Pontus Marine LTD- Leader of fishing industry in Somaliland

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Barack Obama on Independence day : A day to celebrate and aspire


Medeshi
A day to celebrate and aspire
Saturday, July 4, 2009
From: "President Barack Obama" info@barackobama.com
To: "Mohammed Ali" medeshi@yahoo.com
Mohammed –
This weekend, our family will join millions of others in celebrating America. We will enjoy the glow of fireworks, the taste of barbeque, and the company of good friends. As we all celebrate this weekend, let's also remember the remarkable story that led to this day.
(Photo: from the archives: Obama in Somali dress)
Two hundred and thirty-three years ago, our nation was born when a courageous group of patriots pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to the proposition that all of us were created equal.
Our country began as a unique experiment in liberty -- a bold, evolving quest to achieve a more perfect union. And in every generation, another courageous group of patriots has taken us one step closer to fully realizing the dream our founders enshrined on that great day.
Today, all Americans have a hard-fought birthright to a freedom which enables each of us, no matter our views or background, to help set our nation's course. America's greatness has always depended on her citizens embracing that freedom -- and fulfilling the duty that comes with it.
As free people, we must each take the challenges and opportunities that face this nation as our own. As long as some Americans still must struggle, none of us can be fully content. And as America comes ever closer to achieving the perfect Union our founders dreamed, that triumph -- that pride -- belongs to all of us.
So today is a day to reflect on our independence, and the sacrifice of our troops standing in harm's way to preserve and protect it. It is a day to celebrate all that America is. And today is a time to aspire toward all we can still become.
With very best wishes,
President Barack Obama
July 4th, 2009
P.S. -- Our nation's birthday is also an ideal time to consider serving in your local community. You can find many great ideas for service opportunities near you at http://my.barackobama.com/page/m2/55c13f43/6c6853f9/2efa8ae5/1188507c/4202909637/VEsH/.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ethiopia : New eruption in Ethiopia!

Medeshi
Posted on: July 2, 2009
by Erik Klemetti
Three days ago, I received an email from Eruptions reader Gijs de Reijke who was curious about something he noticed in the daily OMI SO2 images:
OMI sulfur dioxide map over Ethiopia for June 30, 2009.
Now, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it other than the fact that there was an awful lot of sulfur dioxide in the vicinity of Addis Ababa, which seemed odd. If we look at a map of the active volcanoes in Ethiopia (below), a majority of the ones we might suspect if the SO2 was volcano are to the north (Erte Ale, Dallafilla), but this patch is smack-dab in the middle of the country, looking like it could be coming from the Great Rift Valley rather than the usual northern suspect. So, I was a little baffled and told Gijs I wasn't sure what was happening.
Volcanoes of Ethiopia and northwestern Africa
Well, the question is answered. This morning there was this report on the Volcano List (from Simon Carn of OMI Research Group):
There appears to have been another effusive eruption in the Karbahi - Manda Hararo region of Afar. There was a MODIS thermal anomaly indicating surface lava flows. Preliminary analysis (based on SO2 emissions) suggests that it is larger than the Manda Hararo eruption in August 2007, but not as large as the Alu-Dalaffilla eruption last November. I haven't heard of any visual confirmation of the eruption from the ground yet."
Manda Hararo! This is a basaltic shield volcano that is, in fact, in the north of the the country (for reference, it is just to the northwest of Ardoukoba inside Ethiopia), and was previously not believed to be very active - mostly because there were few eye witness reports of lava flows from the volcano historically. However, this is the second eruption from Manda Hararo in the last two years (the last was in August 2007), both lava flow (effusive) eruption (and both spotted by the satellite, either by MODIS or OMI). The eruption in 2007 did prompt evacuations (and 5 deaths) of the sparsely populated area near the volcano.
There have also been thermal anomalies that have been detected by MODIS:
Manda-Hararo (40.8E, 12.2N; degrees and decimal degrees) show a series of alerts spread over considerable area for as late as 30 June 2009. Going back in time, there appeared a large intense cluster (29 June), a less intense cluster (28-27 June), and then no hits on earlier days.
So, it seems that the eruption might have initiated around June 27th and was most intense (so far) on June 30, when Gijs spotted the sulfur dioxide anomaly over Ethiopia. There have been no eye witness reports of this new activity at Manda Hararo, but it could be expected that this eruption is very similar to that in 2007, so mostly basaltic lava flows (below) that are dangerous when people are caught unprepared to evacuate. Also, there might be significant volcanic gases such as sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide that could pose a threat to people if they breathe them. Hopefully we'll have some reports from the ground about the activity soon.
Manda Hararo lava flow in 2007. Image courtesy of the GVP.
.

Somali crisis not far for Clarkston

Medeshi
Somali crisis not far for Clarkston
By Dorian B. Crosby
Friday, July 03, 2009
Who cares about Somalia? It’s a troubled country far away in East Africa. What does last month’s deadly suicide bombing have to do with Atlanta?
Perhaps you think piracy off the Aden coast is simply a global political and economic matter, not a personal one that impacts you or anyone you know.
But there is a connection between Somalia and metro Atlanta.
Just five miles northeast of Atlanta is one of our most multicultural areas. Clarkston is home to refugees and immigrants from all parts of the world, many of them from Somalia.
The Clarkston community has grown over the years to approximately 5,000, making it one of the largest communities of Somalis in the United States, second only to Minneapolis.
The first Somali refugees and immigrants arrived in Georgia in 1988 as a result of Somalia’s civil war.
With the ousting of the inflexible leader Siad Barre in 1991, the country was left without a central government. First, ethnic clans fought for control in the 1990s.
Then, the extremist Islamic group al-Shabab fought the fragile, western-backed Transitional National Government for control in 2006.
The political instability has provided the background for current power struggles in Somalia. The steady economic decline has led to desperate situations of survival.
Many Somalis have fled to refugee camps or left the country. But millions remain trapped.
The United Nations estimates that more than 3 million people depend on international aid organizations for their basic needs. However, those services are constantly hampered because of violence.
Clarkston Somalis have relatives in Somalia, Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya and neighboring African countries.
However, the majority have begun new lives in Australia, Canada, Europe and the United States.
Somalis want to return, but to what? Most of southern and central Somalia is controlled by al-Shabab. The capital, Mogadishu, is in ruins, and piracy abounds in the semi-autonomous northeastern region known as Puntland because of an inadequate economy.
For Somalis in Clarkston, the idea of returning grows dimmer, but they remain hopeful.
There are many reasons returning to Somalia will take time: a weak government, a strong and strict Islamic presence and no viable economy.
But metro Atlanta’s link to Somalia can be strengthened by financially supporting local organizations such as CARE, which distributes food and other necessities in Somalia.
We also can volunteer with such organizations. Our efforts can begin by observing U.N. World Refugee Day, which is observed every year on June 20. As an international city, we must recognize how personal some global issues are.
So, the next time you are stuck in traffic or are at work or in a grocery store, think about what the person next to you might be going through.
For some, the capture, trial and sentencing of the young Somali pirate in New York is not just a story.
Neither are reports of millions dying and suffering in Somalia from violence, malnourishment and rape.
Nor are the missing Somali boys from Minneapolis suspected to have been recruited by al-Shabab.
These are relatives, friends and former neighbors. It is emotional to hear and see the news because for some, Somalia’s woes hit home.
Dorian Crosby is a lecturer of political science and international relations at Spelman College.

