Latest News Regarding
Horn of Africa
The author discusses the debate in Tigray where groups are arguing for and against the secession of Tigray from Ethiopia, concluding that the idea of an independent Tigray nation is premature.
Source: XINUANET, Sunday September 29, 2019
The Somali government on Saturday appealed to Turkish Post for the reconstruction of the country’s postal service that was completely destroyed during the long civil strife.
Abdi Ashur Hassan, minister of Post, Telecom and Technology expressed confidence that restoration of postal service would be another area where their success story can be replicated.
“We are now back to Universal Postal Union (UPU) family following the lifting of sanctions and we voted for the first time in three decades. However, running an operational postal service needs tools, training and connection to the world,” Hassan said in a statement issued in Mogadishu after meeting Turkish delegation.“After setting up the ICT sector, the postal service is our next priority because it facilitates the digital economy by supporting e-commerce, providing financial inclusion and bringing e-government services closer to the citizens,” Hassan added.
The Horn of Africa nation in April rejoined UPU, the UN specialized body for postal services after more than two-decade-long sanctions were lifted.
The move now allows UPU’s members to resume sending mail to Somalia once the arrangements were finalized.
MOGADISHU (HOL) – At least two civilians were injured when an AMISOM convoy was hit by a landmine in SOS area in Mogadishu’s Hilwaa district.
MOGADISHU (HOL) – At least two civilians were injured when an AMISOM convoy was hit by a landmine in SOS area in Mogadishu’s Hilwaa district.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member states have failed to agree to endorse protocol on transhumance.
This came after the two member countries Ethiopia and Somalia refused to sign this protocol on transhumance due to some articles which they say don’t favour them.
“For the case of Ethiopia and Somalia, we needed to first consult with our regional government because our system is a federal system, consultation have been done on grassroots level but we want to move it up to the regional governance so that the implementation of the protocol after the endorsement will be smooth and that’s why we didn’t sign the protocol because we didn’t agree on some articles which were in the protocol,” said Ambassador of the federal Democratic republic of Ethiopia to Republic of Djibouti H.E. Abdulaziz Mohammed during a one day IGAD committee of ambassador’s meeting to endorse the IGAD protocol on Transhumance and its implementation roadmap on Thursday at protea hotel in Entebbe.
The aim of this protocol was to promote a free movement regime for transhumance to exploit the full social and economic potential of the pastoral system.
” We came up with 32 articles in this protocol which member states agreed however Ethiopia and Somalia didn’t agree with some of these articles and therefore we gave them two months to sort out themselves and come up with final conclusion therefore we expect to get the answer in December.”Said Dr Solomon J.Muchina Munyua, the director of the IGAD center of pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD)
Among the agreed articles include safe cross border transhumance whereby member states shall recognize and allow free and safe seasonal cross boarder mobility of live stock and herders in search of pasture and water as an adaptation and survival mechanism, transhumance corridors were transhumant herds and herders shall allow the designated transhumance corridors in accordance with the itinerary indicated on the IGAD transhumance certificates, guarding transhumant livestock, protection of herders among others.
According to the Minister of State for Karamoja Affairs Hon. Moses Kizige said that that developing this protocol has been a journey that started way back and wide consultations have been done with member states since 2017.
“Karamoja is highly susceptible to the effects of climate variability and global warming which is a challenge compounded by high levels of poverty especially in the Arid and semi Arid areas therefore we must find local, practical and innovative solutions to this undesirable situation if we are to end loss of lives and livelihoods of our people because livestock is a major backbone to the IGAD region’s economy supporting more than 70% of our population,’’ he said.
Source: Jewish News – The Times of Israel
Sunday September 29, 2019
By JUSTIN COHEN
Cutting the ribbon for the new Somali-Bravanese community centre.
Rabbis from across the religious spectrum are joined by faith minister Lord Younger, as the community rallies rounds its Muslim neighbours to inaugurate its new centre
A new London base for the Somali Bravanese Welfare Association was officially opened last night in the presence of local Jews who have supported the community since the arson attack on its former centre six years ago.
