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Sunday, October 30, 2011

New Al-Shabab tape urges terrorist attacks in Canada, U.S.

HOAN:Nairobi

An al-Qaeda-linked Somali militant group has released an audio tape calling for terrorist attacks in a host of countries including Canada.

The tape posted by al-Shabab was allegedly made by an American citizen who blew himself up during an attack on an African Union base in Somalia's capital on Saturday that killed at least 10 people.


He also urges other youth not to “just chill all day” but to carry out attacks against non-Muslims around the world.

The young man had an American accent and mixed Muslim terminology with American slang.

The U.S. Embassy was not able to comment, but U.S. authorities estimate at least 20 American passport holders have joined the insurgents in Somalia.

About 9,000 African Union peacekeepers supporting Somali government troops have almost pushed al-Shabab from the capital of Mogadishu.

Earlier this month, Kenya opened a second front, sending hundreds of soldiers across the border into southern Somalia.

Somalia has not had a functioning government in more than 20 years.


Source:AP

New Al-Shabab tape urges terrorist attacks in Canada, U.S.

HOAN:Nairobi

An al-Qaeda-linked Somali militant group has released an audio tape calling for terrorist attacks in a host of countries including Canada.

The tape posted by al-Shabab was allegedly made by an American citizen who blew himself up during an attack on an African Union base in Somalia's capital on Saturday that killed at least 10 people.


He also urges other youth not to “just chill all day” but to carry out attacks against non-Muslims around the world.

The young man had an American accent and mixed Muslim terminology with American slang.

The U.S. Embassy was not able to comment, but U.S. authorities estimate at least 20 American passport holders have joined the insurgents in Somalia.

About 9,000 African Union peacekeepers supporting Somali government troops have almost pushed al-Shabab from the capital of Mogadishu.

Earlier this month, Kenya opened a second front, sending hundreds of soldiers across the border into southern Somalia.

Somalia has not had a functioning government in more than 20 years.


Source:AP

Kenyan jets bomb southern Somali town, 12 killed

HOAN:Nairobi

By Sahra Abdi and Omar Faruq

At least 12 people were killed Sunday when two Kenyan jets bombed the southern Somali town of Jilib, residents and officials said, as the east African nation fights to rid Somalia of Islamist al Shabaab rebels.

Kenya moved its troops into Somalia in mid-October in pursuit of Somali insurgents it blames for a series of kidnappings on Kenyan soil and frequent assaults on its security forces in the border province of North Eastern.

"Twelve civilians died including six children and 52 others were injured after Kenyan jets bombarded an IDP (internally displaced people) camp in the town," said Mohamud Ali Harbi, a local elder in Jilib, 120 km (74 miles) north of the port of Kismayu.

Emmanuel Chirchir, the Kenyan military spokesman, could not immediately confirm the raid when contacted by Reuters, saying they were waiting for an operational update from the ground.

"The jets bombarded two places, an al Shabaab base and a nearby IDP camp," Hassan Abdiwahab, a resident in Jilib, told Reuters.

But al Shabaab said the five bombs dropped by the planes hit a bus stop, the IDP camp and an area just outside of the town.

A top official of the group, Sheikh Muktar Robow Abu Mansoor, Thursday urged their followers to attack Kenya with "huge blasts" in retaliation for the campaign that is being carried out jointly with Somali government troops.

The call followed two grenade attacks in the capital Nairobi that killed one person and injured over 20 more Monday. Unknown militants also carried out two attacks on vehicles in the remote northern Kenya.

Mohammud Farah, spokesman for the Ras Kamboni militia that is allied to the Somali Transitional Federal Government said they seized a four-by-four vehicle laden with explosives that was headed to Kenya.

"Our forces in patrol found the car 8 km away from the town on its way to Kenya and we have discovered different types of explosive materials in the car," Farah told Reuters from Dhobley town, which is close to the border.

The vehicle was carrying 10 passengers, four of whom were identified as al Shabaab fighters, he added.

Kenya said Saturday it was committed to withdrawal from Somalia once it is satisfied that it has stripped the al Qaeda-linked group's capacity to carry out attacks across the border.

Although the Kenyan chief of defense forces said his troops had chased al Shabaab from the whole of Gedo region, the two-week old campaign has been slowed considerably by heavy rains.

Chirchir said the intense rains had started to abate, allowing Kenyan forces to plan an offensive of Afmadow in Lower Juba region, where al Shabaab has been digging in after reinforcing with fighters from other areas.

"Now that the rains have subsided, the taking of Afmadow is likely. It should be very soon," he said.

Two Ugandan soldiers were injured Saturday when African Union troops came under an al Shabaab attack in Mogadishu.

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, South Africa's President Jacob Zuma and Tanzania's Jakaya Kikwete expressed their support for Kenya's military action in Somalia, the Kenyan presidency said in a statement from Perth, Australia, where President Mwai Kibaki was attending the Commonwealth summit.

(Additional reporting by Feisal Omar; Writing by Duncan Miriri)


Source:Nairobi

AMISOM Beats Back Extremist Attack On Mogadishu

PRESS RELEASE
AMISOM Beats Back Extremist Attack On Mogadishu African Union troops helping to defend the Somali capital, Mogadishu, have today beaten off an attack by al Qaeda-linked terrorists on one of their positions in the outskirts of the city.
At noon, armed terrorists, including 2 suicide bombers disguised as Somali Army troops, attempted to take the position, which is near the German Steel Factory.
During the failed attack, the suicide bombers blew themselves but the extremists were unable to take control of the AMISOM position.
The position guards the Industrial Road, an important city artery, which marks Mogadishu’s northern border. The area was formerly under the control of the extremists before they were forced out by Somali Army troops, supported by AMISOM, in August

Rwanda, SA back Kenya operation in Somalia


President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda. Photo/FILE
President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya (left) and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda. Photo/FILE


HOAN:Addis Ababa

Rwanda and South Africa on Sunday vowed to support Kenya’s military offensive against Somalia militia Al-Shabaab.
President Paul Kagame and President Jacob Zuma affirmed their support of military action against Al-Shaabab saying the extremists' cross-border criminal activities violated recognised international protocols.
“Rwanda is ready and willing to provide any support Kenya will require to win the war against the Al-Shaabab,” said President Kagame.
President Mwai Kibaki said Kenya’s invocation of the relevant United Nations Charter against continued aggression by Al-Shaabab militants was in self-defence.

Source:Daily Nation

Foreign airstrikes hit rebel bases in Jilib, Lower Juba



HOAN:Addis Ababa

Unknown foreign helicopters have on Sunday attacked Al-Shabaab bases in Jilib district of Lower Juba, reports say.

Locals who were contacted by Bar-kulan confirmed the foreign attacks on rebel bases in the area along the road connecting Jilib to Bua’le.

They said two foreign helicopters were involved in the attack. There are no reports of casualties.
Reports say terrified locals have begun fleeing the area.

The attack comes a time there are reports that an unmanned aerial vehicle operated by the US military has crashed in southern Somalia near the country’s border with Kenya.

The remotely-controlled aircraft went down on the outskirts of Kalaberka town, which is located in Somalia’s south-central region of Hiiran, on Saturday, Press TV reported.

Local residents reportedly said that they heard a massive explosion after the aircraft crashed and caught fire.

Source:Bar Kulan

One of two suicide bombers in Mogadishu was Somali American


 HOAN:Addis Ababa
 
 
One of two suicide bombers who attacked AU base in Mogadishu on Saturday was Somali American, an Al shabaab run radio reported.

Speaking to Al shabaab run Radio Andalus, the Somali American whose name was briefly identified as Abdisalam said that he has been ready to target suicide attack at AU soldiers in Mogadishu.

He said the reason he is blowing his up to what he called the enemy is that he wanted to paralyze the AU forces in Somalia.

The other suicide bomber was also briefly identified as Adam, according to Andalus Radio.

Adam is from the regions of Bay and Bakool. He told Andalus that he joined to Al shabaab in 2009. Since then he took part in many battles the Al shabaab group has had with Somali government and AMISOM forces in the capital.

Meanwhile, the spokeman of Al shabaab, Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Rage told the media that they have killed more than 100 AU soldiers in those suicide attaks.

But, Paddy Ankunda, the spokesman of AMISOM forces denied the group’s claim, saying that only two AU soldiers injured.

Source:Shabelle Media Network

Thousands displaced as fighting flares in Somalia

Saturday, October 29, 2011

'US after Ugandan's oil reserves'

HOAN:Nairobi
 
Interview with Steve Mulindwa a political analyst
A number of US troops have recently been sent to Uganda to fight the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) which is accused by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity including mass murder, sex slavery, and recruiting child soldiers.


However, experts are saying that the US has entered the troubled region to gain favor of Uganda's newly discovered oil deposits, and to support its proxy war against the al-Shabab movement in Somalia.

About 8000 Ugandan troops make up the majority forces fighting in Somalia instead of dealing with the LRA in their own country.

Press TV has interviewed with Steve Mulindwa a political analyst to discuss the issue.

The following is an approximate transcription of the interview:

Press TV: Steve Mulindwa , some people say good we want the American support, they look at what's happened in North Africa and the destruction of the Gaddafi regime, done with western NATO help.

And they say actually, when the West gets involved in Africa it doesn't always go the way we don't want it to go- sometimes it works for us.

Mulindwa: I'll probably say one thing here- [it] is that of course as [the other speaker on the show] Mr. Vincent has said LRA hasn't been active for years.

But the fact is that it's still in existence. It's a fact that it is still in Congo in other areas of Congo. I think this is probably one of the reasons why. But...

