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Ugandan military chief visits Somalia to shore up transition plan | Coastweek

MOGADISHU Somalia -- Ambassador Francisco Madeira [left], the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia meets Gen. David Muhoozi, Uganda's Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) during the latter's visit to Mogadishu. Gen. David Muhoozi [right] inspects a parade mounted by Ugandan AMISOM soldiers. AMISOM PHOTOS - OMAR ABDISALAN

Ugandan military chief visits Somalia to shore up transition plan

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Ugandan military chief is visiting Somalia to review progress made in the transitioning of national security responsibilities to the Somali national security forces by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)

The AU mission said in a statement on Saturday that David Muhoozi, Chief of the Defence Forces (CDF) of Uganda who arrived in Mogadishu on Friday lauded the AU troops for extending the ‘frontiers of peace and liberation, and fostering development’ in the country.

"A lot has been done, a lot more remains and I can only say that the resilience of the enemy is matched by the resilience of the troops in AMISOM and all the TCCs (troop contributing countries)," Muhoozi said, according to the statement.

"Uganda happens to be one of them and we are proud to contribute to the peace and security of Somalia," he said after holding talks with Francisco Madeira, the AU Special Representative for Somalia and head of AMISOM.

Muhoozi who is in Somalia on a routine visit to Ugandan troops deployed to the country, hailed troops from all the troop contributing countries to AMISOM, for their efforts in the degradation of al-Shabab extremists.

Madeira said the latest visit by the Ugandan military chief offers reassurance to the mission leadership and troops.

"We talked about how we can move ahead in the coming times.

"How we can, together, implement the transition, and Resolution 2431 of the UN Security Council, which gives us the mandate up to May next year," said Madeira.

The two also discussed planned joint military operations with the Somali security forces.

"We both agreed that we need to continue to move together, we need to ensure that Somali troops are ready to take over from us.

"We need also, to make sure that al-Shabab is further degraded," said the AU envoy.

He said the troops would soon embark on operations to free new areas, which are currently occupied by extremists.

"We need to create space for the government to occupy and be present in much wider areas than it is currently and make sure that the checkpoints and tax collection points by al-Shabab are dismantled," Madeira said.

He assured that Leego town which lies about 120 km southwest of Mogadishu will fall back into the hands of the government.

Al-Shabab took over control of Leego which links Mogadishu to the western regions of Bay and Bakool, in August 2017 after AMISOM troops withdrew from a Forward Operating Base, situated in the area.


United Nations urges Somalis to step up efforts to end gender-based violence

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The United Nations on Sunday called on all Somalis to take concrete steps to help bring an end to gender-based violence as annual 16-day campaign of activism against such violence was launched in the country.

Peter de Clercq, UN secretary-general’s deputy special representative for Somalia, said the Horn of Africa nation has made considerable strides to prevent and criminalize sexual offences and gender-based violence.

"At the federal level, the Council of Ministers passed the Sexual Offices Bill in May this year, a positive step in addressing sexual violence and strengthening the provision of support to survivors," de Clercq said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

De Clercq said Somalia’s progress has included improvements in legal protection for women and girls in the federal member state of Puntland through the enactment of sexual offences legislation in November 2016.

The Sexual Offences Bill that was approved by federal cabinet ministers earlier this year awaits endorsement by the federal parliament, he said.

The UN official however said abuses such as sexual and gender-based violence remain a pervasive feature of armed conflict and violence in Somalia.

"Today, we call on the Federal Government of Somalia, the Federal Member States and all other national and international actors to play a vital role in creating awareness, providing legal and medical aid, and facilitating access to services for those who are the most vulnerable," de Clercq said.

According to the UN, available evidence suggests that physical assault continues to be the most commonly reported type of gender-based violence in the country, followed by sexual assault and rape.

Those categories account for 64 percent and nine percent of all such reported incidents, respectively, said the UN.

The "16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence" is a global campaign which takes place every year and aims to raise awareness on the need to end violence against women and girls.

The campaign runs from Nov. 25, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to Dec. 10, when International Human Rights Day is observed.

African Union mission spearheads police recruitment in Somalia

MOMBASA (Xinhua) -- The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said on Friday that it is spearheading an ambitious police recruitment drive in Somalia’s HirShabelle State to help stabilize the country.

