28/08/08 (B462-B) Shabelle / Un officier de l’Armée somalienne échappe à l’attaque à la grenade de sa résidence à Mogadiscio / Somali army officer survives from islamists attack overnight (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Somali Islamists attacked the residence of the deputy commander of Dhankerley district in Mogadishu on Wednesday night, sparking fierce exchanges with government forces were guarding at the house, witnesses said.

Several propelled grenades landed in the compound of the commander whose name Ali Yare, who commands the police station of the district.

One of the shells also smashed into the houses especially his room.

No causalities from that attack were reported.

The police forces in that district have started to search in houses of the district this morning as the assailants escaped from the scene.

Civilians have borne the heaviest brunt of battles between Islamist fighters and the Ethiopian forces who invaded the Horn of Africa nation in late 2006, to help the government oust the Islamist movement controlling much of southern Somalia.

At least 6,000 have died in the past year alone.

The insurgents have resorted to guerrilla tactics against the Ethiopian and government forces as well as against African Union peacekeepers in the war-ravaged capital since their movement was ousted early last year.

Separate clashes between Islamist fighters and a local clan militia killed 100 more people and wounded 160 othersthe southern port town of Kismayo.

Somalia has lacked an effective government since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, sparking a deadly power struggle that has defied numerous bids to restore stability in the Horn of Africa nation.

26/08/08 (B462) Shabelle / Les milices somaliennes armées sous les ordres du Parlementaire Barre Shire dit Hirale ont commencé de nouvelles opérations contre les islamistes, dans la ville de Bardhere, la capitale de la région GEDO. Somali MP’s militias start maneuver against islamists (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Armed militias led by Somali MP Barre Aden Shire aka Hirale have instigated new rounds of armed maneuvers in Bardhere town the provincial capital of Gedo region and the nearby undulating areas residents in the town said on Tuesday.

These bellicose movements were reported to be the first one that the militias accomplished since they have been expelled from Kismayo town where armed islamist fighters seized from militias in the town to wrestle the control of the town.

The militias were reported to be heading to areas in lower Jubba region where islamist based.

“Militias are marching on the southern part of Bardhere, they are watchful, they have additional battle wagons and want to go towards Kismayo for fighting with Islamists” Bardhere resident Hassan Abdi told Shabelle.

Pastoralists stated that they’ve seen unexpected militiamen with battle wagons in wilderness areas outside the town whose intentions are to move to neighboring lower Jubba region wherethey have been driven out from by islamist fighters.

Currently the town was partially following a heavy fighting between local militias controlled Kismayo and islamist fighters erupted that killed more than 100 people and injured 150 others.

The conflict is complicated by clan loyalties and the involvement of archenemies Eritrea and Ethiopia, who both back opposite sides in the fighting.

The last UN peacekeeping force in Somalia included American troops who arrived in 1992 and tried to arrest warlords and create a government.

The US involvement ended in October 1993, when fighters shot down a US Army Black Hawk helicopter during a battle that killed 18 American soldiers.

Since then, Ethiopian troops have helped Somalia’s fragile transitional government push the Islamists from power in Mogadishu and much of the south, but failed to establish security or improve living standards.

26/08/08 (B462) Shabelle : Les somaliens se plaignent des actions des pirates, car elles contribuent à alimenter l’inflation des denrées courantes. Somalis express concern on piracy (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Nearly all of Somali people have expressed additional concern over the multiplied piracy in the war racked nation saying that it could add to woes the high food prices in the country.

“We ask the pirates not to make down our teetering standard of living” Fatima Hassan a mother of five said.

Muse Bashir one of Mogadishu residents told Shabelle that his children used to get food three times but now one time for high food prices.

“The pirates caused this to us, they are leading us into soreness life” Bashir said.

The added concern of these people come as waves of pirate attacks occurred in the horn of Africa country’s coasts several attack, the major incident took place within two days of last week when pirates seized fours vessels while two other survived from hijacking of the pirates.

An explosion of piracy this month off the coast of Somalia is funding a growing insurgency onshore as the hijackers funnel hefty ransom payments to Islamist rebels, a maritime official said on Sunday.

A record four ships were seized in 48 hours last week off the anarchic Horn of Africa nation, meaning Somali pirates are currently holding hostage four cargo vessels, two tankers and a tug boat, along with about 130 crew members.

The spike in attacks at sea has coincided with a rise in assaults on land by radical al-Shabaab insurgents, including the capture on Friday of Somalia’s strategic southern port Kismayu.

