30/09/08 (B467-B) Garowe On Line / Un représentant officiel de l’opposition somalienne (Secrétaire de l’ARS) condamne l’occupation par les troupes éthiopiennes et affirme simultanément que « Les Al Shabbab sont des criminels ». Il y a quelques jours, un parlementaire somalien avait accusé les forces de paix de l’AMISOM, d’avoir causé un massacre à Mogadiscio. // al Shabaab are criminals’: Somalia opposition official. (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

A senior opposition official in Somalia has condemned African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers and al Shabaab insurgents for “targeting civilians.”

Col. Omar Hashi, the secretary of the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS), told Mogadishu-based Radio Codka Nabada (Voice of Peace) that both sides must be held to account.

“The responsibility [for the bombing] lies with both sides, but AMISOM committed the bigger crime by bombarding civilian areas,” Hashi said, adding “The al Shabaab group who made the wrong decision are also criminals.”

The ARS official said AMISOM peacekeepers “did not start the violence,” but responded to al Shabaab mortars “launched from civilian areas.”

Last week, al Shabaab rebels launched mortars at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport, which is a major base for AMISOM peacekeepers.

More than 50 people have been killed in airport-related violence since September 16, when al Shabaab issued the threat to shoot down airplanes landing at the airport.

Col. Hashi condemned both sides for the bombing of civilians, while calling on al Shabaab to rescind their decision to shoot down airplanes.

In June, the Islamist-led ARS opposition umbrella split into two camps after ARS Chairman Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed inked a peace deal with Ethiopian-backed Somali Prime Minister Nur « Adde » Hassan Hussein.

ARS officials based in Eritrea are led by Islamist hardliner Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, who has rejected peace talks until Ethiopian troops withdraw from Somali soil.

Col. Hashi is allied to the Sheikh Sharif-led ARS wing, which has been based in Djibouti since June 9.

Yesterday, a Somali MP accused AMISOM peacekeepers of committing « a massacre » in Mogadishu.

22/09/08 (B466) Garowe On Line. Après trois jours, la conférence de Djibouti s’achève sur un constat de désaccord. Djibouti: Somalia peace conference ends in dispute (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Three days of peace negotiations between the Somali interim government and an opposition faction ended Sunday without an agreement, Radio Garowe reported.

Interim Somali Prime Minister Nur « Adde » Hassan Hussein is leading a government delegation as negotiations continue regarding the Djibouti Agreement, reached on June 9 between the government and the opposition faction, the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS).

ARS delegates refused to sign the expected agreement after a dispute erupted about a clause regarding the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from major towns, sources said.

The government’s negotiating team argued that Ethiopian troops will be withdrawn only from « civilian centers » but will remain inside the major towns, the sources added.

UN Special Envoy Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah confirmed to reporters that the ARS delegation refused to sign the security clause, but both sides formally signed a clause declaring support for humanitarian relief efforts.

17/09/08 (B465-B) Garowe On Line. Le chef de la Police du Puntland, grièvement blessé à Bossaso par balles par trois hommes masqués. Puntland police chief severely wounded in Bossaso (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

The police chief in Somalia’s Puntland state government was wounded severely Tuesday night in the port city of Bossaso, Radio Garowe reported.

Three masked assailants fired five shots at Gen. Gani Mohamed Abdi moments after he walked out of Karama Restaurant at the heart of Bossaso, witnesses said.

Two of the bullets hit the Puntland police chief, including a shot in the head.

Witnesses told Radio Garowe that Gen. Gani was walking alone at around 11:30pm local time when the attackers targeted him.

Medical sources at Bossaso General Hospital confirmed the shooting, adding that Gen. Gani will be transported aboard tomorrow due to the severity of the wounds.

It is the first time a police chief has been attacked in Puntland. At least four Puntland Intelligence Service (PIS) agents were killed in Bossaso so far this year.

In an unrelated incident, Gen. Gani’s deputy, Mohamed Haji Aden, was attacked near Gara’ad district in Mudug region yesterday.

Puntland Ministry of Security officials confirmed that one of Mr. Aden’s bodyguards was wounded and Mr. Aden himself was "kidnapped" by the attackers. He was later released unharmed, the sources added.

It is not clear why Puntland’s deputy police chief was targeted, but the coastal village of Gara’ad is home to many pirates.

