14/11/08 (B473-B) Garowe On Line. Le premier Ministre somalien remet au Président du GNT la liste des futurs ministres, qu’il a préparée. Concern grows as PM hands President new Cabinet list (En Anglais, info lecteur)

The interim Prime Minister of Somalia, Nur "Adde" Hassan Hussein, told a Wednesday press conference in the Kenyan capital Nairobi that he has handed President Abdullahi Yusuf the new Cabinet list.

The Prime Minister said ten ministers who resigned from the Cabinet in July are not included in the new list.

"The IGAD conference supported the [Somali] Parliament’s no-confidence vote against the resigned Cabinet ministers," Prime Minister Nur Adde said, while underlining that the other Cabinet members who did not resign will still hold their posts.

He said the new Cabinet list has been submitted to President Yusuf for review.

The Somali president is currently in London, with emerging reports telling Garowe Online that Yusuf is expected to soon travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

It is not clear whether or not President Yusuf will endorse the Prime Minister’s new Cabinet list, especially since the ten resigned Cabinet ministers are all considered political allies of the president.

There are growing concerns that the Prime Minister’s decision to exclude the pro-Yusuf Cabinet ministers has renewed the political feud between the leaders.

The Ethiopian-backed interim government in Mogadishu has been crippled by political infighting for the past four years, as an Islamist rebellion gains ground in different parts of the country.

10/11/08 (B473) Garowe / 10 morts depuis le cessez-le-feu. Une attaque conduite par les membres d’une groupe black-listé par les USA. Somalia: 10 Killed After Ceasefire Agreement (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Islamist insurgents loyal to a guerrilla group blacklisted by the U.S. government as terrorists attacked government forces in Somalia Thursday, sparking deadly battles that killed at least 10 people.

The first round of violence erupted during the morning hours when al Shabaab militants attacked Somali and Ethiopian military bases in north Mogadishu’s Huriwa and Yaaqshiid districts.

At least five people – all soldiers and insurgents – died during the fierce battle whereby the two sides used heavy machineguns and pounded away at each other with shells.

A shell that slammed into a home in Huriwa district wounded five family members inside, neighbors and relatives told Garowe Online.

An insurgent attack near the ex-ministry of defense headquarters sparked a brief skirmish between Ethiopian troops and the guerrillas, with at least one civilian reportedly dying in the crossfire.

Separately, two soldiers were killed in a roadside explosion in Towfiiq neighborhood. Witnesses said two other soldiers were wounded in the explosion, which completely destroyed the car.

Al Shabaab fighters claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying that 7 Ethiopian soldiers were killed during the fighting.

Security operation

Yaaqshiid District Commissioner Muhiyadin Hassan Jurus told reporters that government security forces are carrying out a security operation to remove illegal militia roadblocks by force.

He was responding to two civilian deaths incurred when a battle erupted midday Thursday between government forces and roadblock militiamen. One of the dead victims was a woman, witnesses reported.

A number of roadblocks were forcefully dismantled, but locals reported seeing some of the gunmen return to the roadblocks and were « again collecting extortion money, » according to one eyewitness.

Somalia has lacked an effective national government since 1991. Ethiopia invaded the country two years ago after the Islamic Courts Union militia took control of Mogadishu and other strategic towns in the central and southern regions.

An Islamist-led rebellion since has killed upwards of 9,500 people, prompting a faction of the Islamists to sign a peace agreement with the Ethiopian-backed Somali government last month.

But Islamist hardliners like the al Shabaab group have rejected the peace deal and the ceasefire agreement that officially went into effect on 5 November.

Neither the Somali government nor the pro-peace opposition faction has publicly commented on the day’s fighting that clearly violates the ceasefire deal.

10/10/08 (B468-B) Garowe On Line / Les milices islamistes qui ont pris le contrôle du port stratégique de Kismayo, déclarent qu’elles ont prêt à défendre leur conquête jusqu’au bout et à repousser les militaires qui se sont installés dans la région voisine de GEDO. // Somali Islamist fighters who seized the strategic port of Kismayo in August say they are « ready to defend » the port town from any attack. (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Abdifatah Ibrahim Ali, deputy information secretary for Kismayo’s Islamist-appointed administration, told reporters Wednesday that the group is "aware" of a military buildup in neighboring Gedo region.

"We will fight them anywhere…even in Gedo," Ali said, in reference to Col. Barre Hirale, Kismayo’s former warlord-ruler who fled to Gedo and is reportedly amassing clan militia forces there in an effort to retake Kismayo.

He indicated that Islamist guerrillas had setup "defensive positions," while calling on Islamist fighters in other parts of Somalia to come help defend Kismayo.

Mr. Ali blamed the U.S. government for Hirale’s militia buildup, saying that the U.S. is "opposed to peace in Somalia" by supporting Ethiopian troops.

One of Hirale’s militia commanders has claimed plans to retake Kismayo "with Ethiopian army support."

Hirale is a member of Somalia’s interim federal parliament, but it is not clear whether or not he enjoys Ethiopian military support.