The AU mission said the first phase of recruitment of police officers commenced with the screening, vetting and training of at least 200-new police recruits in the state’s administrative capital of Jowhar.

"The recruits will undergo a three-month basic policing course, to skill them on critical aspects of policing," AMISOM said, noting that its working collaboratively with the Somali Police Force to build the capacity of the new recruits to effectively boost law enforcement in the state.

It said the training will also focus on cross-cutting issues, such as the international human rights law, the international humanitarian law and general human rights issues; including due diligence policies, which are prerequisites in their profession.

AMISOM said the recruits who are drawn from the Middle Shabelle and Hiiraan regions - two regions that make HirShabelle State - are an amalgam of trainees selected by traditional elders, politicians and other stakeholders in the state, to form an integrated force.

The AU Mission hopes to recruit a total of 800 police officers in HirShabelle State alone, as part of the transitioning of the security responsibility to the Somali security forces.

HirShabelle State was formed in 2016 during Somalia’s state formation process and will benefit greatly from the new police recruits.

United States military airstrikes kill six al-Shabab fighters in Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The United States military said Thursday it conducted two airstrikes in central Somalia on Wednesday, killing six al-Shabab terrorists and also destroyed a weapons cache.

The U.S. Africa Command (Africom) said the drone strikes which were carried out in coordination with Somalia government was conducted in the vicinity of Haradhere in central Somalia.

"We currently assess the first airstrike killed six al-Shabab militants and the second airstrike destroyed a weapons cache," Africom said in a statement.

The U.S. military said these airstrikes did not injure or kill any civilians but targeted the militant group which has been fighting to establish an Islamic state in Somalia for almost a decade.

"These precision airstrikes were conducted in coordination with and in support of the Federal Government of Somalia as it continues to degrade al-Shabab," Africom said.

It added that the airstrikes reduce al-Shabab’s ability to plot future attacks, disrupt its leadership networks, and degrade its freedom of maneuver within the region.

The al-Qaida allied terrorist group continues to hold parts of the country’s south and central regions after being chased out of Mogadishu several years ago.

Somali and African Union peacekeeping forces have also intensified military operations against the insurgents, flushing them in their Lower and Middle Shabelle region bases as part of efforts to stabilize the Horn of Africa nation.

United States airstrike kills seven al-Shabab militants in Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The United States military said Wednesday it conducted an airstrike in Somalia on Tuesday, killing seven al-Shabab militants.

The U.S. Africa Command (Africom) which oversees American troops on the African continent said the latest airstrike which was conducted in the vicinity of Quy Cad did not injure or kill any civilians.

"This precision airstrike was conducted in coordination with and in support of the Federal Government of Somalia as it continues to degrade al-Shabab," Africom said in a statement.

"Airstrikes reduce al-Shabab’s ability to plot future attacks, disrupt its leadership networks, and degrade its freedom of maneuver within the region," it added.

The latest airstrike comes after the U.S. military announced on Tuesday its special forces conducted two airstrikes in central Somalia Monday, killing a total of 37 al-Shabab terrorists.

The Washington strikes have largely targeted al-Shabab figureheads and based in southern Somalia where the group still maintains a strong grip in some regions.

United States military says kills 37 al-Shabab militants in Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The United States military said Tuesday its special forces conducted two airstrikes in the vicinity of Debatscile in Somalia on Monday, killing 37 al-Shabab terrorists.

The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said the two airstrikes, carried in cooperation with the Somali government, were planned to degrade the extremists.

"We currently assess the first airstrike killed twenty-seven (27) militants.

"This precision strike was a planned and deliberate action," AFRICOM said in a statement.

It said 10 militants were killed in another airstrike and that no civilian was killed or injured in the latest airstrikes.

AFRICOM vowed to continue working with its partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia from the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) to the Somali federal government and its member states.

"Alongside our Somali and international partners, we are committed to preventing al-Shabab from taking advantage of safe havens from which they can build capacity and attack the people of Somalia," it said.

The statement said the terrorist group uses portions of southern and central Somalia "to plot and direct terror attacks, steal humanitarian aid, extort the local populace to fund its operations, and shelter radical terrorists."