Press TV: Would you accept that wherever it goes it is a disruptive and frightening force especially for the people, the villagers who I don't know- are the victims of these guys- without protection.

Mulindwa: I think that I'll accept that it's still a threat but having said that it doesn't cause future Americans coming in because it hasn't been a threat to the country for a very long time.

But there is a picture that people forget to look at and that is the fact that the American interest has to come in and America's worried about China now, it's worried about India, it's worried about Brazil, it's worried about other economies that are coming in. Oil could be a key factor, obviously everybody is...

Press TV: If the Americans are coming in for oil and it's the Ugandans oil to sell, then isn't that a good thing?

Lots of people are coming in for the resources; you could say OK I have the gold; I have the wealth, I have the extractable minerals; I have the oil: I can charge it at the price that I want to set because there are so many people who want it.

Isn't that a good thing that the Americans are coming to stabilize that?

Mulindwa: It's a good thing; but look at the- I think the oil situation is not handled properly- the way it's handled in Ghana for example: Ghana has handled the oil situation in a very different way.

You know, the American moved into Ghana but why suddenly the interest in East Africa. If you go back ten years ago they had an interest in Ghana; they wanted to build a military base- the AFRICOM in Ghana; now these could be...

Press TV: I'm just wondering then Steve- how Uganda should manage the relationship with the United States because much of the rest of Africa is watching.

Because we all know the reason why the US was frightened to have boots on the ground was because of the [First Battle of Mogadishu] black Hawk incident in Somalia in 1993.

And they were frightened of coming back and there was a bit of an intrigue through the whole Libyan operation and now we have this with Uganda- is why people are monitoring you so closely.

Mulindwa: I still look at it as- there are still key factors with the British troops in Kenya, America probably needed a reason to be somewhere in Africa as well.

And Barack Obama's father being a Kenyan; Uganda having had LRA situation; maybe there was a weakness there. They had to find a way in.

All I'm looking at, maybe they needed a base somewhere in the African continent - you're looking at the situation in Sudan and of course the situation in Somalia, they needed- if there foots on the ground somewhere it's easier to monitor certain things within the region and ...

Press TV: But [Americans] they have embassies all over Africa and they have good relationships with African countries...

Mulindwa: The embassy- it's not the same as sending a drone in, coming all the way from Washington. If they're sending a drone and its coming somewhere in Uganda...

Press TV: It's not a military base they're establishing in Uganda, is it?

Mulindwa: You can never know. It could be a start of something. You have to start somewhere. You can't just come in and say it's a base there.

Press TV: Is this going to result in Uganda actually turning away from the United States, which has been friend to the country?

And saying you are sure in supporting a man who has been in power for 25 years and actually we don't want him anymore?- even though of course there was an election earlier this year and he was returned to power, although some people weren't happy with that particular process.

Mulindwa: It's extremely difficult to judge where the whole thing is going to end. Because one thing I've learnt in politics is that you sometimes expect something to go the other way and then it goes this other way.

It could work advantageously, in [Ugandan president Yoweri] Museveni's favor as [the other speaker on the show] Vincent says.

But it also could work the other way round but the key thing is always going to be: what is at the table? What has happened in the period of time? Because the revolution that started in Tunisia- I mean the Arab Spring- Nobody, nobody had ever dreamt that such a thing would ever happen.

So a similar thing could be because what is happening at the moment is that the people on the ground like what the gentleman- the journalist was saying, the determination- everything begins from the ground: Are people fed? Are they OK? Are they having...

Press TV: The first thing is that people want bread and they want security.

Mulindwa: Exactly.

Source:Press Tv

Kenya’s Army Chief Says No Deadline On Troops In Somalia

HOAN:Nairobi
 
Kenya says its troops will stay in neighboring Somalia as long as necessary to stop attacks by Somalian-based radical Islamists on its soil.
 
Kenya's military chief General Julius Karangi told reporters in Nairobi Saturday there is no timeline on the operation against Al-Shabaab rebels.

He said his troops will remain in southern Somalia until Kenyans feel safe. But he stressed that Nairobi has no designs on Somali territory.

Kenya sent an undisclosed number of troops across the border earlier this month to fight Al-Shabaab, which is blamed for a series of kidnappings of foreigners on Kenyan soil.

Rebels launched a suicide attack Saturday on bases used by the African Union peacekeepers in Somalia's capital Mogadishu. The heavily armed militia exchanged fire with the peacekeepers.

The peacekeeping mission issued a statement saying two suicide bombers were involved in the attacks, but it did not say how many people were killed during the fighting
.
Somalia has not had a functioning government since war lords overthrew a socialist dictators in 1991.

Al-Shabaab controls most of the country while the legitimate government controls only the capital with the help of some 9,000 African Union troops.

Hundreds of thousands of Somalis have fled across the border, many of them to Kenya.

Source:VOA

Govt soldiers in southern Somalia arrest over 20 Al shabaab fighters


Govt. Soldiers in Gedo Region
HOAN:Nairobi

 Somali government’s administration in Gedo region of south of the country said that they have seized more than 20 Al shabaab fighters in security operations conducted by government soldiers.

Speaking at a news conference held in Mogadishu, the spokesman of Somali forces in Gedo region Ahmed Adam Hirsi said the arrested ones will be brought to justice as soon as possible.

He said they fought Al sahbaab in the region and made more advances. But he denied that kenyan forces took part in those battles.

However, government officials in southern regions confirmed the presence of Kenyan forces inside Somalia

Source:Shabelle Media Network

Kenya to stop Shabaab fight when nation is safe

HOAN:Nairobi


By Duncan Miriri and Aaron Maasho

Kenya will end its military campaign against the Islamist al Shabaab rebels in Somalia when it is satisfied it has stripped the group of its capacity to attack across the border, its head of military said on Saturday.

The east African nation moved its troops into Somalia in mid-October in pursuit of the Somali insurgents who it blames for a series of kidnappings on Kenyan soil and frequent assaults on its security forces in the border province of North Eastern.

"A key success factor of this campaign will be in the form of a highly degraded al Shabaab capacity," Kenya's Chief of Defence Forces, General Julius Karangi told a news conference.

He said the government decided to move against al Shabaab in early October following near daily attacks on Kenyan forces on the border, and the kidnapping of two soldiers in July this year as well as Western tourists and aid workers.

Karangi rejected claims that the plan to go after al Shabaab had been planned carefully for many years with a view to annexing Somali territory to create a buffer zone between the two countries, with the help of Western nations.

"When we feel as a country we are safe enough from this al Shabaab menace, we will come back where we belong, to our common border," Karangi said, adding there was no fixed deadline for the operation to end. "We absolutely have no appetite for anybody's territory."

He confirmed that Kenya suffered its first casualty from combat on Friday when a soldier died from wounds after al Shabaab fighters ambushed a group of Kenyan troops. Emmanuel Chirchir, the military spokesman, tweeted that the dead soldier had been shot in the neck.

Fewer than five others have been injured in combat, Karangi said, adding that losses on the rebel side are conservatively estimated at several hundred dead.

Together with soldiers from the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, the Kenyans have chased al Shabaab from the whole of Gedo region, Karangi said.
The military chief accused al Shabaab of recruiting impressionable Kenyan youths for radicalisation in Somalia, before deploying them to launch attacks on their own country.

GRENADE ATTACKS

Nairobi was stunned by two grenade attacks at a bar and a bus terminus that killed one person and wounded more than 20 on Monday, two days after the U.S. embassy had warned of an imminent threat in Kenya.

A Kenyan man pleaded guilty to one of the grenade attacks and membership of al Shabaab and was sentenced to life in prison by a Nairobi court. Two other Kenyan suspects are facing similar charges.

Kenyans have rallied around the government's move to take the war to al Shabaab, a group they see as a significant threat to the country's $35 billion a year economy.

The kidnapping of Western tourists has raised the threat of massive cancellations, ruining a tourism season that had been on track for a record year. Businesses have also complained of rising costs of shipping due to piracy off the coast of Somalia.

But the Kenyan public's resolve to support the military action is being tested by the attacks this week.

Four police officers drawn from the paramilitary General Service Unit were injured when a makeshift bomb went off on a road in northern Kenya as a convoy of police vehicles passed by.

That incident followed an attack on a vehicle carrying exam papers in the same province that killed four people on Thursday.
Kenya was surprised when Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed cast doubts on his government's support for the incursion, just days after both states issued a joint communique endorsing the military action.

The Kenyan government requested an explanation of the remarks and a Somali delegation headed by the prime minister is expected in Nairobi on Sunday for further talks.


Source:Reuters

Somalia's Shebab attack military base in capital

HOAN:Nairobi


Fighters from Somalia's Shebab Islamist group attacked a government military base in Mogadishu on Saturday, where a blast was followed by an exchange of gunfire, officials and witnesses said.

Enemy "elements attacked a Somali military base near the industrial road (north of the city centre), but they were defeated and suffered losses", Colonel Abdallah Mohamed of the Western-backed government forces told AFP.

"Mujahideen fighters hit the Xero-Jamal site where the enemy is positioned", said Shebab commander Sheikh Ibrahim Abu Yahya, who also claimed dozens of pro-government fighters were killed.

"There was a very strong explosion, like in a suicide attack, before an exchange of gunfire," a witness, Abdikarim Dinow, said.

Pro-government forces sent ambulances to the scene of the clashes, according to another witness, Ahmed Moalim.

Neither side provided an explanation as to the nature of the explosion described by witnesses.

The Shebab, who control large swathes of territory in south and central Somalia, withdrew from their positions in Mogashishu in early August following a government offensive launched in February.