Ethiopian troops captured Kismayo in January 2007 and withdrew within three months, leaving the port town under the control of Somali government forces who soon fought each other.

The Islamists’ fist public comment about Col. Hirale’s militia buildup is an indication the guerrilla group is concerned about renewed conflict in Lower Jubba region, where Kismayo is located

07/09/08 (B464) Garowe On Line. Le président du GNT continue de se quereller avec son premier ministre en dépit de l’accord signé par eux à Addis Abeba. Somalia leaders ‘still feuding’ (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Somalia’s interim President and Prime Minister are ‘still feuding’ after Ethiopian government officials helped mediate between them last month, sources tell Garowe Online.

President Abdullahi Yusuf has demanded that Prime Minister Nur « Adde » Hassan Hussein postpone regional elections in Mogadishu until after a group of pro-Yusuf Cabinet ministers are reinstated to their posts, the sources added.

An agreement brokered by Ethiopian officials and signed in Addis Ababa between Yusuf and Nur Adde called for Mogadishu Mayor Mohamed Dheere, a Yusuf ally, to participate at regional elections for the next governor of Banadir region.

But President Yusuf is reportedly demanding that Banadir regional elections must be preceded by parliamentary approval of 10 Cabinet ministers, who resigned in July after a feud erupted between Yusuf and Nur Adde regarding the Prime Minister’s decision to fire Mogadishu Mayor Mohamed Dheere.

Somalia’s government, established in 2004, has been plagued by internal feuds and crippled by an Islamist-led, anti-Ethiopia insurgency in Mogadishu and other parts of the country.

02/08/08 (B459) GAROWE ON LINE / Le Président du GNT réinstalle dans un décret secret le Maire de Mogadiscio qui avait été « licencié » par le Premier Ministre. Les clans jouent leur rôle, surtout après que 32 députés aient demandé la démission du Président du Somaliland / President reinstates mayor, calls for regional elections

Somalia’ s interim president has issued a secret government memo reinstating ex-warlord Mohamed « Dheere » Omar Habeb as mayor of the capital, inside sources tell Garowe Online.

Abdullahi Yusuf, president of the Horn of Africa country’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG), returned to Mogadishu last Tuesday, hours after the Cabinet voted to formally remove Mohamed Dheere from the mayor’s office.

Private discussions among the government’s top leaders « collapsed » on Thursday, with insiders saying that Prime Minister Nur « Adde » Hassan Hussein rejected recommendations detailed in a letter from Yusuf, which was also sent to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Sources privy to the letter’s contents confirmed to Garowe Online that the Somali president called on the Prime Minister to rescind Mohamed Dheere’s dismissal and requested that « regional elections » be held in Banadir to elect the next administration.

Mohamed Dheere was defiant after the Cabinet voted him out of power earlier this week, saying that the « final decision » remains with the President. [ Full story]

He told a Mogadishu-based radio station that « foreigners » and « Cabinet members » schemed to get rid of him, but « failed » in their efforts.

Officials at the Prime Minister’s office would not comment on this developing story, but Mogadishu’s embattled mayor has long enjoyed President Yusuf’s backing.

The Somali president, who is viewed as an outsider by Mogadishu clans, relies on the support of well-armed Mayor Mohamed Dheere with local matters and the two men have been political allies since the late 1990s.

However, Mogadishu’s beleaguered mayor does not enjoy the support of many people.

On Tuesday, crowds gathered at camps for internally displaced peoples (IDP) in the outskirts of southern Mogadishu and demonstrated in support of Mohamed Dheere’s sacking.

One of the demonstrators said: « I ran away from my home [in Mogadishu] and Mohamed Dheere is responsible. » He, like many others living at IDP camps south of the capital, lived in neighborhoods where the insurgents’ hit-and-run attacks were common.

Commentators argued that the celebration – which took place at camps along the Mogadish-to-Afgoye road – was orchestrated by clans who have felt marginalized and persecuted under Mohamed Dheere’s reign.

In 2007, the mayor declared that UN agencies were « feeding al Qaeda » by distributing food to IDP camps near Afgoye, where upwards of 250,000 civilians fled to since the anti-Ethiopia insurgency erupted in Mogadishu 19 months ago.

Cabinet sources said Prime Minister Nur Adde and his deputy, Information Minister Ahmed Abdisalam, « enjoy the support of donor countries » based in Nairobi, Kenya, in the decision to remove Mohamed Dheere.

Gen. Gabre, commander of Ethiopian forces in Somalia, has reportedly « withdrawn support » for Mohamed Dheere, who has been one of Addis Ababa’s closest allies since the fall of Mogadishu in December 2006.

Observers fear that a new rift has emerged among TFG leaders, especially after 32 MPs called for Prime Minister Nur Adde’s resignation.

31/07/08 (B459) Garowe Online / Un défenseur des Droits de l’Homme meurt en Somalie / Human rights activist dies in Somalia

A man who spent years fighting for human rights in war-torn Somalia died Tuesday in the capital Mogadishu after falling ill.

