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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Djibouti: Protesters shot dead by security forces during demonstrations




Since February 25 in the afternoon and late into the night, the police shoot live ammunition at protesters who challenge the regularity of elections of February 22 and protest against the mass arrests of opponents who continue. The provisional toll is already a dozen dead, a dozen injured, some very serious and hundreds arrested. FIDH and LDDH condemn the disproportionate use of force contrary to international instruments of human rights protection that bind Djibouti, the parties call for calm and asked the Djibouti authorities to open a criminal investigation.



Gathered for a meeting of information to the call of opposition parties nevertheless prohibited by the Minister of the Interior, many protesters expressed their dissatisfaction with the conditions of organization and conduct of elections and the mass arrests of opponents and until late at night despite the introduction of a curfew, Monday, February 25 evening. The police responded by 
shooting protesters. According to witnesses, a dozen protesters were killed, including Yusuf Mahmoud Ahmed, a member of the party the Union for National Hi (USN) and Kadir Mahmoud, a student. Others were seriously injured as God and Abdurahman Abdurahman Barkat Bashir Suleiman, both party leaders MoDel or Khalid Mahmoud Hussein Omar and Abar, two students wounded by gunfire. This assessment remains provisional insofar as those killed or injured are not brought into the hospitals where the police stop people seeking treatment there.






Since February 25th in the afternoon and late into the night, the police shoot live ammunition at protesters who challenge the regularity of elections on 22 February and protest against the mass arrests of opponents continue. The provisional toll is already a dozen dead, a dozen injured, some very serious and hundreds arrested. FIDH and LDDH condemn the disproportionate use of force contrary to international instruments of human rights protection that bind Djibouti, the parties call for calm and asked the Djibouti authorities to open a criminal investigation.

Hundreds of protesters and are indeed subject to arrest. Thus, they would be detained hundreds in a detention center Nagad including 35 women, activists MoDel. The police demanded that hold Djibouti Francs 400,000 to conduct their release. Among these women prisoners face including Ms. Abdi Ibrahim Saada, wife of MoDel activist, Abdurahman Barkat God. Ms. Abdi Ibrahim Saada is further diabetic and remains without a care in conditions leading to fears for his integrity.



In addition, at least three militants MoDel, MM. Abdourahman Barkat, Suleiman Bashir and Guirreh Medal, have been brought before the courts and sentenced to Djibouti 3 months in prison for "inciting to insurrection" and were transferred to the prison Gabode. Assistance of counsel and a doctor was denied. The main opposition leaders remain under house arrest, detained or their fate remains unknown to this repression of giving the opposition a total and radical character.

"Once again, we condemn the violent reaction of security forces against demonstrators. This reaction is symptomatic of a power which has always sought to silence any criticism against his governance, "said Paul Nsapu, Secretary-General of FIDH. "The attitude of the police is wrong and must be of a criminal investigation," he has said.

As protests and repression continue, our organizations call the Djibouti authorities to immediately stop the use of firearms to ensure the maintenance of order, and to all parties to call on their supporters to calm.

FIDH and LDDH also called the Djibouti authorities to immediately open a criminal investigation to shed light on jeopardizes the security forces and punish the perpetrators of human rights violations, release the arrested opponents and respect the rights of assembly, demonstration and expression guaranteed by international and regional conventions ratified by Djibouti.


FIDH and LDDH call the international community, including the UN, the African Union, European Union, France and the United States strongly condemn violations of human rights committed by the Djibouti authorities and call a political solution to the crisis.

Source:
International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

UMP coalition prevails in the regions of Ali Sabieh and Dikhil


Preliminary results from the Ministry of the Interior dedicated the victory of the coalition Union for the Presidential Majority (UMP) in the regions of Ali Sabieh and Dikhil south of the country.

 Note that the participation rate exceeded 50% in each of these two districts where the voting took place in a calm and serenity according to local authorities.

Dikhil, turnout of over 54%, the UMP has obtained nearly 70% of the votes, ahead of  main rival far,USN which has earned only 20%.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Djibouti government under increasing pressure as elections close in



Opposition rallies are attracting up to 150,000 people.

With one week to go until Djibouti’s parliamentary elections, Djibouti’s government is under intense pressure from political opposition and its own people after 37 years of one party rule.

