Key stories from Somalia this week

AMISOM soldiers in Somalia (file)

Shake-up at Somali state media

Information Minister Abdirhaman Yarisow has sent packing officials from state-owned radio, television and news agency Sonna, as well as his own ministry, Goobjoog news reports. The minister attributed the move to complaints over service delivery and corrupt practices.

Abdirizak Bahlawi, the director in the ministry of information has been fired and immediately replaced on temporary basis by Abdirahman Yusuf Adala. Liban Abdi Ali will now head the Somali National Television after while Abdifitah Dahir Jeyte will be the new director of Radio Mogadishu.


Suicide bomber gets into military academy and kills 5

Associated press reports that the bomber, posing as a military trainee, had crossed the gate checkpoint and targeted soldiers and officers resting under a tree after their daily military exercises.

In a separate incident Monday, a government worker was killed after a bomb in his car was detonated by remote control in Mogadishu’s Hamarweyne district, police say. Abdikadir Osman, an officer with the education ministry immediately died before medics could get him to a hospital, said Abdiqadir Mohamed, the district commissioner.


Drought relief underway – minister visits Kismayo

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Dr. Maryan Qasim‏, Minister for Humanitarian Affairs & Disaster Management, led a delegation to Kismayo city to discuss how to further scale up the drought response and save more lives. In a speech at a humanitarian coordination meeting on Tuesday she stressed the need for supporting sustainable livelihoods: “Drought is not new to Somalia. Drought is endemic to the Horn of Africa and no one has known it to be otherwise.”


Drought forces a family to sell teenage daughter into marriage

Reuters journalist Katharine Houreld and photojournalist Zohra Bensemra tell the story of Zeinab and her family, who accepted an offer of $1,000 for their daughter’s dowry. Zeinab refused. “I would rather die. It is better that I run into the bush and be eaten by lions,” she said.

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Teacher Abdiweli Mohammed Hersi decided to step in and organized an effort to repay the dowry so that Zeinab would not need to be forced into the marriage. View the full photo essay here.


Another suicide attack targets new army chief

At least 10 people were killed in the capital of Somalia on Sunday when a suicide bomber tried to assassinate the newly installed commander of the country’s army, witnesses and officials said. The bomber tried to ram a vehicle into a convoy carrying the commander, Gen. Ahmed Mohamed Jimale, outside the defense ministry in Mogadishu, according to a New York Times report. The attack came soon after he had taken his oath of office.

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Piracy: Indian ship freed but hijackers take crew

Somali security forces have rescued an Indian cargo ship seized by pirates earlier this month, but the hijackers took nine of the 11-man crew when they fled ashore, according to Reuters. Pirates contacted by the news agency said they would keep the crew to try to secure the release of more than a hundred pirates jailed in India. They are thought to be being held near the city of Hobyo.

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A separate hijacking attempt on a cargo ship on Saturday was foiled by naval forces. Voice of America journalist Harun Maruf says a notorious Somali pirate later is missing after the attempt.

Farmaajo in Abu Dhabi to discuss partnership

Emirates News Agency reports that Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, received President Mohamed Farmajo during his visit to the UAE.

“His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan stressed that the UAE… will continue to support Somalia and assist in building its national institutions to support its security, stability and development. His Highness wished the Somalian people all that is good and advanced, and to achieve their aspirations and hopes through co-operation, integration and their national advantages,” the state agency reported.C9HmoioWAAAqKov

 


UN representative Keating condemns Al-Shabaab attacks on civilians

Michael Keating, the UN representative in Somalia, has condemned Al-Shabaab militants for recent attacks in the country saying the group is murderous and inhumane. “In the past ten days, at least a dozen attacks have been claimed by or attributed to Al-Shabaab and resulted in 28 civilian deaths and 31 injured. These were launched in civilian areas, turning restaurants, markets and minibuses into scenes of bloodshed and suffering,” Keating says in a new statement.

“Attacks on civilians are unjustifiable. It is particularly upsetting that so many women and children have lost their lives. This is a perverse and inhumane way to make a political point and achieved nothing. It should stop immediately,” added the UN representative


Southwest president urges offensive to open up roads

Goobjoog news reports that South West President Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden on Monday asked his forces to launch operation to reopen roads manned by Al-Shabaab fighters. He justified the offensive on the basis of the need for humanitarian aid access, after the rebel group banned Western NGOs and their partners from southern Somalia some years ago. “The President said his administration would now give a priority on how to dislodge Al-Shabaab from key supply routes in a bid to facilitate delivery of humanitarian aid to drought-affected communities in the region,” Goobjoog quoted him as saying.