Rabbis from across the religious spectrum were among the first to offer support to their neighbours in the wake of the 2013 assault, with Finchley Reform Synagogue hosting Ramadan prayers and annual iftar celebrations following an idea from Citizens UK.
Community members also provided free legal support and were at the forefront of a campaign for the new centre.
Last night, new faith minister Lord Younger cut the ribbon to formally open the facility in East Finchley, telling guests: “What sends the greatest message that hate won’t win are events like today.”The minister – standing in for Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick who was unable to attend due to Brexit business in the House – said the entire country still finds the attack “profoundly shocking” and insisted that no stone go unturned to find the perpetrators who are yet to be brought to justice
Cutting the ribbon for the new Somali-Bravanese community centre.
Rabbis from across the
Source: Daily Sabah, Thursday September 26, 2019
A bomb attack that hit a vehicle carrying personnel of Turkey’s Maarif Foundation in Somalian capital Mogadishu injured three people.
The attack that hit the armored SUV took place around midday at the Zoobe junction at the city center.
Three teachers were slightly injured in the attack and transferred to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Training and Research Hospital. The driver escaped the incident unharmed.
No claims of responsibility have been reported so far.
Maarif Foundation operates Turkish schools in more than 30 countries.
Source: theSTAR, Friday September 27, 2019
President Uhuru Kenyatta, Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Somalia’s Mohamed Farmaajo at UNGA in New York on Wednesday, September 25, 2019.
Somali President Mohamed Farmaajo has said he and President Uhuru Kenyatta have agreed to let the ICJ resolve the maritime dispute.
Farmaajo made the announcement on Thursday, when giving his speech at the UN General Assembly in New York.
“We agreed the matter will be resolved by the International Court of Justice. Somalia is committed to maintaining a good relationship with Kenya. The Somali community continues to invest in the country of Kenya which indeed contributes to its growth and prosperity,” Farmaajo said.
There had been questions as to whether the two countries would agree to an out-of-court settlement following the Wednesday meeting between Uhuru and Farmaajo.The meeting was convened by Egyptian President Al-Sisi, who is the current African Union chairman.
Uhuru had on Wednesday appealed for negotiations, saying, “My administration continues to reach out to the Federal Republic of Somalia in an effort to find an amicable and sustainable solution to the maritime boundary dispute between us. In this regard, I welcome the decision of the African Union Peace and Security Council of September 3, 2019 that urges both parties to engage.”
The Hague-based ICJ is set to enter full hearing of the case between November 4 and 8.
While Kenya maintains it is seeking an out of court settlement over the matter, Somalia has insisted it wants the case to proceed to a full hearing.
The case was expected to start early this month, but Kenya requested postponement after it disbanded its legal team.
Kenya wants the maritime border to run along parallel latitude southeast of Kiunga, while Somalia wants a diagonal line down the Kenyan Coast. This threatens to make Kenya a landlocked country, and risks losing 42 per cent of its territory.
Source: Hiiraan Online
Tuesday September 24, 2019
Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands Sigrid A.M. Kaag and FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu signing the funding agreement in New York on Monday.
MOGADISHU (HOL) – The Dutch government has contributed $28 million to boost relief efforts by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.
The UN body said Tuesday the contribution was part of an initiative to scale-up resilience-based development work in countries affected by protracted crises.The funding agreement was signed on Monday by the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, Sigrid A.M. Kaag, and FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu on the side-lines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
“Countries and regions affected by protracted crises are often reliant on humanitarian aid and too frequently written off as places where agricultural and rural development cannot take place at scale. Our work shows that is not true,” Qu said. “We know it can. This is why this project includes a robust learning agenda that will help capture successful case studies that can be replicated in other communities facing similar challenges”.
In Somalia, the UN said early this month 6 million people are projected to be food insecure in the coming months calling for urgent international support.
According to the UN Humanitarian agency, UNOCHA, the harvest from the April-June cropping season is the worst since 2011 because of poor and erratic rains, followed by flooding at the end of the rainy season.