Growing insecurity in Puntland is mainly blamed on the leadership of President Adde Muse, who has failed to pay the region’s security forces.

16/09/08 (B465) Garowe ON Line / Une compagnie « peu connue » gérera le port de Bossaso. A little-known company to ‘manage’ Bossaso port (Info lecteur – En Anglais)

___________________________ Note de notre correspondant

M. Lootah a réalisé des investissements dans plusieurs projets à Djibouti. Certains le considèrent comme le bras droit d’IOG et son associé préférés pour gérer les affaires particulières ou même « louches », comme le prétend la rumeur. Il est d’origine iranienne.

___________________________ Garowe On Line

A small company based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will manage the Port of Bossaso in northern Somalia under a new deal, confidential sources tell Garowe Online.

In August, Puntland President Adde Muse announced that unnamed foreign companies will manage the region’s airports and the port of Bossaso, the regional government’s economic backbone.

But the Puntland leader has not formally presented official documents to the Puntland Parliament for debate and ratification or to the public.

An independent inquiry by Garowe Online has disclosed that a little-known, UAE-based company called Integratia and chaired by a wealthy businessman named Ibrahim Saeed Lootah will manage the Port of Bossaso under a deal with President Muse.

Garowe Online sources in Dubai said Integratia will be given a 70% stake in owning and operating the Port of Bossaso and has also requested 70% stake in customs funds which be used for profit and reinvestment.

Further, a controversial figure in Puntland is pushing the deal behind the scenes, our sources added.

Mr. Liban Muse Bogor, a relative of the Puntland leader, is reportedly a shareholder in Integratia along with President Muse.

In July, Mr. Bogor resigned from the Board of Directors of Australia-based mining firm Range Resources, Ltd., which claimed to have oil exploration rights in Puntland under a deal with Muse. [ READ: Puntland Ruler’s Relative Resigns from Range Resources]

The Puntland leader has contacted several traditional elders and invited them to Dubai to attend the signing ceremony, which is scheduled to take place later this month.

But many of the elders have « excused themselves » from the event, the sources added.

It is not clear why President Muse wants the support of traditional elders, but the Muse administration has minimal support among the public and the Parliament.

Further, the Muse government’s term in office expires in January and a new administration might reject the deal, a definite worry for potential investors.

Since coming to power in 2005, President Muse has inked several agreements with foreign companies whereby he collected sign-on bonuses that never made it to the government treasury, according to Parliament’s budget hearings in June.

14/09/08 (B465) Garowe On LIne / Les troupes éthiopiennes quittent la ville de Beldetwein qu’elles occupaient depuis le 24 juin. Les forces islamistes crient victoire et leur intention de rétablir la Charia – Ethiopian troops withdrew from the central Somali town of Beletwein overnight Friday, after controlling the key town since July 24, (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Hundreds of locals took to the streets and walked by areas where Ethiopian soldiers used to patrol, including the main administration building and the police station.

It was not clear why the Ethiopian army pulled out of Beletwein, which has the third-largest concentration of Ethiopian forces deployed in Somalia after Mogadishu and Baidoa.

But the region’s traditional elders have been negotiating with Ethiopian commanders to leave Beletwein during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Islamic Courts officials claimed victory, saying the Ethiopian troops withdrew after loosing many soldiers in insurgent attacks.

Beletwein residents told Radio Garowe that Islamist fighters had entered the town and took control of strategic areas, including two key bridges.

Officials appointed by the Somali interim government reportedly left Beletwein a day earlier, but it remains unclear whether or not the Ethiopian soldiers who withdrew to a military base in the outskirts of the town will return.

10/09/08 (B464-B) Garowe On Line / Nouvelles vagues de violence en Somalie, alors que le Président somalien remplace l’administration de la capitale par décret. Violence as Somalia’s president replaces Mogadishu mayor (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Somalia’s interim President, Abdullahi Yusuf, officially relieved of duty Mogadishu’s notorious mayor, Mohamed “Dheere” Omar, Radio Garowe reported Tuesday.

A decree issued from the Office of the President named Mr. Ibrahim Sheikh Muhiyadin as the Somali capital’s caretaker mayor, who also holds the dual post of Banadir governor.

Both Prime Minister Nur “Adde” Hassan Hussein and ex-Mayor Mohamed Dheere were present at the ceremony, whereby new Mayor Muhiyadin and his 11-person team took office.

