02/03/08 (B437) All Africa. COM / Deux avions remplis de fausse monnaie somalienne, attendus au Somaliland. Somalia: Planeloads of False Currency Expected in Puntland (en Anglais – Info lecteur)

Two airplanes loaded with counterfeit Somali Shillings were expected to land in the country’s northern port city of Bossaso Friday but delayed for yet-unspecified reasons, Garowe Online has learned.

Each plane carried a load of the counterfeit cash, estimated to be somewhere between 16 and 22 billion Shillings, confidential sources said.

The false currency was printed overseas and transported by plane to Puntland, a self-governing region in northeastern Somalia.

Bossaso locals reported today that police units and huge vehicles used to transport the counterfeit cash were waiting at the airport for hours, but left after both planes failed to show.

Puntland President Adde Muse, Finance Minister Mohamed Gaagaab and Security Minister Abdullahi Said Samatar were all waiting at the presidential palace in Bossaso, sources said.

There are fears that hyperinflation experienced in the region since mid-2007 could worsen, due to the new false currency flooding local markets and devaluing the U.S. dollar.

Currently, a single U.S. dollar is being exchanged between 26,000 and 27,000 Shillings, the highest rates the region has ever known, according to traders.

Last month, Somalis across Puntland’s major cities, including Garowe, Bossaso and Galkayo, protested against rising inflation due to the false currency’s impact on the local economy.

A Bossaso businessman speaking with Garowe Online on the condition of anonymity suggested that a « humanitarian crisis » might engulf the region if immediate steps are not taken to stop the false currency from destroying the market.

Traders and ordinary citizens alike have been adversely affected by the spike in prices for necessary goods, including food, the business contact said.

But it is not clear whether or not anyone can stop the false currency from flooding local markets and severely impacting an already-battered economy.

Sources in the national capital Mogadishu said the Somali transitional government « has a stake » in the two planeloads of fake cash, because the cash-strapped, Ethiopian-backed government seeks hard currency to continue its costly attempt to pacify the restless capital.

Since his appointment last November, Prime Minister Nur « Adde » Hassan Hussein has not addressed the issue of false Shillings that has impacted lives of millions, in Puntland and as far south as the port of Kismayo.

28/02/08 (B436) AllAfrica.com / Somalia: Désaccord entre les principaux leaders somaliens sur les conditions de la réconciliation – Entretiens au sommet avec le MAE éthiopien à Baidoa. Leaders Disagree On Reconciliation Approach (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Yusuf Ali
Baidoa

Somalia’s top leaders held a closed-door meeting with visiting Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin Wednesday regarding the security situation and the path to national reconciliation, sources said.

President Abdullahi Yusuf, Prime Minister Nur « Adde » Hassan Hussein and parliament Speaker Adan « Madobe » Mohamed flew from the capital Mogadishu to the south-central town of Baidoa, 250km northwest of the capital, to welcome the Ethiopian delegation.

Security was tightened in and around Baidoa as the Somali government leaders landed, with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Mesfin and his delegation arriving afterwards.

No word emerged from the private meetings and the Ethiopian government delegation flew back to Addis Ababa in the afternoon.

But government sources confidentially told Garowe Online that disagreements have surfaced among Somali leaders regarding the proper reconciliation approach.

President Yusuf has maintained his hardline stance on negotiating with « extremist groups, » whom he considers terrorists intent on overthrowing his Ethiopian-backed interim government.

By contrast, Prime Minister Nur Adde has repeatedly appealed to all members of the opposition to negotiate with the government in the elusive search for lasting peace in Somalia.

Speaker Madobe supports the Prime Minister’s initiative, Garowe Online has learned.

It is not clear whether or not the leaders’ personal differences have been resolved yet. Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the United Nations’ Special Representative for Somalia, also arrived in Baidoa today.

Somalia’s interim government, established in 2004, has struggled to assert its authority across the war-ravaged nation. Personal divisions at the top helms of power has contributed to the government’s lack of progress, in terms of restoring security and genuinely pursuing reconciliation to end the country’s 17-year conflict.

The government’s armed opposition, led by Islamist insurgents, have shown no desire to engage in peace talks as long as Ethiopian troops remain on Somali soil.

