“Mosques should be safe havens, not sites for terror”, says Guterres announcing UN plan to help safeguard religious sites

‘Mosques should be safe havens, not sites of terror’, says Guterres announcing UN plan to help safeguard religious sites Source: UN, 22 March 2019 UN Photo/Evan Schneider UN Secretary-General António Guterres speaking during his visit to the Islamic Cultural Centre of New York, on 22 March 2019. 22 March 2019 Peace and Security In the wake of a horrific mass shooting at two New Zealand mosques, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has announced his intention to launch a UN action plan for the safeguarding of religious sites, declaring that “mosques and all places of prayer and contemplation should be safe havens, not sites of terror.” Mr. Guterres was addressing representatives of the press at the Islamic Cultural Center of New York, to show his solidarity with the worldwide Muslim community, a week after the murder of some 50 Muslim worshippers by a gunman in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15. The UN chief spoke, with a “heavy and full heart,” of the grief and sympathy felt for the families of the victims, and the moving displays of “leadership, love and community from the people of New Zealand.” Around the world, we have seen ever-rising anti-Muslim hatred, anti-Semitism, hate speech and bigotry. The cancer is spreading. It is our duty to find the cure. UN Secretary-General António Guterres Although the attack was “utterly appalling,” he said that it was not utterly surprising, because “around the world, we have seen ever-rising anti-Muslim hatred, anti-Semitism, hate speech and bigotry.” Reminding the press that he has repeatedly warned about these dangers, Mr. Guterres said that hate speech is “spreading like wildfire,” whether via social...

The Branding of Al-Shabab

The Branding of Al-Shabab Source: The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) published in March 2019 The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) published in March 2019 an analysis titled “How East Africa’s Terrorists Build Their Brand Strength” by Matthew Freear, communications manager at RUSI’s Nairobi office. Branding is how an organization sustains relations with its audiences over the long term. Among other themes, al-Shabaab is determined to build an image as a credible alternative to the Somali government. The analysis explains some of the ways that al-Shabaab is having success with its branding effort. 0 comments Labels: al-Shabaab, communication, counterterrorism, films, Kenya, media, propaganda, Somalia,...

Nile Waters Dispute: Fill Rate Behind the Dam

Nile Waters Dispute: Fill Rate Behind the Dam Source: The International Crisis Group published on 20 March 2019 The International Crisis Group published on 20 March 2019 a report titled “Bridging the Gap in the Nile Waters Dispute.” The study focuses on the different positions of Ethiopia and Egypt on the fill rate behind the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam under construction on the Blue Nile so that the downstream flow of Nile water does not adversely affect Egypt. 0 comments Labels: Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Abiy Ahmed, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, GERD, hydropower, Nile Basin Initiative, Nile waters, Omar al-Bashir, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkey, UAE,...

Military Bases in Somaliland and Djibouti Complecating Regional Politics

Military Bases in Somaliland and Djibouti Complecating Regional Politics Source: Foreign Policy posted on 19 March 2019 Foreign Policy posted on 19 March 2019 an analysis titled “For Somaliland and Djibouti, Will New Friends Bring Benefits?” by Matt Kennard, journalist based in London, and Ismail Einashe, journalist based in Nairobi. The United Arab Emirates has signed an agreement to build a military base in Berbera, Somaliland. There are multiple military bases in Djibouti. All of this military engagement is complicating relationships in the region. 0 comments Labels: Berbera, China, Djibouti, DP World, Ethiopia, France, Japan, military bases, Qatar, Red Sea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Somaliland, UAE, US,...

New education sector support programme starts in Puntland Source: EU, Friday March 22, 2019 Garowe – The European Union jointly with the Government of the Puntland State of Somalia launched the third phase of the Puntland Education Sector Support Programme worth 7.3 million Euro. The initiative called ‘Waxbarashadu Waa Iftiin’ (‘Education is Light’) is implemented by CARE and Save the Children and in close coordination with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Puntland. It will enrol over 56,000 students over a 3-year period. It reflects full alignment with the education priorities set out in the Puntland Education Sector Strategic Plan (2017-2021) and Sustainable Development Goal 4. The President Said Abdullahi Deni of Puntland launched the programme at Peace and Research Development Centre in Garowe. The new programme will consolidate and expand the achievements made under two previous phases of EU support that have reached over 58,000 students; constructed 17 new schools, 228 new classrooms; and 66 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities. This new phase will add 16 schools, 84 classrooms, 23 Water Sanitation and Hygiene  facilities and 4 secondary school laboratories. 200 new teachers will be trained while 300 youth will be equipped with marketable vocational skills. The programme also incorporates support measures for children with special needs, children from pastoralist communities and girls.“Education is essential in alleviating poverty, building peaceful societies and promoting social inclusion. In the face of security related challenges that Somalia faces today, educated youth are less likely to become radicalized, attracted to militias and join other destabilising activities. The programme we are launching today will go a long way in improving and expanding education...

UPDATE: At least four dead in Al Shabaab assault on Somali capital Mogadishu

UPDATE: At least four dead in Al Shabaab assault on Somali capital Mogadishu Source: Reuters, Saturday March 23, 2019 Destruction caused after a previous blast was claimed by al-Shabaab in Mogadishu, Somalia. (File photo: AP) Al Shabaab stormed a Somali government building in Mogadishu on Saturday, with at least four people killed in the suicide car bomb attack by the country’s Islamist group and an ensuing gunfight A large explosion shook the center of the Somali capital in the latest bombing by Al Shabaab, which is fighting to establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of sharia law, as the group blasted its way into the building. “Al Shabaab stormed the building where two ministries including the ministry of labor work. So far we know 4 people are dead but (the) death toll is sure to rise,” Major Abdullahi Nur, a police officer told Reuters. Eleven people were injured, Dr. Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Amin Ambulance Service told Reuters, adding some were still trapped inside the building and that it was not possible to rescue them because of an ongoing gun battle. Al Shabaab said one of its fighters had rammed the ministry building with a suicide car bomb, allowing others to enter it. Nur said people were being rescued with a ladder from the upper floors and that an exchange of gunfire was still going on. “We are inside the building and (the) fighting goes on. We shall give details later,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, Al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman told Reuters. Al Shabaab, which is trying to topple Somalia’s western backed central government, was ejected from...