Mohamed Dheere, a former warlord, said he “welcomed” the new administration and pledged to transfer power respectfully.

The decree indicated that the Somali president’s decision to replace Mogadishu’s local government is in line with an agreement inked in Addis Ababa last month, which ended a feud between President Yusuf and Prime Minister Nur Adde.

Government officials said the new mayor has “no connection” to warlords or to Islamists, while underscoring that the President consulted with the Prime Minister before naming the caretaker mayor.

According to President Yusuf’s decree, the caretaker Mogadishu administration is supposed to prepare the region for elections within a two-week period.

Meanwhile, violent attacks continue in Mogadishu with at least six people reported killed within the past 24 hours.

In Mogadishu’s Suuk Ba’ad, the capital’s second-largest marketplace, insurgents ambushed a police car and killed two officers. A third officer and a civilian bystander were wounded in the crossfire, witnesses added.

Separately, four people were killed overnight Monday after insurgents attacked the home of deputy police commander of Dharkinley district.

Two civilians were among the dead, with witnesses saying the other two dead bodies « belonged to the fighting sides. »

The Somali Islamic Front claimed responsibility for the attack, with their spokesman Farhan Ilmoge saying the attack was “revenge” for a girl who was raped recently. He also claimed that the insurgents killed seven police officers.

But Somali police spokesman Abdullahi Hassan Barise rejected the claim, saying “no one was hurt” among the police officers.

Somalia has been marred by violence since 1991, when the Horn of Africa country’s last effective ruler was overthrown by warlords.

Ethiopia deployed troops into south-central Somalia in December 2006, after Islamist militias who then ruled Mogadishu threatened to topple the country’s UN-endorsed interim government.

An anti-government, anti-Ethiopia insurgency has been raging since, with upwards of 8,000 people killed in the conflict so far.

07/09/08 (B464) Garowe On Line. Les islamistes somaliens installent l’administration municipale de Kismayo. Somalia’s Islamists appoint Kismayo administration. (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Somalia’s Islamist militia rulers in the southern port of Kismayo have appointed a district administration for the strategic town, Radio Garowe reported Saturday.

A seven-member administration was officially appointed, with the Islamic Courts and al Shabaab each retaining three seats.

According to a press statement by Sheikh Hassan Yakub, the district’s new information secretary, al Shabaab received the positions of Kismayo District Commissioner, Information Secretary and Police Chief.

The town’s Finance Secretary, the Head of Islamic Protocol and the Chief Justice were allocated to the Islamic Courts movement.

A seventh seat was « delegated » to clans that helped the Islamists’ war to oust warlord Barre Hirale from Kismayo last month, said Sheikh Yakub.

Clan elders who spoke with Radio Garowe on the condition of anonymity said they were « not consulted » during the naming process, but indicated no opposition to Kismayo’s new administration as long as security was guaranteed.

Meanwhile, al Shabaab fighters seized the district of Wanla Weyn in Lower Shabelle region without a fight on Saturday.

Witnesses said the government-appointed local administration fled towards Baidoa, the seat of the country’s interim parliament.

06/09/08 (B464) Garowe On Line : 5 morts dans une attaque des insurgés somaliens contre un convoi éthiopien. Insurgents target Ethiopian army convoy in Somalia countryside, 5 killed (En Anglais)

At least five people were killed in south-central Somalia on Friday after Islamist insurgents targeted an Ethiopian army convoy that left the town of Baidoa, sources said.

Two Ethiopian soldiers were killed in the ambush, while the insurgents lost three fighters, according to witnesses.

One of the Ethiopian army’s trucks was « burned » in Bardale town, which is located 55km southwest of Baidoa, seat of Somalia’s interim federal parliament.

« We attacked Ethiopian forces near Bardale and inflicted heavy casualties, » said Abdirahim Isse Addow, a spokesman for the military wing of the Islamic Courts Union.

He admitted that two Islamist fighters were killed during the battle, whereby both sides used machineguns and rocket launchers.

As routine, there was no official word from the Ethiopian military regarding attacks in Somalia.

Islamist rebels have led a bloody anti-Ethiopia insurgency since January 2007, after Ethiopian troops invaded Mogadishu and ousted the Somali capital’s Islamic Courts rulers.