Six Somali solders killed and 10 others injured in al-Shabab ambush

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- At least six Somali soldiers were killed and 10 others injured in an ambush by al-Shabab militants at a location north in Mogadishu on Saturday evening, officials said on Sunday.

Abdiweli Mohamed Abdi, information minister for Hirshabelle State in Somalia, said the militants ambushed the soldiers along the road near Bal’ad town in Middle Shabelle region, sparking a fierce gunfight.

He said the militants suffered heavy casualties during the fighting.

"I had the report that over 10 al-Shabab fighters were killed during the fight with the military.

"The enemy ran away and the situation is calm now," he added.

Somali army kills seven al-Shabab militants in southern region

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somali National Army (SNA) killed seven al-Shabab militants and injured several others during a fierce fighting with the militants at Jilib-Marko near the port town of Marka in southern Somalia, officials said Thursday.

Mohamed Ibrahim Bare, Governor of Lower Shabelle region said the forces will intensify operation in the region to flush out the insurgents.

"Somali National Army carried out well-planned military operation against al-Shabab militants in Jilib-Marko on Wednesday and killed seven terrorists and injured several others.

"The operation goes on," Bare said.

Al-Shabab militants’ affiliated website reported the group fighters killed four soldiers and recovered weapons during heavy fighting between the two sides.

The militants also claimed they have killed at least 12 soldiers with landmine blast near Walaweyn town in the same region over night, but government officials did not comment on the claim by the insurgents who normally inflated the casualty figures.

The military operation comes after U.S. forces intensified airstrikes in the country’s central regions this week, killing at least 50 militants.

Four al-Shabab militants killed, seven others injured in central Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Four al-Shabab militants were killed and seven others injured on Monday in heavy fighting with forces of Somalia’s central regional state of Galmudug, officials said.

Mohamed Sheikh Mohamud, deputy governor of Elbur, a town in Galgudud, confirmed on Tuesday they lost two soldiers and two others sustained injuries during the fighting.

"Galmudug State forces killed four terrorist fighters and injured seven others in Monday’s fighting in the region," Mohamud said.

"We responded to the locals’ request to defend them against terrorists who were planning to attack the area and rob them of domestic animals."

"We are in full control of the area now," he said, adding that the forces are still pursuing the militants around the area.

Al-Shabab militants’ affiliated websites say their fighters killed two soldiers and captured the area from Galmudug forces.

Meanwhile, airstrikes targeted al-Shabab bases in locations near Haradhere, a town in Mudug region, Galmudug State, on Monday evening.

It is not immediately clear who were behind the airstrikes, nor how many were killed or injured in the air raid, if any.

Somalia backs International Telecommunications
Union resolution on special assistance

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somali government on Thursday welcomed the adoption of resolutions at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that have direct impact and are of special interest to the Horn of Africa nation.

Abdi Ashur Hassan, minister of Post, Telecom and Technology said the aim of the Reslution 34 is to provide special consideration to Somalia due to the prolonged conflict in the country and provide assistance and support to rebuild and modernize its telecommunication infrastructure.

According to Hassan, the resolution also aims to re-establish well-equipped ministry of telecommunications and establish institutions, develop ICT policy, legislation and regulation, including a numbering plan, spectrum management, and human resource capacity building including other necessary forms of assistance.

"I welcome the adoption of these resolutions by the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference.

"They will help us in re-building our ICT infrastructure and make the necessary reforms in the sector that remained unregulated for decades," he said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

The ITU’s 20th Plenipotentiary Conference ended in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Nov. 16 with Member States reaffirming their commitment to the common vision of a connected world.

According to Hassan, Resolution 34 calls upon member states to take special actions to provide appropriate assistance and support to countries in special need with Somalia being included in these countries.

"In particular, recognizing the Somali situation as special, the Plenipotentiary Conference approved a special resolution for Somalia - Resolution 160 - Assistance to Somalia," said Hassan.

The minister said Somalia proposed the Resolution 160 and successfully lobbied Arab and African countries in preparatory meetings for the Conference.

"Both Arab and African Regions of the ITU included the resolution to assist Somalia in their common proposals to the Conference," he said, adding that Mogadishu presented and defended the Resolution gaining unanimous support of all members states.


Ugandan military chief General David Muhoozi holds deliberations with AMISOM leadership in Somalia



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