Ahead of the elections on 22 February, the Mayor of Djibouti has publicly denounced the Government. Djibouti’s Energy Minister and Minister of Islamic Affairs have both resigned. Opposition rallies are attracting up to 150,000 people.

 In a sign of increasing panic, the Government has released opposition leader Daher Ahmed Farah, (arrested earlier this month) following an upsurge of popular protest, resulting in the destruction of a warehouse in Djibouti city.

Police at opposition rally in the capital.
 Leading figures in the opposition movement have expressed their desire for democratic elections to proceed and reflect the will of the people. They are adamant that the country needs a smooth and peaceful transition of power without external intervention, but urge international organisations to continue their pressure on the current government for democratic elections. Forty election observers from the African Union arrived in Djibouti today (15th) to monitor the electoral process. Election observers from the EU have also confirmed their intention to visit Djibouti to oversee the elections.

Aicha Dabale, spokesperson on behalf of the Friends of Djibouti, said “We are witnessing a growing sense of frustration in Djibouti and its political system. We call on governments and NGOs to ensure that free and fair elections take place in Djibouti next week to ensure that the voice of the people of Djibouti is heard and reflected in electoral results.”

 Abdourahman Boreh, an international businessman from Djibouti, said: “Djibouti has many friends in the West and around the world. We appreciate their continued support in our struggle against an oppressive and undemocratic ruling elite. I fully support the efforts of the opposition who have united under the USN to call for peaceful change. Pressure must continue, but we are determined that the changes required in Djiboutian society are achieved from within the country. We want a peaceful and stable transition of power and a better future for Djibouti.”




Djibouti's ruling UMP party published propaganda poster on the street of  Djibouti City which says: "We do not play with fire, I love the country, and vote for UMP." 

Editors Note- Visit our site and follow us on twitter (@Horn_News) for regular features and resources on Djibouti's 2013 parliamentary elections. For a brief guide on the elections please click here 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Civilians killed in France's failed bid to free one of its intelligence agents in Somalia

In October, kidnapped French intelligence agent Denis Allex  appeared in a video shot by his captors. In the video, Allex pleads for French President Francois Hollande to negotiate for his release.
In October, kidnapped French intelligence agent Denis Allex appeared in a video shot by his captors. In the video, Allex pleads for French President Francois Hollande to negotiate for his release.

The death toll from France's failed bid to free one of its intelligence agents in Somalia is being questioned, with witnesses saying at least eight local civilians were also killed at the time of the raid.

"Four civilians, including three from one family, are among the dead. They were all killed outside Bulomarer, where the French commandos landed before entering the city," resident Adan Derow told AFP on Sunday.

"We don't know why those civilians were killed" outside Bulomarer, where the raid took place on Saturday, added another resident, Ali Moalim Hassan.* "Four other civilians were also caught in the crossfire and died in the town of Bulomarer" during a pitched battle between French commandos and Islamist fighters.

On Saturday, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said one French soldier died and another went missing during the raid, adding that 17 guerrillas were killed.

He said "all indications" point to the conclusion the hostage, a French intelligence agent with the alias of Denis Allex, had been killed by his captors belonging to the Shabab, a Somali Islamist group affiliated with al-Qaeda. But the Shabab denied Allex was dead and said they were holding the missing French commando. Le Drian said on Sunday French troops underestimated the Islamist rebels' strength when they launched the overnight operation.


It involved some 50 troops and at least five helicopters. Although the raid happened on Friday, the same day French troops launched air strikes on Islamist militants in Mali, in west Africa, the minister said the operations were not connected.

Allex is among nine French hostages in Africa of whom at least six are held by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).* A French expert involved in several hostage negotiations said talks with the Somali Islamists had become impossible due to the huge ransom demanded and the marked opposition of the Americans to the payment of ransom.

"Denis Allex became a human shield and an operation had become indispensable," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A source close to the case, also speaking on condition of anonymity said the DGSE had been preparing a raid to free Allex for more than a year. It had "been cancelled at the last minute three or four times as we did not have a solid confirmation of his location", he added.

The Shabab statement said the French had carried away "several" of their dead. "The helicopters attacked a house ... upon the assumption that Denis Allex was being held at that location, but owing to a fatal intelligence blunder, the rescue mission turned disastrously wrong.