The United States say al-Shabaab is a terrorist group with close ties to al Qaeda. Experts say some of the businessmen and warlords who command the pirates are also funding the rebels.

“The entire Somali coastline is now under control of the Islamists,” Andrew Mwangura, head of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme, told Reuters in an interview.

“According to our information, the money they make from piracy and ransoms goes to support al-Shabaab activities onshore.”

Piracy has been rife off Somalia since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. Experts say at least 30 ships have been hijacked off the coast so far this year — and the attacks have hit unprecedented levels this month.

“It’s crazy. We have never seen anything like it in our years of tracking them,” Mwangura said. “They’ve broken all records for piracy in this region and indeed the whole world.”

RICH REWARDS

The main lure is money. Most of the hijacked ships have brought ransoms of at least $10,000, and sometimes much more.

Many pirates, particularly in the northern Puntland region, have quickly become local celebrities, flaunting their newfound cash by building palatial beachside villas, marrying extra wives or roaring around its dusty towns in flashy cars.

And that has attracted many young men desperate for work in one of the poorest countries on the planet.

“Back in 2005, there were just five Somali pirate gangs, with fewer than 100 gunmen,” Mwangura said.

“Now that youths who used to work as bodyguards for warlords or militia for the government see the rewards available at sea, our estimate is that there are between 1,100 and 1,200 pirates.”

Thursday — a day before al-Shabaab fighters seized Kismayu following battles that killed at least 70 people — was the worst day on record for piracy in Somali waters.

In the space of one day, gunmen hijacked a German cargo ship, an Iranian bulk carrier and a Japanese-operated tanker. That came after a Malaysian tanker laden with palm oil was seized in the same area on Wednesday.

The pirates are also holding a Thai cargo ship, a Nigerian tug boat and a Japanese-managed bulk carrier.

Mwangura said the captors of the Nigerian vessel had demanded a $1 million ransom to free it and its 10 crew.

He said there were also reports some Malaysian and Filipino hostages on board two of the other hijacked vessels might have been badly hurt by gunfire. But he said that was not confirmed.

His organization advises all shipping using the area to maintain a strict lookout for pirates around the clock, and to be especially wary of any small boats that approach them.

26/08/08 (B462) Shabelle Media / Selon le Ministre éthiopien des A.E. les discussions qui se poursuivent à Addis Abeba entre le Président du GNT, son Premier ministre et le Président de la Chambre font quelques progrés, mais ils ne seraient pas encore parvenus à un accord pour régler leurs différends – Chacun Président et Premier Ministre, essayant de faire démissioner l’autre … !. Ethiopia says no complete agreement between president,PM (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

A statement issued by the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry last night says that the presence of the president, the prime minister and the speaker of parliament for talks in Addis Ababa for all of a week indicates there has yet been little progress in resolving the dispute. While it still may not be possible to say when their discussions will end, there is no doubt they are at a critical point. The bottom line is that the peace process in Somalia can have no future unless the president, the prime minister and the speaker can work together.

The peace process in Somalia continues to face serious complications from developments which are causing friends of Somalia serious unhappiness, almost to the point of losing hope. The latest difficulties relate to misunderstandings within the TFG [Transitional Federal Government], particularly between the president and the prime minister.

Regrettably, this is taking place at a time when, from all indications, there were reasons for optimism. First of all, the Djibouti [peace] process has continued to move forward. Following the Djibouti Agreement of 9 June [2008], a meeting took place last weekend in Djibouti and the Joint Security and High-Level Committees called for under the agreement held their first sessions.

Genuine reconciliation

Real possibilities for genuine reconciliation between the two sides associated with the Djibouti process from the beginning have been apparent. What was achieved in Djibouti last weekend was a confirmation of this positive trend within the peace process. The meeting between the representatives of the TFG and the ARS [opposition Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia] concluded with the formal signing of the agreement reached on 9 June, and with the issue of a communique which laid out the terms of reference for the High Level and Joint Security Committees. Both sides expressed optimism over the meeting which largely dealt with practical details, including the delivery of humanitarian assistance for which both sides agreed to do everything possible to ensure there should be no interference.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday [19 August], the UN Security Council authorized a further six months extension for the activities of AMISOM [African Mission in Somalia] in Somalia. In a unanimous resolution, the Security Council also asked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to work with the AU to strengthen UN logistical, political and technical support to help bring AMISOM up to UN standards. It also stated a willingness to consider at an appropriate time “a peacekeeping operation to take over from AMISOM, subject to progress in the political process and improvement in the security situation on the ground”.

