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Two senior 'al-Shabaab' officials surrender to the Jubaland State | Coastweek

HIRSHABELLE Somalia (AMISOM) -- Heavy machinery, operated by the African Union Mission in Somalia, works on the roads around the town of Jowhar during 'Operation Antelope', which aims to make the state roads more accessible. AMISOM PHOTO

Two senior 'al-Shabaab' officials surrender to the Jubaland State

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Two senior Al-Shabaab officials surrendered to Jubaland State forces in Kismayo town in southern Somalia, officials said Thursday.

Colonel Ahmed Muse, Jubaland State Head of Criminal Investigation Department, told reporters in Mogadishu that the two senior Al-Shabaab officials surrendered on Wednesday.

"Sheikh Mohamed Abdi, Commander of Al-Shabaab in charge of collecting taxes, and Mohamed Abdikarim Omar, who is head of security in Jubaland, surrendered to our forces.

"They have renounced the Al-Shabaab and have decided to join the rest of Somalis in peace building," Muse said.

Muse added that the Jubaland State welcomes all militants who take advantage of the amnesty and leave the Al-Shabaab movement.

The two Al-Shabaab officials have surrendered at a time when heavy fighting occurred in northwest of Kismayo in Lower Juba early this week between the militants and locals backed by state forces.


At least seven people killed on minibus by 'al-Shabaab' in Southern Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- At least seven people including two soldiers on a minibus were killed while six others were injured after Al-Shabaab militants opened fire at a vehicle at Daynunay location, about some 30 kilometers south of Baidoa town in southern Somalia, officials said on Friday.

Information Minister for Southwest State, Ugaas Hassan told Xinhua by phone that the militants ambushed a civilian bus and opened fire on the passengers indiscriminately.

"Al-Shabaab terrorist militants opened fire on a civilian mini-bus which had left Baidoa town and was heading to Burhakaba town in the region," Hassan said.

He added that the injured people were taken to the hospitals in Baidoa town, the administrative capital of Southwest State Administration.

According to the minister, by the time the Somali National Army reached the crime scene, the militants had already fled from the area.

This is the second deadly incident on a civilian bus in southern Somalia in the past seven days.

At least six people on minibus were killed early on Saturday morning last week near Qoryoley town in lower Shabelle region in Southern Somalia.

Three civilians killed in 'al-Shabaab' clashes in southern Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- At least three people were killed and two others injured after fighting between locals and Al-Shabaab militants near Kismayo town in lower Jubba region, southern Somalia, officials said Wednesday.

Deputy Governor of Kismayo town, Abdullahi Mohamed told reporters that an unidentified number of Al-Shabaab fighters were killed during the confrontation.

"Al-Shabaab terrorists killed three local pastoralists and wounded two others after facing resistance from the locals northwest of Kismayo, there are casualties on terrorist side, but we did not gather the information," Mohamed said.

He said Jubbaland State forces are backing the locals in the fight against Al-Shabaab in the region and there is possible war with terrorists any time.

"Our forces went to the area to back the locals and fight Al-Shabaab militants who are taking illegal taxes (Zakawat) from residents who are in a very hard situation at the moment", the deputy governor added.

This is the second clash between Al-Shabaab militants and locals in lower Jubba region in southern Somalia since start of the week.

Six 'al-Shabaab' militants get 'life' imprisonment from military court

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somali Military Court on Thursday sentenced six Al-Shabaab militants to life term in prison after they were found guilty of being terrorist group members and attacked regional state of Galmudug early this year, an official said.

Hassan Ali Nur Shute, Chairperson of the Somali military Court, ruled that the six were among 41 militants who were captured from east of Mudug region under Galmudug State on March 24.

"The Prosecutors sat for the hearing case of six terrorist members of Al-Shabaab, they are Abdullahi Sh. Hussein Hassan (27), Mohamed Aden Kayr (30), Ibrahim Hassan Isak (38), Omar Hassan Nor (29), Mohamed Mohamud Nor (34), Mohamud Moallim (30).

The six were found guilty of being terrorist members after being captured in a war with Galmudug State forces in central Somalia on March 24," Shute said.

He added that these members will end their life time in prison.

The military court often carries out sentence to Al-Shabaab militants and some government soldiers to either long term sentences or death penalties, a move rights groups have condemned.

African Union Mission probes death of six civilians in Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said on Tuesday that it has launched investigations into the killing of six civilians in separate incidents in Qoryooley and Marka in southern Somalia over the weekend.

The AU said initial reports established that AMISOM troops came under mortar attack by suspected Al-Shabaab terrorists hiding in the neighborhood on Saturday night.

This, AMISOM said, was after the troops on patrol noticed an unusual movement of vehicles in the night, believed to have been ferrying Al-Shabaab fighters.

"The movement of vehicles prompted AMISOM troops to set up a roadblock to thwart attacks by Al-Shabaab militants.