They have claimed credit for a series of bombings since, including an October 4 blast at a government complex that killed 82, the deadliest single attack ever committed in Mogadishu


Source:AFP

Friday, October 28, 2011

South Sudan schools to teach in English, not Arabic

HOAN:Nairobi

South Sudan said on Wednesday its schools will start teaching English, phasing out Arabic that had been used as a tool to spread Islamic law and Arab heritage by former civil war foe Khartoum.

The mainly Muslim north imposed Islamic law and Arabic on the south, which seceded in July to become the world's newest nation, and where most follow Christian and traditional beliefs.

The language move is symbolic of the nation's vision of closer integration with African neighbors, said Samson Wattara, an associate professor in political science at Juba University.

"The switch will not be automatic and will probably be problematic but South Sudanese want to look southwards," Wattara told Reuters.

"This is a departure from the arabisation doctrine which was consistently opposed by different rebellions," he said.

South Sudan's government passed a bill making English mandatory for teaching in primary and secondary schools, Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin told reporters.

"Under the Khartoum government subjects were universally taught in Arabic. We will teach our national languages at pre-school and for the rest, the instructions in mathematics or science will all be in English," he said.

South Sudan has dozens of local languages and dialects, but the most commonly spoken languages are English and Arabic.

Benjamin said the country is training 7,000 new teachers to help launch the new syllabus, to give students easier access to universities in east Africa. Secondary school students will continue to sit exams in Arabic for the next three years.

South Sudan's independence vote, agreed under a 2005 peace deal, ended decades of civil war with the north over religion, oil, ethnicity and ideology.

North and South Sudan yet have to settle a range of disputes such as sharing oil revenues and other assets and find a solution for the disputed border region of Abyei.



Source:Reuters

Kenya at War: Status Update

Breaking News....Another town falls to Kenyan military


HOAN:Nairobi

An Al-Shabaab training centre in Burgabo, a village deep within southern Somalia, was bombed and captured by Kenya’s and Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government forces. Burgabo has an estimated population of 300 people.

The Thursday evening operation came hours after the troops killed nine Al-Shabaab militants during an ambush at Anole in which two Kenyan soldiers were injured.

Sources within the military and security agencies told the Nation that the number of casualties was not immediately established.

The training centre was bombed several times before ground troops moved in to secure the area and set up base, ready for onward march.

According to an anonymous source, Burgabo was the third Al-Shabaab training centre to have come under the forces air strikes.

Military spokesman, Maj Emmanuel Chirchir, told the Nation that the troops cleared Burgabo without any contact with the Al-Shabaab.

The militants had, on Thursday, ambushed Kenyan troops, but were repulsed in a counter-attack by the ground troops backed by jetfighters, killing the nine militants.

Residents of a nearby Kudai Village said that blasts from the bombing raids could be heard as far away as Bajuni Islands of Mdoa, Koyama, Chovyae and Kanda Yuu, which are several kilometers away.


The arrival of Kenya troops in Burgabo is seen as a major step towards the intended capture of the port town of Kismayu.

The forces have two options for Kismayu capture. They can take the mainland route from Kudai, Instanbul, Fuma, Mchoni or travel by road to Kudai village, cross the Bush-Bush channel and travel to Kismayu after passing the Bajuni Islands of Koyama-Chovyae-Kanda Yuu

Source:Daily Nation Kenya

Senior Al-Shabaab leader defect to government side

HOAN:Nairobi

Senior Al-Shabaab leader and seven of his militias have on Friday reportedly surrendered to the Somali government forces in Qoqani, Lower Juba.

Yussuf Ahmed Liban who used to operate in Afmadow defected with his militias to the government side a time the Somali government are advancing on the rebel held Port city of Kismayo.

Col. Mohamed Abdullahi Yussuf, an official with the Somali government troops in Qoqani told Bar-kulan that the defectors were warmly received, saying that they will be referred to Dobley, where TFG troops are commandeered.

This is the first defection of Al-Shabaab rebel fighters since Kenyan forces briefly rambled into the area.


Source:Bar Kulan

Breaking News...Blast Strikes Military Convoy in Eastern Kenya


HOAN:Nairobi

A blast struck a paramilitary convoy in eastern Kenya on Friday, seriously wounding three security officers .

The explosion happened just outside the town of Garissa on a road that leads to Kenya's massive Dadaab refugee complex and continues to the Somali border about 150 kilometers away.

Authorities were investigating if a land mine or bomb caused the explosion and who is responsible for the attack.

Attacks on Kenyan soil have increased since its military crossed into southern Somalia two weeks ago to hunt down al-Shabab militants. Officials believe the al-Qaida-linked group carried out several cross-border kidnappings in recent weeks.

On Friday a Kenyan court sentenced a man to life in prison for one of two grenade attacks that took place in the capital, Nairobi, on Monday.

Earlier this week, Elgiva Bwire Oliacha confessed to being a member of al-Shabab and taking part to an attack at a bus station that killed one and injured 20.

On Thursday, an al-Shabab militant leader in Somalia called on followers to carry out huge explosions inside Kenya.

Sheikh Muktar Robow says tossing grenades is not enough, and urges the militants to strike what he calls “big, painful blows.”


Source:VOA

US says has no military operation outside Kenya borders

HOAN:Nairobi


The US ambassador to Kenya said Friday the United States does not have any military operation outside Kenya but will continue to give support inside the country, which has sent troops to Somalia to fight Al-Qaeda-linked rebels.

"We do not have a military operation outside of the borders of Kenya. We continue to help in the partnership with Kenya inside the country," Scott Gration told journalists after meeting Kenyan Defence Minister Yusuf Haji and military chief General Julius Karangi.

The Washington Post on Thursday reported that the US Air Force is flying armed drones from a civilian airport in southern Ethiopia as part of a growing battle against the radical Islamist Al-Shebab insurgents.

The airfield in Arba Minch is part of a network of secret bases for unmanned aircraft in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula, the Post reported, citing unnamed US officials.

"Today we did have an opportunity to review the situation both on the military operation that is going on in Somalia and the Kenyan terrorist security operation that is going in Kenya," Graton said.

"And I pledged our support to continue assisting Kenya in their internal operations inside Kenya because we remain partners," he added.

Also on Friday one of the two Kenyan soldiers injured in the army's first ground-to-ground engagement in southern Somalia succumbed to his injuries, army spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said.

"One of the two soldiers who was critically injured in the Al-Shebab attack that took place in Tabda, has unfortunately passed on while receiving treatment at the Defence Forces Memorial Hospital," he said.

"This loss goes to strengthen our objective to defeat Al Shebab in order to attain peace for Kenyans and the Somalia populace," he added.

The soldier, who has not been identified, is the first Kenyan casualty in the offensive that Nairobi launched two weeks ago after the abduction of several foreigners in Kenya that it blames on Shebab extremists -- charges the Shebab deny.

Troops and tanks have pushed some 100 kilometres (60 miles) into Shebab-controlled southern Somalia, but their progress has been severely hampered by heavy rains.


Source:AFP

Kenyan Sentenced to Life in Prison for Grenade Attacks

HOAN:Niarobi


A Kenyan man who pleaded guilty to a grenade attack earlier this week in Nairobi has been given life in prison, while Somali insurgent group al-Shabab continues to threaten more violence across Kenya in retaliation for its offensive into Somalia.

Elgiva Bwire Oliacha confessed to being a member of al-Shabab, and admitted his role in one of two grenade attacks that took place in the Kenyan capital earlier this week, which killed one person and injured more than 20 others.

Meanwhile, an al-Shabab militant leader in Somalia is calling on his followers to carry out huge explosions inside Kenya. Sheikh Muktar Robow says tossing grenades is not enough, and urges the militants to strike what he calls "big, painful blows."

Kenyan military forces in Somalia encountered their first direct clash with al-Shabab on Thursday. The army says it killed nine Islamist fighters after al-Shabab ambushed a military convoy near the southern Somali town of Qoqani.

Kenya sent forces into Somalia earlier this month in pursuit of al-Shabab, which Kenyan officials blame for the cross-border kidnapping of several foreigners.

A Kenyan government spokesman said Thursday Kenya's goal is to destroy al-Shabab in the shortest time possible. He said the militants present a clear and present danger to the region.

At least four Kenyan government workers were killed Thursday when their vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in northeastern Kenya, near the Somali border.


Source:VOA

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Somali rebel urges attacks on Kenya

HOAN:Nairobi


Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab rebels on Thursday called on its operatives in Kenya to launch reprisal attacks against Nairobi for its military assault against insurgents in the war-torn south.

"Mujahidin in Kenya including those who were trained in our military camps must fight inside Kenya," Mukhtar Robow Ali, a top Shabaab military commander told a crowd in a village near Mogadishu.

"Now is the time to act, and to act severely against the enemy - there is a need to make a huge explosion," Ali said.

"We are urging Muslims in Kenya to form their own liberation army and they will get our support. This is the time to show who you are."

Kenyan troops and tanks crossed into Shabaab-held southern Somalia 12 days ago in an unprecedented military incursion to fight rebels it blames for attacking its territory and abducting foreigners from its soil.

The hard-line Shabaab deny the charges and have threatened to retaliate.

Kenyan troops clashed heavily on Thursday with Shabaab fighters some 100km into southern Somalia.

"There has been a confrontation that is ongoing... it happened when our troops confronted about 45 Shabaab fighters," said Kenyan military spokesperson Emmanuel Chirchir.

"Nine al-Shabaab were killed with others escaping with injuries," he said, adding that two Kenyan soldiers were wounded, one critically.

Chirchir said forces also bombed a Shabaab logistical base and training camp, as ground troops sought to take Burgavo, a charcoal and fish business village under Shabaab control.


