Pontus Marine LTD- Leader of fishing industry in Somaliland

Saturday, August 8, 2009

OLF activity in southern Ethiopia - video

Medeshi
OLF activity in southern Ethiopia - video
August 7th, 2009
Part 1 documentary of the rarely mentioned rebel activity in southern Ethiopia.
For the first time ever, rag-tag fighters of the shadowy Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) under the maverick leadership of Generals Kemal Gelchu and Haile Gonfa have been filmed in their bases in southern Ethiopia following an epic journey into the rebel territory by NTV reporter Yassin Juma and cameraman Eric Okoth. The OLF has been fighting a low key guerrilla war whose effects have occasionally been felt in the remote villages along the common border. The NTV exclusive inside rebel territory began with the drive up north for our crew.

Clashes rock Somali pirate port


Medeshi
Clashes rock Somali pirate port
Overnight gun-battles between rival clans in a pirate stronghold on the coast of Somalia have left at least 17 dead and 30 injured, reports say.
Local residents in Haradheere fled as fighting, reportedly over land and the alleged rape of a woman, intensified.
Pirates who operate in the area, a port off the shipping lanes linking Europe to Asia, said they were worried the conflict could affect their activities.
Somalia, torn by civil war since 1991, lacks an effective central government.
"The two clans are fighting over land and a girl who was raped in the forest," a local man, Farah Aden, told Reuters news agency.
"Unfortunately, the battles spread into town. Fighting is going on fiercely."
A pirate, who gave his name as Mohammed, told Reuters that those involved in piracy around the port were concerned that their activities would be damaged.
"We are all members of these two clans, and we are worried that this fight might end up being taken out on to the ocean," he said.
Story from BBC NEWS:

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tensions Rising in Somaliland Ahead of Vote


Medeshi
Tensions Rising in Somaliland Ahead of Vote
By Alisha Ryu Nairobi0
7 August 2009
Escalating tensions ahead of a presidential vote in the self-declared republic of Somaliland are raising fears that a prolonged political crisis may give the al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group, al-Shabab, the opportunity to spread its extremist ideology.
The associate professor of religious studies and Arabic at the University of South Africa, Iqbal Jhazbhay, says political bickering between the government and opposition parties in Somaliland is threatening to derail much-delayed elections there, scheduled for September 27.
Jhazbhay says the feud must be resolved quickly before it inflicts irreparable damage on the breakaway territory's democratic system.
"There is no doubt that this is a defining moment," he said. "This polarization could pose a threat to peace and security in the sense that it would polarize the populace, lead to possibly things spilling out of control, the possibility of extreme Islamic elements like al-Shabab seeing this as an opportunity to advance their agenda."
At the center of Somaliland's brewing crisis is the question of whether the territory can hold an election without a voter registration list.

A U.N.-partnered organization called Interpeace had been helping the government of incumbent President Dahir Riyale with the voter registration process, and was planning to monitor the election.
But last week, the government expelled the head of Interpeace from Somaliland, accusing the organization of, among other things, illegally sharing voter information with officials of Somaliland's two main opposition groups, Kulmiye and UCID.
Interpeace has denied any wrongdoing. But it acknowledged that the voter registration system was, in its words, seriously abused while being implemented. Some government supporters have charged that multiple registrations in favor of opposition parties had taken place in several districts.
Somaliland's National Election Commission ruled that the presidential election could proceed without the voter registration list, and the president quickly endorsed the ruling. Kulmiye and UCID said the decision to abandon the list is tantamount to high treason. Opposition members of parliament are now said to be preparing a motion to impeach President Riyale.
Professor Jhazbhay says he fears if a compromise cannot be reached soon, the feud may cause some Somalilanders to become disillusioned with democracy, and he fears that could strengthen the hand of al-Shabab extremists. Al-Shabab, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, is currently battling to overthrow a U.N.-backed government in the Somali capital Mogadishu, and has vowed to fight until all of Somalia is united under an ultra-conservative Islamic caliphate.
"In the case of Somaliland, they have tried to shape an agenda and a discourse saying that advancing democracy is a Western exercise, where countries like Somaliland end up being led and following an American agenda," he said. "It is an attempt to mobilize people and alienate them from what is clearly a home-grown democracy of Somali customary laws and Islamic law."
Top al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane hails from the Somaliland capital, Hargeisa. Godane is suspected of ordering the deadly suicide attacks in Hargeisa last October at a U.N. compound, the Ethiopian consulate, and the presidential palace.
Somaliland's current president, Dahir Riyale, was peacefully elected to his first five-year term in 2003, and, until recently, the territory was held up as an example of what the rest of Somalia could achieve through democratic reforms and good governance.
But the presidential vote that should have taken place in August 2008 has been postponed several times. The delay has raised concern from key allies, such as the United States and the European Union, about Somaliland's commitment to democracy.
In recent years, Somaliland has been closely cooperating with the West in combating terrorism and piracy, in exchange for the international diplomatic recognition it has sought since declaring independence from Somalia in 1991.