Russians order Flight Changes, after Massive Magnetic Shift downs Airliners…


Medeshi
Russians order Flight Changes, after Massive Magnetic Shift downs Airliners…
Posted by harbinger on Jul 3rd, 2009 and filed under General Doom
Reports circulating in the Kremlin today are saying that Russian Air Force Commanders have issued warnings to all of their aircraft to exercise “extreme caution” during flights “in and around” an area defined as Latitude 17 North [North Atlantic Ocean] Latitude 3 South [South Atlantic Ocean] to Latitude 8 North [Indian Ocean] Latitude 19 South [Indian Ocean] between the Longitudes of 46 West, 33 West, 46 East and 33 East, and which covers the greater part of the African Tectonic Plate.
The reason for this unprecedented warning, these reports state, are the rapid formations of “geomagnetic storms” emanating from the boundaries of the African Tectonic Plate that due to their intensity have caused the loss of two major passenger aircraft during the past month leaving nearly 300 men, women and children dead.
The second aircraft to be downed occurred on the eastern boundary of the African Tectonic Plate today when another of these geomagnetic storms slammed from the sky a Yemeni Airways flight to the Island Nation of Comoros in the Indian Ocean of which of the 153 passengers and crew aboard, only 1 “miracle child” has been rescued, so far.
To the catastrophic events occurring within the African Tectonic Plate it has been known for over a year with the reporting of a “new ocean” forming in Ethiopia, and as we can read as reported by Nature News Service:
“Although the birth of an ocean is an extremely rare phenomenon on the largest of historical scales, the geophysics is currently experiencing such an event. Even more dazzling, this occurs in one of the Earth’s most inhospitable and arid regions, the Afar Depression in Ethiopia.
The African continent is literally unstitching itself apart just like the sleeve of an old shirt, along the area known as the East African Rift, which traverses it beginning with the southern end of the Red Sea, going through Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique. The molten lava beneath the Earth’s surface makes it thin by constantly pushing against it, and eventually breaks it and tears it apart.” SOURCE
We had already written an article regarding Flight 447 and the Magnetosphere. Read it at the link below.
Was the Air France AF447 disaster caused by a Magnetic Anomaly?
1 Response for “Russians order Flight Changes, after Massive Magnetic Shift downs Airliners…”

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Egypt police kill two Somalis at Israel border

Medeshi
Egypt police kill two Somalis at Israel border
Thursday, July 02, 2009
ISMAILIA, Egypt (Reuters) - Egyptian police shot dead two Somali migrants on Thursday who tried to slip across the Sinai desert border into Israel, security sources said, as violence against migrants picked up at the sensitive frontier.
The killings bring to at least six the number of African migrants killed since mid-May at the border.
Egypt for years tolerated tens of thousands of African migrants on its territory, but its attitude hardened after it came under pressure over the past two years to halt a steady flow of Africans trying to cross the border into Israel.
Its border with the Jewish state is a main transit route for migrants and refugees, mainly from Sudan and Eritrea, seeking work or asylum in Israel.
In November, U.S.-based Human Rights Watch called on Egypt to stop the shootings. There were no killings between mid-December and mid-May, although the reason for the abrupt halt was not clear.
Egyptian security forces shot dead at least 28 migrants at the border last year, and deported hundreds of Eritrean asylum seekers back to Asmara despite objections from the United Nations, which feared they would face torture at home.Source: Reuters, July 2, 2009

Ogaden Somali : 'Why I took up arms against Ethiopia'


Medeshi
'Why I took up arms against Ethiopia'
By Yannick Demoustier and Jonathan Alpeyrie BBC Focus on Africa magazine
Ahmed, 35, is a member of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), one of a number of separatist groups fighting for the independence of the Somali-speaking Ogaden region in the east of Ethiopia.
(The ONLF says these rocks conceal mass graves)
The previous evening, he had participated in an attack against Ethiopian troops near the town of Babile.
"The assault lasted only a few minutes but we managed to kill nine government soldiers," he said.
"We are no match for direct combat, so we must rely on quick surprise attacks."
The armed resistance began in 1994 after the ONLF, then a political organisation, broached the idea of splitting from Ethiopia.
The central government responded by imprisoning Ogaden leaders and, according to academics and human rights groups, assassinating others.
'Point of no-return'
"In 1994, as a student in Dire Dawa, I was not allowed take the final examinations because I was an Ogadenian," said Ahmed.
"I was arrested two years later on false charges of belonging to the ONLF. They kept me there for four years and I was beaten repeatedly, sometimes even subjected to electric torture. While in detention, my father was killed by government soldiers."
On his release in 2001, he immediately joined the rebellion but his mother remains in jail in Jijiga.
Fearing for his family, Ahmed convinced his wife to flee with their two daughters.
"They are refugees in Kenya, I haven't seen them for three years.
"There comes a point of no-return when you know you don't belong in this country," he said.
'Human shields'
Over the past two years, the conflict has escalated following the ONLF's April 2007 attack on a Chinese-run oil exploration field.
This resulted in the death of 74 people, including Ethiopian guards and Chinese workers.
The central government calls the rebels "terrorists", however watchdogs have accused the government of human rights violations.
“ In this village, they crushed babies' heads with stones and in another, they cut up bodies and scattered the parts to prevent remaining villagers from burying the dead ” Ahmed
"This is a complete fabrication and these are unfounded allegations," said Berhanu Kebede, Ethiopia's ambassador to the UK.
"The Ethiopian government has no intention of harming civilians, it is the ONLF that uses civilians as human shields."
Near the deserted village of Galashe, which Ethiopian troops allegedly stormed in January 2009, Ahmed explains what lies beneath the numerous piles of rocks.
"There are about 50 bodies under each pile.
"The Ethiopian soldiers stayed here for a couple of months, they terrorised inhabitants, killing as many as 1,500 people."
In Galashe and across Ogaden, civilians attest to the same horrors, the gang-raping of women, the burning of huts and killing of livestock.
But the Ethiopian ambassador denied this claim.
"This was recently the subject of an independent investigation and this has made it clear that no such crimes were committed.
"This is a vast area with a population of 4.5 million, who are mostly nomadic and you won't see graveyards because people bury their relatives anywhere they can," said Mr Berhanu.
The government has closed off all access to the Ogaden region.
Ahmed believes the Ethiopian government is trying to cut them off from the local population which supplied the rebels with food.
Rebel alert
One of Ahmed's main tasks is to train the younger recruits.
"They are very angry but it is important that they remember to stay organised, especially when things appear calm," he said.
“ The rebels say that they cannot live under Ethiopian rule but we are a federal state. ” Berhanu Kebede
The Ethiopian government has been trying to find a political solution to the problem.
"We are approaching them through their elders to explain that the constitution provides enough political space for a peaceful resolution of the problem, but they must renounce the armed struggle and wage their political agenda peacefully," said Mr Berhanu.
"The rebels say that they cannot live under Ethiopian rule but we are a federal state."
Ethiopia remains one of the world's most aid-dependent countries, receiving more than $2bn in foreign assistance every year.
Evidently, no aid reaches the Ogaden region despite the government's insistence that hostilities have ceased.
"Why does the international community remain silent?" said Ahmed.
"The UN must come to the Ogaden to see what [Prime Minister]Meles is doing to us."
Yannick Demoustier is a French journalist for Rue des Pommiers news agency and Jonathan Alpeyrie is an independent photojournalist.
Story from BBC NEWS:

More Ethiopian troops pour into central Somalia

Medeshi
More Ethiopian troops pour into central Somalia
Posted by Mehret Tesfaye
July 2nd, 2009
BELEDWEYN - More Ethiopian troops with armored vehicles have reached near Beledweyn town in central Somalia as Ethiopia said that it does not plan to send troops into Somalia, witnesses told Shabelle radio on Thursday.
Residents in El-gal and Ilka'adde villages about 20 kilometers north of Beledweyn town said that they had seen more Ethiopian units with many battle wagons pouring in there at overnight until Thursday morning adding that the troops made military movement in Kala-beyrka intersection in Hiran region.
"The Ethiopian troops arrived at El-gal village last night and they had been there for several hours and lately returned back from the village. They were including infantry troops and others with armed trucks," one resident said.
Reports from Kala-beyrka intersection say that more extra troops from Ethiopia crossed from the border joining to the other Ethiopian troops who had already been there.
It is unclear why the Ethiopian troops are returning back to parts of the central regions of Somalia and their deployment comes as the Ethiopian government spokesman Baraket Simon said that his government is not planning to send troops to Somali.
Ethiopia will stay out of Somalia despite threat
ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia on Wednesday said it will not send troops to Somalia, though a hardline Islamist militia fighting to topple the Somali government recently threatened to invade the neighbouring country.
"No matter what has been said, our position is that we are not entering Somalia at this point," government spokesman Bereket Simon told reporters.
He nonetheless termed this week's threat by the hardline Shebab fighters as "an open declaration of war," and said Addis Ababa was closely monitoring events in the war-ravaged neighbouring state.
Ethiopian troops rolled into Somalia in late 2006 to buttress an embattled government but withdrew earlier this year.
Somali residents have recently reported seeing truckloads of Ethiopian troops around the country's central regions but Ethiopian officials have repeatedly denied those claims.
On May 7, the Shebab and Hezb al-Islam, a more political group, launched an unprecedented nationwide offensive against the administration of President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
The internationally backed Sharif has been holed up in his presidential quarters, protected by African Union peacekeepers as his forces were unable to reassert their authority over the capital.
Around 300 people are confirmed to have been killed in the latest violence, many of them civilians.

'War on terror' used to target minorities

Medeshi
'War on terror' used to target minorities-report
Thu Jul 2, 2009
Minorities at risk in Somalia, Iraq, Sudan, AfghanistanBy Natasha Elkington
LONDON, July 2 (Reuters) - Countries on the front line in the "war on terror" are using the battle against extremists as a smokescreen to crack down on minority groups, an international human rights group said on Thursday.
For the fourth straight year, Somalia, Iraq, Sudan and Afghanistan topped an annual index compiled by Minority Rights Group International (MRG) of countries where minorities are most at risk of genocide, mass killings or violent repression.
"You see governments who have faced a genuine threat, but the point is the actions they have taken against the wider civilian population, including minority civilians, has been justified as part of the 'war on terror,'" MRG director Mark Lattimer told Reuters.
"It has included disappearances, torture and extrajudicial executions."
A two-year insurgency in Somalia led by al Shabaab militants, who have links to al Qaeda and include foreign Islamists among their ranks, has killed some 18,000 civilians.
The insurgency has put historically oppressed minority groups such as the Bantu, Gabooye and Yibir at particular risk, the chairman of Somali Minority Rights and Aid Forum, Mohamed Hassan Daryeel, said.
"If the Yibir go with the government, they will be attacked by the radical Islamists. At the same time, if they go with the Islamists, they will be considered terrorists, and if they are neutral they'll be targeted by all sides."
Daryeel said recent amputations carried out by al Shabaab fighters were performed on child soldiers forcibly recruited from minority groups. "They are at the bottom of society, the most disadvantaged," he said.
Despite a decline in violence in Iraq, the report said civilian deaths from violence were still estimated at 300-800 a month over the past year.
It said minorities continued to bear the brunt of the violence, especially in the Nineveh area, home to the Shabak people.
"The Shabak community has suffered a lot at the hands of the terrorist groups and at the hands of the Kurdish 'Assayish' (secret police)," head of Iraq's Minorities Council, Hunain Al-Qaddo, told Reuters.
He said around 10,000 Shabak families had fled parts of Mosul to their homeland in the Nineveh plains for fear of being killed because of their ethnicity.
The rest of the top 10 list was comprised of Myanmar in fifth place, followed by Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Israel/Palestinian territories.
Pakistan rose on the list due to an escalating conflict against different Islamist groups, combined with growing violence in national politics and suppression of dissidents.
Ethiopia, Eritrea and Yemen were assessed as under greater danger than a year ago with their governments' involvement in regional conflicts compounding the risk of repression at home.
African states make up half the report's top 20 list. (Editing by Robert Woodward) (For more news on humanitarian issues, visit Alertnet: www.alertnet.org )

African Development Bank set to start funding Ethiopia’s Gibe dam


Medeshi
AfDB set to start funding Ethiopia’s Gibe dam
By George Omondi
Business Daily
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is making preparations to
(Fisherman on Lake Turkana. Activist groups around the Lake have been mounting campaigns against the project, saying it will affect the ecosystem. /William Oeri )
start funding the Gibe III dam, a mega project on River Omo whose completion is expected to alleviate Kenya’s perennial electricity crisis.
AfDB’s director in charge of infrastructure, Mr Gilbert Mbesherubusa, says the bank is conducting technical, economic and financial assessments of the project to start the works by end of year.
“The project will bring electrical energy to Ethiopia, Kenya and neighbouring countries, thus contributing to regional economic development and poverty alleviation,” he said.
Related Stories
Power dam plan thrown into doubt as bank pulls out
However, activist groups around Lake Turkana have been mounting campaigns against the project, saying it will affect the ecosystem.
Apart from AfDB, the World Bank and European Investment Bank are some of the financiers that the lobby — Friends of Lake Turkana — has been targeting.
The same group of financiers is also expected to support the construction of power transmission lines between the two countries to facilitate electricity importation.
AfDB says it accepted to fund the project after a full scale environment and social impact assessment cleared it.
“And in line with our policy of financing only the socially acceptable projects, we have an ongoing dialogue with local communities to be affected by the project,” said Mr Mbesherubusa.
The construction of the whole project is expected to cost €1.55 billion is already 32 per cent complete.
It was not immediately clear which proportion of the remaining phase of the project will be funded by AfDB.
The hydro-plant is designed to generate 1,870 megawatts of electricity once completed and commissioned in 2013, making it the largest dam in Ethiopia.
This could relieve Kenya’s investors who have had to bear the brunt of climate change which has drastically reduced the country’s hydro electric power generation potential.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Somaliland : Journey through Sheikh Mountains

Medeshi
A short film road journey through Sheikh Mountains

This short film was emailed to us by one of our reader Rashid Nur, whom we would like to thank him for this video. Sheikh Mountains are part of the Golis Chain that stretches along the length of Somaliland. Sheikh is a small town on top of the Sheikh Mountains, and to get there you take the Sheikh Pass. The view from the Sheikh Pass is spectacular, as the mountains cascade into the horizon.
Source : SomalilandPress
Note from Medeshi:
This is very nostalgic. I studied in Sheikh during my primary school years when my father was a teacher at Sheikh Intermediate school. I have later studied at Sheikh Secondary school where I obtained my high school certificate in the mid seventies. As a member of the literary committee at the secondary school at that time , we have often used to come down through zigzagging the old rough road to Berbera to literally persuade Drama concert artists of Hargeisa Brothers ( Walaala Hargeisa ) to perform at the school instead of by-passing it.
Thanks to SomalilandPress and to those committed to collecting and recording beautiful scenes of our historic places in Somaliland.

