Friday, January 20, 2012

US-backed AMISOM and TFG Troops Attack Areas in Somalia Capital

January 20, 2012

Somali and African Troops Hit Rebel Posts in Mogadishu

New York Times

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Government and African Union forces began a heavy offensive early on Friday against insurgent strongholds on the outskirts of the capital, Mogadishu, trying to drive the Islamic militants they have long battled out of the city, officials and witnesses said.

African Union and government forces said they took over strategic positions controlled by the militants, known as the Shabab, seizing Mogadishu University, a milk factory and a cemetery and advancing toward a major strategic road that connects Afgoye and Balad. If taken, it could be a major setback to the Shabab by cutting off their supply line.

Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda, a spokesman for the African Union force, said that the allied troops had managed to consolidate their positions in the northern edges of Mogadishu, allowing them to defend the city along its perimeter.

“This is the first time Amisom has been able to secure an area outside the parameters of the city,” he told reporters on Friday, referring to the African Union mission in Somalia.

Col. Abdullahi Ali Anood of the Somali Army’s Second Brigade said that the government forces and African Union troops were now heading toward the strategic Basra Road, nearly 10 miles north of Mogadishu.

The fighting was the heaviest of its kind in recent weeks and started during the early hours of Friday in northern parts of the Yaqshid neighborhood, with a heavy exchange of artillery fire that rocked Mogadishu.

A Shabab spokesman, Abu Muscab, said through a militant-controlled radio station that his group had left its positions in Mogadishu, calling it a military withdrawal. The group has pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda and installed a reign of terror in the areas that it controls, chopping off hands and blocking the delivery of emergency food to famine victims.

Just last week, the government announced that in a “newly liberated” regional capital north of Mogadishu, skeletons and rotting human flesh from possibly dozens of victims had been discovered in a police station that until recently had been in the hands of the Shabab. Some of the bones and body parts were months, possibly years, old and appeared to have been dismembered before being tossed into a hole, the government said.

Beyond the offensive by government and African Union troops, the Shabab are also facing incursions by Kenyan forces in parts of the south and by Ethiopian troops as well.

But recent Kenyan airstrikes that killed five children have generated anger among government officials and civilians alike. After meeting with a father whose four children were killed in the Kenyan strikes, Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali pledged urgent investigations into the deaths and vowed “to minimize” civilian casualties.

European Union Naval Force Somalia (Northwood)

Somalia: EU Navfor Warship FGs Luebeck Successfully Releases Indian Dhow and Crew

20 January 2012
press release

After three days of persistent pressure, FGS LUEBECK has forced Somali pirates to release an Indian dhow with 15 Indian mariners held as hostages.

On the 17 January 2012 the EU NAVFOR warship FGS LUEBECK re-located an Indian registered dhow which had been used as pirate mother-ship involved in the attack on M/V FLINTSTONE early the same day. A Dutch Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD) stationed on the Dutch-registered civilian fall-pipe vessel had repelled the attack following a gun-fight and caused the attack skiffs to retreat back to the pirate mother ship with injuries to the suspected pirates.

Having positively identified the dhow and sighted the attack skiffs and other pirate paraphernalia on deck of the dhow, FSG LUEBECK approached the dhow demanding that they comply via radio messages.

The vessel did not react to radio calls or to subsequent warning gunshots. Sustained pressure was applied to the dhow through the presence of FGS LUEBECK including direct shots fired into the bow of the dhow and use of the ship's helicopter to neutralise the attack skiffs secured on the upper deck.

Throughout the action the safety of the hostages was the primary consideration, especially as the suspect pirates threatened to kill all crew members and to fire on anyone attempting to board the dhow.

During the night of 19 January 2012, FGS LUEBECK established control of the situation to allow the M/V ENRICO IEVOLI, an Italian tanker which had been pirated in December 2011, and has 18 hostages onboard to rendezvous with the Indian dhow. On arrival the pirates again threatened that they would harm all the hostages if any military action was taken to prevent a transfer of pirates who had been injured during the initial attack on the M/V FLINTSTONE.

The FGS LUEBECK maintained an overt presence and following the transfer, was able to board the Indian dhow to assure the health and safety of the crew as well as providing technical assistance. The 15 released crewmembers were all in good health. This action has denied the suspect pirates the use of the dhow as a mother-ship and freed the crew from what could have become months of captivity. The injured suspected pirates were seen to have transferred to the M/V ENRICO IEVOLI which is being shadowed as it returns towards Somalia.

SOMALIA: Amisom Police Train Somali Police Force Commanders

The Police Component of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in partnership with the Somali Police Force has launched a capacity building and leadership-training programme in the form of a refresher course tenable at the Brigadier General Kahiye Police Academy in Mogadishu on January 19th 2012.

The training programme is earmarked to develop and enhance knowledge of Ninety-seven (97) Middle management Police Commanders (Lieutenants) including five female Officers which is organized and funded by the Somali Police Force.

The Training and Development Unit of AMISOM Police Component will provide training in the areas of Police Leadership, Public Order Management, Gender, Crime Prevention, Beat and Patrol Management, Use of Force, VIP Protection and Escorts, Human Rights, Community Policing and Discipline reflecting the courses identified by the Somali Police.

Similarly, Somali Police Trainers will also facilitate training on Somali Penal Code, Common Law and general legal obligations amongst others.

Dr Benjamin, Training and Development Coordinator stated that “the course was launched at the right time, after priority areas for 2012 were determined at a consultative meeting on 7th January 2012 between AMISOM Police and Somali Police Force leaders”.

He continued to say that, “We were eager to contribute to the recently launched SPF training because it is in line with our mandate to build the capacity of Somali Police Force to international policing standards, to enable them deliver services to the people“.

He further stressed that “Our contribution to the SPF training will equip Somali police commanders with the skills and knowledge to effectively perform their duties as Police Station Commanders in newly liberated areas of Somalia”.

The Commandant of the General Kahiye Police Academy, Brigadier General Ahmed Dayib Ahmed, who presided over the launching ceremony, commented that; “The SPF has a critical task to protect civilians and maintain law and order across the country. It is against this background that, we would like to further develop our Police Commanders with the pre-requisite management skills to ensure that our Police Force will fill the vacuum in the new liberated areas of Somalia”.

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