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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

African Union mission positions troops
across Somalia ahead of exit       

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said it is undertaking a series of troop movements, aimed at re-aligning contingent compositions in various forward operation bases across Somalia as part of exit strategy.

The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Francisco Caetano Madeira, said the strategic troop movements will continue, without disrupting the provision of the existing security services.

Madeira said in a statement released on Saturday night that the re-alignment of the troop composition will ensure the safety of the people of Somalia, who remain at the core of AMISOM’s operational consideration.

“The realignment of our troops in forward operating bases across the sectors including the movement of Ethiopian military contingents who are currently seen crossing the border from and into Somalia, represents calculated activities, in readiness for the transitioning of security responsibilities to the Somali National Security Forces,” he said.

AMISOM has kicked off plans to exit the Horn of Africa nation by training the local security officers.

The Pan-African body’s mission will reduce its troops by 1,000 by December, followed by further cuts next year, an exercise expected to end by 2020 as part of its exit strategy.

However, AMISOM’s exit is also pegged on the ability of the Somali National Security Forces, particularly the SNA to ably take over the security of the country.

Madeira lauded the Somali security forces for their determination and focus in completing all training and ensuring they are prepared to assume security responsibilities over territories that are currently secured by AMISOM.

The UN Security Council Resolution 2372 (2017) calls for a gradual, conditions-based, withdrawal of AMISOM troops from Somalia, following an intensive training and upskilling of Somalia’s National Security Forces. 

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EARLIER REPORTS:

U.S. orders non-essential officials to leave Mogadishu over terror threats

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The United States mission in Somalia has directed non-essential American officials to leave capital Mogadishu, due to the risk of terrorist attacks in the Horn of Africa nation.

The mission said in a statement released on Saturday night that the security situation in Somalia is unstable, noting that the threat to all Americans in Somalia remains critical.

“Due to specific threat information against U.S. personnel on the Mogadishu International Airport, the U.S. Mission to Somalia has directed all non-essential U.S. citizen employees to depart Mogadishu until further notice,” it said in a statement released on Saturday night.

Militants had repeatedly attacked Mogadishu’s international airport complex with improvised vehicle bombs, mortars, and direct weapons fire.

The mission’s warning came after the U.S. military conduced two separate airstrikes against militants in northeastern Somalia, where it killed several terrorists.

The U.S. Africa Command (Africom), which is assessing the results of the strikes on Nov. 3, said the first military strikes against the Islamic State (ISIS) occurred at about midnight local Somalia time with the second separate strike occurring at approximately 11 a.m. local Somalia time.

Washington urged all Americans who decide to remain in Somalia to review their personal security plans, take appropriate steps to enhance their personal safety, “remain aware of your surroundings, monitor local media for updates, and maintain a high level of vigilance.” 

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U.S. conducts airstrikes against ISIS in Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Several terrorists were killed in two separate airstrikes conducted by the U.S. and Somali military forces in northeastern Somalia on Friday.

The U.S. Africa Command (Africom) said the first military strikes against the Islamic State (ISIS), occurred at approximately midnight with the second separate strike occurring at approximately 11 a.m.

“In coordination with the federal government of Somalia, U.S. forces conducted two separate airstrikes against ISIS, in northeastern Somalia on Nov. 3, killing several terrorists,” Africom said .

Africom said in a statement on Friday night that the airstrikes against ISIS, which has developed a small presence in the Horn of Africa, aim to protect Americans and flush out terrorists. They were carried out under the authority given to Africom in March by U.S. President Donald Trump.

“We are currently assessing the results of the strike,” said Africom, warning that its forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and disable terrorist threats.

“This includes partnering with AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF); targeting terrorists, their training camps and safe havens throughout Somalia, the region and around the world,” it said.

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East African bloc to convene experience sharing
workshop for Somalia gov’t officials

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has announced it would convene an experience sharing workshop next week for Somali government officials.

In a statement on Saturday the East-African bloc said that its Special Mission to Somalia (IGAD SMS) is organizing the experience sharing workshop on federalism and devolution for Somalia government officials in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

The three-day workshop, from 7 to 9 Nov., will be conducted with the financial support of the European Union.

IGAD SMS has over the years been working with the Federal Government of Somalia and the Regional State Administrations on peace building, security and institutional capacity building process in the country, said the statement.

The overall objective of the workshop is to enhance the capacity and understanding of Somali government officials and experts, learning from Ethiopian and Kenyan experiences on federalism and devolution respectively, it said.

In addition, the workshop will also provide the participants with an opportunity to learn how institutions of the Somali Regional State Government in Ethiopia are structured, harmonized and functioning at the local levels, it added.