Africa needs to help Somalia

Medeshi
Africa needs to help Somalia
Wednesday, 1st July, 2009
Few seem to notice but what is happening in Somalia could jeopardise the stability and security of the whole region. Al Shabaab, an Islamist youth group, have overrun most of southern Somalia and are just a few blocks away from taking the capital Mogadishu.
In areas under their control, they impose Sharia law and have started beheading and carrying out double amputations – hacking of a leg and an arm.
More worrying, hundreds of foreign fighters believed to be linked to al Qaeda, many from Afghanistan and Iraq, have poured into Somalia to join the Islamists in their ‘holy war’.
Apart from manpower, al Qaeda is also believed to provide weapons, ammunition and logistical support. If they succeed in toppling the government, Somalia would become the first nation controlled by a group close to al Qaeda.
The strategic country at the Indian Ocean would then provide an ideal base from which to launch terrorist operations, in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
So what are African leaders doing about this imminent threat? Apart from Uganda and Burundi, no other country has contributed troops to the African Union peacekeeping mission, AMISOM.
The leaders at the AU summit in Libya this week will again stress the need for African solutions to African problems. But two years after AMISOM was formed, only half of the required 8,000 troops have been found and the bloodbath of innocent civilians continues unabated.
The recently elected Somali government — the most broad-based ever formed — is in vain crying out for help against what increasingly looks like a foreign invasion.
Let President Museveni, the only leader who can assume authority on Somalia, take the lead in calling upon his African counterparts to live up to their declarations and expeditiously send troops to AMISOM.
And let Uganda make use of its presidency of the UN to mobilise the international community to enforce peace in Somalia
New Vision. Kampala

Democracy grows in Somaliland

Medeshi
Tristan McConnell
New Statesman
June 26, 2009
This September in Somaliland, hundreds of thousands of people are due to take part in an election. At polling stations guarded by civilian police, they will stand in orderly lines beneath a scorching sun waiting to vote for a new leader.
Much of this country continues its relentless descent into mayhem and murder. But Somaliland, a small north-western chunk, has been trying for the past 18 years to free itself of its bigger, nastier neighbour, having declared independence when Somalia’s last government, a violent military autocracy, collapsed in 1991.
After three peaceful elections, no one expects violence this September. But a series of delays, and the wholesale fraud of the donor-funded voter registration system, have cast doubt on Somaliland’s democratic progress.
In large parts of Somalia, the political vacuum left by the fleeing former president Mohamed Siad Barre was filled with an ongoing battle for power and money, organised along clan and religious lines. In Somaliland, however, an elected government filled the gap after a grass-roots reconciliation process. Overseen by clan elders and religious leaders, the militias demobilised and a modern nation state began to be established.
Today there is an elected parliament and an upper house of appointed clan elders. It is safe to walk the streets, diaspora-funded businesses are growing, and Somaliland has its own currency (though most people use US dollars). Ask anyone here and they will tell you they are Somalilanders.
Yet Somaliland remains unrecognised by any other country in the world. “Somaliland today is a de facto state. All we are lacking is recognition,” says the energetic foreign minister, Abdillahi Duale. “It’s about time the international community brought us in from the cold.” All his government gets is “a pat on the back”.
Somaliland’s claim for recognition rests on two pillars: peace and democracy, but in a destitute country shackled to the world’s pre-eminent failed state, neither is yet secure. Sporadic fighting in the east of the country kills soldiers and uproots civilians. Suicide bombings last October brought the horrors of Mogadishu to Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital.
The bombings were partly to blame for the electoral delays but do not excuse the shambles of the voter registration process. The seven-strong national electoral commission is widely viewed as incompetent. “The voter register was supposed to prevent fraud,” says one exasperated civil society activist in Hargeisa, “but the registration itself was fraudulent.” Double and triple registration produced a register so bloated that it became useless. In the last election, 675,000 people voted; four years on, the NEC has registered an unbelievable 1.3 million voters, throwing the prospect of free, fair elections – and thus Somaliland’s nascent democracy – into doubt.
Yet there is hope. Dahir Riyale Kahin, the 57-year-old president, is confident of victory over his main rival, Ahmed Mohamed “Silanyo” – but, he says: “I will run, and whether I succeed or not I will accept the results.”
So Somaliland struggles on without recognition, isolated from the international financial institutions that could transform it. The problem is partly that this stultifying semi-desert has little to offer the world. In the absence of valuable resources, it has to fall back on moral reasoning: we are stable in a tough region; we try to be a good democracy. But in global realpolitik this doesn’t count for much. The UK and US say they will recognise Somaliland as long as an African state does first, but no one in Africa wants to open the Pandora’s box of partition.
Whatever the result of these elections, Somalilanders can expect to be waiting a good while longer before the world accepts that they exist.
Tristan McConnell travelled to Somaliland with a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

East African nations to maintain robust growth in 2009- UN report

Medeshi
East African nations to maintain robust growth in 2009- UN report
Wednesday 1 July 2009
(ADDIS ABABA)- Despite the global economic downturn, a new report released by the United Nations this week projected that Ethiopia along with four other East African countries will maintain moderately robust growth in 2009 and 2010.
The 2009 African Economic Outlook, co-produced by the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said that Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda will have healthy economic growth.
The report said that these countries had the fastest growing economies in east Africa for 2008. The countries’ growth is to be sustainable since "the demand for their major agricultural and horticultural exports is less sensitive to the effects of the crisis," according to the report.
Similarly, a different report by the African Development Bank recently indicated a strong growth prospects to the horn of African nations for 2009.
“East Africa will come safely through the global financial crisis and record a growth rate of at least 5% this year, the highest on the continent” it said.
The 2009 African Economic Outlook which covered 47 African countries, up from 35 last year, indicates that the global economic slump gravely affected economies of African countries.
Following half a decade of above 5 percent economic growth, the continent can expect only 2.8 percent average growth in 2009, less than half of the 5.7 percent expected before the crisis, it said.
Ethiopia has said it expects growth rate of around 10 percent in 2009. However, the International Monetary Fund has predicted it down at 6.5 percent.
With relative political stability and a high demand for its resources from countries such as China, the horn of Africa’s region has enjoyed good growth for most of this decade like much of the other African regions.
(ST)

Lack of clean water in Ethiopia's occupied territories


Medeshi
July 1, 2009
Lack of clean water in Ethiopia's occupied territories
A boy drinks water from a pond in Bule Duba village in the outskirts of Moyale, near the edge of Oroma and Somali regions of Ethiopia, June 12, 2009. Prolonged drought, lack of water and limited pasture have led to conflict between the Somali and Borena ethnic groups in southern Ethiopia which left hundreds of people dead in February this year. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says it needs some 100 million Swiss francs to prevent conflict, famine and epidemics as well as restore the livelihoods of 2.5 million people in the Horn of Africa.
Picture taken June 12, 2009.
REUTERS/Irada Humbatova (ETHIOPIA SOCIETY CONFLICT HEALTH IMAGES OF THE DAY) BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE
Nazret

Africa : Portraits of Instability

1. SOMALIA
A window into failure: Children peek through an artillery-battered wall of Mogadishu's Bakara Market, the country's largest open-air forum. Sellers and buyers used to be well-stocked with food staples and other daily essentials. Today, the strongest product line is weapons -- everything from handguns to rifles to rocket-propelled grenades. Such arms have been the quickest means to power and subsistence in Somalia since chaos erupted 18 years ago. As Somalia claimed the No. 1 slot on the Failed States Index for a second year in a row, militant attacks had forced the country's fledgling transitional government literally into a corner; by December 2008, it controlled merely a few blocks in a country of 627,000 square kilometers.JOSE CENDON/AFP/Getty Images

2.SUDAN
Life on the run: Conflict in Sudan has left 4.9 million of the country's 40 million people internally displaced; another roughly 400,000 have fled beyond the country's borders. Most, like this woman, have arrived in neighboring Chad, which borders Sudan's Darfur region. The security of refugee camps both within and outside Sudan remains tenuous. Rape and abduction have been widely reported in Darfur, where refugee women must travel miles from the camps for firewood and other supplies. Peace negotiations between government and Darfur rebel forces came in stops and starts in 2008, leaving little hope that the conflict would abate.
( Left Photo of a pastoralist Sudanese women carrying belonging on her head in the hot Sahara desert)
3. ZIMBABWE
Burden of disease: On top of the flurry of political turmoil that followed Zimbabwe's contested presidential elections in the spring of 2008, another crisis soon erupted. Cholera, a preventable water-borne disease, broke out as thousands fled their homes, many trying to emigrate. Not surprisingly, the epidemic struck with particular strength near the refugees' destination: the South African border. By January 2009, 57,702 people had been infected, leaving more than 3,000 dead, according to the World Health Organization. The family here buries a relative who died of the disease 25 km from Harare in December 2008.
( Left Zimbabwe: many die of lack of medicine food and general health in addition poverty , government crackdown and lack jobs)

