Kenya may spoil its own fight by teaming up with Ethiopia.

And, lastly, the involvement of Ethiopian troops in the Kenyan war evokes memories of the two wars Ethiopia and Somalia had fought over the Ogaden in 1964 and 1977, and unites all Somalis against the traditional enemy. (When the Ethiopian-backed government forces captured Mogadishu, forcing the UIC fighters to flee the city, nearly the entire Somali community rallied behind Al-Shabaab, which, then, had emerged as a consequence of the UIC’s defeat).

So, with Ethiopian forces in Somalia, there was a danger that Kenya might lose the support it may be getting from those Somalis opposed to Al-Shabaab, who, because of the Ethiopian factor, would now withdraw their support, applying the principle: My enemy’s friend is also my enemy.

Saturday, November 26th, 2011 at 07:52 am



ADDIS ABABA, 25th November, 2011

The IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government held its 19th Extra-Ordinary Summit Meeting in Addis Ababa, on 25th November 2011 under the Chairmanship of H.E. Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chairperson of the IGAD Assembly during which the Republic of South of Sudan was admitted to the regional bloc.

The Summit discussed the current political and security situation in Somalia and the Summit received a brief from AU on the implementation of the outstanding issues of the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The Assembly was attended by: H.E. Ismael Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti; H.E. Mwai Kibaki, President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E. Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, President of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, H.E. Salaheldien Wanasi, State Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Sudan, H.E. Garang Diing Akuong , Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment of the Republic of South Sudan; Hon. Dr. Crispus Kiyonga, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Uganda, H.E. Eng. Mahboub

Maalim, IGAD Executive Secretary, H.E. Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra,

Commissioner for Peace and Security of the AU, H.E Jerry Rowlings, AU High Representative for Somalia, and H.E. Boubacar G. Diarra, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AUC for Somalia .

The Summit deliberated on the political, security and humanitarian situation in Somalia, and in particular the Kenya-TFG joint security operations in South and Central Somalia, in pursuit of Al-Shabaab militants and their Al Qaida affiliates.

In this regard, The Summit: Having taken note of the decisions and recommendations made by the 41st Extra­ordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers as reflected in their Communiqué of 21st October, 2011,and their consultative session today, 25th November 2011; Considering the brief by H.E. Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia on the situation in Somalia and efforts by the TFG to consolidate security and political control of the country in line with the Kampala Accord and the Road Map as well as his appeal for enhanced support and assistance to build the capacity of the TFG security forces;

Also considering the briefing by H.E. Ramtane Lamamra, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security as well as the statement by H.E Jerry Rowlings, High Representative of the AU Chairperson for Somalia on the current political and security situation in Somalia;

Further considering the briefing by H.E. Mwai Kibaki, President of the Republic of Kenya on the Kenyan security operation in Somalia in pursuit of Al Shabaab insurgents and other militant groups;

Having taken Note of the gains already made by TFG forces, AMISOM and Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), and the need to galvanize international support to consolidate and expand these gains;

Recalling the previous decisions of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government and the Council of Ministers on Somalia;

Considering the decisions of the Ministers of Defense and Chiefs of Defense Staff of Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) and other interested countries at their consultative meetings held in Addis Ababa between September, October and November, 2011, on the consolidation, co-ordination and expansion of AMISOM, that was endorsed (by the meeting of Ministers for and Chiefs of Defense Staff) on 14th November, 2011;

1. Welcomes the admission of the Republic of South Sudan as the newest full member of the IGAD community.

2. Strongly condemns the destabilization activities of the Al Shabaab and other militant groups in Somalia and the Region;

3. Welcomes the joint security operation by Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) and TFG forces in pursuit of Al Shabaab in South and Central Somalia; and understands, appreciates and supports the joint operation as a unique opportunity for the region to consolidate gains made and restore stability and security in Somalia. In this regard, emphasizes the need for regional solidarity and enhanced coordination between AMISOM, TFG forces, and KDF in order to successfully defeat Al Shabaab and bring to an end the state of lawlessness that has prevailed in much of Somalia over the last two decades;

4. Calls upon the TFIs to expedite the finalization and endorsement of national security and stabilization processes;

5. Stresses the need for enhanced engagement by IGAD and the AU in galvanizing international support for the on-going operation with a view to building on the momentum created by the joint operation;

6. Calls upon the Ethiopian Government to support the Kenyan-TFG and AMISOM operation. Further calls upon Kenya to consider the prospects of integrating its forces to AMISOM and to consolidate security and stability in Somalia;

7. Pays tribute to TFG forces, AMISOM and the Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) for their continued sacrifices in pursuit of peace and security in Somalia, which has resulted in the diminishing of Al Shabaab threats and subsequent consolidation of security in Mogadishu and its environs. In this regard Urges that an audit of threats to Mogadishu and the requirements to deal with such threats be conducted with a view to assessing the appropriateness of deployment in all the liberated areas;

8. Urges the TFG leadership to take advantage of the expanded liberated territories and populations to foster security, enhance national reconciliation, and consolidate political and administrative control in the country and to promote inclusive political participation in line with the Djibouti Peace Process, Kampala Accord and the Road Map. Reaffirms TFG primary responsibility in establishing local administration in the liberated areas. In this regard, the summit reiterates the commitment and determination of IGAD Member States to continue supporting the TFG in this endeavour; and urges Somalia political leadership, particularly Members of Parliament to operate in Somalia and in this regard, calls upon neighboring countries to assist them;

9. Notes with appreciation the decision of Djibouti to provide troops to AMISOM by the end of the year and calls on other African countries which have pledged troops to AMISOM to urgently fulfill their pledges to enable AMISOM consolidate security in other regions of Somalia beyond Mogadishu, in particular South-Central Somalia and other liberated areas.

