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Kenya security confirms list with 35 Al-Shabaab sympathizers

MANDERA (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government on Sunday revealed it has a list of 35 individuals from northeastern county of Mandera who have joined the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab network to carry out attacks in their home country.

Mohamud Saleh, the Northeastern Regional Commissioner, said that the 35 individuals who are well known by the local community have raised families in Kenya and have always alternated between Somalia and Kenya without notice.

“I have the names of the youth who have been recruited by Al-Shabaab. We know their families and even their wives. They cross over to Somalia often to visit their families and nobody reports to authorities,” Saleh told a group of elders who attended a peace meeting in Mandera.

He regretted that so far no elected leader or clan elder has condemned Al-Shabaab publicly yet they are quick to condemn the government when security agents carry out an operation to nab suspects.

Saleh expressed shock at an incident where Kenyans at a border town in Mandera accused security forces for bombing a mobile phone mast in Somalia in retaliation to a similar attack mast by Al-Shabaab militants.

“We must be honest with ourselves. Unless leaders come out and take the lead in restoring and maintaining security in Mandera, then the region will never recover from insecurity,” Saleh told clan elders

He added that the government has resolved to carry out a massive operation to flush out Al-Shabaab militants in regions bordering Somalia.

Saleh said that security forces in the area have made tremendous strides in suppressing the Al-Shabaab menace in the area and the region at large.



Blast kills two Kenyan soldiers, injure 3 others near border town

GARISSA, Kenya, (Xinhua) -- Two Kenyan soldiers died and three others sustained injuries when a vehicle they were traveling in was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) near the border with Somalia on Saturday.

Mohamed Saleh, the North Eastern Regional Coordinator, confirmed the incident on Sunday, saying the explosive device was set up by Al-Shabaab militants in northeastern Kenyan county of Garissa which shares a border with Somalia.

Saleh revealed that a response team has already been dispatched to the region to hunt for the militants though none has been arrested so far.

“We have mounted operations in the area in a bid to get those behind the attack,” Saleh told journalists in Garissa, noting that the bodies of the dead together with the injured victims had been airlifted to Nairobi.

The regional administrator told reporters the hunt for the Al-Shabaab militants had intensified and it is hoped they will be nabbed by an elite team of security personnel.

The Kenyan security personnel patrolling the Somalia border have been hit with a series of explosion attacks since Kenya sent its troops to fight Al-Shabaab inside Somalia in 2011.

The latest attack is the second to happen in the region in the month of January. Early this month, the terror gang destroyed at least five communication masts crippling communication in the region.

Kenya Defence Forces, which is part of African Union troops in Somalia, has started withdrawing from the country as part of plans to leave some operations to Somali troops.


UN agency says death of its Somalia contractor being probed

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF said Saturday that investigation is underway after the fatal shooting of its contractor inside the UN agency’s compound in Mogadishu on Friday.

A UNICEF Somalia spokesperson confirmed the incident, saying all UNICEF condoled with the family of the man who was killed on Friday afternoon.

“An investigation is underway, and UNICEF staff are safe. Our thoughts are with the family of the man who was killed,” the spokesperson told Xinhua.

Sources said the former security guard at the UN agency who was reportedly sacked and later rehired shot the Ugandan chef before escaping from the compound.

The sources said the government security forces arrived at the compound shortly after the assailant had escaped and had begun investigating the incident.

No arrest has been made so far. The motive behind the shooting remained unclear.


AU’s Somalia mission to train, mentor local security forces

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said Sunday a multinational team of newly deployed police officers will mentor and train local police forces in the management of law and order as the country rebuilds its security institutions.

AMISOM said the 40 AU police officers from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia who have just concluded induction training will be deployed in different police stations in Mogadishu and in the federal member states where AMISOM has presence.

Rex Dundun, the Chief of Staff of AMISOM Police urged the police officers to execute AMISOM’s mandate with diligence and commitment to duty


UN migration agency opens office in Somalia amid displacements

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The UN migration agency said Friday it has opened an office in Dollow in the Gedo region of Somalia in response to the large-scale displacements caused by drought and insecurity.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said it has scaled up its emergency response programming in the region, implementing community stabilization activities across the wider Gedo region, including the rehabilitation of schools and district administration offices.

Kevin Merkelz, an IOM Operations Officer in Dollow, said IOM’s work in Dollow would not be possible without the steadfast support and goodwill of the local authorities.

“The establishment of this office demonstrates our commitment to serve the affected communities of Dollow in 2018 and beyond,” Merkelz said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

By May 2017, IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix estimated that over 40,000 individuals lived across 58 IDP sites which host both newly displaced persons and those in situations of protracted displacement.

This figure, according to IOM, increased to 75,684 by September 2017, when the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) cluster undertook a detailed site assessment.

“IOM’s CCCM team is working closely with the Government of Somalia and Dollow District authorities to improve living conditions in displacement sites through site expansion and planning, as well as coordination with non-governmental organizations and other UN agencies,” the UN agency said.

In December 2016, an estimated 4,800 IDPs were living in Dollow, according to UNHCR’s Protection and Return Monitoring Network.


UN Security Council welcomes progress in Somalia

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Thursday welcomed Somalia’s progress and urged the parties to make 2018 a year of implementation of various reforms.

In a press statement, the Security Council welcomed the political commitment to security sector, economic and political reforms.

The council stressed the importance of making progress on the political settlement in preparation for elections in 2020/2021.

It welcomed the Nov. 5 agreement between the federal government and states on taking forward security and federalism, and urged the federal government to ensure high-level dialogue with states to make progress on key issues, including the constitutional review, elections, fiscal federalism, and power and resource sharing.

The council raised concern about ongoing instability in Somalia and urged all parties to resolve political differences through peaceful dialogue.

It welcomed Somalia’s commitment to working with partners to develop a conditions-based transition plan with clear target dates.

Briefing the Security Council on Wednesday, Michael Keating, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Somalia, reported “definite progress” in the country thanks to the new federal government that embraces reforms.

Since the peaceful transition of power almost a year ago, the new government led by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has crafted a commendable national agenda embracing financial reform, job creation, inclusive politics, conflict resolution and reform of the security sector, said Keating.



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