4. CHAD
Feuding neighbors: A Chadian soldier looks on as protests fill the Chadian capital of N'Djamena on May 13, 2009, where President Idriss Déby denounced his eastern neighbor, Sudan. Just a few weeks earlier, the two countries had agreed to end years of proxy battles on each others' territories. But two days later, Chad accused Sudan of attacking its forces along the border. The neighbors' spat has helped exacerbate conflict that has now spread from Darfur into eastern Chad and the Central African Republic.
GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images
Photo left is of a Chadian soldier looking at protests in the Capital.
5. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO Fatal neglect: The magnitude of crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is staggering. Some 45,000 people die every month, the International Rescue Committee estimates, putting the total dead since 1998 at 5.4 million -- more than in any conflict since World War II. All but 0.4 percent of the deaths come from preventable diseases and malnutrition -- a phenomenon that has arisen due to horrid conditions in displacement camps that lack infrastructure, basic supplies, and proper medical care. The displaced children seen here, in a camp in eastern Congo, are among the 1 million displaced from North Kivu province alone.

Photo left is of neglected children of the DRC who are often recruited as child soldiers and mining child labour
6.CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
The middle seat: A man squats in a refugee camp in the northern Central African Republic (CAR), after a rebel raid sent refugees fleeing. CAR is surrounded on all sides by conflict -- and the small country of just 4.5 million has suffered greatly as a result. In addition to CAR's own homegrown rebellion, Sudan and Chad's conflicts have pushed both refugees and fighters into the country's north. In the southeast, Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army has made incursions into CAR as it flees Ugandan and Congolese attempts to expel it from their own territory.

7. IVORY COAST
A toxic mess: A woman and her daughter carry food near a toxic waste site in the Ivory Coast. Tens of thousands fell ill after a massive amount of toxic waste was dumped in the country over three years ago. The incident, first reported in September 2006, was appalling: "[A] ship unloaded 500 tons of petrochemical waste into a number of trucks which then dumped it in at least 15 sites around Abidjan," the United Nations said. The offending company has since agreed to pay $198 million in reparations for the country's government, but the health effects resulting from the mess will not disappear so easily.


8.KENYA
Clean and clear: Children play in Nairobi's vast Korogocho slum, located on the banks of the Nairobi River. Kenyan authorities have begun a massive slum clearance program in an effort to clean up the river's heavily polluted waters. Their efforts could force more than 125,000 people to lose their homes, according to Amnesty International. Half of Nairobi's population lives in similar slums, the organization found, crammed into just 1 percent of the city's land area.

Failed State Index 2009
It is a sobering time for the world’s most fragile countries—virulent economic crisis, countless natural disasters, and government collapse. This year, we delve deeper than ever into just what went wrong—and who is to blame.
Yemen may not yet be front-page news, but it’s being watched intently these days in capitals worldwide. A perfect storm of state failure is now brewing there: disappearing oil and water reserves; a mob of migrants, some allegedly with al Qaeda ties, flooding in from Somalia, the failed state next door; and a weak government increasingly unable to keep things running. Many worry Yemen is the next Afghanistan: a global problem wrapped in a failed state.
It’s not just Yemen. The financial crisis was a near-death experience for insurgency-plagued Pakistan, which remains on imf life support. Cameroon has been rocked by economic contagion, which sparked riots, violence, and instability. Other countries dependent on the import and export of commodities—from Nigeria to Equatorial Guinea to Bangladesh—had a similarly rough go of it last year, suffering what economist Homi Kharas calls a “whiplash effect” as prices spiked sharply and then plummeted. All indications are that 2009 will bring little to no reprieve.
Instead, the global recession is sparking fears that multiple states could slip all at once into the ranks of the failing. Now more than ever, failed-state triage could become a grim necessity for world leaders from the United Nations and World Bank to U.S. President Barack Obama’s White House. All of which puts a fine point on an old and uncomfortable dilemma: Whom do you help when so many need it?
This is a sober question for sober times, and it is the backdrop for the fifth annual Failed States Index—a collaboration between The Fund for Peace, an independent research organization, and Foreign Policy. Using 12 indicators of state cohesion and performance, compiled through a close examination of more than 30,000 publicly available sources, we ranked 177 states in order from most to least at risk of failure. The 60 most vulnerable states are listed in the rankings.
Figuring out which faltering states to help depends in large part on what they need. After all, as Tolstoy might have put it, every failing state is failing in its own way. Georgia, for example, jumped 23 places in this year’s index due to a substantial spike in that elusive indicator, “Invaded by Russia.” Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are failing because their governments are chronically weak to nonexistent; Zimbabwe and Burma are failing because their governments are strong enough to choke the life out of their societies. Iraq is failing, but its trajectory may be toward greater success, while Haiti is failing as well, and it is hard to imagine success around the corner.
It is also a harsh fact that a greater risk of failure is not always synonymous with greater consequences of failure. For example, Zimbabwe (No. 2 on the index) is technically failing more than Iraq (6), but the geopolitical implications of state failure in Iraq would be far greater than in Zimbabwe. It’s why we worry more about Pakistan (10) than Guinea (9), and North Korea (17) more than the Ivory Coast (11).
Then take the paradoxical case of Iran, which jumped 11 spots in the rankings this year. With an already faulty economy, a vampire state mismanaging it further, and a global recession on top of all that, it is no surprise that Iran is faltering. But the state is not failing—indeed, it is succeeding quite well—in one rather important respect: the pursuit of nuclear weapons. And it is this “success,” more than Iran’s myriad failings, that keeps it above the fold of other worrying news.
FAQ & Methodology

How is the Failed States Index made?
Answering the question of which failed states demand attention might well come down to which are deemed to pose the biggest threat to the world at large. But even the widely presumed linkage between failing states and terrorism is less clear than many have come to assume since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks sounded the alarm about the consequences of governments not in control of their territory. Take Somalia, once again the No. 1 failed state on this year’s index. A recent report by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, drawing on captured al Qaeda documents, revealed that Osama bin Laden’s outfit had an awful experience trying to operate out of Somalia, for all the same reasons that international peacekeepers found Somalia unmanageable in the 1990s: terrible infrastructure, excessive violence and criminality, and few basic services, among other factors. In short, Somalia was too failed even for al Qaeda.
Which failed states are global security threats and which are simply tragedies for their own people? This is one question that will matter most this year of living dangerously, and there are others we present in the following pages: Which countries might blow up next? Are there pockets of success within states of failure? And who (or what) is to blame when things go bad—corrupt leaders, dysfunctional societies, bad neighbors, a global recession, unfortunate history, or simply geography itself?
The Failed States Index does not provide all the answers, nor does it claim to be able to. But it is a starting point for a discussion about why states fail and what should be done about them—a discussion, sadly, that we might be having even more frequently this year.
» Read On

Three killed as Ethiopian police stop church construction


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Three killed as Ethiopian police stop church construction
ADDIS ABABA (AFP) —
Ethiopian police shot dead two people and injured six others as they blocked an attempt by Christians to build a church at a site also claimed by Muslims, a government spokesman said Wednesday.
Orthodox Christians attacked police Tuesday in Dessie area some 250 kilometres (155 miles) northeast of Addis Ababa when the forces tried to stop the construction.
"They stormed the place and then they started bringing materials to continue building the church unlawfully," spokesman Bereket Simon told reporters.
"Unfortunately three lives have been claimed. Two of them were killed by bullets, one of them fell off a cliff."
In 2007, around 12 people were killed in religious riots in western Ethiopia. Bereket said there has been an "upsurge of attempts" to instigate further conflict in recent months.

