05/09/08 (B463-B) Garowe On Line / Une délégation ministérielle du Puntland, sous la direction du Ministre des ressources minérales part à la rencontre des pirates qui détiennent une dizaine de navires étrangers, dans une ville côtière, pour ouvrir le dialogue et éviter tout risque de confrontations violentes. Somalia: Puntland officials ‘plan to meet’ pirates (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Government officials in Somalia’s northeastern state of Puntland have visited a coastal town, where Somali pirates are holding 10 foreign vessels for ransom, Radio Garowe reported Thursday.

Hassan "Allore" Osman, Puntland’s minerals minister, led a government delegation to Eyl that included deputy police commissioner Mohamed Haji Aden to open talks with pirates, who are demanding US$9 million ransom payment to free the vessels, according to Reuters.

Eyl Deputy Mayor Ali "Irro" Farah, who spoke with Radio Garowe, said the Puntland government officials "plan to meet" with the pirates in order to avoid a violent confrontation.

He dismissed rumors that Minister Allore has already met with the pirates, but confirmed that a committee had been established to hold direct talks with the pirates regarding the release of the ships.

On Thursday, pirates reportedly hijacked an Egyptian ship. Locals in Eyl say they are unable to defend their town from the heavily-armed pirates, while the Puntland administration is accused of having links to piracy.

04/09/08 (B463-B) Garowe on Line / Au moins 15 morts et 25 blessés lors d’une attaque par les insurgés, ce mercredi de la Villa Somalia, le Palais présidentiel de Mogadiscio, qui a été touchée par 6 obus. Des dégâts aux alentours, en particulier sur un marché ont fait des victimes parmi la population civile / 15 killed as al Shabaab attack Somalia presidential palace (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

At least 15 people were killed and 25 others wounded Wednesday in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu after insurgents attacked the Villa Somalia presidential compound, Radio Garowe reported.

Six mortars hit Villa Somalia and its environs, followed by face-to-face street fighting between government troops and al Shabaab insurgents, according to witnesses.

Some mortars reportedly hit locations inside Mogadishu’s sprawling Bakara Market, while other mortars hit neighborhoods of Wardhigley district. At least four dead bodies were discovered inside Bakara, witnesses said.

Five civilians were killed when mortars aimed at the presidential palace hit nearby homes.

Locals reported seeing six dead bodies – all of them soldiers and insurgents – in parts of Wardhigley district, where most of the heavy fighting was concentrated.
Medical sources at Medina Hospital said the wounded included many women and children.

A spokesman for the al Shabaab insurgents claimed responsiblity for the violence, saying they killed 14 soldiers and suffered four wounded fighters on their side.

Col. Dahir Mohamed Hersi, a spokesman for the Somali military, told reporters that government security forces killed at least 8 al Shabaab fighters.

He confirmed that some mortars hit Bakara Market, but blamed al Shabaab for the violence.

Separately, insurgents attacked African Union peacekeepers overnight Tuesday but there were no casualty reports available.

Somalia has been marred by violence since the outbreak of civil war in 1991. In 2004, a UN-endorsed transitional government came to power and soon invited Ethiopian troops to help restore order in Mogadishu, after ousting the capital’s Islamist rulers.

The Islamists, including al Shabaab, have since waged a relentless guerrilla campaign aimed at toppling the interim government and expelling its Ethiopian military backers from Somali soil.

03/09/08 (B463) Garowe On Line / La Police du Somaliland a arrêté 5 hommes suspectés d’acte de piraterie, qui seraient originaires du Somaliland et du Puntland. Somalia: Somaliland police detain 5 ‘piracy suspects’ (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Police authorities in Somalia’s breakaway republic of Somaliland arrested five men on Monday on suspicions of piracy, Radio Garowe reported.

The five men include Somalis from the Somaliland regions, as well as others from neighboring Puntland, a region renowned for pirate activities.

Mohamed Dubad, Somaliland’s police commissioner, confirmed to local media that the five men were detained at a house in the port city of Berbera and are being held at the police station.

But he declined further comment, saying that the case is « under investigation. »
Security sources in Berbera said the five suspects were « planning » to hijack ships and hold them hostage for ransom payment.