Source:AFP

Islamist Militants Rally Against Kenya

HOAN:Nairobi

By JOSH KRON and MOHAMED IBRAHIM

Islamist militants rallied hundreds of supporters outside Somalia’s capital on Thursday to call for attacks on Kenya, saying, “We want huge blasts,” while Kenyan authorities reported an assault inside Kenya, with four people killed in an ambush near the Somali border.

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.While it remained unclear who was responsible for the attack — in which a rocket-propelled grenade was shot at a car in northern Kenya — it comes just days after twin grenade attacks rocked Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, which the police say were linked to the Somali Islamist militants known as the Shabab.

Kenya sent hundreds of troops, backed by tanks and gunships, into Somalia this month in a premeditated military campaign against the Shabab, who have threatened terrorist attacks in Nairobi in retaliation, warning Kenyans to “not let the flames of this war spill over into your country.”

The threats have left Kenyans and the United States jittery, with the American Embassy in Kenya warning of credible terrorist threats, specifically to shopping malls and nightclubs.

But the recent attacks in Kenya have hit small targets with small weapons. The grenade attacks this week hit a local pub and a bus stop, leaving one dead and more than 20 wounded.

On Thursday, a Kenyan government official in Nairobi suggested to local news organizations that Kenya would negotiate with the Shabab and halt its military offensive if the Shabab denounced violence.

“If the Al Shabab would like to discuss and engage with the Kenyan government, our channels are very open,” Richard Onyonka, the assistant foreign affairs minister, told The Daily Nation.

But in Somalia on Thursday, Shabab leaders called for the group’s supporters and cells in Kenya to hit back harder.

“Hit the enemy with big things that can make them suffer,” Sheik Muktar Roobow Abu Mansor told hundreds of supporters and residents in the Shabab-controlled area of Elasha Biyaha, about 12 miles south of the capital, Mogadishu. “Big bites.”

“Kenyans have been talking about closing the Kismayo port, and their jets fired the port,” said Mr. Mansor, referring to the Shabab’s commercial stronghold on the Indian Ocean. “I am telling the mujahedeens that Kenya is your port; go to their banks, guests and go to all the places they keep their treasury. Take from them in return.”

Nations from across the world have sought to subdue the Shabab, which have sworn allegiance to Al Qaeda, but the fight notched into a higher gear since the group claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks in Uganda last year that left more than 70 people dead.

The most recent push includes two main fronts, one by the Kenyans aimed at Kismayo, and the other a gruesome street battle in the Mogadishu neighborhood of Deynile.

The fighting across Somalia has been slow and tough. An unknown number of Burundian soldiers in the African Union peacekeeping force were killed in Deynile last week, possibly scores, their bodies wantonly laid out for public viewing.

Though the Shabab are losing ground — as well as domestic support — as the battles continue, Thursday’s rally — just next door to the war zone of Deynile — offered a flash of resolve.

“We will fight against you; there is no any other option left for us,” Sheik Mansor said. “Defeating the Christians is here, and more victories.”

While Kenya is well equipped and well trained, many have voiced concerns that the military has virtually no experience in fighting conventional wars outside its borders. On Thursday Kenya’s military engaged in its first face-to-face land battle with the Shabab near the town of Bilis Qooqaani, killing nine Shabab fighters while sustaining two injuries, the military said in a statement.

In a country that has proved almost impossible for any one entity to control for nearly two decades, even the simple element of rain can change the dynamics of battle. Kenya said that it launched an airstrike on Thursday on the village of Anole, and that ground troops were prepared to capture another.

“All three sectors continue to experience heavy rains impeding military movement,” Kenya said in a statement. “However, clear skies,” it continued, “allows for air action.”


Source:NEW York Times

Push to take Kismayu ‘is on course’

HOAN:Nairobi

By MARK AGUTU magutu@ke.nationmedia.com AND GALGALO BOCHA gbocha@ke.nationmedia.com


Kenyan forces were on Thursday preparing an onslaught on Burgabo, a town 120 kilometres from Kismayu, a bastion of the extremist group, Al-Shabaab.

The troops were said to be about seven kilometres outside Burgabo.

Conquering this town is a key objective of the Kenyan forces as it would serve as a launching pad for an onslaught on the port city of Kismayu, which is the hub of the terror group’s activities.

Kismayu is a smugglers’ haven and the revenues from it have funded terror groups and the warlords who have kept Somalia at war for 20 years.

Heightened activity

“Everything is on course and we plan to push farther ahead in our operation today,” a source within the military told the Daily Nation, on condition of anonymity as he is not allowed to speak to journalists on the operation.

On Thursday, there was heightened activity around Ishakani on the Kenya-Somali border point which is another line of approach to Burgabo through Ras Kiamboni and Mnarani.

The soldiers, backed by the police, have intensified security along the border and the supply lines linking to the troops already inside Somalia.

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The border is a virtual no-go zone with even the villagers living there have to be vetted before being allowed on the Kiunga-Ishakani road.

“This is a full military operation zone and no one is allowed to walk around. Everyone moving around this place must be cleared by security,” a soldier told the Nation at Kiunga.

Kismayu residents who spoke to the Nation on Thursday said they had seen dozens of Al-Shabaab fighters headed to Woravole between Burgabo and Ras Kiamboni in an attempt to block the Kenyan advance on Afmadow.

The militant group has also sent fighters to some Bajuni islands apparently to block an invasion by sea.

There are about six islands occupied by members of the Bajuni community.

“There are a few Al-Shabaab soldiers guarding the island but many fighters are in the water,” a Mdoa Island resident told Nation by phone on Thursday.

The Kenya Navy is said to be headed to the Bajuni islands.


Source:Daily Nation

Six Kenyans killed in Mandera car explosion

INTERVIEW-Kenya has right to pursue al Shabaab-Somali PM

HOAN:Nairobi


Kenya has every right to pursue al Shabaab rebels in Somalia, but Somali government troops must be in charge of operations against the Islamist rebels, Somalia's prime minister said.

Kenya deployed troops inside the anarchic Horn of Africa nation 12-days ago in an offensive against al Shabaab fighters it blames for a series of kidnappings on its soil and frequent cross-border incursions. ID:nL5E7LG0KF]

Somalia's president cast doubt on his government's support for the incursion on Monday. On Wednesday, Mogadishu reiterated there was no deal with Kenya to send in its troops, but said the prime minister would now liaise with Nairobi.

"We support Kenya's operation inside Somalia because they support, train and provide other military support to our troops to defeat al Shabaab and we are very grateful to Kenya," Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali said in an interview.

"But we have to understand one thing: Somalia has the lead, our military has the lead in all operations taking place inside Somalia," he said late on Wednesday.
The Somali government has so far stopped short of asking Kenyan troops to leave and the prime minister's comments show the authorities appear to accept the incursion, which has the backing of Western allies supporting the Mogadishu government.

"My government supports any self defence action Kenya takes against al Shabaab. Al Shabaab has inflicted a negative economic impact on Kenya," the prime minister said.

"Kenya has suffered at the hands of al Shabaab who are Somali terrorists crossing from the Somali border to the Kenyan border. So, therefore, Kenya has the right to pursue them inside Somali and defeat them," he said.

East Africa's biggest economy has long watched its anarchic neighbour warily and its troops have made forays across the porous border in the past, but this month's assault marks the first concerted push to drive the rebels away from the frontier.

The recent kidnappings of Western tourists and aid workers from Kenya soil risk denting the country's lucrative tourist industry and hampering humanitarian support for more than 400,000 Somalis at a refugee camp in northern Kenya.

Al Shabaab has denied it is behind the kidnappings, saying they are being used as a pretext by Kenya to send its troops across the border.

Kenyan troops are advancing on several fronts towards al Shabaab strongholds alongside Somali government soldiers and allied militias in the region.

The Kenyan troops have taken several towns but have not yet had a major showdown with al Shabaab fighters, who are regrouping and bolstering defences at strategic points in the south of the Horn of Africa nation.

Kenya continued to deploy more troops to Somalia on Wednesday. Trucks laden with weapons, military and police officers from the capital and camps in central and northern Kenya were seen heading towards Somalia.


Source:Reuters

Foreign airstrikes hit parts of Lower Juba

HOAN:Nairobi

Reports from Somalia’s Port city of Kismayo say suspected U.S drone has attacked Al-Shabaab bases in an area outside the city.

The airstrikes targeted militia bases located 1140 km from Kismayo town along the Somali coast.

Eyewitnesses told Bar-kulan that the militia suffered several casualties. There also reports of civilian casualties resulting from the attack.

It is not yet clear whether the attack was carried out by U.S drones or Kenyan jet fighters but locals suspect the U.S.

The attack comes days after alleged Kenyan fighter jets on Sunday bombed several military bases in the city. No casualties have been reported so far.

Locals say Kenya fighter jets attacked Kismayo port and Al-Shabaab’s Congo military base north of the city. But Kenya has denied the attack.

Earlier Kenya has deployed its troops in parts of Lower Juba in pursuit of Al-Shabaab fighters for their alleged abductions of foreigners in northern Kenya.

The Kenyan military have been reportedly advancing to the port city of Kismayo in its effort to isolate the rebel fighters into small areas.


Source:Bar Kulan

Kenya Reports First Direct Clash With al-Shabab in Somalia

HOAN:Nairobi


Kenyan soldiers prepare to advance near Liboi in Somalia, October 18, 2011.Kenya says its troops in Somalia have exchanged fire with al-Shabab militants in the first direct clash between the sides.

A Kenyan military statement says Kenyan troops were attacked by about 45 al-Shabab fighters Thursday as the troops moved toward the southern Somali town of Qoqani to reinforce forward positions.