Upsurge of unnecessary problems

Paradoxically, therefore, what has been happening over the last week or so has been significant progress in the peace process on the one hand, in Djibouti, while on the other, there has been an upsurge of unnecessary problems between the president and prime minister. Inevitably, the rift between the two top officials of the TFG has had an impact on the general situation in Somalia.

Unfortunate repercussions

Indeed, as Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum told the Financial Times this week it is the biggest obstacle to peace. Minister Seyoum said it was “an inter-government crisis that is preventing them from focusing on the tasks they need to get done. There has been a lack of vigour, and if I may say so, a lack of commitment”. Minister Seyoum added that for the president and prime minister to create a durable peace, they needed to implement the plans to create regional administrations that would give a greater stake in government and potentially help to reconcile the warring clans. In fact, there is no doubt that the rift between the president and the prime minister, together with the anger displayed by the Asmara-based opposition group over the progress of the Djibouti Agreement and the peace process, has had unfortunate repercussions on the general situation on the ground. Underlining this have been three serious confrontations this week between Al-Shabab and TFG forces.

Little progress in resolving dispute

President, premier trying to remove each other

While the people of Somalia, for sure, are losing, the only people who benefit from their disagreements are Al-Shabab or the Asmara-based opposition. Indeed, progress within the time remaining for completion of the peace process and of the charter is only possible if the president and the prime minister stop trying to remove each other. Neither can do so. They have a symbiotic relationship. However, one has to ask if the top officials cannot work together, how can they effectively undertake negotiations with an opposition with whom they have far greater philosophical and ideological differences than with each other.

24/08/08 (B462) SHABELLE / De violents combats se poursuivent dans un district somalien du sud / Heavy fighting continues southern Somali district

By: Abdinasir Guled

Heavy fighting between Alshabab Islamic fighters and local militias continues in Janay Abdulle district of lower Jubba region for the second day as the two sides engage in some of the heaviest fighting in days.

The latest fighting began when local militiamen ousted by the islamists from Kismayo port city have started reinforcements into the district.

Locals say the militias attacked areas of the city where Islamic insurgents were known to be based.

The offensive involved some the heaviest shelling and machine-gun fire seen in the city this year.

Its yet unknown the causalities of that fighting that still raging in the locale.

The armed militias fighting against Alshabab led by Somali MP Barre Aden Shire aka Hirale who hails from the region.

Alshabab officials confirmed to Shabelle that fighting; as no comments could be reached from Mr. Hirale whose militias are taking part the fighting.

The latest fighting comes as Islamist fighters wrested back control of Somalia’s southern port of Kismayo on Friday following three days of bloody battles with a local militia that left at least 70 people dead, witnesses said.

The retaking of the town by the Islamists came more than a year after they were driven out of Kismayo by Ethiopian forces backing the Somali government.

“We repelled the local militias who tried to stop the light of the Islam religion,” said an Islamist commander and spokesman, Sheikh Muktar Robow.

“We aim to implement Islamic Sharia (law) in the country and any force that tries to stop (us) will regret” it, added the spokesman, a leader of the Shabab organization, the military wing of the Islamic Courts Union which briefly controlled large parts of Somalia in 2006.

Local residents also affirmed the Islamists had seized power in Somalia’s second largest city.

“Kismayo is completely under the control of the Islamists,” said Mohamed Abdi, a trader and former government official.

Another local resident Farah Abdi said: “All militias were driven out and the town is now controlled by the Islamists.”

Three days of clashes have killed 41 people and left several hundred civilians and fighters injured, according to the most recent estimate — taking into account new deaths at Kismayo’s hospital.

“So far 335 people who were wounded in the three day clashes were admitted in the hospital and six of them died from their injuries,” a medical official at the hospital said on condition of anonymity.

Clashes erupted Wednesday between Islamist forces and the militiamen that had controlled Kismayo since the previous rulers fled in early 2007 at the height of the Ethiopian onslaught.

A commander of a local armed group denied his militia had been routed by the Islamists, claiming instead that he had ordered his men to make “a tactical withdrawal to avoid a large number of civilian casualties.”

“There is no complete takeover and our forces will regain control of Kismayo in a very short time,” said the commander, Mohamud Hassan.

Militia in Kismayo, some 500 kilometres (300 miles) south of the capital Mogadishu, are headed by Aden Barre Shire Hirale, a warlord and a lawmaker who has strained relations with President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed’s administration.

According to state television, quoting an Ethiopian army official, 36 extremists had been killed this week in joint operations by Ethiopian and Transitional Government troops.