KENYA KICKS OUT ERITREA DIPLOMAT


Medeshi

KENYA KICKS OUT ERITREA DIPLOMAT
By KENNETH OGOSIA
Posted Friday, August 7 2009
Kenya revealed on Friday that it had deported an Eritrean diplomat “for security reasons” hours before the country’s Foreign Minister made an abrupt visit to Nairobi seeking audience with President Kibaki.
(Photo: Kenya's Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetangula. Kenya revealed on Friday that it had deported an Eritrean diplomat “for security reasons”.
The diplomat is the second Eritrean to be expelled from Kenya in as many months on grounds of “security” — which is diplomatic speak for involvement in activities that undermine the host country. He was described as a businessman.
Security grounds
The Foreign Affairs adviser of public affairs, Prof Egara Kabaji, said the head of Horn of Africa division who could give more information, was out of office on transfer to Uganda. He, however, referred further queries to Immigration department or the government spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua.
The Immigration public communications officer, Mr E Njeru, said “there are two cases involving Eritreans who were deported on security related grounds. The diplomat’s case happened earlier.”
He identified one of the deportees as Mr Hannibal Menghstie but we could not verify immediately whether he was the diplomat.
Contacted by the Saturday Nation, the Eritrean Ambassador, a Mr Sareh, said: “We have seen Mr Wetang’ula and all questions should be answered from the Kenyan Foreign Affairs office.”
The expulsions and Thursday’s blistering attack by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the Horn of Africa nation for its involvement in the Somalia crisis is building up into the new front in the regional fight against terrorism.
Eritrea is allegedly bolstering insurgents al-Shabaab’s firepower and inflicting a heavy price on the AU forces.
On July 11, the Ugandan contingent in Mogadishu lost three soldiers during intensive fighting, when the insurgents shelled the presidential palace with mortars.
Sources in Mogadishu also said 15 Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) troops had been critically wounded in the fighting although the Ugandan army spokesman, Maj Felix Kulayigye, last week acknowledged only one was wounded.
A day after Mrs Clinton warned of unspecified action against the country, Eritrea dispatched Foreign Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed to Nairobi who immediately went into a meeting with Kenyan counterpart, Mr Moses Wetang’ula.


Mr Mohammed’s visit came only a day after Mrs Clinton had criticised Eritrea’s perceived support of the al-Shabaab movement, which is trying to topple Somalia’s fragile transitional government.
A Foreign Affairs official speaking in confidence said the minister sought to get an appointment with the Head of State through Mr Wetang’ula.
Mr Mohammed discussed the special message he had from his President Isaias Afeworki with Mr Wetang’ula and arrangements to let him meet President Kibaki started.
However, he was unable to meet the Head of State due to a day-long Cabinet meeting.
Sources told the Saturday Nation that he could remain in Nairobi until Monday as formal meetings are scheduled for next week.
The abrupt visit is widely linked to both the expulsions and Mrs Clinton’s attack after a meeting in Nairobi with the Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
Meddling in Somalia
Mrs Clinton said the United States would “take action” against Eritrea if it did not stop meddling in neighbouring Somalia.
“With respect to Eritrea, we are making it very clear that their actions are unacceptable, their interference with the rights of the Somali people are at the height of misplaced efforts and funding and we intend to take action if they do not cease,” Clinton said at a joint news conference with Somalia’s new president, whose government is waging a bloody battle against an Islamic insurgency — with some help from the United States.
Mrs Clinton did not specify what kind of action Washington might take. But the UN Security Council is reportedly considering sanctions against Eritrea, which it says may be arming Islamic militants now battling Somalia’s transitional government.
Mrs Clinton vowed to continue US support for the government of Somalia’s transitional president Sheikh Ahmed, against the insurgents, some of whom Washington says have ties to the al Qaeda terrorist network.
“The United States and the international community must serve as an active partner in helping the TFG (Transitional Federal Government) and the people of Somalia confront and ultimately move beyond the conflict and poverty that have gripped their country,” Clinton told reporters at the US Embassy.