Currently, there are at least six foreign ships being held for ransom near Somalia’s Puntland coast

01/09/08 (B463) Garowe On line . Somalie : le Premier Ministre du GNT « survit » à une motion de censure, votée dans une atmosphère de chahut au Parlement de Baïdoa. Somalia PM survives no-confidence vote (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Interim Somali Prime Minister Nur « Adde » Hassan Hussein has survived a vote-of-confidence motion in Parliament, Radio Garowe reported Monday.

The atmosphere inside Parliament’s ADC Hall in Baidoa, 250km northwest of Mogadishu, was « chaotic » as MPs debated whether or not the vote should be by secret ballot.

Sheikh Adan « Madobe » Mohamed, the Speaker, told lawmakers that they would vote by raising their right hand.

There were 201 MPs present during the vote, which was presented by a group of lawmakers despite interim President Abdullahi Yusuf’s opposition to the confidence motion.

Some 191 MPs voted to pass Prime Minister Nur Adde’s government, while seven MPs refused and two MPs abstained from voting, Speaker Madobe announced.

Somali Interior Minister Muse Nur Amin and Transportation Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Habsade, who are considered the Prime Minister’s allies in the Cabinet, welcomed the vote.

Currently, a motion against President Yusuf sits in Parliament and is waiting for a vote, according to lawmakers.

Somalia’s interim government, established in 2004, has been plagued by internal divisions and confidence votes against the sitting Prime Minister.

26/08/08 (B462) Garowe On Line / Somaliland : Une importante délégation d’une compagnie pétrolière britannique (Arsante Oil) est arrivée à Hargeisa . Elle a été accueillie par le Ministre de l’Eau et des ressources minières. Durant la visite de 5 jours les déllégués norvégiens doivent participer à la finalisation des accords de prospection que la Norvège s signé en Mai avec le Somaliland. Somalia: Somaliland, Asante Oil move forward with drilling plans (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

by Rashid Nur, Hargeisa
Special to Garowe Online

A high-level delegation from UK-based oil company Asante Oil arrived in Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland on August 20, where they were welcomed by Ministry of Water and Minerals officials at Hargeisa’s Egal International Airport.

The Norwegian delegation, which started an official five-day visit to Somaliland, was received at the airport by the Ministry’s Director-General, Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim Sultan.

Mr. Sultan briefly explained that the Asante Oil delegation came to finalize a work program with the Ministry and to complete outstanding details in the oil exploration agreement, which the Norwegian firm signed in May.

Asante Oil has been licensed by the Ministry to explore and extract natural gas and oil resources in blocks « SL13 » and « SL14, » according to Ministry documents.

The Norwegian delegation included Mr. Jarand Rystad (delegation head), Mr. Christian Eidem, Mr. Tor B. Lund and Mr. Mohamed I.Hassan, head of Asante Oil’s Somaliland office.

Mr. Rystad, the head of the delegation, explained to reporters during a Thursday joint press conference with Ministry officials at Maansoor Hotel in Hargeisa that Asante Oil is on its « final leg in preparations » to start its drilling operations by 2009, once acquisition of the seismic data taken by TGS-Nopec is finalized by the end of this year.

Asante Oil executives offered a brief overview of the company’s history, exploration plans, drilling program and highlighted costs already spent on their Somaliland acquisition amounting to « millions of dollars. »

According to Asante Oil officials, the Norwegian firm’s agreement with the Somaliland government did not include « signature bonus fees. »

Instead, Asante Oil representatives  » guaranteed » to carry out social development programs in connection with the Agreement, in which Asante Oil will provide one water-borehole rig and its maintenance for the people living in SL13 and SL14 regions.

Further, the Company’s senior officials pledged to provide vocational training in the oil industry for the employment of locals.

Mr. Qassim Sheikh Yusuf, Somaliland’s Water and Minerals Minister, indicated during Thursday’s press conference that the ‘Production Sharing Agreement’ signed with Asante Oil will go before the Council of Ministers and then the Somaliland Parliament for final approval in the « coming months. »

Somaliland, in Somalia’s northwestern regions, unilaterally declared independence in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.

There are no proven oil reserves in Somalia, but Western majors who collected data in the 1980s found high potential for oil discovery.

Currently, Somaliland is locked in a political and violent border dispute with neighborhing Puntland, which contests ownership of Sool and Sanaag regions.