“Twenty others were injured while two minibuses along with scores of heavy and light arms were captured during the onslaught,” the official in Mogadishu added without commenting on the capture of the port.

Ethiopian troops were deployed in late 2006 to prop up government forces battling the Islamist fighters who had taken control of much of southern and central Somalia. Kismayo was the Islamists’ last stronghold.

Since the toppling of the Islamist movement at the end of 2006, remnant fighters have resorted to guerrilla tactics against the Ethiopian forces, government soldiers and African Union peacekeepers in the capital Mogadishu.

Civilians have borne the heaviest brunt of battles between Islamist fighters and the Ethiopian forces. At least 6,000 have died in the past year alone, many in Mogadishu, the scene of almost daily attacks.

Hardline Islamists, including the spokesman Robow, have rejected a United Nations-backed truce between moderate Islamists and the government reached in June, insisting that the Ethiopians must pull out.

Somalia has lacked an effective government since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, sparking a deadly power struggle that has defied numerous bids to restore stability in the Horn of Africa nation.

24/08/08 (B462) SHABELLE / Un peu de répit aprés les violents combats dans la capitable somalienne / Calm after fight for Somali town (En Anglais – Info lectrice)

Local people are slowly returning to Kismayo town of lower Jubba region, after islamist fighters wrestled the control of the town.

Most shops and businesses are still shut, and civilians are said to be returning, despite the hundreds of islamist fighters now in the town.

One resident, Asha Mohammed, said she returned to the town to see her house again..

Several hundred islmmist troops are now on patrol in Kismayo.

Eleven-year-old Aktar Mohammed, who remained in the town during the battle, said many of his family members fled.

Islamist fighters wrested back control of Somalia’s southern port of Kismayo on Friday following three days of bloody battles with a local militia that left at least 70 people dead, witnesses said.

The retaking of the town by the Islamists came more than a year after they were driven out of Kismayo by Ethiopian forces backing the Somali government.

“We repelled the local militias who tried to stop the light of the Islam religion,” said an Islamist commander and spokesman, Sheikh Muktar Robow.

“We aim to implement Islamic Sharia (law) in the country and any force that tries to stop (us) will regret” it, added the spokesman, a leader of the Shabab organization, the military wing of the Islamic Courts Union which briefly controlled large parts of Somalia in 2006.

Local residents also affirmed the Islamists had seized power in Somalia’s second largest city.

“Kismayo is completely under the control of the Islamists,” said Mohamed Abdi, a trader and former government official.

Another local resident Farah Abdi said: “All militias were driven out and the town is now controlled by the Islamists.”

Three days of clashes have killed 41 people and left several hundred civilians and fighters injured, according to the most recent estimate — taking into account new deaths at Kismayo’s hospital.

“So far 335 people who were wounded in the three day clashes were admitted in the hospital and six of them died from their injuries,” a medical official at the hospital said on condition of anonymity.

Clashes erupted Wednesday between Islamist forces and the militiamen that had controlled Kismayo since the previous rulers fled in early 2007 at the height of the Ethiopian onslaught.

A commander of a local armed group denied his militia had been routed by the Islamists, claiming instead that he had ordered his men to make “a tactical withdrawal to avoid a large number of civilian casualties.”

“There is no complete takeover and our forces will regain control of Kismayo in a very short time,” said the commander, Mohamud Hassan.

Militia in Kismayo, some 500 kilometres (300 miles) south of the capital Mogadishu, are headed by Aden Barre Shire Hirale, a warlord and a lawmaker who has strained relations with President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed’s administration.

According to state television, quoting an Ethiopian army official, 36 extremists had been killed this week in joint operations by Ethiopian and Transitional Government troops.

“Twenty others were injured while two minibuses along with scores of heavy and light arms were captured during the onslaught,” the official in Mogadishu added without commenting on the capture of the port.

Ethiopian troops were deployed in late 2006 to prop up government forces battling the Islamist fighters who had taken control of much of southern and central Somalia. Kismayo was the Islamists’ last stronghold.

Since the toppling of the Islamist movement at the end of 2006, remnant fighters have resorted to guerrilla tactics against the Ethiopian forces, government soldiers and African Union peacekeepers in the capital Mogadishu.

Civilians have borne the heaviest brunt of battles between Islamist fighters and the Ethiopian forces. At least 6,000 have died in the past year alone, many in Mogadishu, the scene of almost daily attacks.

Hardline Islamists, including the spokesman Robow, have rejected a United Nations-backed truce between moderate Islamists and the government reached in June, insisting that the Ethiopians must pull out.