In Washington, State Department spokesman Robert Wood would not elaborate on Clinton’s warning, but said the Obama administration believes Eritrea is supplying arms to militant groups.
The Somalia fighting has killed 250 civilians and forced more than 160,000 people to flee their homes in June alone.
Internally displaced persons in Somalia are estimated at over one million in a country of eight million. They lack food, emergency relief supplies, and essential health, shelter, and water, sanitation and hygiene services.
Kenya, which has experienced two terrorist attacks in the last decade, has been concerned about security on the border with Somalia since al-Shabaab started making gains against the government of President Sheikh Ahmed.
Eritrea has consistently denied supporting any factions in Somalia which is torn by civil wars.

The Daily Nation

Degmo: A Somali Village in the Heart of UK

Medeshi
Degmo is a Somali village in the heart of UK.
Degmo is the creation of the director, Hamish Wilson, who, together with his wife and two young sons, hosts all visits to their farm. As well as farming, Hamish is a photographer, writer, lecturer and broadcaster who specialises in Somali culture and affairs. He is also an accomplished camel boy who, over the course of the past twenty-four years, has lived and travelled extensively amongst the nomads of the Somali region.
During this time Hamish has had his photographs reproduced in national and international publications and exhibited in galleries and museums around the UK and Scandinavia. He has worked as a freelance correspondent for the BBC World Service, written for the Sunday Times newspaper, and contributed to several specialist African publications. In 2000 Hamish wrote and presented "The Forbidden Journey", a T.V. documentary for BBC 2, and has acted as a consultant to ITN news and BBC T.V. factual programming.
Hamish has conducted research in Somalia on behalf of the human rights group "African Rights" and is employed as a specialist regional advisor on the Somali region by AKE, a UK based security consultancy group. He has also worked with the government of the Republic of Somaliland and United Nations on disarmament, demobilisation, and de-mining programmes in the region.
In collaboration with Somali communities, Hamish provides consultancies to education and social services departments in Bristol, East London, Sheffield, Manchester, Cardiff, Newport and Milton Keynes and has been employed by police forces to advise on community relations issues. He lecturers to schools, universities, and institutions including the Royal Geographical Society.
The word degmo is used by Somalis to describe a group of several encampments erected by families of nomads whilst grazing their herds of camels, sheep, goats, and cattle. At Hangingheld Farm we have created our own version of a degmo and turned it into a centre in which you are invited to stay.
Before establishing Degmo, its director, Hamish Wilson, had for many years lived amongst Somali nomads and collaborated with Somali communities throughout the UK to promote understanding of Somali culture and history. This is important to the Somalis because the origins of their language and customs are rooted in the pastoral heritage of their homeland where more than half the population still adhere to the nomadic tradition of herding livestock. Even those who inhabit the towns continue to revere the ethos of their camel keeping clansmen with whom they maintain strong ties. Therefore, for Somalis who have settled in Britain, it is with regret that they find themselves confined to the cities, isolated from the countryside and their rural traditions.
So when Hamish and his family acquired the farm at Hangingheld, it was not long before his Somali friends from the UK began to visit, drawn by the prospect of seeing the British countryside for the first time and once again being in a natural environment and amongst livestock. In every instance, when the time came for them to leave, the Somalis asked if they could return with their family and friends.
About the same time Hamish also noticed concerns being expressed by older generations of Somalis and community leaders about the adverse effects on their children of growing up isolated from all influences of the pastoral life that defines so much of their culture and identity. Loss of identity, especially amongst young male Somalis, they concluded, was contributing to a sense of alienation, lack of achievement at school and, in extreme cases, to a life of disillusionment and crime. Could visits to the farm featuring comparisons between rural life in Britain and Somalia not only benefit older Somalis, but also help demonstrate to the younger generation something about their heritage of which they could feel proud? Every Somali to whom Hamish spoke believed it could. And so was born the concept behind Degmo.
Degmo welcomes Somali families from inner cities throughout the UK to stay on a farm in the heart of the British countryside. It reconnects Somalis with their own rich rural heritage and broadens their understanding of their adopted country.
If you grew up in Somalia, a stay on the farm provides some familiar sights and sounds, whilst for Somalis born and raised in the UK a visit offers an opportunity to gain hands on experience of rural life in both countries.
Compare the ways in which Somali nomads tend to their livestock with how, in Britain, animals are raised and crops grown. Prepare Somali food over an open fire and learn to cook other tasty dishes using fresh organic ingredients. Enjoy the clean air and tranquillity of the countryside combined with the freedom to explore away from roads and houses.