Food security responses consistently make up the largest share of UN-coordinated humanitarian appeals, representing more than one-third of global humanitarian requirements at $7.4 billion in 2019, a statement from FAO read in part.
Sudan: Changes in Regional Power Dynamics
Source: The Institute for Security Studiepublished on 18 September 2019
The Institute for Security Studiepublished on 18 September 2019 s an analysis titled “With Bashir Gone, the Horn Faces a Power Shake-up” by Omar S. Mahmood and Andrews Atta-Asamoah.
The end of Omar al-Bashir’s tenure in Sudan occurred because of his inability to provide viable solutions to pressing domestic issues. Given his regional stature, al-Bashir’s removal is also a major shock for a region undergoing rapid transformation. Under its new civilian-military government, Sudan’s influence beyond its borders is likely to diminish. At the same time, the region and beyond are now in a stronger position to influence events in Sudan.
Source: Hiiraan Online
Wednesday September 25, 2019
NEW YORK (HOL) – The leaders of Kenya and Somalia met in New York Tuesday for the first time in months amid souring relations following a fall-out over the maritime dispute.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and his Kenya counterpart, Uhuru Kenya held talks mediated by AU chairman Abdel Fatah Sisi, the president of Egypt in the sidelines of the 74th UN General Assembly.
Villa Somalia communications director Abdinur Mohamed confirmed the meeting but noted the two leaders did not open new discussions on the maritime case.“Somalia and Kenya have agreed to work towards normalizing relations without any implications for the maritime case at the ICJ which will take its full course after Egyptian President H.E Abdelfatah Al Sisi convened a tripartite meeting on the margins of the UNGA,” Mohamed tweeted.
Whereas Somalia has stood ground against any negotiations on the matter, Kenya has persistently sought an out of court settlement.
Kenyatta’s administration this month sought the intervention of the African Union Peace and Security Council over the matter. The Council called on the two countries to ‘find and amicable solution’.
Relations between Mogadishu and Nairobi have remained frosty in the better part of this year with Farmaajo’s administration transferring any donor meeting to Addis Ababa.
The International Court of Justice is set to resume proceedings on the maritime case November 4.
Gulf State Competition Plays Out in Horn of Africa
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Turkey are competing to set the rules for a Red Sea region long in turmoil. Two overlapping rivalries drive and define this engagement: a split withing the Gulf pitting Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt against Qatar and Turkey and competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In both of these divisions, the main rivals see Africa as a new arena for competition and building alliances. They also see China as the emerging dominant force in the Horn, and hence one with which they will need to ally, as U.S. and European influence recedes.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar race to increase their influence in Somalia
Source: Saturday September 21, 2019
Source: Stasa Salacani
Both Saudi and Qatar have recently stepped up their efforts in Somalia [Getty]
While Qatar has declared that it will build a new seaport in Somalia, Saudi Arabia has recognised the passport of autonomous Somaliland, amplifying political and ethnic divisions in the country.
The modern scramble for Africa is intensifying and Arab nations have been the most active foreign players as well as fierce competitors in the region, especially after the beginning of the Qatar blockade by its Gulf neighbours in the summer of 2017.
The rift has exceeded the Gulf region and reached all the way to the Horn of Africa, most visible in Somalia, where the two blocks are clashing in a race to increase their influence.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have seen the Horn of Africa as a strategic point from where they can support their operations and agenda in Yemen.
On the contrary, although Qatar’s presence does not include military presence, Doha exercises the soft power approach, combining investments and commercial activities hoping to boost economic competitiveness and political influence.
Umer Karim, a doctoral researcher at the University of Birmingham focusing on Saudi foreign policy, observes that the competition has already been happening in a way between the UAE and Turkey, while Qatar was a relatively minor player. But in the last few years, it has come down strongly in Somalia and so have the Saudis.
Speaking to The New Arab, he said that “the patterns of enmity and affinity that dominate the Middle East have already been quite visible in the broader Horn like in Sudan and even in Somalia, the situation will only be increased in magnitude as Saudi Arabia and Qatar move in more actively as well.”