The statement says Kenyan forces killed nine al-Shabab members and injured others. It says two Kenyan troops were injured in the clash, one critically.

The statement also said Kenyan forces conducted an airstrike on an al-Shabab Anole training camp, have captured the town of Busar and are advancing on two other towns, Burahache and Burgavo.

In Nairobi, government spokesman Alfred Mutua said Kenya's goal is to destroy al-Shabab within the shortest time possible. He said al-Shabab "presents a clear and present danger" to the region.

In Somalia, an al-Shabab leader, Sheikh Muktar Robow, called on the group's fighters to carry out large-scale attacks inside Kenya.

Kenya sent forces into Somalia this month in pursuit of al-Shabab, who officials blame for the cross-border kidnapping of several foreigners.

The militant group, which controls large portions of southern and central Somalia, is trying to topple the Somali government and set up an Islamic state. It has denied playing any role in the kidnappings.

Earlier, at least four Kenyan government workers were killed when their vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in northeastern Kenya in an area not far from the Kenyan-Somali border. It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.

The incident is the latest in a series of attacks across the country, following a warning from al-Shabab that it would attack targets in Kenya in response to the Kenyan incursion.

On Wednesday, a Kenyan man who admitted to being a member of al-Shabab, pleaded guilty to one of two grenade attacks that took place in Nairobi earlier this week. The explosions killed one person and injured more than 20 others.

Somalia's president and prime minister issued opposing statements on whether the Kenyans are welcome in their country. The prime minister came out in favor of the incursion in an interview with VOA Wednesday, while the president has said only African Union troops can operate legally in Somalia.


Source:VOA

Breaking News...Four Killed in Attack on Vehicle in Northeastern Kenya


HOAN:Nairobi

Local media reports and eyewitnesses say gunmen have attacked a vehicle in northeastern Kenya, killing at least four people.

The reports say the attack happened in the sparsely populated northeastern district of Mandera, near the Somali-Kenya border.

It is not immediately clear who is responsible for the attack, or who was being targeted.

The incident is the latest in a series of attacks throughout the country, following Kenya's military offensive into Somalia to pursue al-Shabab insurgents, who Kenya blames for several cross-border kidnappings of foreigners.

On Wednesday, a Kenyan man – who admitted to being a member of al-Shabab – pleaded guilty to one of two grenade attacks that took place in Nairobi earlier this week. The explosions killed one person and injured more than 20 others.

Al-Shabab has warned it will carry out attacks inside Kenya in response to the Kenyan army offensive.

Meanwhile, the prime minister of Somalia's transitional government says he supports Kenya's military operation, despite earlier comments by Somalia's president casting doubt on the government's support for the move.

On Monday, President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said his government opposes Kenyan military action in Somalia, and that only African Union troops can operate legally in the country.

But Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali said late Wednesday that Somalia supports “any self-defense action” Kenya takes against al-Shabab, saying that his country is “very grateful to Kenya.”

However, Prime Minister Ali said Somalia is taking the lead in all operations carried out inside his country.

Source:VOA

Somalia's al Shabaab vows war against Kenya

HOAN:Nairobi

By Ismail Taxta and Abdi Sheikh

Somalia's al Shabaab rebels vowed on Thursday to fight Kenya after its troops entered the Horn of Africa nation and called on sympathisers to carry out major attacks in east Africa's biggest economy.

The call to arms came 12 days after Kenya sent soldiers into Somalia to battle the al Qaeda-linked rebels Nairobi blames for a string of kidnappings on Kenyan soil and frequent border incursions threatening state security.

Unknown militants attacked a vehicle in northeastern Kenya near Somalia on Thursday killing at least four government employees, local officials told Reuters, the third strike in the east African country this week.

Two separate grenade blasts in the capital Nairobi on Monday killed one person and wounded nearly 30. A Kenyan man has pleaded guilty to one of the attacks and being a member of al Shabaab.

There were also unconfirmed Kenyan media reports that gunmen had ambushed Kenyan soldiers near a town 60 km (40 miles) inside Somalia. Government spokesman Alfred Mutua declined to comment on the reports.

"The time to ask Kenya to stop war has passed. The only option is to fight them. Kenya, you have started the war and so you have to face the consequences," Sheikh Muktar Robow Abu Mansoor, a top al Shabaab official, told a demonstration.

"The Kenyan Mujahideen who were trained by Osama in Afghanistan, stop throwing grenades at buses. We need a huge blow against Kenya. Hand grenades hurled can harm them but we want huge blasts," he told hundreds of people gathered in Elasha, near the capital Mogadishu.

Kenya has long watched its anarchic neighbour warily and its troops have made forays across the porous border with Somalia in the past, but this month's assault marks the first concerted push to drive the rebels away from the frontier.

The recent kidnappings of Western tourists and aid workers on Kenyan soil risk denting the country's lucrative tourist industry and hampering humanitarian support for more than 400,000 Somalis at a refugee camp in northern Kenya.

Al Shabaab has denied being behind the kidnappings, saying they were being used as a pretext by Kenya to send troops into the country.

"Now Kenya's planes are bombing us, and their tanks are inside Somalia. Let's fight collectively and defeat them as we defeated the Christian countries who invaded us before," said al Shabaab's Mansoor.

(Additional reporting by Noor Ali in Isiolo and Daud Yussuf in Garissa, Beatrice Gachenge in Nairobi; Ibrahim Mohamed and Mohamed Ahmed in Mogadishu; Writing by David Clarke; Editing by Giles Elgood)


Source:Reuters

Official: Al-Shabaab leaders contact Kenyan government to negotiate

HOAN:Nairobi

By David McKenzie, CNN
A Kenyan government official said Thursday that Al-Shabaab leaders are seeking negotiations as the nation pursues the Islamist militants deeper into Somalia.

"They want to talk," said the official, who did not want to be named because he is not authorized to talk to the media.

Kenyan troops struck several Al-Shabaab training sites in Somalia early Thursday, a military spokesman said. The militant group, which includes many rival factions with different leaders, operates from the nation.

The group's leaders are reaching out nearly two weeks after the troops stormed Somalia to hunt for Al-Shabaab, which Kenya blames for recent kidnappings of foreigners in the nation. Kidnappers have seized two aid workers and two European tourists in the past month.




"We have looked at what is going on ... and decided that unless we move in now, Al-Shabaab is not diminishing, it is becoming bigger and bigger," Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua said.

The war on terror cannot be won without dismantling the group's power, he said.

Efforts to flush out the terror group will take a "couple of months, if that," Mutua said, adding that "weeks" would be a more ideal time frame.

Analysts and diplomats have raised concerns over the incursion, saying it gives the terror group a reason to strike Kenya.

"If there is anything we have learned in the last couple of decades is that foreign intervention, especially military intervention, doesn't work in Somalia," said Rashid Abdi, an analyst for International Crisis Group "I definitely understand Kenya's anxiety about the terror threat emanating from Somalia ... but I think there is more that Kenya could have done inside the country."

While noting Kenya's "right to defend itself," the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi said it was not part of the decision to send troops to Somalia.

"The United States did not encourage the Kenyan government to act nor did Kenya seek our views," said Katya Thomas, the embassy's press officer. "We note that Kenya has a right to defend itself against threats to its security and its citizens."

Kenya has said its forces aim to take the Somali port city of Kismayo, described by the United Nations as a key stronghold and source of cash for Al-Shabaab. The United Nations estimates the group collects up to $50 million a year from businesses in Kismayo, about half of its annual income.

Kenyan officials declared self-defense justifies crossing the border with Somalia, saying a recent spate of kidnappings threatened its security and constituted an attack.

Somali President Sharif Ahmed thanked Kenya on Wednesday for helping battle the extremist group two days after he accused the nation of overstepping its boundaries.

Source:CNN

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kenya seeks answers over TFG's new stand

Al-Bashir: Sudanese Eritrean Boarders to be Invested in Broad Cooperation


HOAN:Nairobi


President Omar Al Bashir announced the end of border tension between Sudan and Eritrea forever, adding that borders from now on will be exploited to exchange interests and to boost development in the two countries. "The biggest free zone in Sudan will be established on our borders with Eritrea soon", announced Al Bashir, confirming Sudan tendency to remove borders with neighboring Eritrea so as to facilitate movement of people and goods between the two countries.
Addressing a rally in Kassala Stadium Wednesday in presence of Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki and Emir of Qatar Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Al Bashir stated that the continental highway between Sudan and Eritrea inaugurated yesterday will be the first step towards establishment of series of roads linking different parts of Kassala.
Commenting on superiority of relation between Sudan and Eritrea, Al Bashir said that Eritrea was the first country to challenge Ocampo's International Criminal Court (ICC), through inviting and receiving Al Bashir following the issuance of the so-called ICC arrest warrant immediately. He also lauded invitation of His Majesty Emir of Qatar Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani to him to attend Doha Conference simultaneously with the issuance of the warrant, expressing earnest appreciation to positive role played by Qatar in hosting and supporting peace negotiations on Darfur crowned by signing of Doha Darfur Peace Document (DDPD). "Thanks to Qatar for shouldering our troubles till embarking on comprehensive document guaranteeing sustainable peace," said President Al Bashir.
For his side, Emir of Qatar Hamad Bin Khalifa said that goodwill has played the main role in repairing Sudan-Eritrea relations despite past tensions. He added that the continental highway will contribute to sustainability of superior relations between the two neighboring countries, affirming Qatar's readiness to boost cooperation between Sudan and Eritrea. He further explained that the role played by his country in building the continental highway in addition to de-mining is a complementary role to true will of the two countries to sustain good relations.
Addressing the rally, Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki said that Sudan and Eritrea will cooperate to preserve superior relations, lauding efforts carried out by Emir of Qatar to guarantee security and stability in the region, marking projects inaugurated in Kassala as the first step towards comprehensive development expected to persist allover the region.