Will there be new US Actions in the Horn?


Medeshi
Will there be new US Actions in the Horn?
By Scott A Morgan
The US Secretary of State is making Her first Official visit to Africa and initial observations are that Mrs. Clinton is doing remarkably well in this capacity.
Her First stop was in Kenya and this was where two major concerns of the Obama Administration were being addressed. We all remember back in January 2008 when the country convulsed in an orgy of Violence after a controversial Presidential Election. The Country has a Coalition Government but has yet to bring those responsible for the killings to Justice.
Currently Kenya has a crucial role to play in US Policy towards the Horn of Africa. The Port of Mombasa is the location where the Somali Pirates are brought to when they are captured on the high seas. Its Proximity to Somalia also makes it a key point of interest to Counterterrorism Specialists here in the US. There are some people who believe that Somalia could become to Kenya like what Afganistan is to Pakistan.
The Other Point of Interest is Somalia. The US has had an interesting History in Somalia since the end of the Cold War. Allies after the Ogaden War of the late 1970s and then US Troops in the Country during the early 1990s which led to 18 Elite US Soldiers being killed in a Firefight and now concerns over Piracy and Islamic Extremism are the highlights of US Concern.
The US Secretary of State made two crucial statements regarding US Interests in Somalia. First of all is the Fact that the US will again be providing an Arms Shipment to Mogadishu. Earlier this year the Obama Administration provided 40 tons of Ammunition to the Transitional National Government as it attempts to keep an Islamist Militia from gaining power. Sadly the US has not taken any position regarding Somaliland except for that it is concerned over the recent discarding of election rolls. Elections in Somaliland are scheduled to occur on September 27th.
And Once again the US had strong criticism for Eritrea and its reported involvement in Somalia. For several years the US has claimed that Eritrea was supporting the Islamist Insurgents in Somalia. The Situation in Somalia is not the only place where relations between Asmara and Washington have become sour. Tensions between Eritrea and both Djibouti and Ethiopia are still simmering at this time. However the US has threatened to retaliate against Eritrea for its Policies in Somalia.
Before some people get giddy over the idea of Air Strikes there has to be some time for Economic Sanctions to work. There are ample areas of concern regarding Human Rights in Eritrea as well so there could be some action taken in the near future in the Horn of Africa. But some people may not think the action taken is tough enough.

The Author Publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet and Comments on US Policy in Africa. Confused Eagle can be found at morganrights.tripod.com
Source: Scott A Morgan

