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United States special forces kill over 100 'al-Shabaab' militants

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The United States special forces on Tuesday conducted an airstrike in Somalia against Al-Shabaab, killing more than 100 militants, the U.S. military said.

The U.S. Africa Command (Africom) said in a statement the operation occurred about 200 km northwest of the capital, Mogadishu.

"In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in Somalia against an Al-Shabaab camp on Tuesday at approximately 10:30 a.m. local Somalia time, killing more than 100 militants," Africom said in a statement.

Africom vowed the U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats by partnering with African Union and Somalia security forces targeting the terrorists’ hideouts.

"Our political and security goals in Somalia are the same: a reconstituted Somali state at peace internally and able to address all threats within its territory," the U.S. military said.

The latest drone strike comes after Somalia and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces have stepped up a massive security operation to flush out Al-Shabaab militants in the southern region.

The pan-African body plans to reduce its troops by 1,000 by December this year, followed by further cuts next year, an exercise expected to end by 2020 as part of its exit strategy.


Somaliland elects ruling party candidate Abdi as fifth president

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somaliland’s ruling party candidate Muse Bihi Abdi was on Tuesday declared the winner of the Nov. 13 presidential elections, defeating two other opposition candidates in the polls organized in all the six regions.

Chairperson of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Abdukadir Iman Warsame said Abdi garnered 350,909 votes or 55.1 percent of the total votes cast, ahead of his challengers - Abdirahman Mohamed Abdulahi Irro of Wadani Party who got 226,099 or 40.73 percent and Faysal Ali Warabe of Justice and Development Party (UCID) party received 23,141 votes or 4.1 percent.

"The winner of the presidential elections is Muse Bihi Abdi from the Kulmiye party and Abdirahman Abdulahi is his deputy from the same party," Warsameh told a news conference in Hargeisa.

Abdi becomes the fifth president of the breakaway region of Somalia. Warsame said the Nov. 13 polls saw 80 percent turnout, noting that 556,617 voters cast their vote out of the registered 704,089.

The announcement comes after the opposition candidate, Irro had on Monday said he would not recognize the results, citing massive electoral irregularities including stuffing of ballot and intimidation of party officials.

"We will not accept the election result, because it was not free and fair election, rigging of votes took place, and corruption also happened. Some of our observers were arrested, killed or injured.

Even young children under the age of 15 voted, but we call for calm and peace to our supporters," said Irro.

Abdi, a former military commander and leader of the ruling Kulmire party was born in Hargeisa in 1948.

This was the third presidential election happens in the breakaway region of Somaliland, it declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, but did not get any recognition so far.

Both UCID and Kulmiye competed in the 2003 and 2010 presidential elections, but this is the first election for the Wadani Party, which secured the right to field a candidate based on its performance in the 2012 local elections.

The current president, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud who has been in office since 2010, did not defend his seat. Mohamud’s term ended in 2015 but his stay in office was occasioned by election delays due to lack of funds and political rifts among the leaders.

Abdi will now inherit a fragile economy which is heavily dependent on livestock exports and remittances.

Somalia leader commends peaceful elections in Somaliland

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has congratulated Muse Bihi Abdi on his election as a president of the republic of Somaliland.

In a statement issued in Mogadishu on Tuesday evening, Farmajo praised the peaceful elections conducted in Somaliland, saying the Nov. 13 presidential polls enhanced reputation and honor to Somali people in general.

"I am thanking all parties and candidates who competed in the democratic way.

"I was closely watching registration procedure, election campaign and vote casting that showed civilization and patience," Farmajo said.

Farmajo pledged to continue talks between Somalia and the Somaliland.

"To the elected president Muse Bihi Abdi, I am promising that I will work with you on speeding up talks between the Federal Government of Somalia and Somaliland to restore the confidence of people," Farmajo said.

His message comes hours after National Electoral Commission (NEC) declared Abdi as the winner of the Somaliland presidential election conducted on Nov. 13.

Abdi garnered some 350,909 votes or 55.1 percent of the total votes cast.

African Union Mission trains Somali security forces on gender issues

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The African Union Mission in Somalia on Wednesday kicked off a two-day training of 32 Somali security forces to enable them support the integration of gender issues in their places of work.

Francisco Madeira, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia, said the training will align the security forces to the global and regional frameworks, established by the AU and the United Nations.

Madeira said the UN Security Council has extended the new mandate for AMISOM, placing focus on upholding accountability, accountable security forces that comply with international obligations, particularly International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law.

"Protection of women and gender equality is paramount," Madeira told the 32 security officers drawn from the government and federal member states, according to a statement issued in Mogadishu.

He said the training which will be rolled out in the federal member states, is part of AMISOM’s gender capacity building project for the Somali security sector.

Olad Abdullahi Roobe, Somalia’s Deputy Minister of Defence, stressed the importance of providing equitable opportunities to women, especially in decision making positions.



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