Fragile and divided state
While Qatar, along with its close ally Turkey, has been supporting the central government in Mogadishu, their Saudi and UAE opponents have backed the local governments in Somalia’s federal states of Somaliland, Puntland as well as in Jubaland, which are all seeking independence from Somalia.
Chronic instability, dragging for almost three decades has pushed the country into despair and poverty, due to a lack of security mechanisms and absence of unified and efficient state authorities.
In addition, international community efforts lead by the UN, has also completely failed to bring any meaningful progress and pacify the country which has been plagued with violence, terrorism and piracy.
In a state of permanent chaos, ever louder voices for the independence of several regions in the country have occurred as a direct consequence of agonising situation in the country.
As the rest of the international community has never seriously engaged in Somalia, Gulf countries have become one of the key players in the country that has been forgotten by the rest of the world.
Competition through investments
Karim observes that greater engagement of Gulf states opens up opportunities for local actors to bring in more investment and infrastructure development.
According to him, Somali federal fabric unfortunately had already been weakened up owing to local political contestations and tribal politics. So, outside actors are just playing up on these fissures that are already there.
The massive investments have also played a central role in Gulf States’ efforts to redefine the regional order and self-promotion on a global stage.
Investments and political support were also warmly welcomed by local governments in secessionist regions as they were more than happy that they have been able to attract powerful foreign players ready to back-up their struggle for independence.
For instance, the UAE has been one of the main investors in both Somaliland and Puntland.
The UAE’s DP World from Dubai invested over $400 million to seaport Berbera and pledged to expand the Berbera airport. Both assets will be operated by the UAE in return for several development projects in Somaliland and construction of military base, that would further secure Somaliland’s interests.
The similar military arrangements are reported to be discussed with local authorities in Jubbaland federal state, despite strong objection of the Somali federal government.
Until 2017 the UAE has been close to the Mogadishu government as well but after the federal government refused to declare its pro-UAE stance in the GCC crisis, the UAE has turned the page and cut off development assistance.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s strong support for the secessionist federal states are closely linked to Gulf feud, which spilled over to Somalian soil.
The UAE has been also strongly present in Puntland, another territory seeking independence. The Emiratis repeated the same pattern from Somaliland and signed an agreement with local authorities to operate Puntland’s Bosaso port, where DP World intends to invest over $300 million in the facility that it leased for 30 years.
Local authorities has also asked the UAE to assist them in strengthening the territory’s Maritime Police Force, which is responsible for fighting terrorists and pirates.
On the contrary, Qatar along with Turkey have been the main backers of a federal government pledging financial assistance for infrastructure and social development projects. After Qatar recently announced that it signed an agreement for construction of a new seaport in the town of Hobyo, under control of the federal government, Saudi Arabia, responded swiftly by recognised passports of autonomous Somaliland, adding the fuel on the fire in an already fragile state.
Since the seaport would be relatively close to the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, which is one of the most significant sea crossing points in the region, just across Yemen, many wonder whether Gulf states will be locked in an even more fierce power struggle over Somalia.
Is Somalia facing the fate of Yemen?
However, Karim thinks that the Saudi-Qatar tensions have already touched a high point so he
can’t envisage how they will increase any further. They have actually toned down to some extent in recent days.
Some believe that given that UAE through backing the separatists in Somaliland and Puntland and the fact that it has been already involved in a similar process in Yemen where it supports the secessionist movement in Southern Yemen, Abu Dhabi is pursuing its agenda of creating “pliant ministates along the eastern coast of Africa,” which would be under its strong influence.
Such an outcome poses a great challenge to regional stability and peace on the western edge of the Indian Ocean.
Karim observes that Somalia is actually a model which is often cited for Yemen and it’s political evolution. While Saudi Arabia’s involvement and support for Somaliland’s independence is relatively new, Somaliland has got very clear and significant support from the UAE for some years now, giving it legitimacy as a solo political actor with its own unique entity (aside from Somali federation).
According to Karim, unless the Saudis and the Emirati get completely hopeless about Somalia’s federal government in Mogadishu then they may proceed to recognise Somaliland as a separate state and possibly Puntland in the future.