Source:Sudan Vision Daily

Somalia thanks Kenya after president's criticism

HOAN:Mogadishu

Somalia praised Kenya Wednesday, thanking it for helping battle the Islamic extremist group Al-Shabaab, in an apparent effort to heal tensions sparked by the Somali president's criticism of Kenya earlier this week.

"Kenya and Somalia have a long history of friendship and cooperation, and that continues today," the Somali government said in what it called a "clarification statement."

It thanked Kenya for working together with the Somali transitional government "to stabilize Somalia" and for training a "good number of Somali soldiers as well as hosting (a) huge number of Somali refugees."

On Monday, Somali President Sharif Ahmed spoke out against Kenya's military incursion into his country, saying the African neighbor overstepped its bounds.

"To send forces into Somalia is not allowed by the government and the civilians," Ahmed said. He also called Kenya's actions "not good."

Wednesday's "clarification statement" did not clearly address the question of Kenyan troops entering Somalia. It said the two nations "share the attitude that Al-Shabaab constitutes a common enemy to both countries" and that "the territorial integrity of both Somalia and Kenya should be respected."

In order to "evolve a common security strategy, we agreed with our brothers" in the Kenyan government to cooperate in "coordinated security and military operations" spearheaded by Somali soldiers trained by Kenya, the statement said. There will also be "cooperation and collaboration in sharing and exchange of information that is relevant to the fight against cross-border crimes and operations."

Kenyan forces entered Somalia on October 15 in a strike on Al-Shabaab, a Somali militant group that Kenya blames for the recent kidnappings of foreigners from northern Kenya.

The Kenyan forces are ultimately seeking to take the Somali port city of Kismayo, described by the United Nations as a key stronghold and source of cash for Al-Shabaab. The United Nations estimates the group collects up to $50 million a year from businesses in Kismayo, about half of its annual income.

Kenyan officials declared self-defense justifies crossing the border with Somalia, saying a recent spate of kidnappings threatened its security and constituted an attack.

"If you are attacked by an enemy, you have to pursue that enemy through hot pursuit and to try (to) hit wherever that enemy is," Kenyan Defense Minister Yusuf Haji said in a news conference Sunday.

Somalia's frail Transitional Federal Government, aided by forces from the African Union, has itself been fighting Al-Shabaab militants in the capital, Mogadishu, and reported last week that they had largely pushed the group out of that city.

Katya Thomas, a press officer with the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, said the United States "did not encourage the Kenyan government to act nor did Kenya seek our views. We note that Kenya has a right to defend itself against threats to its security and its citizens."

"The United States has supported Kenyan efforts to improve its ability to monitor and control often porous land and maritime borders and territory exploited by terrorists and illicit traffickers, particularly along its border with Somalia," Thomas said.


Source:CNN

Al-Shabaab arrests 15 people in Baidoa for supporting the TFG

HOAN:Mogadishu

Al-Shabaab militia group has on Wednesday arrested 15 people in Baidoa town who were accused of being stooge supporters of the Somali government.

The detained people are said to be elderly people and young men who were rounded up while in shopping centres and tea kiosks.

Reports say armed militants descended on tea kiosks and shopping centres in Baidoa’s main market and rounded up people they suspected to be government supporters.

Some relatives of the detained people told Bar-kulan that the militia refused them to visit their relatives in their custody.

The militia threatened to take decisive measures against any of their detainees found to be government supporters once they finish their investigation.

Source:Bar Kulan

Kenya tells UN "Somalia approved its incursion"

HOAN:Nairobi

Kenya has informed the U.N. Security Council that it had permission from Somalia to cross their shared border and pursue Islamist militants attacking Kenya.

Kenya's U.N. Ambassador Macharia Kamau said in a letter circulated Tuesday that his government decided to take pre-emptive actions "in direct consultations and liaison with the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu" after an escalation of terrorist acts and incursions by al-Shabaab militants.

He attached an Oct. 18 communique in which Kenya's Foreign Minister Moses Wetang'ula and Somalia's Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Hussein Arab Isse agreed "to undertake coordinated pre-emptive action and the pursuit of any armed elements that continue to threaten to attack both countries."

Somalia's President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed publicly told Kenya Monday to halt its military advance in southern Somalia. The appeal called into question his commitment to fighting his former Islamist allies and sparked dismay among American and European officials and some Somali residents.

Kenyan troops drove across the Kenya-Somalia border earlier this month after a string of kidnappings by Somali gunmen on Kenyan territory.

Under the U.N. Charter, all countries must immediately report measures taken in self-defense to the Security Council.

Kamau said in the Oct. 17 letter that Kenyan military and police have repulsed dozens of incursions and "scores of Kenyans have lost their lives over the past 36 months in border towns and communities" as a result of attacks by al-Shabaab militants.

"Kenya, whenever necessary, will pursue back into Somalia the terrorist elements that have transgressed the Kenyan boundaries and carried out acts of kidnapping, terror and murder and disrupted international humanitarian efforts," he said

The joint Kenya-Somalia communique states that Wetang'ula and Somalia's president Ahmed held "crucial talks" on Oct. 18 "against the backdrop of the growing spate of armed attacks by the al-Shabaab elements on Kenya."

Based on the discussion, it said the two sides agreed that al-Shabaab "constitutes a common enemy to both countries" and therefore both countries should continue working together on a number of fronts.

These include "undertaking security and military operations," stabilizing Somalia, and stamping out threats of al-Shabaab elements "especially terrorism, piracy, abductions, extortion, ransom demands and other international crimes," the communique said.


Source:AP

America limits Kenyan travels amid heightened insecurity

Kenya arrest terror suspect with arms cache in Nairobi

HOAN:Nairobi


A man suspected of being a member of a terror cell has been arrested in Kenya's capital, the police chief says.

A cache of arms, including 13 hand grenades, an AK47, rifle, a machine gun, four pistols and ammunition were found in his flat in Nairobi, he said.

The arrest comes after two grenade attacks in the city killed one person and injured 29 others on Monday.

Police denied that they were linked to the Somali Islamist group, al-Shabab, who have threatened to attack Kenya.

"This is a person who is a member of one of the cells who have been involved in terrorist activities in the country," Police Commissioner Matthew Iteere told reporters at a house in Kayole, a suburb about 15km (10 miles) from Nairobi's city centre.

Last December three people died during a grenade attack at a bus in Nairobi. It was never clear who was behind it.

Correspondents say that although Monday's attacks were small, they are nevertheless causing a great deal of anxiety in Kenya.

The Kenyan government sent troops to Somalia more than a week ago to pursue the militants after accusing them of being behind a spate of abductions on its territory.

Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda and controls much of southern and central Somalia, denies involvement in the kidnappings but has warned of reprisals if Kenyan troops do not withdraw from Somalia.

Source:BBC

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sudan condemning deported Eritreans to 'certain abuse'

HOAN:Nairobi

Sudan has condemned more than 300 Eritreans asylum seekers to "certain detention and abuse" by deporting them to one of the "most brutal" countries in the world, a rights group said on Tuesday.

"Sudan is forcibly returning men, women, and children to certain detention and abuse in one of the world?s most brutal places," said Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher at Human Rights Watch, in a statement received by AFP.

"Eritrea, ruled by an extremely repressive government, requires all citizens under 50 to serve in the military for years," the statement said.

"Anyone of draft age leaving the country without permission is branded a deserter, risking five years in prison, often in inhumane conditions, as well as forced labor and torture," it added.

Last week, Sudan handed more than 300 Eritreans to the neighbouring country's military without screening them for refugee status, drawing condemnation from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

A spokesman for the UNHCR said the deportation took place despite an agreement between the UN agency and the Sudanese Commissioner for Refugees that the Eritreans would be transferred to Khartoum for joint screening.

The asylum seekers, who had been trying to cross into Egypt, were convicted of illegal entry and movement in Sudan, and returned to their home country after being detained for several weeks in northern Sudan's Dongola.

"After decades of hosting tens of thousands of Eritreans in eastern Sudan, the authorities have suddenly started to crack down on some of the world?s most vulnerable people," Simpson said.

In July, one Eritrean asylum seeker died in Sudan and another was left unconscious after jumping from a truck, as they were being deported.

Source:AFP

Gunmen abduct three aid workers in Somalia

HOAN:Nairobi

Gunmen on Tuesday kidnapped an American, a Dane and a Somali working for the Danish Demining Group in central Somalia, the latest abductions by armed gangs in the war-torn nation.

"Three staff members from the Danish Demining Group have been kidnapped," said Klaus Ljoerring Pedersen, the group's regional chief.

"One is a Somali man, two are international staff members, an American woman and a Danish man," Pederson said, adding that investigations were ongoing.

The three were abducted in Galkayo, where the group has been present since 2007.

Local security officer Ali Mohamed said the aid workers were kidnapped from near the airport at Galkayo.

In Copenhagen, Danish Foreign Minister Villy Soevndal said that the government was following the situation minute by minute, "but we do not negotiate with people who take hostages."

DDG clears landmines and other unexploded ordnance in the area to open up the use of land, and also provides mine risk education to reduce injuries.

Galkayo, which straddles the border between Puntland and the self-proclaimed separate region of Galmudug in central Somalia, saw heavy fighting last month between rival political or clan groups.

"We have sent security forces to block all routes to stop them," Galmadug deputy security minister Ahmed Mahmud told reporters.

However, he added that the gunmen were reported to be heading east towards the anarchic Hobyo district, a region notorious for pirate gangs.