A minibus approaching the roadblock was ordered to stop but the driver defied the order and reversed the vehicle in haste, forcing our troops to shoot, killing six people in the minibus," the statement said.

The AU mission said there is an agreement in place between the local administration and AMISOM banning movement of vehicles in the area after 19:00 to minimize terrorist attacks in the night, which had become frequent, killing innocent civilians.

The AU mission said the AMISOM convoy en-route to Mogadishu was ambushed by Al-Shabaab militants after it hit an improvised explosive device (IED) on the same evening near Buffow.

"Our troops fought off the attackers and managed to arrest one of the fighters.

By the time AMISOM left the area, no civilian casualty had occurred," it said, noting that the AU mission operates under the international human rights law and takes civilian casualties seriously.

According to AMISOM, all allegations made against its personnel are thoroughly investigated and action taken under the rules and procedures governing the mission’s operation in Somalia.

The mission has over 22,000 peacekeepers supporting the restoration of peace and stability in Somalia and AMISOM said their commitment to this noble goal will not be derailed by the selfish acts of a few of its members.

AU, UN launch Somali operation to restore supply routes

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) have jointly embarked on an operation to open up key supply routes in HirShabelle region in central Somalia.

AMISOM Sector 5 Commander Venuste Nduwayo said the operation dubbed Antelope Operation is already underway and will restore more than 150 kms of roads in the agricultural region of Somalia.

"This project’s objective is repairing the roads in this region to enable free movement not only for AMISOM but also for the Somali population," Nduwayo said in a statement issued in Mogadishu on Saturday.

The two organizations intend to open the roads in the region to help the military get access to Forward Operating Bases (FOB) in the sector that is under the Burundi contingent.

Major Raymond Kemei from the Mission Enabling Unit said the rehabilitation and opening up of the roads will help the local population move their crops from farms to the markets.

He added that the rehabilitated routes will enable the local population to move freely while the security agencies will be able to respond to emergencies much faster.

Kemei also noted that humanitarian agencies will also get access to populations in areas that have been cut off from the road infrastructure.

The rehabilitation works began on Dec. 1 after the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) Francisco Madeira met the president of HirShabelle to discuss matters of security and infrastructure.

The operation in the newest federal state in Somalia is expected to take at least three months.


Foreign envoys urge Somali to fix poll malpractices

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Foreign envoys on Wednesday called on Somali leaders to swiftly address various malpractices to ensure credibility of the electoral process.

In a joint statement issued in Mogadishu, envoys from the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Ethiopia, Italy, Sweden, Britain and the United States urged the National Leadership Forum (NLF) to uphold accountability, transparency and legitimacy of electoral process.

They also called on the Independent Electoral Dispute Resolution Mechanism (IEDRM) to address serious irregularities during the electoral process, including bribery, intimidation, kidnapping, manipulation of delegate lists and failure to comply with the mandatory requirement to reserve seats for female candidates.

According to the international partners, there has been frustration over a lack of feedback from the IEDRM.

"For the sake of accountability, transparency and credibility, international partners call upon the IEDRM to publicize the complaints and how it processed them," the statement said.

The envoys also called on the NLF, the highest authority that created the IEDRM and that is responsible for safeguarding the legitimacy of the electoral process, to work with the IEDRM to ensure accountability for the electoral abuse.

They maintained that the electoral process must now be concluded swiftly and in a successful and credible manner.

Michael Keating, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, said the NLF should reach a decision on the disputed seats in the House of the People in a prompt and fair manner that is broadly acceptable to the people of Somalia and the international community.

"Any attempt to gloss over the irregularities that plagued some of the voting will not only affect the acceptability of the outcome of the electoral process and compromise the legitimacy of the anticipated new government, but also play into the hands of spoilers and violent extremists bent on discrediting a process that has already achieved greater inclusiveness and more women’s representation in Somali politics," he said.

Somalia to re-apply to join EAC bloc in 2017

NAIROBI Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somalia plans to re-apply to join the six-member East African Community (EAC) bloc in 2017, the country’s ambassador said Sunday.

Somali Ambassador to Kenya Gamal Hassan told journalists in Nairobi that its application in 2016 was postponed as it had not met all the requirements of admission.

"Hopefully our application to join the EAC will receive a positive response during the EAC summit in 2017," Hassan said during the Eastleigh Business Summit, which brought together business people from the Somali business community in Kenya.

EAC partner states include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan.

Hassan said Somalia’s membership will help boost trade between Somalia and its EAC neighbors.

"It will also help provide employment opportunities for youth in the region," he added.

The envoy also said his country was seeking to re-establish direct flights between Kenya’s capital of Nairobi and Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu.

Currently, flights have to stop over in Kenya’s northeast city of Wajir.

Hassan also noted that the voluntary repatriation of Somalia refugees who are based in Kenya is proceeding smoothly.

"Every month, we are recording thousands of refugees who are going back home," he added.


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