An Islamist-led insurgency, mainly in Mogadishu, has killed more than 6,500 people and displaced half of the capital’s civilian population, according to the UN and human rights groups.

On Wednesday, an Ethiopian army truck was blown up in Mogadishu by a landmine, witnesses said. The vehicle was « completely destroyed, » but casualties could not be independently confirmed.

28/09/07 (B414) ALL AFRICA : Le Puntland sollicite l’aide internationale contre l’invasion acridienne (Info lectrice)

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

Les autorités de la région autonome du Puntland, dans le nord-est de la Somalie, ont lancé un appel à l’aide internationale à la suite d’une infestation de criquets qui a détruit des milliers d’hectares de pâturages et de cultures.

« Nous avons lancé un appel à l’aide, le 23 septembre ; seule, la région du Puntland ne peut faire face à la situation », a expliqué à IRIN Hassan Arab, le vice-ministre des Pâturages et des forêts, le 25 septembre.

Selon M. Arab, les régions touchées par les essaims de criquets ont besoin d’une aide urgence. « Nous espérons que la réponse sera rapide et positive », a-t-il affirmé. « Ces essaims sont plus importants et plus destructeurs que ceux du mois de juin », a-t-il ajouté.

Muse Gelle, gouverneur de la région de Bari, a affirmé que bon nombre de paysans avaient perdu toutes leurs cultures. « Nous perdons également de nombreux pâturages, ce qui a de graves conséquences pour les populations d’éleveurs nomades ».

Selon un journaliste local, l’infestation avait déjà affecté des milliers d’éleveurs nomades et de petits paysans. « Elle détruit non seulement les champs, mais aussi tout ce qui est vert ».

Certaines régions de Puntland avaient souffert des infestations de criquets au mois de juin. Cette fois-ci, a expliqué M. Arab, la zone infestée est plus grande que celle du mois de juin.

« D’après les informations qui nous parviennent, les essaims de criquets se dirigeraient vers les régions de Nugal et de Sool [une région disputée] », a-t-il ajouté.

Les villes les plus touchées sont Iskushuban, Qardo, Qandala ainsi que certaines régions de l’est de Sanag -une autre région disputée-, selon M. Arab.

« Ces essaims sont plus importants et plus destructeurs que ceux du mois de juin »
Le Puntland et le Somaliland revendiquent tous deux leur souveraineté sur les régions de Sool et de Sanag.

D’après Andrew Harberd, le coordinateur en Somalie des secours d’urgence de l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture (FAO), la présence de criquets aurait été signalée le 16 septembre aux alentours de la ville d’Iskushuban et un « énorme essaim de criquets a obscurci le ciel de la ville de Qardo », le 23 septembre.

« Les essaims de criquets détectés actuellement sont des infestations locales ou, plus probablement, viennent du Yémen où les criquets du désert se reproduisent pendant le mois d’avril », a-t-il indiqué.

27/08/07 (B410) ALL AFRICA / L’Ambassadeur d’Ethiopie aux USA déplore et critique le projet de Loi du député du New Jersey qui viserait à restreindre les aides et financements que les Etats-Unis accordernt à certains pays. La proposition est soutenue par une partie de la communauté éthiopienne des USA qui dénoncent le manque de démocratie et la répression des membres de l’opposition. L’Ambassadeur fait valoir de son côté à la fois la libération de nombreux prisonniers politiques d’opposition et le fait que le pays, allié incontesté des USA, conduit une guerre contre le terrorisme, conforme à la stratégie américaine. – Ethiopia: Ambassador Deplores U.S. Congress Bill (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Ethiopian Ambassador to U.S., Dr. Samuel Assefa, expressed his concern to legislation pending in Congress that would restrict military assistance to the country and government officials travel to the United States.

He said that it was unfair to lump Ethiopia with countries like North Korea and Iran at a time when its troops are acting as allies in the war on terrorism, defending an interim government in neighboring Somalia against Islamist extremists.

« This would be the fatal blow to cooperating security arrangements between the United States and Ethiopia, » said Dr. Samuel. « Ethiopia is a vital ally to the U.S. in this region in the fight against terrorism. The bill could cut off economic and bilateral aid at a most inopportune time. »

The legislation known as H.R. 2003 was proposed by Rep. Donald M. Payne, New Jersey Democrat, and is backed by members of the Ethiopian community in Washington, most of whom support the main opposition party in Ethiopia and remain angry over the outcome of a May 2005 parliamentary election.