Monday, June 29, 2009

LAPD names its first Islamic chaplain


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LAPD names its first Islamic chaplain
Police leaders hope that the new chaplain, who has a history of building bridges between Muslims and law enforcement, can help officers understand his community better.
By Duke Helfand June 29, 2009
American Muslims have never been much of a presence in the Los Angeles Police Department, accounting for less than 1% of its nearly 10,000 officers.
But now, with department leaders eager to improve relationships with local Muslims, top brass have named the force's first Islamic chaplain: a Pakistani-born spiritual leader who has spent much of the last decade trying to build bridges between law enforcement and Los Angeles County's diverse Muslim communities.
(Sheik Qazi Asad prays five times each day. The Pakistani-born immigrant, who is now a U.S. citizen, first got involved with law enforcement after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, working with the Sheriff’s Department)

Sheik Qazi Asad, 47, will serve as a reserve chaplain at the LAPD's North Hollywood station. The volunteer post requires about eight hours of service each month. But to Asad and his LAPD patrons, it represents an opportunity to expose officers to a culture and faith that many may find unfamiliar, even foreign.
And that, Asad and LAPD leaders hope, will enhance relations that have been strained at times, particularly in the aftermath of a much-criticized plan by the department in 2007 to map the city's Muslim population. The plan, which some critics equated to religious profiling, was scrapped after a week of protests.
"We need to establish very good communication . . . where both parties are talking to each other," Asad said. "This is just opening up the door."

Asad arrived in the United States at age 24, with virtually no money and speaking very little English. He learned to speak the language by taking classes at Los Angeles City College and by watching the news on television. And he learned a profession, the insurance claims business. Meanwhile, he began serving informally as a religious advisor to other Muslims -- presiding over weddings and funerals, heading a nonprofit organization whose members prepare the dead for burial, conducting weekly spiritual classes at a storefront office space in Inglewood.
He got involved with law enforcement after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca asked Asad to join a news conference at which Baca and other elected leaders demonstrated their solidarity with the embattled Muslim community. Baca had met Asad in the 1990s at dinners with elected officials and community leaders in the South Bay, where Asad lives.
The bearded Asad, a U.S. citizen, came to the news conference wearing traditional Muslim attire -- a turban, long collarless shirt and trousers ending above the ankle. Soon after, he was asked to join Baca's Executive Clergy Council. He brought about a dozen other American Muslim leaders with him.
Baca said that Asad helps establish a bridge of trust between Muslims and police. "It doesn't surprise me that the LAPD would reach out to Qazi and give him a chance to continue his work," the sheriff said.
About two years ago, Asad joined an advisory panel for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that included representatives from the immigration service, Border Patrol, FBI, L.A. County Sheriff's Department and LAPD. That's where he and LAPD leaders first talked about Asad becoming involved with the force.
"I asked, 'How do I become a chaplain?' " he recalled. " 'What are the requirements?' "
Like other candidates, Asad underwent an extensive background check that included fingerprinting, a review of his finances and employment history, and an interview with the department's senior chaplains.
LAPD leaders view Asad's chaplaincy work as an extension of his previous roles with law enforcement. Although chaplains are expected to serve in a nonsectarian capacity, LAPD authorities said they believe that Asad could be a source of information for officers curious about Muslims and their religion.
"Officers don't know about Islam or Muslim communities in Los Angeles. He's going to be a person who can educate them to that," said Lt. Mark Stainbrook, who oversees community outreach for the department's counter-terrorism and criminal intelligence bureau.
Some Muslim religious and civic leaders who belong to an LAPD Muslim advisory panel grumbled privately about not being consulted about Asad's selection, although they did not take issue with him. LAPD officials said that Asad applied for the post on his own, and that the department generally does not run chaplain appointments by outside advisory groups.
Even those Muslim leaders who voiced some disappointment with the process, however, said they believed that Asad's appointment would help nurture an emerging relationship with the Police Department.
"The position needs someone who has the basic knowledge and skills to bring people together, especially someone who understands the culture and nature of law enforcement," said Hussam Ayloush, Southern California executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "I think Mr. Asad has such abilities."
Asad will spend the next six months working under two senior chaplains in the North Hollywood station. .
Asad said he intends to wear traditional clothing when appropriate -- for example, when presiding at the funeral of a fellow Muslim. But he expects to show up most often in suit and tie.
He acknowledged that officers may be surprised to see him in their station.
"It will take time for them to adjust," he said. "I have to earn my stripes."

Donald M. Payne Doc: Somaliland rejects to participate in Washington meeting on Somalia

Medeshi
United States Congress (Washington, DC)
Somalia: Prospects for Lasting Peace and a Unified Response to Extremism and Terrorism
Donald M. Payne
29 June 2009
document
Washington, DC — Opening remarks of Chairman Donald M. Payne at the hearing of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health on Somalia: Prospects for Lasting Peace and a Unified Response to Extremism and Terrorism, as prepared for delivery:
Let me first welcome you all to this important and timely hearing on Somalia. Let me also express my deep appreciation to the witnesses, many of whom came a long distance to be part of this hearing.
The title of today’s hearing, Somalia: Prospects for Lasting Peace and a Unified Response to Extremism and Terrorism, says a great deal about the challenges and the difficulties the people of Somalia face today. The primary objective of this hearing is to hear from Somalis themselves about the fate of their country.
We also have witnesses who, though not Somali, have been engaged full time in efforts to bring a just peace in Somalia. Again, we thank all the distinguished witnesses for their participation today and for their dedication on these issues. We invited representatives from all three regions of Somalia -- the Transitional Federal Government, the Puntland Government, and the Somaliland Government.
Prior to the hearing, I spoke to the president and foreign minster of the TFG, the Puntland president, and the foreign minister of Somaliland. They all accepted and, in fact, the president of Puntland has been in Washington for the past five days. The foreign minister of the TFG was supposed to come but he had to go back to Mogadishu to deal with the ongoing crisis. Today the TFG is represented by the deputy ambassador to the United Nations.
The Somaliland foreign minister accepted our invitation but last week the government requested if the Subcommittee could have a separate panel for the Foreign Minster.The reason: the Somaliland representative did not want to be part of the panel with the President of Puntland and the TFG representative. We informed the Somaliland government that their request was unacceptable and defeats the main purpose of this hearing. If Somalilanders cannot sit with fellow Somalis to explore ways to bring peace to Somalia at this critical juncture, I wonder what this says about their commitment to all Somalis.
As is now widely known, in April I traveled to Mogadishu to get a firsthand account of conditions in the country. What I saw in Mogadishu then was very encouraging, despite the enormous difficulties many Somalis face everyday. Somali women are still active in trying to help the vulnerable. Human rights advocates, journalists, and humanitarian workers are doing their best in the face of the impossible.
Some concerned friends said why take such a risk and go to places like Mogadishu. I respond with another question: Is my life more important than the children in the streets of Mogadishu? My trip, though marked by the press for the mortar attack, helped bring attention to the conditions on the ground. This so-called attack was an attempt to mar my otherwise very positive and encouraging trip.
It must be clear to all that the crisis we face in Somalia today has devastating implications for the rest of the region. The last defense against this cancer is the TFG and the African Union forces. What we are witnessing is not a liberation struggle or resistance against a brutal regime. The terrorists waging this war have one objective in mind -- to make Somalia the Swat Valley of Africa. With the foreign jihadists next to them, often leading them, these terrorists are brutalizing innocent civilians.
This is why we have called this hearing. Somalis from all three regions must come together to counter this challenge. The international community must also help. The Obama Administration has done a great deal to assist the TFG and also to contain the threat and I am encouraged by this.
The Government of Puntland has sent an estimated 1,000 troops to assist in the fight against the terrorists in south-central Somalia. This is commendable. I hope this hearing leads to greater cooperation between the three regions.
As we gather here today, many Somalis continue to be displaced, maimed, and killed. The dreams and aspiration of millions of Somalis are on hold or crushed. Over a year ago, I visited the Somali refugee camp in Kenya called Dadaab. I met thousands of refugees, some of whom were born in the camps.
When I asked a number of young Somalis what they want badly that they currently don’t have, they responded: education. This is the same response I’ve received to the question when posed in Darfur refugee camps in Chad. Somalis, like people everywhere, want and deserve the opportunity to educate their children and have hope for a better life. We can do more to help towards this. I encourage President Obama and Secretary Clinton to engage further in a positive way in Somalia as we have seen so far.
I will now turn to our Ranking Member, Congressman Smith for his opening statement and will read the bios of the distinguished panelists following Members’ opening remarks.
Copyright © 2009 United States Congress.
All rights reserved.
Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