Sudan: One teacher to 100 pupils


Medeshi
Sudan: One teacher to 100 pupils
By Grant Ferrett BBC Radio 4, Crossing Continents
Ban Tut, the young head teacher of Akobo primary school, is proud of his institution. His office is in one of the few brick buildings in the southern Sudanese town, off an avenue of trees which was planted before independence in 1956.
The study is a dark, cluttered room smelling of sweat from the many visitors waiting to see him.
Asked how many pupils attend school, the head teacher consults the register on his desk. "We have 2,655 children," he says.
And how many teachers?
"Twenty three," was the reply.
There are more than 100 pupils per teacher.
I did not ask how many classrooms he had, but a quick look out the window revealed that most of the children were learning outdoors, sitting under the occasional trees dotted across the dusty, red-earth school compound.
The reason he is proud is that this school was not open for much of the civil war in Sudan, which pitted the mainly Christian and animist south against the largely Muslim, Arabic-speaking north.
Most of the children and young people across the south simply did not go to school. And that has been the case for as long as most people can remember.
The children who were lucky enough to be educated were those who fled, heading across the border to Ethiopia, Kenya or Uganda, or the more developed, northern part of Sudan.
Illiterate
The south has been at war for about 40 of the 50 or so years since independence.
The conflict, coupled with an almost complete lack of development dating back to colonial times, has left a terrible legacy.
The UN estimates that more than 90% of women in southern Sudan are illiterate.
"A 15 year-old girl has a greater chance of dying in childbirth than completing school," says Lise Grande, the UN's deputy resident and humanitarian coordinator for the region.
All the more reason for Ban Tut to be proud that 960 of his pupils are girls.
The teachers are not qualified and the tuition does not appear exciting.
On the day I visited, the class I joined under a tree in the compound was reciting English phrases written on a blackboard: "I can see a teacher. I can see my mother. I can see a blackboard."
None had exercise books or pens.
But the head teacher says the children are always keen to come to Akobo school.
"At the moment we are happy. Since the peace agreement, there is a change in our area."
New country
The peace deal, signed by the north and south in January 2005, heralded a period of relative calm and stability - despite the recent ethnic violence near
.
About two million displaced people have returned to southern Sudan, hoping to rebuild their lives and play a part in creating a new country.
Of all the people I spoke to, not one wanted the south to remain joined to the north.
All said they would vote in favour of independence when a referendum is held.
Under the peace deal, this is scheduled to take place in early 2011, although given the delays in implementing other parts of the agreement, there is little chance the referendum will be held on time.
But the optimism in Akobo is tempered by the realities of day-to-day existence.
The head teacher complains that he and his staff have not been paid for three months. "There are no salaries because there is no road," he explains.
Roads
South Sudan is the size of France and England combined, but has just 20km of tarred roads.
Transport is either by boat along the river Nile and its tributaries, or along dirt roads which become impassible during the rainy season.
The UN peacekeeping force, one of the biggest in the world, travels by plane or by helicopter.
The few roads that have been built under the embryonic government of southern Sudan link newly constructed government offices in the southern capital, Juba.
Salaries of state employees, including teachers, often go unpaid for months at a time.
The south relies for 97% of its budget on revenues from oil.
When the oil price fell sharply last year, the government suddenly had a funding crisis on its hands.
But there are frequent complaints from donors and members of the public that the new administration is prone to corruption.
I heard no complaints, though, about the fact that, nearly five years after the peace deal, the government still puts security at the top of its list of priorities.
"Without security, there cannot be any development," says the oil minister, John Luk Jok.
If the civil war were to resume, the school in Akobo, like others across south Sudan, would probably be forced to close.
"But," the minister acknowledges, "the function of government is not security alone."