"The injured French soldier is now in the custody of the mujahedeen and Allex still remains safe and far from the location of the battle," it said.* Allex was kidnapped in Somalia on July 14, 2009 - Bastille Day - along with a colleague. A second hostage, named as Marc Aubriere, was free a month later, in what the French government said was an escape.

AFP

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

U.S condemns killing of Somali journalists, pledge support

Mike Hammer

The United States has condemned in the strongest terms possible the ongoing wave of attacks on Somali journalists and members of the media including the recent killing of renowned poet who worked for Radio Kulmiye Mr Awale.
Addressing a press conference in Kenyan capital, Nairobi, U.S Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Mike Hammer said they are extremely concerned by the number of journalists that have been killed in Somalia this year alone, saying it is very troubling and alarming.
“We certainly extremely concern by the number of journalists that have been killed in Somalia today, I understand they are 17 or 18 so far this year and that is very troubling and alarming,” said Hammer.
He said these murders coupled with “heavy handed interventions against the media by Somaliland and Puntland authorities are unacceptable assault on the Somali people’s rights to freedom of expression and access to information at a time when the Somalia government is transiting to a more inclusive and democratic representation of the Somali people”, adding that an open press that is free from intimidation is of at most important.
The U.S Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Mike Hammer called on all Somali authorities including those in Somaliland to conduct thorough investigations of all killings of journalists and to everything in their power to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“The era of impunity is going to end and we have confident that every efforts should be made to bring those perpetrators to the justice. We admire the courage of Somali journalists and members of the media to pursue this very noble profession which is critical to the health of a democracy,” he said.
Hammer stated that the U.S is committed in lending its support to Somali journalists for their efforts to inform the Somali people to ensure the Somali government is accountable and explains its policies and informs the people.
“That is the message we are communicating to the Somali government as it moves forward in trying to again strengthen and build a democracy that can deliver its people and reject Al-Shabaab’s foreign ideology”.
He noted the U.S willingness to help offer training to Somali professionals inside the country though the State Department by bringing them to Kenya or Johannesburg where they have training programmes.
On issues related to United States’ policy objectives in Somalia, Hammer said his government wants to help the country and the Somali people achieve political and economic stability to eliminate the threats of terrorism and piracy and to respond to the humanitarian needs of the Somali people.
“The United States will continue to support Somalia’s stabilisation across a variety of sectors in this post-transitional phase. In particular, we look forward to assisting with establishment of transparent and accountable governing institutions.  U.S engagement and assistance has played a critical role in getting Somalia where it is today. We have provided significant humanitarian, security sector, democracy and governance assistance that underpins the much of Somalia’s progress today,” said Hammer.
Hammer applauded with the recent political change in Somalia and reiterated the U.S support to the new government, calling it a hopeful sign of a new era for Somali governance.
“We welcome the September 10th election of the Somali president Hassan sheikh and his appointment of the Prime Minister Shirdon, we look forward to working with president Hassan Sheikh and his government towards Somalia’s future. Together I think we see Somalia as a place of hope and opportunity and we look forward to the selection of the new cabinet in presentation of new government to parliament for review of endorsement in accordance with Somalia’s new provisional constitution.”
He attributed this political transformation to significant security gains achieved in Somalia over the last year by the National Somali Forces and AMISOM who he said are now control Mogadishu and are beginning to move into areas of southern and central Somalia outside Mogadishu.
The U.S Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs also hailed the recent fall of Kismayo following the withdrawal of Al-Shabaab militant group who have been in control of the city for the last four years.
“The recent successful effort to secure the strategic port city of Kismayo places a large and important city back into the hands of the Somali people. Al-Shabaab now controls no major urban areas in Somalia that is great accomplishment. AMISOM, with the troop contributions from countries like Burundi, Kenya, Uganda more recently Djibouti and soon to be added Sierra Leone had played a critical role,” said Hammer.
He however appreciated efforts and courage by AMISOM forces in Somalia are taking on working with the Somali forces to secure greater territory for the good of the people of Somalia, adding that the United States government has provided more than $429 million in support for the AMISOM mission and more than $130 million to support the development of professional effective Somali national army.