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Somali forces kill Al-Shabaab militants in southern region

MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) -- Several Al-Shabaab militants were killed on Tuesday in heavy fighting between Somali National Army and the militant group near Baidoa town, southwest Somalia, officials said.

Security Minister of Southwest State in Somalia Hassan Hussein Mohamed told Xinhua by phone that the militants’ attempt to capture two areas was thwarted.

“The terrorists attacked SNA and Southwest State forces’ bases in Daynuney and Gof-gudud, north and east of Baidoa town, but their attempt to capture the two areas were foiled,” Mohamed said.

Mohamed said several militants were killed and others wounded during the early morning fighting.

“There are no casualties on our side and we remain at our bases while continuing operations against terrorists in the region now,” Mohamed added.

Other sources said at least five militants were killed in the attack on Daynuney, while one government soldier was injured in Gof-gudud.

Both bases locate in the Bay region of Somalia. Residents also confirmed the militants launched simultaneous attacks on the two regional military bases.

Residents said the militants briefly seized Gof-gudud Burey before regional forces retook it, noting that troops at Daynuney held their positions, repulsing attack.

Al-Shabaab militants claimed to have captured Daynuney location, about 25 km east of Baidoa town, and Gof-gudud location, about 30 km north of Baidoa.

Some residents in Baidoa told Xinhua the militants briefly captured the two locations and later looted materials and medicines at a police station and a hospital in Gof-gudud.

The latest assault by security forces came amid increased attacks by the Al-Qaida-allied militant group, which is targeting government and African Union bases in Somalia.



Somali PM urges int’l community to help in stabilization process

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire on Monday appealed to the international partners to support his government to steer the country’s security sector reform process.

Khaire, who co-chaired the government’s security sector reforms cluster meeting in Mogadishu said the Horn of African nation still needs the African Union peacekeeping mission (AMISOM) to stabilize the country.

“We still need AMISOM and we don’t want to see their work going back,” the PM told the key stakeholders in the security reform process including representatives from the United Nations and the European Union.

The pan African body’s mission has promised to continue supporting the transition through the priority tasks including securing main supply routes, securing key population centers, to mentor and assist Somali security forces, both military and police, in close collaboration with UN Mission in Somalia and in line with the National Security Architecture.

AMISOM has also committed to further degrading Al-Shabaab and implementing the transition process by continuing joint AMISOM-Somalia National Army efforts in executing these tasks.

During the meeting, Khaire highlighted the strong cooperation between the federal government and federal member states in the delivery of the National Security Architecture.

The country’s National Security Architecture plan is central to achieving sustainable security reform and a transition of primary responsibility of security from AMISOM to Somali security forces.

Deputy Head of AMISOM Simon Mulongo emphasized the need for a well-planned and articulated transition in order to avoid setbacks.

“This transition should be one which goes hand in hand with stabilization, mediation and reconciliation efforts and delivery of basic social services,” Mulongo said.

The Monday meeting was a follow-up to the High-Level Security Conference held in Mogadishu in December last year in which a conditions-based transfer of security responsibilities from AMISOM to Somali forces was discussed.


Somalia and Turkey ink trade deals to boost bilateral ties

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somalia said on Monday that it signed a raft of trade agreements with Turkey aimed at boosting an already thriving economic cooperation between the two countries.

Somali Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Ahmed Gulaid said he signed a cooperation protocol during the inaugural meeting of a Joint Economic Commission (JEC), noting that Mogadishu was open to foreign investment and ready to boost trade cooperation with all friendly countries.

“The agreements will also open Somali exports to Central Asian markets through the Turkish gateway as well as to contribute to the country’s economic recovery and to generate employment for the Somali youth,” Gulaid said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

He said the objective of the JEC is to translate the number of memorandums of understanding signed between the two countries into reality with immediate priority being to open Turkish markets for Somali products such as dry lemon, sesame and banana.

The deputy prime minister stressed that revitalizing the Horn of Africa country’s economy was one of the top priorities of the Somali government.

The two countries had previously signed trade agreements in areas such as energy, mines, electricity, higher education, agriculture, and fisheries.

Gulaid said Turkey’s investment in Somalia is more than 100 million U.S. dollars, predicting that the bilateral trade volume could rise to 200 million dollars from about 120 million dollars in 2016.

The two countries resolved to convene regular meetings to follow up on the implementation of the agreements and to bolster the strategic cooperation in the years to come.

“Apart from the historical relations between our countries, Turkey has become a very important ally for the Somali people and we are committed to consolidate these relations for the mutual benefit of our two countries,” Gulaid said.

He said trade ties will also open the gates for the Somali business community to have business-to-business deals with their Turkish counterparts and to participate in Turkish trade fairs.



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