Dr. Samuel argued in an interview at The Washington Times that his government was addressing the problem. Last weekend, the government reported that 32 members and supporters of the opposition coalition were released.

Another 38 prisoners had been freed three weeks earlier, and Dr. Samuel said only one political prisoner who signed a plea requesting a pardon remains jailed because his court case is still pending.

Under the country’s legal system, Dr. Samuel said, « a plea for a pardon can only be considered after a conviction and sentencing is passed. »

However leaders of a local support group, Coalition for H.R. 2003, contends the Ethiopian government is using the political prisoners as « pawns in its shell game with the U.S. Congress. »

While the Ethiopian government questions the timing of the bill, Noelle LuSane, staff director for the subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, emphasized there was a two-year gap between the time the 193 protesters were killed and the bill’s introduction in April.

« The government had plenty of time to resolve the issue, » Ms. LuSane said. « So, Congressman Payne does not feel the government should have been given more time, as they had two years to fix the problem.

19/08/07 (B409) ALL AFRICA.COM / L’Erithrée méprise l’information selon laquelle, les USA pourrait ajouter son pays à la liste des nations soutenant le terrorisme. Il accuse les Ethiopiens d’être les responsables du drame en Somalie. Il rappelle qu’un rapport d’une agence des Nations Unies dénonce l’utilisation d’armes au phosphore par les Ethiopiens – Eritrea: Country Scorns U.S.’s Goal of Adding It to Terrorism List (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)

-The Eritrean government disdained remarks by the American secretary of state for African affairs, Jendayi Frazer, who said Friday that Eritrea will be added to the list of states that sponsor terrorism.

In an interview with Shabelle, Ali Abdou Ahmed, Eritrea’s information minister, said it was not appropriate for his government to react, stressing that the U.S. State Department repeatedly failed its foreign policy in Somalia.

« Everybody knows who is doing what in Somalia.

We will not indulge ourselves to a level to talk about this. Actually, I would like to thank her for exposing herself and her ill-wishes towards the Eritrean people, » he said.

He said Somalia is under Ethiopian occupation and the federal government was imported in the country with out the consent of the people. « There is no government in Somalia, » he said, indicating that his government backs the Somali people to have their choice of government. He said no one is to be forced with they do not want. « It is the Ethiopian invasion in Somalia, » he added.

Asked if he finds it fair that Ethiopian and Eritrea should fight a proxy war in Somalia, Abdou Ahmed insisted that there was never an Eritrean soldier in the soil of Somalia. He said Somalia is under the invasion of Ethiopia.

« We never tried to fight a proxy in Somalia because we do not have a border with it. Why should we go to Somalia? All we are interested are peace and reconciliation among the Somali people. But the Ethiopian forces in Somalia kill and massacre the people, » h e said.

Nonetheless, the American officials say Eritrea, on the Red Sea, has been trying to destabilize the fragile government in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

The T.F.G. came to power after Ethiopian troops, backed by the United States, invaded Somalia and toppled an administration run by the radical Islamists.

Ahmed says Somalis loved the Islamic Courts Union during their six months of control in the Horn of African nation.

A United Nations report made public last month said Eritrea was secretly shipping large amounts of arms to Islamist fighters in Somalia, possibly including explosive belts used by suicide bombers and surface-to-air missiles.

The UN report also criticized actions by Ethiopian troops in Somalia, accusing them of using white phosphorous bombs that killed both insurgents and civilians in Mogadishu in April.

Both Eritrea and Ethiopia have denied the United Nations allegations, but American intelligence officials believe that the fighting in Somalia has in some ways turned into a proxy war for the two bitter enemies, which fought a border war during the 1990s.

Somalia has had no effective central government since the ouster of former dictator, Mohammed Siad Barre, in 1991.

19/08/07 (B409) ALL AFRICA.COM / Somalie : deux attaques nocturnes (samedi soir) de poste de police à la grenade, attribuées à des insurgés – Somalia: Insurgents Attack Police Stations Overnight (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)

Suspected Islamist-led insurgents attacked two police stations in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, overnight.