“For now, I don’t think they have reached this level. What we are seeing is just a re-activation of Saudi and Qatari diplomacy within the Horn that had mostly been overshadowed by the rather more active Emirati and Turkish activities.”
Source: Hiiraan Online
Sunday September 22, 2019
MOGADISHU (HOL) – Federal Member States and Banaadir Regional Administration will receive 40% of the $15 million budget support from the European Union, the Ministry of Finance has said.
Finance Minister Abdirahman Beyle said Saturday the FMS and Banaadir region will each receive $1 million and that two-thirds of this amount must be spent on security, infrastructure development and economic growth.The state governments must submit their budgets for the amount which must be audited in 45 days, the Minister said noting the release of funds follows ‘fruitful talks’ in Addis Ababa.
Representatives from the Federal Government and Federal Member States met in Addis Ababa last week ahead of talks with the International Monetary Fund for review of the 4th Staff Monitored Programme.
The funds are part of the €100 million direct budget support agreement between Somali government and the European Union in October 2018.
According to the agreement, up to €92 million will go to the federal government through budget support while the remaining €8 million will support capacity building to the federal and states’ governments and oversight institutions.
The budget support runs for a period of two and half years.
Source: theSTAR,Wednesday September 18, 2019
by PATRICK VIDIJA
The Hague Based International Justice Court –ICJ is scheduled to start public hearings over the maritime dispute between Kenya and Somalia in early November.
On Tuesday, the court outlined conditions to journalists, diplomats and members of the public wishing to attend the hearings.
Journalists who had received accreditation for the hearings which were initially set for the first week of September have been told they will have to reapply.
“Owing to the limited number of seats available in the Great Hall of Justice, priority access will be given to representatives of the States Parties to the case, and to members of the diplomatic corps,” a statement from the court said.
Diplomats and Journalists have until October 24 to apply for accreditation to access the court for the hearings.”A number of seats will be allocated to members of the public on a first-come, first-served basis. There will be no advance registration procedure, and admission requests submitted beforehand will not be considered,” the statement said.
In the statement, the court said the first round of hearing will take place from November 4 and 6.
“The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, will hold public hearings in the case concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya), from Monday 4 to Friday 8 November 2019 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the Court,” the statement read in part.
According to the court, the hearings, in this case, have been rescheduled further to the request made by the Republic of Kenya on September, 3.
It said the rescheduling took into account the views expressed by the Federal Republic of Somalia on that request (see Press Release No. 2019/36).
The court said the first round of oral argument will be held on November 4 and 6th respectively.
While Somalia government will present its submissions on the Monday of November 4 between 10am and 1pm and 3pm to 4.30pm respectively, Kenya will have its chance on Wednesday of November 6 within the same time frames.
“Second round of oral argument will be held on November 7 and 8. Somalia will present its argument on November 7 between 3 pm and 6pm while Kenya responds on Friday, November 8 between 3pm and 6pm,” the statement said.
The Court has a two-fold role; first, to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States (its judgments have binding force and are without appeal for the parties concerned); and, second, to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized United Nations organs and agencies of the system.
The Court is composed of 15 judges elected for a nine-year term by the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations.
Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma last week said Kenya is still seeking an out of court settlement over the matter and would not relent on the pursuit.
She said though the Hague based court postponed the case which was set to start last Monday, Kenya is in vibrant talks with Somalia counterparts to see if they can reach an agreement.
“So far there is a willingness from both parties and we hope through an MoU that we signed, we shall see the ongoing consultations bear fruits,” she added.
Juma further said through the office of the Attorney General, a new legal team was being reconstituted to pick up the matter.
Source: africanews, Wednesday September 18, 2019
On Sunday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed asked ethnic groups pushing to form breakaway regions to be patient and join him in building “a great Ethiopia”.
Abiy made the plea during a visit to leaders of the Kafficho ethnic group, that are seeking to create a new federal state heightening further destabilization in Ethiopia’s diverse southern region.