Mining and free trade in Eritrea


Medeshi
Mining and free trade in Eritrea
Posted by: Alison Williams
Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki has guarded his country jealousy since independence, pushing a self-reliant attitude that encourages Eritreans to rebuild Eritrea for themselves.
But in order to develop the potentially lucrative mining and trade sectors, he will have to open up the country more to foreign money and therefore possible foreign influence.
The government intends to launch free trade zones at its main ports in Massawa and Assab on its Red Sea coast, and dozens of firms, including from China, India and Dubai, have already registered to operate there to take advantage of the bustling cargo shipping lanes.
Reserves of gold, zinc and copper have been found in Eritrea and analysts are predicting a mining boom. Fourteen foreign firms are exploring in the country and the first project is expected to start producing gold by late 2010.
“We believe mining will play an important role in boosting the economy and the government is committed to develop it,” Alem Kibreab, director-general of mines, told Reuters Africa Journal.
The authorities want the sector to be developed slowly and carefully to prevent the so-called “resources curse”, where oil and minerals have spawned and corruption violence in Africa.
After the long struggle for independence from Ethiopia and subsequent border dispute, expectations for the development of the economy to support the population of 4 million are high - although Afwerki says the mining sector is no magic solution.
“Let’s not be misled that this gold is going to change everything and let’s not be relaxed,” he said. “Getting relaxed and trying to rely on, or at least anticipating to heavily rely on this resource may be crippling.”
(Photo: Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki listens to a question during an interview with Reuters in the capital Asmara. Reuters/Ho New)

Police deny Kenya torture claims

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Police deny Kenya torture claims
Kenya's police have denied claims of torture and rape when they disarmed rival clan militias last year.
Human Rights Watch says there should be an inquiry into the "collective punishment" of civilians in Mandera.
The US-based organisation said its research showed thousands of people had been tortured and women had been raped.
But police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told the BBC there had been no torture or beatings and asked HRW to produce evidence to back up its findings.
"Certainly we should look into the laws in this country which allow any street boy to come here and publish very disparaging lies about our internal security forces," he told the BBC's Network Africa programme.
Earlier this year a UN investigator into allegations of extrajudicial killings elsewhere in Kenya, Philip Alston, said the police were a "law unto themselves".
'Not a case of bad apples'
According to Human Rights Watch, a joint police and military operation to disarm the warring militias in the north-eastern town of Mandera took place between 25 October and 28 October 2008.
A woman who was raped in Elele:
"One held my head on the ground, and the other one started raping me.
I fainted because I was pregnant and when I woke up I just found myself damaged from the rape.
I ran to the bush where our livestock are. I went with the five children that I could see. After three days, I found the rest of my kids in the bush.
I came back after six weeks to give birth in Elele. I haven't seen any doctor or hospital."
Source: Human Rights Watch
It followed deadly clashes between the local Garre and Murulle clans, which had killed 21 people earlier in the year.
"Unfortunately, that joint operation pursued a brutal strategy of basically rounding up all of the civilians in various villages and then, in a sense, collectively punishing them," the report's author Ben Rawlence told the BBC.
"Requiring them to turn over weapons, to disclose the whereabouts of the militias who've been fighting, torturing thousands of people and raping some women… destroying property and causing between 20,000 and 30,000 people to flee the area."
In February, Human Rights Watch researchers visited five of the towns and say they documented consistent accounts from more than 90 victims.
The interviewees said security forces entered early in the morning and rounded up all of the men they could find.
They were made to lie on the ground for hours and were beaten with rifle butts, sticks, canes and iron rods.
"In front of the police station, they made us lie down. They were beating us with sticks, rungus [clubs], anything. They weren't saying anything except beating us and then: 'Bring the gun or you'll die,'" a victim in El Wak said.
“ We have well over five institutions in this country prepared to carry out public prosecutions and ensure that justice is done ” Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe
Other said the security forces twisted, crushed or ripped open their testicles.
"This is not a question of a few bad apples disobeying orders," Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch's executive director said.
"This operation was the result of a strategy devised by senior officials to use brutal force against Kenyan citizens."
Mr Kiraithe has denied previous accusations of police brutality and said if Human Rights Watch had evidence of torture in the Mandera district, the organisation should hand it over.
"We have well over five institutions in this country prepared to carry out public prosecutions and ensure that justice is done," Mr Kiraithe said.
The region around Mandera is prone to conflicts between rival clans, often for control of scarce water and pastures.
The area is largely inhabited by Somali-speaking nomads.
Story from BBC NEWS:

Kenyan's unusual migration to Somalia


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Hundreds of herders in North Eastern province are crossing the Somali border in search of water and pasture for their livestock, even as the security situation in the war-torn country worsens.
The unusual migration to Somalia is coming at a time when escalating violence is forcing hundreds of Somalis to flee their country and seek refuge in Kenya.
(Photo: Women wait for their turn to fetch water at Welmerer Borehole in Jarajilla division, Fafi district. Severe drought has forced herders in northern Kenya to cross the border into Somalia in search of pasture and water. Photo/SAMMY CHEBOI )
And this development could derail this year’s national population census as herders are expected to remain in the insecurity-plagued country for months.
The herders, who have been watching their herd succumb to death as the drought bites, have embarked on the exodus to the unlikely destination: Somalia. And they are unlikely to return to the country before August when the Kenya 2009 Population and Housing Census is to be conducted.
Speaking to Nation, Dadaab district officer Evans Kyule expressed concern that the tide of pastoralist migration in the northern parts of the country is unlikely to end soon as drought persists.
“Herders are moving with their livestock into Somalia. The census might be conducted before they are back,” Mr Kyule said, adding that unless it rains before then, herders were unlikely to return.
At Alikune village in Lagdera District, only women and children remain as men have deserted the area in search of pasture. The movement to Somalia continues despite rising insecurity threats posed by the Al-Shabaab militia fighting to topple President Sheikh Shariff’s Transitional Federal Government.
But the lure of available pasture and water is pushing Kenyan pastoralists from the northern districts of Fafi, Lagdera, Ijara, among others to risk their lives rather than watch as their livestock die.
“They have no choice but to cross the border. Pasture is available on the Somalia side,” explained Yasin Farah, a drought management officer based at Garissa.
The Somali militants have threatened to attack Kenya if the military patrols on the common border are not halted. Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called for military action against the militants to secure the country and the region.
As evidence of the plenty pasture in Somalia, flood water have swept across Fafi plains, enticing residents to relocate to the lawless country.
Worst affected divisions of Dadaab and Jarajilla in Lagdera and Fafi districts, respectively, has seen boreholes dry up and the few remaining are strained as huge number of people and animals flock them. One such borehole is Welmerer in Jarajilla where people have to queue for days for their turn to draw water.