According to government officials, insurgents carried out ambush attacks on Wabari and Wadajir police stations in south of Mogadishu on Friday night.

Speaking to Shabelle by the phone, Ahmed Daai, the chairman of Wadajir district, said unknown gunmen attacked the station around 8: 30 p.m. local time.

He said the assailants used rocket propelled grenades. « The police defended themselves and their base. They fired back and there were no casualties in our side, » he said.

The second insurgent attack targeted Wabari police station around 11: 15 p.m. local time. The head Somali public and press relations, Abdiwahid Omar, told Shabelle that there were exchanges of gunfire between the police and the suspected Islamists. He said there no casualties on the police side.

Meanwhile government police have conducting weapons search operations in parts of Mogadishu on Saturday following several grenade blasts that rocked the capital in the last 48 hours.

On Saturday three police officers have been seriously wounded in a roadside bomb explosion around Somalia’s police academy at the center of the capital.

According witnesses, the police vehicle went under the land mine which was remotely detonated.

The blast took place at 7: 15 a.m. local time.

Three government police officers have been seriously wounded in a roadside bomb explosion around Somalia’s police academy at the center of the capital.

According witnesses, the police vehicle went under the land mine which was remotely detonated.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that two government officials were onboard.

12/08/07 (B408) ALL AFRICA / La Banque africaine pour le développement rejette deux nouvelles demandes de prêt déposées par Djibouti et l’Ethiopie pour le financement de l’interconneion des réseaux électriques / Ethiopia: African Dev’t Bank Rejects Etio-Djibouti Power Additional Loan (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)
6 August 2007

Issayas Mekuria

The African Development Bank (ADB), the major financier of the Ethiopia-Djibouti Power Interconnection Project, rejected an additional 40.8 million dollar loan request from the governments of Ethiopia and Djibouti. However, the Bank has approved three international companies – French ETDE, Indian Kalapa-Taru and Italian Siemens – short-listed by the joint committee of the countries for the project construction.

The international companies were chosen for the construction of transmission lines and substations intended for the hydroelectric power Ethiopia is planning to export to Djibouti and electrification of Ethiopia border towns.

Eskindir Alemseged, infrastructure expert at ADB, told Fortune that the Bank notified the two countries to finance the projects from their own coffers despite their request for extra funds.

Envisaging demonstrating ways in which Ethiopia could export power to Djibouti, the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) prepared a Power Planning Study in 1982 and finalised a feasibility study for the interconnection of the Ethiopia-Djibouti Power System in 1989 that was subsequently accepted by the governments of the two countries.

The two countries jointly requested ADB to finance the project on credit in November 2002; Ethiopia requested 30.4 million dollars and Djibouti 25.6 million dollars. Having examined the request for two years, ADB approved the loan in December 2004.

Established in 1964, ADB is a regional multilateral development finance institution. The Côte d’Ivoire-headquartered Bank engages in economic and socially directed projects throughout the continent.

EEPCo and Electricite de Djibouti (EdD) hired two consultant firms; PB Power and RSWI to supervise the projects. A study and design made by these consultants with detailed financial analysis revealed that supplementary budgets were essential as international price increases of steel and electric materials depreciated the value of the initially set budget, and 40.8 million dollars extra budget was requested.

Moreover, the two countries’ electric utilities aimed to be a single circuit transmission line. However, Djibouti’s power demand increase necessitated a change to a double circuit transmission line.

The two consultants – PB Power and BSWI – are revising the system study including the demand forecast reflecting the present situation in Ethiopia and Djibouti, according to the report released by the joint committee of the two countries in early July.

The July 2007 loan EEPCo and EdD requested included 22.5 million dollars for Ethiopia and 18.2 million dollars for Djibouti.

« The reasons for the request of the supplementary budget is convincing as it is due to the payment demanded by the contractors, » said Eskindir. « However, we found it unacceptable. »

« The basic thing which is necessary to obtain the required sum of money is the commitment that the governments of the two countries have, » Mihiret Debebe, EEPCo general manager, told Fortune. « The power ministers of Djibouti and Ethiopia have signed an agreement in the two countries’ ministerial committee meeting held in Addis Abeba last month to put strong effort to fulfil the deficit. »

As the Bank demanded a confirmation that the financing made earlier would be used for the targeted project, the assurance reply has been sent to ADB.

