updated 6:05 AM MDT, May 23, 2017
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Civilian risk seen in U.S. plan for Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia -- President Donald Trump's approval of greater U.S. military authority to pursue al-Qaida-linked extremists in Somalia will put civilians further at risk, experts say, especially as drought displaces thousands of people in areas that now will be considered a war zone.

Trump has approved a Pentagon request to allow more airstrikes against extremist group al-Shabab as parts of southern Somalia will be considered areas of active hostilities. U.S. special operations forces can move closer to the fight and call in offensive airstrikes more quickly while increasing assistance to the Somali military.

Some in Somalia, where access to independent information is challenging, could see this as a chance to spread misinformation, said Laetitia Bader, a Somalia researcher for Human Rights Watch.

"At a time when thousands of civilians are currently on the move ... the U.S. should be cautious in relying on information about whether civilians are present before deciding to strike," she said.

  • Written by Abdullahi

Somalia’s new prime minister Vows to Root Out Corruption

 PM Hassan Ali-Khaire, said he is mobilizing his government to tackle corruption and vowed to make the fight against misconduct a non-negotiable principle in his administration.

Speaking at an official handover ceremony from the outgoing finance minister, Mohamed Adan Ibrahim "Farketi", to the new minister, Abdirahman Duale Beyle, Khaire expressed his concerns about the need for Somalia to be governed on transparency principles.

“I and the president will never accept public property embezzlement, and we will crusade against those involving corruption,” he said. “Where there is a corruption, there will never be an achievement.”

For nearly two decades, Somalia has been among the world's most corrupt countries and on the top of the list of the corruption watchdog Transparency International.

‘Sick mentality’

Nepotism, favoritism, bribery, the public fund and aid embezzlement has been a commonplace across all sectors, making many citizens to start believing that corruption is a normal way of life.

Prime Minister Khaire warned his new cabinet members about corruption.

“You have been trusted with the public tax, and you must avoid all kinds of corruption. Let us eradicate that sick mentality,” Khaire said.

Somalia is an aid-dependent nation. Locally, the government receives meager resources from taxes on import and export goods at Mogadishu’s seaport and airports, but experts say most of the revenue is stolen.

“It is a shame that Somali government could not pay the salaries of its staff members and security forces while it could have some source of income. I think the reason is mismanagement of the public funds,” Khaire said.

Declaration of assets

On Thursday, holding their first meeting, Prime Minister Khaire told his new cabinet and other public servants to declare their assets as a part of his government’s anti-corruption effort.

“The officials for public offices will submit their assets report to the prime minister and they will be periodically revisited to make sure they are free of corruption,” Somalia’s information minister, Abdurahman Omar Osman, told VOA Somali.

“The main aim of the declaration of assets is to prevent corruption and to increase transparency and the trust of the public administration,” Osman said.

Alongside this effort the new Somali government is struggling to assert its authority across the country as it deals with a devastating drought and terror from militants.

  • Written by Abdullahi

Somalia : What we have seen is hard to believe:” A blog from aid worker in Baidoa

by Mohamed Abdirahaman Saman, International Medical Corps Somalia emergency response team | @Larissa_S_91 | International Medical Corps - UK

We have been in Baidoa for the last six days.

It is hot, dusty, and barren. I travelled here with an International Medical Corps’ medical assessment team, looking at the needs of Somali families who have been forced to leave their homes because of drought and hunger.

What we have seen is hard to believe.

Baidoa is the capital of Bay Region and is roughly 150 miles northwest of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. Families who live in this region are seasonal farmers, which means they rely on rainfall to feed their crops. If they have nothing to harvest, they have nothing to eat or sell, which puts them increasingly at risk of malnutrition.

  • Written by Abdullahi

Somalia: Somali journalist kidnapped by gunmen

MOGADISHU, Somalia — An editor in Somalia says gunmen have kidnapped a local journalist on the outskirts of the capital.

Ahmedwali Hussein says Hanad Ali Guled with the Goobjoog radio and television station was taken by six men on his way to work early Saturday.

Hussein says the journalist called his family from an unknown location and said he was being tortured by his abductors. Hussein says Guled had received death threats a day earlier.

The abduction is reminder of the dangers that reporters face in a war-torn country where authorities have struggled to maintain security amid attacks by the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the abduction.

Somalia is often called one of the world’s most dangerous places for media workers.


  • Written by Abdullahi

Drought poses disaster for Somali expectant mothers

MOGADISHU, (CAJ News) – THE devastating drought currently ravaging Somalia is threatening the lives of 607 000 pregnant women around the country.
About 6,2 million people in the besieged East African country are presently in need of humanitarian assistance, including 3,3 million people require immediate access to emergency health services and hygiene.
Among these are the pregnant women, with 130 000 of them requiring critical and urgent assistance.
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) statistics indicate Somalia already has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world (732) and one out of every 22 women is likely to die due to pregnancy or childbirth-related causes during her life course.
Somalia is also enduring terror attacks by the Al-Shabaab, which has led to the devastation of health facilities.
UNFPA spokesperson for Somalia, Pilirani Semu-Banda, said limited access to reproductive health services puts the lives of many women and babies at high risk during emergencies especially when attention is primarily focused on the needs for shelter, food and security.
“The specific needs of women and girls are no less urgent and should be at the same priority level as other needs,” said Semu-Banda.
She said the direct implication of food scarcity on pregnant women is an increase in miscarriages and death due to malnutrition.
The UN agency is stepping up efforts towards ensuring adequate humanitarian response to the needs of the women and girls affected by the drought.
It is appealing for US$24 million (R310 million) to cover reproductive health needs and gender based violence protection.
– CAJ News


SAAD MUSE in Mogadishu, Somalia

  • Written by Abdullahi