Gruesome details emerge on young Somali girl

Medeshi
Gruesome details emerge on young Somali girl
By Ibrahim Alawi
JEDDAH – Investigations with the six men taken under custody in connection with the killing and burial of an 8-year-old Somali girl have revealed gruesome details about the whole issue.
Police found the body of the girl buried in an under-construction building in Bab Shareef District here on Friday. Besides the six Somalis, the grandmother of the girl was also arrested.
The girl was buried with her clothes on and her head severed, according to the forensic doctor who examined her body. The alleged culprits had admitted that the burial took place about 20 days ago.
Investigators are trying to verify whether the arrested men were involved in any previous crimes. They are also looking into whether the girl’s body had any scars or bruises indicating she was subjected to physical assault. The forensic expert, according to reports, has failed to pinpoint the exact causes of the severed head. Preliminary reports indicate that the girl was buried with her clothes on. She was neither washed nor was she wrapped in a shroud (Kafan). She was wearing a T-shirt and a pair of trousers.
Col. Misfir Al-Je’aid, spokesperson of Jeddah Police, said investigations are going on with the arrested men and some of them have proved to be illegal residents.
The girl’s grandmother was arrested Friday after receiving information from a mysterious caller claiming that her neighbor had killed her own granddaughter.The woman caller said her neighbor repeatedly beat her granddaughter severely, and that the child’s absence from view for several days had concerned her enough to alert the authorities.
Police, acting on directions given by the caller concerning the street and the color of the house door, entered the premises of a Somali family who neighbors said had been receiving guests for a funeral wake, and arrested the elderly woman who initially told investigators that her granddaughter had died after suffering diarrhea and fever, and said she had given her to the girl’s mother who took the body to an unknown address.
When police brought in the mother of the child they discovered that she had known of the death of her daughter, but had left it to others to arrange her burial through a group of Somalis who charged SR400 to carry out the operation at a site where they believed the body would not be discovered. – Okaz/SG

Sunday, June 28, 2009

In Denial: Rule of tyranny in Saudi Arabia

Medeshi
In Denial: Rule of tyranny in Saudi Arabia
"JEDDAH: Prince Naif, second deputy premier and minister of interior, said on Saturday Saudi Arabia is one of the most secure and stable countries of the world.
“The security and stability of this country along with its religion and economy have been targeted (by its enemies),” said Prince Naif during a dinner hosted in his honor by Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal at the governor’s palace in Jeddah.
(Photo: Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Prince Naif arrives at the governor’s palace in Jeddah on Saturday night to attend a banquet hosted in his honor by Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal( Cousin of him) . (SPA)
“Its determined people putting their trust in Almighty Allah have fought and defeated everyone who wished evil for the Kingdom. We live now in security and safety, thanks to Almighty Allah, then to the country’s prudent political leadership and the people standing steadfast behind their leaders.”
Prince Naif regretted the involvement of some misguided citizens in terrorist operations targeting their homeland and religion.
“(This security) did not come by accident,” Prince Naif said while commending the efforts of officers who have sacrificed themselves to preserve the security of the nation.
The prince cited the visits of several heads of state to the Kingdom over the years as a reflection of the Kingdom’s significant position in the world.
He also expressed his pride for the Kingdom’s adherence to the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah in all areas of life.
The prince prayed for the late King Abdul Aziz who unified the Kingdom and made the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah its constitution. “Every region of the country is home to all citizens and there is no distinction for one region over another. Every good thing in the country is for the benefit of all people,” he said.
Prince Naif said the presence of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque is the greatest blessing Allah has bestowed on this country. He emphasized Saudi Arabia’s wise policies and cordial relations with other countries in keeping with the Kingdom’s international standing while maintaining its sovereignty.
Prince Naif affirmed the importance of higher education, especially in science and technology, and noted the Kingdom’s achievements in this field by establishing centers of higher learning in all provinces. He praised Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s initiative to send large numbers of Saudi students on scholarships abroad."

Somaliland appeals for Urgent Humanitarian Assistance


Medeshi
Somaliland appeals to international community for urgent emergency livelihood assistance
Somaliland: press Release
Urgent Emergency Humanitarian Assistant
The Vice President
To: All International Agencies And Organizations
Since The Year Of 2007. The “Dayr” and “Gu” rains in Somaliland were below normal rainfall (Deyr 07/08, Gu 08, and Deyr 08/09) and this year’s “Gu” was poor.
As a result, poor pasture, scarcity of water, food and weakened human animal health were experienced. Reports coming from pastoralists are predicting a serious, but looming famine.
According to Fewnsnet. The cumulative effects of drought have resulted in a decline in reproduction rates and re-stocking for all species. Moreover, due to poor livestock body conditions, the number of saleable animals in local markets has been declining. It is predicted that the export figures for the current year could drop further. The drought also affects a significant number of urban households whose income and food source are strongly linked to livestock marketing and trade.
The livelihoods of pastoralists are further aggravated by severe food shortages caused by global food inflation and by continuing locust invasions to vegetation where short rains were reported during the “Gu” season of this year.All the six regions of Somaliland are effected by the drought, and 40% of the estimated populations of 3.5 Million of Somaliland are effected. That equals to 1.4 million people.
Given the worsening livelihood situation, as well as the deteriorating human and animal health as a result of food shortages, water and lack of fodder for animals, predictions for serious humanitarian catastrophe seem to be imminent that require to be averted.
The government of Somaliland, therefore, appeals to international community for urgent emergency livelihood assistance to avert severe food shortages and hunger. Moreover, assistance and support to urgent water trucking, rehabilitation of boreholes as well as rehabilitation and distilling of berkads and dams and the supplies of necessary medications for effected human and livestock populations will be paramount to avoid break-outs of disease epidemics. Nutritional support to the weak and sick will be also necessary.
The situation is unusual and, therefore, requires quick, rapid and unusual responses from international community to deliver humanitarian assistance and supplies.
H.E. Ahmed Yusuf Yassin
Vice President of the Republic of Somaliland
and Chairperson of the National Disaster Management Committee.
Source : Somaliland press
Edited by medeshi
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Somali Islamist militiamen stone murderer to death


Medeshi
Somali Islamist militiamen stone murderer to death
MOGADISHU (AFP) - Masked Somali Islamist militiamen on Sunday stoned to death a man accused of rape and murder in front of a crowd of more than 1,000 people south of Mogadishu, officials and witnesses said.
An ad-hoc court set up by the hardline Shebab movement in the town of Wanlaweyn, 90 kilometres (55 miles) south the capital, found Mohamed Mohamoud Abdi guilty of raping and murdering a teenage girl.
"This man was accused of raping and killing an 18-year-old girl in May this year. The court found him guilty of the charges brought against him," Sheikh Mohamed Saleban, a local Shebab official, told AFP.
"He was a married man, which is why the court sentenced him to be stoned to death," he added, explaining that a rape conviction only incurs flogging.
Abdullahi Husein, a resident of Wanlaweyn, said most of the town's population turned out to watch the lynching, where Shebab gunmen banned cameras and mobile phones.
"Ten masked men from the Shebab forces stoned him to death in front of everyone. They had dug a hole, buried him to his neck before throwing stones at him," he said.
On Thursday, Shebab forces in Mogadishu publicly amputated the right hand and left foot of four men accused of theft.
The four suspected robbers' ages were not immediately clear but witnesses said they looked very young and that some of them were most likely teenagers.
While most of the political players in Somalia recognise Islam as the main source of legislation, the Shebab advocate a very strict interpretation of Sharia.
An alliance including the Shebab and other hardline Islamists has since last year controlled and administered large parts of southern Somalia, where courts impose tough sentences that have been condemned by rights groups.
In October, a 13-year-old girl was stoned to death in public by around 50 men in the southern city of Kismayo. She was accused of adultery by local hardline Islamists after reporting that she had been raped by three men.
Amnesty International issued a statement condemning the Shebab -- who are engaged in a deadly military offensive against the fledgling administration of President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed -- over Thursday's sentences.
"These punishments amount to torture," said Tawanda Hondora, the London-based watchdog's Africa Deputy Director, in a statement.
Source: AFP, June 28, 2009