Ali « Fadha » Sheikh, a representative of the Elman Human Rights organization, confirmed to local media that the group’s longtime Chairman Sudan Ali Ahmed died from a kidney-related illness he had been combating for years.

Prior to his death, the late human rights defender traveled to neighboring countries for treatment and reportedly returned to Mogadishu after recovering.

Mr. Sudan founded an organization that fought for human rights and named it after his brother, Elman Ali Ahmed, who was gunned down in Mogadishu in 1996.

Through Elman, Mr. Sudan collected street children and offered them an education and an opportunity to learn useful crafts.

In 2007, Elman Human Rights’ late chairman went into hiding for some time after Somali government officials threatened him. Elman, which monitors and collects figures on deaths and injuries during the Mogadishu conflict, has been cited often by local and international media.

He was buried yesterday and those who knew best said Somalia had lost of its heroes.

28/07/08 (B458) Garowe online / Selon des informations crédibles, le Puntland aurait été découpé en zones de recherche pétrolifère / Somalia’s Puntland region to be divided into oil blocks: Report (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Confidential sources tell Somali news agency Garowe Online that President Abdullahi Yusuf of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has introduced a new, ambitious oil exploration plan that would directly contradict – if not terminate – a ‘contract’ a regional ruler signed in mid-2005 with Australian mining firm Range Resources, Ltd.

President Yusuf and Gen. Adde Muse, leader of the semiautonomous Somali region of Puntland, have been holding closed-door meetings in the administrative capital Garowe since Yusuf’s arrival yesterday.

Sources familiar with the talks said a committee, composed of TFG and Puntland officials, has been established to « oversee the division of Puntland into oil blocks. »

The Cabinet ministers for Oil, Security and Finance – Mr. Hassan Allore, Mr. Abdullahi S. Samatar and Mr. Mohamed Gaagaab – have been appointed to the committee to represent Puntland, according to Garowe Online sources.

There was no indication of representatives from the TFG, but sources say officials working closely with President Yusuf have « shown interest » in getting access to blocks in Nugal and Mudug regions.

Further, preliminary reports indicate that Puntland leader Muse has now accepted President Yusuf’s position that the TFG has « exclusive responsibility » to manage the production of natural resources across Somalia. [ READ: ‘Puntland elections on time’: Somali president]

Observers say that the new proposal would terminate Muse’s ‘exclusive rights’ agreement with Range and Canada-based Africa Oil Corp., Range’s joint venture partner with an 80% stake in the Puntland project under the 2005 deal with Muse.

Also Sunday, President Yusuf met with a group of Puntland traditional elders at the Garowe State House.

According to reports, the elders were « critical » of Muse and his staff and President Yusuf urged the Puntland governor to « cooperate » with the elders, whom he praised for their efforts to keep the peace.

The elders explained to the Somali leader about the upcoming ‘save Puntland’ conference, which is scheduled to open in Garowe on August 20, saying that the conference is aimed at offering advice to the administration

26/07/08 (B458) GAROWE ON LINE / Le Président du GNT Yussuf est arrivé à Garowe après une embuscade à Mogadiscio After Mogadishu ambush, Somali leader arrives in Garowe (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

GAROWE, Somalia July 25 (Garowe Online) – Interim Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf has landed at a small airport in the outskirts of Garowe, capital of the northern state of Puntland, with conflicting reports emerging from his Saturday visit.

Radio Garowe’s correspondent in the national capital Mogadishu reported that President Yusuf’s armored convoy was ambushed by insurgents along the road linking the Villa Somalia presidential compound to Aden Adde International Airport.

There were no reports of casualties from the brief fighting, but Islamist-led insurgents have targeted the Somali president’s convoy at least three times along the same road.

President Yusuf was welcomed in Garowe by Puntland government officials, lawmakers, traditional elders and members of civil society.

The president’s office has not issued any official statement about Yusuf’s trip to Puntland, but our sources say that Yusuf and Puntland leader Adde Muse’s private discussions will focus on ‘new oil deals.’

There are unconfirmed reports that President Yusuf is seeking to ‘rectify differences’ between oil contracts he signed and Muse’s controversial exploration contracts.

As we go to print, Yusuf and Muse are jointly addressing t he Puntland Parliament, which has been in gridlock over the region’s new – and hotly contested – constitution.

Puntland lawmakers have halted debate on the constitution, but insiders now suggest President Yusuf might attempt to persuade the parliament to approve a constitution that remains unpopular with lawmakers and traditional elders.

The Somali leader has secretly backed measures to postpone Puntland elections, slated for January 2009, fearing instability in his home region before Somali national elections are held in mid-2009.

Puntland MP Ahmed Barre told Radio Garowe that the new constitution gives the current government of Adde Muse a five-year term, instead of a four-year mandate that ends in January 2009. [Read: Under new constitution, 1 year left in office for Puntland govt: MP]

Since 2004, President Yusuf’s interim government has struggled to assert real control in Mogadishu and other main towns, as Islamist-led rebels continue an insurgency to expel Ethiopian troops backing the weak government.