24/08/08 (B462) Garowe On Line / Un premier accord entre le Président du GNT et son premier Ministre à Addis Abeba. La décision de remplacer Mohamed Deere, l’ancien Maire de Mogadiscio, qui avait été à la base de la querelle entre les deux hommes, est entérinée à la condition que l’ancien Maire puisse se présenter à des élections régionales / Somalia’s leaders ‘reach agreement’ in Ethiopia talks (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

The President and Prime Minister of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government have reached a preliminary agreement after talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, government sources tell Garowe Online.

President Abdullahi Yusuf and Prime Minister Nur “Adde” Hassan Hussein have reached a five-point agreement, the sources added.

Some of the tenets of the reported agreement have not been fully disclosed yet, but the sources said the two leaders will hold a function in the Somali capital Mogadishu in the coming days to celebrate the occasion.

Mogadishu Mayor Mohamed Dheere, who’s dismissal by the Prime Minister sparked the feud with the President, will be sacked on the condition that he is allow to “compete at regional elections,” according to Garowe Online sources in Addis Ababa.

Another tenet states that the ten ministers who resigned from Prime Minister Nur Adde’s Cabinet in protest “cannot return.”

Further, the 15-member Cabinet will be “expanded to 23 members,” the sources added.

Somalia’s government, which controls parts of the country, has been fractured by endless feuds among its top leaders since 2004, as an Islamist-led insurgency strengthens across the country.

22/08/08 (B461-B) Garowe On Line / Selon des témoins, 20 civils auraient été tués, lorsque les forces d’Al Shabaab ont investi la ville de Kismayo. Death toll hits 20 as al Shabaab capture Kismayo (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

KISMAYO, Somalia Aug 21 (Garowe Online) – Fighting between clan militias and the Islamist group al Shabaab in southern Somalia killed at least 20 people, Radio Garowe reported Thursday.

A Radio Garowe correspondent in the southern port city of Kismayo reported that 22 wounded persons are currently being treated at the local hospital.

“Al Shabaab now control 80% of Kismayo,” according to our correspondent.

The situation in Kismayo was calm on Thursday but businesses remained closed, citing security reasons.

The fighting erupted yesterday when a landmine hit an armed truck full of clan militias. Three people – all of them civilians – were killed and eight others wounded, witnesses said.

Street battles pitting al Shabaab insurgents against militias loyal to clan warlords who controlled Kismayo since April 2007 then began, killing at least 17 people.
“I saw 11 dead bodies…all of them fighters,” said a witness who did not want to be named.

Al Shabaab commanders declined comment, but one fighter confidentially told Radio Garowe that their fighters “control most of Kismayo.”

Kismayo’s clan rulers have not spoken publicly, with emerging reports saying some of the leaders have fled the town.

Interim Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf has long maintained that Kismayo is not in the hands of the Ethiopian-backed transitional government.

There are no Ethiopian forces present in Kismayo and the Jubba regions as a whole, although clan militias there claim they are part of the government.

19/08/08 (B461) Garowe On Line / Puntland : une milice clanique kidnappe un Gouverneur au Puntland / Somalia: Clan militias kidnap governor in Puntland (Info lecteur – En Anglais)

Heavily armed militias have kidnapped the governor of Nugal region, in Somalia’s northeastern State of Puntland, a government official told Radio Garowe.

Burtinle District Commissioner Hussein Guled « Hanaf » confirmed to Radio Garowe during a Monday interview that Nugal Governor Abdi Hersi Ali was kidnapped and his « whereabouts are unknown. »

« Local elders are talking with clan militias to seek the Governor’s release, » Mr. Hanaf said.

The incident happened after Governor Hersi, who was traveling through Burtinle District in Nugal region, came across an illegal roadblock set up by clan militias.

The Governor called in police reinforcements from the Puntland capital Garowe, the Burtinle District Commissioner told Radio Garowe.

« Fighting erupted between the police and the militias…one policeman was wounded and one militiaman killed, » Mr. Hanaf said.

Moments later, angry militias rushed to the scene and when Mr. Hanaf attempted to intervene and stop them, « they opened fire. »

The militias chased down the Governor of Nugal and captured him and one of his bodyguards alive, the District Commissioner added. The Governor, the bodyguard and their vehicle are « all missing » but local traditional elders are in talks with the militias, according to Mr. Hanaf.