KENYA-SOMALIA: Dadaab grappling with “dramatic” refugee situation


Medeshi
KENYA-SOMALIA: Dadaab grappling with “dramatic” refugee situation
Posted by africanpress on August 7, 2009
NAIROBI, 6 August 2009 (IRIN) – The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is to support livelihood and environmental protection programmes for local Kenyan communities in Dadaab, says a senior UN official.
The Dagahaley, Hagadera and Ifo camps in Dadaab comprise the largest refugee site in the world. As of 5 July, the site hosted an estimated 284,306 refugees, mainly from Somalia. This number was triple the designated capacity.
“We have witnessed in the recent months arrivals [in] the region [of] 5,000 per month, creating a situation that is extremely dramatic,” the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, said.
“In the meetings I had with the local communities, we presented our programme of investment and support to the local community,” he said. “UNHCR by itself has mobilised US$6 million especially in areas related to environmental degradation and livelihoods of the Kenyan local communities in Fafi and Lagadera.”
Relations between refugees and the surrounding host population often sour with increasing insecurity and environmental degradation being blamed on the refugee influx, aid workers say.
Dadaab, some 90km from the Kenya-Somalia border, has seen a large number of asylum-seekers fleeing years of conflict in Somalia.
Guterres said there was a need to adequately screen people coming into Dadaab to improve safety for the refugees and locals, and to address Kenya’s security concerns.
“UNHCR is preparing a comprehensive strategy for decongestion, rehabilitation and security in Dadaab,” he said, adding that immediate priorities were in health, water and sanitation.
A measles outbreak was reported in Hagadera camp in July. Earlier, a cholera outbreak had been reported.
In a briefing note, UNHCR said the inability to provide adequate shelter for refugees had exposed them to exploitation by their hosts. For example, cases of sexual- and gender-based violence reported this year had increased by 30 percent.
To decongest Dadaab, UNHCR plans to move some refugees to Kakuma in the northwest, along the border with Sudan, and hopes to secure additional land in Dadaab. Kakuma already hosts some 45,017 refugees and has inadequate shelter.
The first group of 12,900 refugees from Dadaab is expected to go to Kakuma – about 1,000km away – before the rainy season. “As soon as the minimum logistic and reception conditions are established, the movement to Kakuma can start,” Guterres said.
The meteorological department in Kenya has predicted el-Niño rains that could hinder refugee movements.
The Dadaab programme, including funds for local communities and the upgrading of the present refugee sites as well as new site infrastructure, is estimated to require $92 million.
“The host community is struggling especially with the high food prices and drought,” Kellie Leeson, the International Rescue Committee director for Kenya, told IRIN recently.
Leeson said the camps were not officially demarcated and some of the long-term refugees had purchased livestock, fuelling tensions over pasture and water.
“The challenge [in Dadaab] is so big that it needs a combination of solutions,” Guterres said. “It has been possible until now to provide the minimum but a lot of upgrading of humanitarian systems needs to be done.”

aw/eo/mw source.www.irinnews.org

Dwyka lifts stake in Ethiopia-focused Minerva

Medeshi
Dwyka lifts stake in Ethiopia-focused Minerva
By: Chanel Pringle
7th August 2009
JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – ASX- and Aim-listed gold and nickel producer Dwyka Resources has further increased its shareholding in exploration company Minerva Resources to 87,86%.
The producer in June offered Minerva shareholders one Dwyka share for every five Minerva shares, in a deal worth about £1,8-million.
By mid-July, it had received acceptances from shareholders representing 80,9% of Minerva’s shareholding, leading to the exploration company’s delisting from Aim on July 23.
Dwyka said in a statement on Friday that it had now allotted a further 43 200 ordinary fully paid Dwyka shares to Minerva shareholders.
The remaining Minerva shareholders had until August 11 to accept its offer.
Full acceptance of its offer would result in the issue of 30,9-million new Dwyka shares, with Minerva shareholders representing some 13,9% of the enlarged share capital.
The acquisition of Minerva would give Dwyka control over a number of prospective gold and platinum exploration assets in Ethiopia, including: the Tulu Kapi gold exploration project, the Yubdo platinum project, and some other gold exploration targets within the licence area.
Further, Dwyka would also be taking control of Minerva’s 51% interest in a platinum exploration project in Ethiopia, and a gold and diamond exploration project in Sierra Leone.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Condolences

Medeshi
Condolences:
We are ,hereby, sending our deepest and sincere condolences to the family of Ali Marshal and his relatives about the death of their loved one as a result of a vehicle accident that happened today between Berbera and Hargeisa.
Ali Marshal was a devoted politician to the cause of Somaliland and a high profile member of the main (Kulmiye) opposition party.
We pray that God rests his soul in peace and in heaven
We ,also, hope a quick recovery for the other members of Kulmiye party who were injured in the accident as well the journalists accompanying them.
We hope that this does not further derail the electoral preparations.
Mohammed Ahmed Ali
Medeshi Media Group
london