"We remain concerned about the individual's safety and well-being and are working with contacts in Kenya and Somalia to ascertain more information," a US State Department official said in Washington.

Somalia is one of the world's most dangerous regions for aid workers, several of whom have been kidnapped in the past by ransom-seeking militia groups.

It is also home to a number of pirate gangs who earn a living by seizing boats, but who have recently been accused of capturing hostages on land as well.

A lack of effective central government since Somalia plunged into civil war two decades ago has allowed a flourishing of militias, Islamist insurgencies and pirate gangs ruling mini-fiefdoms.

Both Galmudug and Puntland signed a nation-building roadmap last month with the weak Western-backed government in Mogadishu and oppose the Islamist Shebab insurgents who control Somali regions further south.

Four European women have been abducted in recent weeks from Kenya by gunmen who later fled to Somalia.

Kenya sent troops and tanks into southern Somalia last week to fight the Shebab, whom it blames for the spate of kidnappings of foreigners, but the rebels have denied being behind the seizures.

The hardline insurgents have vowed to retaliate against the attacks, and Kenyan police say they suspect two grenade attacks Monday in Nairobi could be linked to Shebab operatives.

Two Spanish aid workers were seized in Kenya's eastern Dadaab camp earlier this month and are believed to have been taken across the border into Somalia.

A British tourist was kidnapped from Kenya's coastal areas last month, followed shortly afterward by a Frenchwoman, who later died in captivity.

Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetang'ula repeated Tuesday his country's determination to protect its borders through its military assault in Somalia.

"Kenya cannot watch unwarranted kidnaps of its tourists (and) aid workers and violation of territorial integrity," he said in a statement.

Source:AFP

Diplomatic wars:TFG president opposed to Kenya army attacks

US pledges $100 million in East Africa hunger aid

HOAN:Nairobi

By Shaun Tandon

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday pledged another $100 million in food aid to drought-hit East Africa amid warnings that millions of people face starvation, mostly in lawless Somalia.

Despite tight foreign aid budgets, Clinton said that food security was a critical priority for President Barack Obama's administration whose "Feed the Future" initiative aims to address long-term reasons for global hunger.

Clinton said that the administration would also boost immediate food assistance by adding to the $647 million it has already committed to address the crisis on the Horn of Africa.

"I am pleased to announce that we are providing an additional $100 million, primarily in food assistance for drought-affected areas in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia," Clinton said.

"This new funding will help us reach more people and support our humanitarian commitment well into 2012," Clinton told a forum held at the State Department on food assistance.

Clinton did not go into detail about the funding. The previous $647 million was distributed to aid groups and agencies including the UN World Food Program.

"It is the right thing to do," she said. "If you come from a country as blessed as ours, with the food we take for granted, it is an obligation to try to help those who are in need."

The United Nations estimates that more than 13 million people are in need of food assistance in East Africa. The region is suffering from its worst drought in years, which some experts link to climate change.

The worst-hit nation by far is Somalia, where tens of thousands of people are believed to have already died. The country has effectively lacked a central government for two decades, with the Islamist Shebab guerrillas controlling much of the country.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has warned that 750,000 people in Somalia are at risk of dying in the coming months if aid efforts are not stepped up.

US Vice President Joe Biden said that the Al-Qaeda-inspired Shebab guerrillas, who control large stretches of Somalia, were to blame for the severe food problems.

"Al-Shebab terrorists did not create the food crisis but they have made it far worse. Drought conditions exist throughout East Africa but so far famine is concentrated only in the Al-Shebab-controlled areas," Biden told the same forum.

"The most cynical action of all, they endanger their own people by commandeering assistance sent by the rest of the world to the starving children and women of that country," he said.

Shebab has banned Western influence in its regions and has been accused of threatening and kidnapping aid workers, including two Spanish women snatched working with refugees in Kenya.

Kenya has launched an unprecedented week-old military push into Somalia against the Shebab, which threatened retaliation. One person was killed and 29 were wounded in two grenade attacks on Monday in Kenya's capital Nairobi.

Clinton presented awards to Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Howard Buffett, the father of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, for their philanthropy aimed at alleviating hunger.

Gates said that initiatives funded by the two men have made initial success in helping farmers in Africa, including potentially bountiful countries such as Nigeria, develop better ways to store and sell their produce.

"When you look at food aid, you want to be as responsive as possible. And having all of it come from thousands of miles away shouldn't be your only source for that food," Gates said.

President Barack Obama pledged at a 2009 summit of the Group of Eight in Italy to provide $3.5 billion over three years to develop agriculture in poor countries to help them reach food security and improve nutrition.

However, the US Congress has been pressing for a trimming of foreign aid due to a weak economy at home.


Source:AFP

France to support Kenya's incursion into Somalia

HOAN:Nairobi


France will give logistical support to Kenyan forces pursuing Islamist militants across the border in Somalia, a French military spokesman says.

Col Thierry Burkhard said French planes would transport military equipment to Kenyan soldiers near the Somali border.

Somalia's President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed has condemned Kenya's incursion against the Islamist group, al-Shabab.

Col Burkhard denied Kenyan military claims that a French warship had shelled a Somali town on Saturday.

Kenyan motives

Col Burkhard said the French operation was "limited in scope", the AP news agency reports.

It would see French planes helping the Kenyan army to transport military equipment from the capital, Nairobi, to an airport close to the Somali border, he said.

On Sunday, Kenyan army spokesman Maj Emmanuel Chirchir told the news agency that the French navy had bombed the town of Kuda along the Somali coast.

Col Burkhard denied the claim, saying France had no warships in the area.

Last week, al-Shabab lost control of the coastal town of Ras Kamboni after attacks by the Kenyan navy and a local militia.

Kenya sent troops into Somalia on 16 October to attack al-Shabab, saying it threatened its stability.

Nairobi accused the group of being behind a spate of kidnappings in Kenya, including that of a French woman, Marie Dedieu, on 1 October.

Ms Dedieu, who had cancer, died in Somalia last week.

Al-Shabab denied involvement in the abduction.

Nairobi said the deployment into Somali was done with the approval of President Ahmed's government.

But Mr Ahmed said Kenyan support in terms of training and logistics was welcome but his government and the people of Somalia were opposed to the presence of the Kenyan army.

For more than two years, his weak UN-backed interim government has been battling al-Shabab, an al Qaeda-linked group which controls much of south and central Somalia.

His government relies on a 9,000-strong Africa Union force for its security in the capital, Mogadishu.

The BBC's East Africa correspondent, Will Ross, says Mr Ahmed's comments put the Kenyan government in a very difficult position.

It is possible that the Somali authorities have spoken out because they are opposed to the idea of Kenya helping to establish a semi-autonomous region in Somalia known as Jubaland, he says.

Al-Shabab has threatened reprisal attacks in Kenya if the troops do not leave. Kenyan police say two grenade attacks in Nairobi on Monday were not linked to the militant group.

Other foreigners being held in Somalia include a British woman abducted from a coastal resort and a Kenyan driver and two Spanish aid workers seized from the Dadaab refugee camp near the Kenya-Somalia border


Source:BBC

Somali President criticised for anti-Kenya comments

HOAN:Nairobi

By Sahra Abdi and Abdi Sheikh


Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed came under fire Tuesday for casting doubt on the government's support for a Kenyan incursion into the south of the Horn of Africa nation to take on Islamist rebels.

Ahmed said Monday the Somali government was not happy with the deployment of Kenyan soldiers across the border because the incursion went beyond an initial agreement for logistical support for Somali soldiers.

Kenya sent thousands of troops and heavy weapons into Somalia 10 days ago in a campaign to push Somalia's al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab rebels away from the border, following a series of kidnappings by Somali gunmen on Kenyan soil.

Kenyan soldiers have advanced on several fronts along with Somali troops and allied militias but there has yet to be a serious showdown with al Shabaab. The first major confrontation is expected to be in the strategic transit town of Afmadow.

In the Somali town of Dhobley near the border with Kenya, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets Tuesday waving Kenyan and Somali flags and burning pictures of the president.

"We want Kenya and Somalia to fight al Shabaab in every corner. We do not have any other hope for life," Gedi Farah, an elder from the Dhobley area, told Reuters by phone.

"Kenya, do not believe the words of our weak, mad president. Please fight al Shabaab and go deep into Somalia. We want to return to our homes," he said.

Somali military officials and a spokesman for the pro-government Ras Kamboni militia urged the demonstrators to calm down, saying the president's remarks were not in line with the Somali government's position.

"The Somali government does not support al Shabaab. It is only the president and that will be solved," said Colonel Yasin Warfa, a government military official.
KENYA ON EDGE

Since being elected as president in 2009 under a U.N.-hosted peace process, Ahmed has failed to stamp any authority on a country that has lacked effective central government control for two decades.

Since launching an insurgency in 2007, al Shabaab has seized large chunks of southern and central Somalia and is still battling government troops and African Union soldiers from Uganda and Burundi in parts of the capital Mogadishu.

The group includes hundreds of foreign fighters who are urging jihad against the Western-backed government and al Shabaab has also struck outside Somalia, killing 79 people in the Ugandan capital Kampala last year.

The group's stated goal is to impose its own harsh version of sharia law throughout the country. Al Shabaab metes out punishments such as stonings and amputations and bans music, movies and soccer in areas it controls.

Al Shabaab has threatened to take the "war of flames" to Kenya too. Two grenade attacks in the capital Nairobi Monday killed one person and wounded nearly 30, although Kenyan police chiefs have not yet drawn a direct link with the Somali rebels.

Al Shabaab officials have also declined to comment on the twin blasts in Nairobi that have put Kenyans on edge and prompted police to beef up security around potential targets, such as shopping malls and nightclubs.