Somalia has lacked an effective government since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, sparking a deadly power struggle that has defied numerous bids to restore stability in the Horn of Africa nation.

24/08/08 (B462) SHABELLE / Une explosion à Mogadiscio manque de peu des soldats ougandais dl’AMISOM / Explosion in Mogadishu misses peacekeepers (En Anglais – Info lectrice)

A Ugandan AMISOM soldiers survived a bombing Saturday morning that destroyed the street they were passing near the international airport in Mogadishu shortly after they stepped out, the eyewitnesses said.

AMISOM spokesman told Shabelle that the bomb exploded seconds after the soldiers passed the street.

The troops opened fire immediately after the explosion was heard.

Losses sustained in the explosion targeting AMISOM troops in KM 4 are not yet known,

The spokesman of AMISOM troops in Somalia Major Brigye Bo-hoku told Shabelle that their no losses in that explosion.

“The explosion missed as our troops have came back from de-mining operation” Bo-hoku said” explosions are common in Mogadishu”

An African Union (AU) peacekeeper from Uganda was killed weeks ago when a roadside bomb struck his convoy in the capital Mogadishu, an AU officer told Shabelle.

“The AU forces convoy was coming from the airport when it was targeted by a roadside bomb,” the officer said on condition of anonymity.

“One of the soldiers died in the attack, he was from the Ugandan contingent,” he added.

Several eyewitnesses confirmed the attack along one of the war-scarred Somali capital’s most heavily guarded routes.

“A convoy of six vehicles was targeted as it was coming from the airport,” said local resident Mohamed Ali Nur.

“One of the vehicles was destroyed. I saw AU forces sealing off the area but I couldn’t know how many people were hurt,” he added.

The AU, which currently has some 2,600 peacekeepers deployed in the lawless Horn of Africa nation, deplored the killing.

“The AU unequivocally condemns this cowardly and barbaric act perpetrated against an AMISOM peacekeeper deployed in Mogadishu to safeguard Somali lives,” it said in a statement.

It added that the incident “will not deter the AU, the people of Somalia and the UN in their determination and commitment to intensify their efforts towards reconciliation, peace and stability, in line with the recently concluded agreement in Djibouti.”

Uganda was the first country to contribute troops and Burundi dispatched its own forces earlier this year, but the contingent falls far short of the 8,000 soldiers pledged by the continental body in 2006.

A truce was signed in June between the Ethiopian-backed transitional government and the main Islamist political opposition movement.

The agreement led to a splinter in opposition ranks, with hardliners insisting Ethiopian troops that have occupied the country since late 2006 should leave before peace talks can begin.

20/08/08 (B461-B) Toujours pas de vacances pour les Pirates somaliens ! Hier mardi, ils se sont emparés d’un tanker malaysien avec 20 hommes d’équipage à bord (2 dépêches en Anglais – Infos lecteur)

________________________________Shabelle

Pirates seize Malaysian ship off Somali coast

Heavily armed pirates with two speed boats were reported to have kidnapped a Malaysian commercial vessel on Tuesday officials said.

Twenty crew members from Philippine and Malaysia were onboard the ship who was carrying crude oil to Somalia.

No further details on the hijacking are availible.

A global maritime watchdog says pirates have seized the ship in the Gulf of Eden off the coast of Somalia.

Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur, says the center picked up a distress signal late Tuesday and immediately notified Western naval ships patrolling the area.

Choong said Wednesday that a warship has been sent to intercept the tanker, which is currently heading toward Somalia territorial waters, adding that this marked the fourth hijacking in Somalia within a month

_______________________________ BBC

Pirates ‘seize ship’ off Somalia

Pirates have hijacked a tanker with more than 20 crew on board in the Gulf of Aden near Somalia, a global maritime watchdog has said.

A distress signal was received and the ship is now thought to be en route to coastal waters near Somalia.

The Malaysian-owned tanker is carrying crude palm oil and is thought to have a mostly Malaysian and Filipino crew.

Pirate attacks on vessels and yachts sailing the major shipping route close to Somalia have surged recently.

No direct contact has been made with the captain of the ship, said the International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre.

But the Malaysian International Shipping Corporation, which owns the vessel, is said to be expecting a ransom demand once it is anchored in coastal waters.

Tuesday night’s hijacking was the fourth in this area in the past few weeks, the International Maritime Bureau said.

Somalia has not had a functioning national government since 1991 and has suffered continuing civil strife.

In June, the UN Security Council voted to allow countries to send warships into Somalia’s waters to tackle piracy.