10. Notes with concern that Kenya continues to carry the heaviest refugee burden, and in this regard calls on the international community to urgently develop modalities for burden-sharing, and urge humanitarian aid agencies to relocate to the secure parts of the country in order to provide humanitarian assistance to the drought and famine-stricken communities in a more effective manner and stem migration;

11. Welcomes the UNSC decision to extend for 12 months authorization for those countries cooperating with the TFG to use ‘All Necessary Means’ to Combat Piracy and Armed Robbery(Resolution2020), further calls upon the international community to respond to its obligations under the 13 UNSC Conventions on Anti-terrorism to tackle the threats to international peace and security in Somalia and stresses the need for a comprehensive response to tackle piracy, armed robbery and terrorism and their underlying causes;

12. Further calls on the UNSC to enhance the mandate of AMISOM and to authorise its strengthening to a level and size that is appropriate for the consolidation of peace and security in Mogadishu and South and Central Somalia and other secured areas; and reiterates its previous calls on the UNSC to adopt a resolution that enforces measures to control access to the Ports of Kismayu, Haradhere, Marka and Barawe and an air-exclusion zone over air space controlled by Al Shabaab such as Baidoa, Balidogle, N5O and Cisaley to cut off arms supplies to Al Shabaab;

13. Decides to work with all parties involved in the search for sustainable peace and security in Somalia;

14.Directs the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers and IGAD Secretariat to make the necessary arrangements to ensure continuous consultations of the IGAD Chiefs of Defense Staff and the military experts on how to support the process of coordination on the ground;

15.Reiterates the need to sustain support to the TFG Security forces and AMISOM to secure safe corridors for humanitarian assistance and urges the UN humanitarian agencies and other international humanitarian organizations to enhance their efforts towards aid deliveries to the needy;

16. Expresses appreciation to partner countries and organizations that are currently providing financial, material and technical assistance to the TFG and urges mobilization of the international community to increase technical and financial resources to the TFG and the formation of a Joint TFG-Donor management board in line with the Declaration of the Nairobi Summit on the Horn of Africa Crisis of 9th September 2011;

17. Notes with appreciation the efforts of Member States and partners in development in addressing drought in the Horn of Africa and expresses its commitment to fully support the proposed IGAD Regional Platform as a vehicle for enhanced partnership to promote relief –development continuum and reaffirms its decision of September 8-9,2011 directing IGAD to take the lead in coordinating efforts of all other actors in

18.Ending drought emergencies in the Region;

19. Directs the IGAD Secretariat to transmit Decisions of the Summit to the African Union Commission and the United Nations Security Council;

20. Strongly urge the Governments of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan to urgently resume negotiations and expedite implementation of the outstanding issues of the CPA;

21. Commends the continued role of Ethiopia in providing peace keeping forces in the Abyei Region.

22. Recognizes the situation of Djiboutian prisoners taken by Eritrea and demands the Government of Eritrea to free all Djibouti Prisoners of War without further delay;

23. Condemn the Government of Eritrea for its continuing supply of ammunitions to the extremist group particularly Al Shabab whose intention has always been to destabilize the Region;

24. Expresses its appreciation to the Government and the people of Ethiopia for hosting this Extra-ordinary Summit;

25. Decides to remain seized of this matter.

Issued this 25th of November, 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Reports: Somali Pirates Free Hijacked Italian Cargo Ship

11/25/2011 5:15 PM ET

(RTTNews) - An Italian cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman seven months ago has been freed, Italian authorities and media reports citing the ship's owner said on Friday.

The Italian foreign ministry confirmed that the hijacked vessel and all of its 22-member crew have been freed, but added that they have not yet been handed over to Italian authorities.

"This is an operation which is still underway in a high risk zone which can only be considered to be closed once the crew has been taken into charge by the Italian military authorities," the ministry said in a statement.

However, the ships' Naples-based owner Perseveranza Navigazione has reportedly said that the pirates have left the vessel and the captain of the ship as well other crew-members were safe and well.

It is not clear whether any ransom was paid for the release of Rosalia d'Amato, which was on its way from Brazil to Iran with a cargo of soya when it was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea April 21.

Somalia's coastline, particularly the Gulf of Aden, has been infested with piracy in recent years. Pirates are presently believed to be holding at least 10 ships and more than 240 hostages off the Somali coast. The incidents mostly end with payment of ransom after lengthy negotiations, but generally without any fatalities.

Pirate attacks off the Somali coast and in the Indian Ocean continue despite the presence of several warships deployed by navies of the NATO, the European Union, Russia, China, South Korea and India to protect cargo and cruise ships against piracy.

The pirates have recently extended their operations deep into the Indian Ocean to avoid interception by international anti-piracy forces conducting regular patrols in the Gulf of Aden, off the Somali coast and parts of the Indian Ocean.

by RTT Staff Writer
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