“You think that there will be many problems in your problems, there are many interrelated and systemic issues that need to be considered.,” said Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopian Prime Minister.The southern region was rocked by violence two months ago following a similar campaign by the Sidama ethnic group.
“We have historical problems, that’s why it’s so much about being sensational or tribalistic,” Meaza Assefa, local merchant.
Ethiopia’s constitution requires the government to organise a referendum for any ethnic group that wants to form a new entity. At least 11 groups have submitted such bids in the south.
At the current momentum, scientists predict the planet’s protective shield of gas – or ozone layer as we know it – will be completely healed as far as some regions of the planet are concerned, by the 2030’s, the UN’s environmental agency (UNEP) revealed on Monday.
Source: AFP, Monday September 16, 2019
A senior official contacted by telephone in the Burundian city of Bujumbura said 12 Burundian soldiers had been killed and six injured. AFP PHOTO
An unspecified number of Burundian peacekeepers were killed Saturday when a military convoy was ambushed by the Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab north of the Somali capital Mogadishu, security sources said on Sunday.
“We’ve been informed about an ambush in which a number of Burundian soldiers were killed,” Abdikarim Hassan, a local Somali security official told AFP.
A senior official contacted by telephone in the Burundian city of Bujumbura told AFP 12 Burundian soldiers had been killed and six injured.
“Yes it’s true. Unfortunately 12 of our soldiers were killed and six others injured yesterday (Saturday) by Shabaab militants who ambushed them as they were returning from a security mission in a convoy going from Jowhar to Mogadishu,” the Burundian official said on condition of anonymity.Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, claiming to have killed 14 Burundian soldiers.
The soldiers, who were serving with the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (Amisom), were attacked on the road linking Mogadishu and the city of Jowhar, 90 kilometres (55 miles) north of the capital.
The Shabaab has been fighting for more than a decade to topple the Somali government.
A few hours before the attack a bomb exploded on the same road, killing three people including two local officials, Hassan added.
Resident Ahmed Haji said villagers had heard gunfire and seen bodies.
“Some villagers saw the dead bodies of the AU soldiers near the scene of the ambush, but they could not say their numbers,” he said.
“People heard heavy exchange of gunfire that lasted more than 20 minutes as the Amisom military convoy was passing by the area,” he added.
The attack is the latest in a long line of bombing and assaults claimed by the Al-Qaeda-linked militants.
The Shabaab was driven out of Mogadishu by government forces backed by 20,000 peacekeepers from Amisom in 2011. But they still carry out attacks including suicide bombings against government targets.
Source; Hiiraan Online
Saturday September 14, 2019
HARGEISA (HOL) – The airport under construction as part of the UAE military base in Berbera will now be converted for civilian use, Somaliland president Muse Bihi has said.
Speaking upon return from the neighbouring Djibouti, Bihi told journalists the construction of the airport will from next week be handed over to a new company to complete the construction works.
“People thought this was a military airport but it be used for civilian purposes,” Bihi said adding the new constructor will be expected to deliver its equipment next week to continue the construction.
It was not however immediately clear if the new changes affects the naval base deal approved by Somaliland parliament in 2017.
Divers Marine Contracting LLC which won the bid to construct the naval base at the cost of $90 million said in a media interview with Bloomberg last November that it would conclude the construction of the base in June 2019.
Somaliland parliament in a majority vote in February 2017 approved UAE’s request to build a naval base in Berbera few months after it also endorsed the $442 million 30 year concession for the construction and operation of the Berbera Port by the UAE government owned DP World.
The agreements sparked sharp criticism from Mogadishu leading to a declaration by the Federal Parliament that the deals were unconstitutional and that DP World should cease its presence in Somalia.
Djibouti has been at loggerheads with DP World resulting in a government takeover of the Dorale Container Terminal which the UAE ports operator had been granted a 30 year concession in 2006.
The London Court of International Arbitration however ruled in August 2018 the concession was ‘valid and binding
The report assesses current developments, covering ongoing rivalries in the Red Sea region and making recommendations for future collaboration.