« ADB informed us to cover the project costs on our own and that it would refinance the project if any deficit occurs, » Mihiret added. He hopes that ADB would finance the project if these countries fail to finalise it due to a lack of funds.

On the other hand, the Bank gave the green light for the two countries to pursue negotiations with the three contractors they chose.

It was in January 2007 that EEPCo and EdD floated a tender to hire contractors for the construction of 230Kv and 63Kv transmission lines for Ethiopia and Djibouti, the construction of a substation in both countries and the electrification of border towns of Ethiopia.

For the transmission line construction, the Spanish Cymi-Socoin, French ETDE and Kalapa-Taru and KEC, both Indian submitted their bid offers. Having evaluated the technical capacity and financial offer of the bidders, EEPCo and EdD short-listed Kalap-Taru which offered 30.8 million dollars. Cymi-Socoin, ETDE and KEC offered 41.3 million dollars, 36.9 million dollars and 48.1 million dollars, respectively.

For the construction of substations in Djibouti and Ethiopia, three companies competed; Cymi, ETDE and Siemens from Italy offering 31 million dollars, 31.2 million dollars and 30.6 million dollars, respectively. Siemens was therefore shortlisted.

For the electrification of border towns, only two companies submitted their offers; ETDE and KEC. The former was shortlisted offering 12.4 million dollars, lower than the 16.2 million dollars offered by the latter.

It was last month that EEPCo and EdD requested the approval of the short-listed companies so that subsequent negotiations and award would be undertaken. The Bank has approved the companies’ venture with the two countries last week.

Girum Kebede, project manager of the Project Implementation Unit, set up for the power interconnection project told Fortune that negotiations would ensue with the short-listed companies as of this week.

According to the schedule, the Ethiopia-Djibouti Interconnection project would go operational in 2009. An estimated 36,000 customers are expected to get hydroelectric power in Djibouti, while over 8,600 people would be beneficiaries of the project in border towns of Ethiopia.

When the project is finalised, Djibouti, who currently generates power using diesel generators, is expected to pay 80 million dollars annually for the hydroelectric power the country imports from Ethiopia.

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26/07/07 (B405) Le régime est au bout du rouleau : même l’avion de Guelleh n’arrive plus à décoller ! – ALLAFRICA.COM. La sécurité de la Zambie interdit aux journalistes de prendre des photos de Guelleh et de son avion à l’aéroport international de Livingstone, quand il n’arrive pas à décoller !!! (Note de l’ARDHD : Pourquoi ? Pour cacher l’état de l’avion ou pire, celui de Guelleh ???) (En anglais – Info lecteur)

Zambia: Security Personnel Prevent Journalists From Photographing Stranded Airplane of Visiting President

On 17 July 2007, security personnel at the Livingstone International Airport attempted to stop Edward Mulenga, a bureau chief of the "Times of Zambia" newspaper, and other journalists from taking pictures. They also threatened to confiscate Mulenga’s camera. Mulenga and the other journalists were trying to photograph an airplane with Djibouti’s President Ismail Guelleh on board, which was unable to take off.

Mulenga told MISA Zambia that security personnel ordered journalists to stop taking photos. The journalists were at the airport to cover the departure of President Guelleh from Zambia’s tourist capital, Livingstone, to Lusaka.

The security personnel also tried to grab Mulenga’s camera, but he was able to retain it by assuring them that he would delete the photographs. He did not do so, however, and instead sent them to the "Times of Zambia", which did not publish them.

Mulenga said that, when the security personnel asked why he was taking pictures, he told them, "Look, I’m doing my job, just like you", and that he was doing his best to capture the events.

He told MISA Zambia that he was not frightened by the incident. "It was one of those things we journalists come across in the course of our day."

In the end, Mulenga was able to reason with the security. "We resolved the whole thing. I made them see we were both doing our jobs," he said.

Father Frank Bwalya, the chairperson of MISA Zambia, said it is understandable that security may be tight since there was a foreign president involved, but as long as journalists identified themselves and stayed behind security barriers, there should be no reason to prevent them from