Friday, January 21, 2011


Soldiers from Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the
African Union peacekeeping mission that is trying to stabilize the
conflict-wracked country need urgent funding to continue their
operations, a senior United Nations envoy warned today.

"I should take this opportunity to inform that the [UN] Trust Fund for
paying both AMISOM and TFG soldiers is at its lowest," UN Special
Representative for Somalia Augustine Mahiga told a meeting of the
Joint Security Committee (JSC) of Somali officials and interested
partners in neighbouring Djibouti, referring to the AU mission by its

Mr. Mahiga made a similar plea in his briefing to the Security Council
last week when he called for international financial and other support
to help the UN-backed AMISOM regain full control of Mogadishu, the
embattled capital, from Al-Shabaab and other Islamist groups. These
control much of southern Somalia, a country that saw its last
functioning central government fall in 1991 and has been torn apart by
factional fighting ever since.

The Council has already authorized a 50 per cent increase in AMISOM's
strength from 8,000 to 12,000 troops.

The JSC was set up two years ago under agreements between the TFG and
some Islamist groups to strengthen the Government's security capacity.
Its members include senior representatives of the TFG security
institutions, AMISOM, the UN, the international community including
the European Union and Arab League, the Intergovernmental Authority on
Development (IGAD), Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and
United States.

At today's meeting Somali Deputy Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali
highlighted the importance of the JSC for the cardinal objective of
stabilizing security. Mr. Mahiga stressed that security strategies
must be geared towards enabling the Government to achieve its key
political objectives of expanding its political base, reconciliation
and facilitating consultations on a constitution.

The Djibouti Agreement, a UN-facilitated peace process that began in
2008 and has been joined by one of the rebel groups, seeks to bring
other factions, apart from diehard Islamist opponents like the
Al-Shabaab leadership, into a coalition, and Mr. Mahiga stressed the
need to make the Somali Security Force an all-inclusive entity
including all stakeholders.

"We need to make the Somali security forces more representative of the
Somali population with the participation of all clans and
communities," he said, a view echoed by AMISOM chief Bourbacar Diarra.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Somaliland authorities say they will try a German man

HARGEISA, Somalia, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Somaliland authorities say they
will try a German man accused of acting against Islamic culture and
religion by making pornographic videos.

Hassan Adan, attorney general of Somaliland, a de facto independent
republic of Somalia, told the Shabelle Media Network Monday the
unnamed man allegedly committed "un-Islamic actions" by taking
pornographic videos of Somaliland women and teenage girls having sex.

The accused will be brought to court within three days and tried in
accordance with Sharia Islamic law, Adan said.

Thursday, January 6, 2011



In an effort to help law enforcement agencies in southern Africa
respond to gender-based violence effectively, the United Nations
Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
today that it has launched a handbook and a training curriculum to
improve the capacity of national police forces in the region to combat
the problem.

Through the UNODC-backed capacity-building initiative, the agency is
working with officials and civil society in Botswana, Lesotho,
Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe to support law
enforcement and national criminal justice systems in their efforts to
tackle violence against women.

The handbook is designed for first-responders, such as the police, and
helps to define violence against women by providing an overview of
relevant norms and standards, and giving guidance on how to intervene.
It focuses on how to investigate acts of violence against women, a
process that requires sensitivity.

The training curriculum has been developed to equip local and national
police with the knowledge and skills required to respond to violence
against women in an effective manner. It has a special focus on
violence within intimate relationships.

It includes preventive measures, how to respond to and investigate
acts of violence, and specifies resources required to meet the needs
of victims during and after an incident.

In addition to the regional initiative focusing on law-enforcement,
UNODC is also working with communities in South Africa to provide
local-level support to victims of gender-based violence.

Several UNODC-supported "one-stop centres" have been established
across South Africa to provide legal, psychological and medical
services to the survivors of violence, as well as rehabilitation and
support services for men in order to break the cycle of domestic

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

SOMALIA: Perilous journey to "land of milk and honey" ends in deportations

SOMALIA: Perilous journey to "land of milk and honey" ends in deportations

NAIROBI, 5 January 2011 (IRIN) - Hawa Aden left Bosasso, a Somali port
city in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland, in 2009 on a
dangerous boat journey across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen, and then
trekked 20 days to reach Saudi Arabia.

"I was exhausted and terrified when we got there [Yemen] but I was
happy at the same time," Aden told IRIN. "I thought I had arrived in
the land of milk and honey [Saudi Arabia]."

Hundreds of Somalis undertake the perilous journey to Saudi Arabia
via Yemen. However, many end up being deported.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, of the 78,487 Ethiopians
and Somalis who crossed into Yemen from Somalia and Djibouti in 2009,
685 died at sea.

Accompanying Aden on her journey were eight Somali women and seven
men. They all made it to Saudi Arabia where Aden found employment as a
domestic worker in a small town.

"I worked there for one-and-a-half years; it was not perfect but at
least I could send money to my family back home, who were all in IDP
[internally displaced persons] camps," she said.

One day, she decided to make a trip to Jeddah and was promptly
arrested by Saudi police.

"I was taken to jail with many other Somalis and later deported to
Mogadishu," Aden said. "I left with the clothes on my back. They would
not even allow me to get my last month's salary."

Aden was lucky she at least had worked for more than a year, unlike
Ayan Abukar, 18, who went to Saudi Arabia via Bosasso, the Red Sea and
Yemen, and was arrested three months after her arrival.