Workshop participants will include senior officials and experts from the Federal Government of Somalia, as well as the Regional State Administrations of Puntland, Jubaland, South West, Galmudug, Hirrsheblle and Banadir, according to the statement.

Representatives of Civil Society organizations, youth and women groups and the media have also been invited.

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Global experts set to meet in Somalia over sustainable energy

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- International energy experts are due to meet in Somalia capital Mogadishu from Tuesday to discuss ways to rapidly increase sustainable energy access across the Horn of Africa nation, organizers said on Friday.

The two-day conference organized by the government and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) brings together government officials, donors, private sector investors and practitioners and international sustainable energy experts.

“Sustained improvements in energy access in Somalia will require private sector investment on a large scale, alongside parallel public-sector investments in improving security, technical and institutional capacity building,” the UNDP said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

The forum, whose theme is “Opportunities and Barriers to Investments in Sustainable Energy in Somalia,” aims to outline a clear set of short- and medium-term actions for the government and its partners, and a set of private and public project proposals that can be ready for investment within 12 months.

“Despite improvements in energy access in Somalia, millions of people still do not have access to electricity, energy costs are very high and there remains a strong reliance on charcoal and firewood for cooking,” UNDP said.

It said sustainable energy investments will support larger Somali development, peace building and resilient recovery goals, as laid out in the London Conference on Somalia, and the government’s National Development Plan.

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East Africa bloc to train Somalia officials on Kenyan, Ethiopian experience

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Africa’s regional bloc said Saturday it will hold an experience sharing workshop on federalism and devolution for Somalia government officials in Ethiopia next week.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Special Mission to Somalia (IGAD SMS) said the Nov. 7-9 meeting is to enhance the capacity and understanding of Somali government officials and experts, learning from Ethiopian and Kenyan experiences on federalism and devolution respectively.

“In addition, the workshop will also provide the participants with an opportunity to learn how institutions of the Somali Regional State Government in Ethiopia are structured, harmonized and functioning at the local levels,” the bloc said in a statement.

IGAD SMS has over the years been working with the Somali government on peace building, security and institutional capacity building process in the country.

Senior officials and experts from the Somalia government, as well as the regional state administrations of Puntland, Jubaland, South West, Galmudug, Hirrsheblle and Banadir are among delegates.

Representatives of civil society organizations, youth and women groups will also attend the two-day meeting.

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Global charity calls for joint efforts to fight pneumonia in Somalia

MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) -- International charity Save the Children has called for joint effort to fighting pneumonia, the forgotten killer disease in Somalia.

The charity said in a report released on Thursday that pneumonia kills more than two children every hour in Somalia, even though it can be treated with antibiotics costing as little as 0.50 U.S. dollars.

“The situation is worse in Somalia. Food shortages as a result of drought in the country has left millions of children malnourished; making them more vulnerable to diseases including pneumonia,” Abdiqafar Hange, the Area Representative for Save the Children Puntland said during the launch of the report in Garowe.

“We are doing all it take to save these children. We should not ignore pneumonia at this critical time,” Hange added.

The report, Fighting for Breath is part of the global report which also marks the launch of Save the Children’s effort against pneumonia, which aims to save a million lives in the next five years.

The report indicates that 14,561 Somali children succumbed to pneumonia in 2015 alone -which is more than two children dying every hour.

This implies 24 percent of all under five mortality is due to pneumonia. The situation may get worse if drastic measures are not taken to save children’s lives.

Puntland Minister of Health Abdinasir Osman Isse who launched the report said the government has prioritized prevention and treatment of pneumonia.

“However, we cannot do it alone. We need all the key stakeholders to join efforts and ensure children have access to quality health services at all levels of service delivery,” Isse said.

He said there is a need to increase investment in the primary health care systems as well as prioritize effective prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia.

Pneumonia is responsible for the deaths of more children under five than any other disease - more than malaria, diarrhea and measles combined.

According to the charity, more than 80 percent of the victims are children under two years old, many with immune systems weakened by malnutrition or insufficient breastfeeding and unable to fight the infection. Infants are at their most vulnerable in the first weeks of life.

Save the Children is calling for 166 million under-twos to be immunized and for action to help 400 million worldwide with no access to health care. Half of all mothers in Africa have no health care around the time of birth.

Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General and Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation, who is backing the global effort, said the cost of vaccines - 9.15 dollars in poor countries - was too high.

“Pharmaceutical companies, governments, aid donors and UN agencies need to come together to make the vaccine prices more affordable to save more lives,” Annan said.
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FURTHER READING:

US air strikes target 'Islamic State' fighters in Somalia

           

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