A moderate Sufi militia in Somalia, Ahlu Sunna, that has supported the government's fight against al Shabaab, also weighed in against President Ahmed's comments.

"Sherif, if you cannot, or do not want to oust al Shabaab, let Kenya do it for the sake of the suffering Somalis," spokesman Sheikh Abdullahi Sheikh Abu Yusuf told Reuters.
"All Somalis support Kenya and no one will join al Shabaab. People are tired of al Shabaab," he said.

(Writing by David Clarke; Editing by Giles Elgood)


Source:Reuters

Monday, October 24, 2011

One person killed in second grenade attack In Nairobi

3 people killed as combat breaks out in southern Somalia town

HOAN:Nairobi

At least three people have been killed and several more injured after sporadic gun-battle between Somali government soldiers backed by Kenyan military and Al shabaab erupted in the village of Busar outskirts of Elwak town in Gedo region of southern Somalia.


The combat flared up after Somali soldiers and Kenyans attacked the village to flush out Al shabaab from there.


Government officials, who asked for anonymity, told Shabelle Media Network that they confiscated the village of Busar completely.


But, there are no comments about the battles available from Al shabaab so far.


Source:Shabelle Media Network

Second blast hits Kenyan capital, one dead

HOAN:Nairobi

By Aaron Maasho and Duncan Miriri

NAIROBI, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Two grenade blasts killed one person and wounded more than 20 in Nairobi on Monday, two days after the U.S. embassy warned of an imminent attack as Kenya fights Islamist rebels in Somalia.

A grenade was thrown into a bar early in the morning, wounding 13 people, and police said a second device was thrown at a bus terminal in the capital just before 8 p.m. (1700 GMT), killing one person and leaving eight in a critical condition.

"There was an explosion but I thought it was a tyre burst. When I looked around I saw about eight or nine bodies. One was bleeding from his neck. He clearly had breathing problems," witness Elias Ndungu told Reuters.

A security official at the scene, who declined to be named, said the grenade may have been thrown from a passing car.

The Kenya Red Cross said one person was killed and 13 had been rushed to hospital, eight of whom were in a critical condition. The bar attack wounded 13 people, though most had been treated and discharged by Monday evening.
Kenyan Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere said earlier on Monday there was no firm evidence yet to link the first attack to Somalia's al Shabaab rebels and senior officials from the group declined to comment on either blast.

Al Shabaab had threatened major reprisals if Kenyan troops did not leave the anarchic Horn of Africa nation and they have launched large-scale attacks in the past in Somalia and Uganda, for which they have quickly claimed responsibility.

Al Shabaab warned Burundi on Monday to pull its soldiers out of Somalia, where they are fighting the rebels alongside Ugandan soldiers in a 9,000-strong African Union force.

Nairobi blames al Shabaab for a series of kidnappings of foreigners on Kenyan soil that has threatened the country's multi-million dollar tourism industry. The group has denied responsibility for the kidnappings, saying Nairobi is using them as a pretext for its military campaign.


TROOPS ADVANCE

Kenyan troops have advanced on several fronts in southern Somalia since crossing the border just over a week ago and are nearing the strategic transit town of Afmadow, where rebels have regrouped and reinforced their defences.

Somali government officials and residents said Kenyan and Somali troops seized the town of Busaar, about 40 km (25 miles) from border town El Wak, on Monday. They said the rebels fled after a brief exchange of fire.

France denied on Monday reports that its navy had been involved in any bombardment on Saturday of the Somali town of Kuday, near the port city and al Shabaab stronghold of Kismayu. It said no French warships were in the vicinity.
The grenade attacks came two days after the U.S. embassy warned of an imminent threat of reprisals on places where foreigners are known to congregate, such as malls and clubs.

The bar attacked on Monday, however, was small, rundown and in an area where foreigners rarely go drinking.

Witnesses said a man knocked on the door of Mwaura's bar, threw in the grenade and ran away.

"I heard an explosion, there was darkness and I thought the electricity had gone out but when I touched my face, there was blood," Lawrence Kioko told Reuters.

Iteere told a news conference the device was Russian-made and similar to one that killed two people in another bus station attack last December.

Reuters footage showed blood and beer bottles on the ground of the bar, which is frequented by labourers attracted by its cheap beer and spirits. Blood stained a sink and overturned seats and debris littered the floor.

"There was a lot of blood, injuries, people were screaming, others confused, generally it was chaotic. It was a chaotic situation," bar owner Charles Mwaura told Reuters.

Iteere said the police had boosted security around potential targets within Kenya. After the second blast, police warned Kenyans to be vigilant and banned the use of fireworks during the Hindu festival of Diwali.

"The people who would like to scare us will go for targets with a large number of people and therefore any place with a large number of people we must be vigilant, we must be extra careful," Charles Owino, deputy police spokesman, told Reuters.
Iteere also said police had found a number of AK-47 rifles at the weekend in the Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya, home to more than 400,000 Somalis.


SOMALI GOVERNMENT NOT PLEASED

Kenya is the latest of Somalia's neighbours to intervene militarily in a country without an effective government for the last 20 years. Kenya has in the past initiated brief cross-border incursions but the latest operation is on a larger scale, raising fears the country may be dragged into its conflict.

While Somali officials had said the two countries were cooperating in the fight against al Shabaab, President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed was more circumspect about the incursion on Monday.

"The Somali government and its people will not be pleased with Kenya's intervention," Sharif told reporters while visiting the frontline in Mogadishu. "We had not agreed with Kenya beyond helping us with logistics."

The Islamist militants launched large-scale suicide attacks within Somalia and Uganda and have warned they would bring the "flames of war" into Kenya.

This month, a suicide truck bombing claimed by the rebels killed more than 70 people at a compound housing government ministries in Somalia's capital Mogadishu.

The militants also claimed responsibility for a bomb attack in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, which killed 79 people watching the soccer World Cup final last year. (Additional reporting by Yara Bayoumy, Njuwa Maina, Noor Khamis, Fouad Khoeis, David Clarke and Ben Makori in Nairobi, Abdirahman Hussein, Abdi Sheikh, Sahra Abdi and Fesial Omar in Mogadishu; Writing by David Clarke; Editing by Michael Roddy)


Source:Reuters

AMISOM Commanders Meet With Somali President Over Ongoing Deynile Operations

HOAN:Nairobi


PRESS RELEASE

AMISOM Commanders Meet With Somali President Over Ongoing Deynile Operations

Mogadishu, 23,October, 2011;The commanders of the Ugandan and Burundian contingents of the African Union Mission in Somalia today met with the President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to discuss the ongoing operations being carried out in Mogadishu’s outlying Deynile district.

On Thursday, AMISOM in support of the Somali National Army, launched an operation aimed at ensuring security in the capital, Mogadishu.
The contingent commanders briefed the President on the situation on the ground. In the ongoing operation, AMISOM forces have so far advanced to the outskirts of Deynile town.

In the operation, AMISOM forces have lost one armoured vehicle and incurred some casualties, including10 confirmed deaths and 2 missing in action.

Hundreds of civilians who have previously been trapped in areas controlled by the extremists are now streaming into Mogadishu

Ethiopia to sign Agreement with Djibouti to use Port for Coal Import

HOAN:Nairobi

Having agreed in principle, both are drafting terms, conditions of import arrangement.

Ethiopia is to sign an agreement with Djibouti next month for the use of its Port to ship in and unload coal that the Ethiopian Petroleum Enterprise (EPE) plans to import to be used as fuel for cement factories.

Yigzaw Mekonnen, director general of EPE and Mekonnen Abera, head of market research and business promotion of the Ethiopian Shipping & Transit Services Enterprise, (EMTSE) were in Djibouti last week discussing the terms of the deal with Aboubaker Omar Hadi, the chairman of the Port.

This comes three weeks after Mekonnen Manyazewal, minister of industry (MoI), wrote a letter requesting Ethiopian Maritime & Transit Service Enterprise (EMTSE) and Ethiopian Shipping Lines (ESL) to prepare transportation and port facilities for the unloading of coal to be imported by the EPE.

The two countries have agreed on the general terms of import and are drafting the contract to be signed in November, according to Mekonnen.

It has been a few months since the EPE has been looking for alternative sources of fuel to replace the Heavy Furnace Oil currently in use. Their initial plan to use Pet Coke was unsuccessful due to supply and cost issues.

A task force composed of ESL, MTSE and five major cement factories, along with MoI, have considered the possible import of coal from other countries based on geographical proximity and institutions capable of importing at competitive prices. Based on their assessments, South Africa has been found to be a suitable destination to import from, considering South Africa has coal with a caloric degree of 6,300, which is suitable for cement factories.

With intentions and plans to have cement factories start using coal as soon as possible, institutions have been scrambling, trying to accomplish specific tasks assigned to them, within three months time.

The MoI has been collecting information from cement factories on how much cement is demanded in a year. Accordingly, it has found that, with the exception of Mugher and East Cement factories, the remaining factories in operation require 896,500tn of cement for this year.

Out of the twelve operational cement factories, the highest amount of coal is consumed by Messebo and Derba Midroc which have the capacity of producing 2.1 and 2.3 million tonnes of cement on a yearly basis, consuming 22,000tn of coal each.

However, as some of the cement factories have coal in stock from previous imports, the MoI is assessing these matters in order to determine how much coal to import. The EPE, which has been tasked with preparing the necessary human resources and budget for the import of coal, is also to look for companies to supply the product from South Africa up on floating an international tender.

The task force has discovered, through assessments, that it will cost 207.30 dollars for one tonne of coal to be transported from South Africa.




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