"I was on my way to work when they arrested me," Abukar said. "I
worked for only three months and managed to send money for only one
month to my family."

She said it broke her parents' hearts when she arrived unannounced in
Mogadishu. "They were thinking I was in Saudi, working - only for me
to show up on their doorstep. My family is very poor. I was their only
source of income."

Abukar is determined to try again. "I know the journey is dangerous
and I risk being deported again but I have no other option. There is
only death here."

Mohamed Abdirahman Ilmi, 19, has a similar story. He left Bosasso in
January 2009. "It took us only 12 days to reach Saudi Arabia; we
travelled at night and crossed into Saudi when the guards were
asleep," he said.

Ilmi said he worked for almost two years and sent money to his family
in Mogadishu. "I wanted to save enough to go to a place where I could
go to university."

Ilmi said he left Somalia because Mogadishu was too dangerous,
"especially if you are a young man. Everyone wants to recruit you into
an army [militia]."

He said he was arrested in Saudi Arabia with other young Somalis as
they tried to buy food. "In jail, the guards were incredibly cruel; if
you asked or questioned anything they would deny you food and water,"
he said.

He said there were beatings and other abuses. "Pray you never end up
in a Saudi jail," he said.

Ilmi said he would not attempt the journey from Bosasso again. "We
barely survived the last trip; I will take my chances here and enrol
in one of the universities here. Maybe there is a reason God sent me
back here."

Deportations criticized

UNHCR said roughly 10,000 Somalis had been deported from Saudi Arabia in 2010.

Roberta Russo, UNHCR spokeswoman, told IRIN: "The large majority of
the deportees are not known to UNHCR, as they did not register with
our office in [Saudi Arabia]. We have very little information about
them in [Saudi] and also once they are deported back to Mogadishu."

Russo said UNHCR "strongly condemns deportations to Mogadishu, which
in this moment is a death sentence. We appeal to all governments not
to return Somalis to Mogadishu, where everyday human rights are
violated, and civilians are injured and killed by the fighting."

Human Rights Watch, in a statement issued on 22 December 2010, called
on the Saudi government to stop deporting Somalis to Mogadishu.

"Deporting anyone to a war zone like Mogadishu is inhumane, but
returning children is beyond comprehension," Rona Peligal, Africa
director at HRW, is quoted as saying.

When contacted by IRIN, Saudi officials declined to comment on the issue.

Sheikh Ali Raage, a Muslim scholar, told IRIN the deportations were
not compatible with Islam. "Islam calls for the protection of those
fleeing conflict, hunger and any other troubles, whether they are
Muslims or non-Muslims."

He said they [refugees] should be provided with basic needs, such as
food shelter and safety and security.

The deportations come as fighting escalates between government
forces, backed by African Union peacekeepers, and Islamic Al-Shabab
insurgents who control much of southern and central Somalia, including
most of Mogadishu.

Since 1990, more than 1.4 million Somalis have been displaced
internally, and at least 600,000 are refugees in neighbouring


Tuesday, January 4, 2011


New York, Jan 4 2011 11:10AM
The joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Sudan's
war-torn Darfur region (UNAMID) is maintaining "a robust presence on
the ground" to ensure the safety of thousands of people displaced by
recent clashes.

In an update on the fighting that erupted last month between the
Government and rebel movements, UNAMID said today that security in all
affected areas in North and South Darfur was reported to be calm, with
the resumption of public transportation to some locations. Aid
continues to reach the thousands of displaced people, many of whom
have sought shelter outside nearby UNAMID team sites, it added.

The mission is also looking into reports of inter-tribal violence
between the Misseriya and Rizeigat communities in West Darfur.

UNAMID was set up to protect civilians and quell the violence in
Darfur, where nearly seven years of fighting between the Government,
its militia supporters and rebel groups seeking greater benefits for
the vast region, has killed at least 300,000 people and driven 2.7
million others from their homes.

The latest fighting erupted in December between Government troops and
forces of the Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minawi (SLA/MM).

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Somaliland releases Russian crew

Somaliland releases Russian crew

Six Russians have been released by a court in Somaliland after being sentenced to one-year suspended prison sentences for entering the enclave's airspace illegally and landing a plane with military supplies in violation of a UN embargo.

In his ruling on Thursday at the court in the city of of Hargeisa, judge Abdirqahman Jama Hayan also fined each man three million Somaliland shillings, or around $600.

The six Russians were arrested earlier this month after they landed an Antonov-24 cargo plane at the Egal International Airport on December 10.

Two South African citizens on board the plane have since been released.


The cargo on the flight also reportedly included bullet and grenade pouches.

Aden Ahmed Diriye, assistant general prosecutor, told the court that claims by the crew that an emergency landing was necessary because the plane was suffering from a fuel shortage were false.

Kadar Mohamed Guleid, the Russians' lawyer, said he was satisfied by the verdict and would not appeal.

All of the weapons on the plane will be confiscated, the judge announced.

Somaliland declared itself independent from Somalia in 1991 following violent crackdowns against local people by

President Siad Barre, who led Somalia from 1969 until his downfall in 1991, which precipitated the war that still engulfs the country.

Puntland, which unlike Somaliland does not seek recognition as an independent state, was formed in 1998.

Somaliland is involved in a border dispute with Puntland and the two security forces sometimes clash.