Clinton vows new US support for Somalia


Medeshi
Clinton vows new US support for Somalia
By MATTHEW LEE (AP)
NAIROBI, Kenya — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday pledged to expand American support for Somalia's weak interim government and threatened sanctions against neighboring Eritrea for aiding an extremist group she says is trying to launch worldwide terrorist attacks from Somalia.
Clinton said the Obama administration would boost military supplies and other aid to the Somali government and an African peacekeeping force supporting it. She did not detail the new aid.
Clinton warned Eritrea, accused by the U.S. of supporting the extremist Somali militia known as al-Shabab, that it would face penalties if it continues to supply the group with arms and funding.
"It is long past time for Eritrea to cease and desist its support for al-Shabab," she said. "We are making it very clear that their actions are unacceptable. We intend to take action if they do not cease."
At the State Department, spokesman Robert A. Wood added that Eritrea was providing weapons and other support to al-Shabab "and we want them to stop."
Wood described Clinton as "frustrated with what they are doing."
"We do not want to see terrorism spreading," he said.
The spokesman declined to specify what kind of sanctions the administration might impose on Eritrea.
Clinton said that al-Shabab sees "Somalia as a future haven for global terrorism," and noted the recent arrests of four men allegedly linked to the group who are suspected of plotting attacks in Australia.
Clinton said that the U.S. is concerned that "al-Shabab not only uses foreign fighters and foreign money but foreign ideas in its attack on the people of Somalia."
"There is also no doubt that al-Shabab wants to take control of Somalia and use it as a base from which to influence and even infiltrate surrounding countries and launch attacks against countries far and near," Clinton said after meeting beleaguered Somali President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed at the U.S. Embassy in Kenya.
Ahmed agreed.
"Their aim is to make Somalia a ground to destabilize the whole world," said Ahmed, who appealed to Clinton for additional resources. "We cannot suffer any longer. The people of Somalia have a right to peace."
Although Clinton did not discuss the new assistance, other U.S. officials have said the administration plans to double an initial provision of 40 tons of arms sent to Somalia through other African nations.
The U.S. also has begun a low-profile mission to help train Somali security forces in nearby Djibouti, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivities surrounding U.S. involvement in the program.
Ahmed's government, which holds only a few blocks in Mogadishu with support from the peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi, said Clinton had promised to "redouble" assistance.
Ahmed said Clinton had made promises of assistance on the "security front" and on the "humanitarian front." He would not elaborate.
Clinton said only that she and President Barack Obama "want to expand and extend our support." She also noted that the U.S. had given nearly $150 million to support the peacekeeping operation in Somalia over the past two years and said more money would be coming.
U.S. involvement in Somalia is a sensitive subject because of the 1992-94 American military intervention that began as a humanitarian mission to deliver aid supplies to Somalia.
That ended in a humiliating withdrawal months after the 1993 "Black Hawk Down" incident in which two U.S. helicopters were downed and 18 servicemen killed.
A spokesman for al-Shabab said Wednesday that any U.S. assistance to Ahmed's government or the peacekeepers would not stop its forces from fighting and predicted a repeat of the 1993 experience.
"Any support America gives the government will not deter us from pursuing our path because we believe Allah and we always hope from him to give us the upper hand," Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage told reporters in Mogadishu.
Somalia has not had an effective government since 1991 and the top U.N. envoy for the country has said the country is now at a "turning point" and in desperate need of international support, especially military equipment, training and money.
The United Nations Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, welcomed Clinton's meeting with Ahmed, saying, "The Somali people are sick and tired of violence which has destroyed their lives."
"The international community must not let them down now," he said Thursday in a statement.
In addition to its current attacks against the Somali government, the U.S. accuses the al-Shabab of harboring suspects in the 1998 bombing of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Earlier Thursday, Clinton honored the victims of the 1998 embassy attacks in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
A day before the 11th anniversary of the Aug. 7 bombings, she placed a wreath at the site of the former Nairobi embassy where 218 people died.
Clinton said it was a day "to renew our resolve to do all that we can to ensure that these attacks don't take more innocent lives in the future."
Associated Press writers Barry Schweid in Washington and Elizabeth Kennedy in Nairobi contributed to this report.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

African States Fail to Agree on Nile River Allocations


Medeshi
African States Fail to Agree on Nile River Allocations
August 4, 2009
Last week, the water ministers of the nine Nile River Basin countries postponed the signing of a new water-sharing treaty that has already flamed up diplomatic tensions between upstream and downstream nations in the region, AFP reported.
The ministers of the Nile Basin states and the observing country Eritrea, met in the city of Alexandria in Egypt and delayed the signing by at least six months. The agreement would cut the water quotas for Egypt and Sudan, and the two upstream countries had previously opposed the treaty’s provisions.
First drafted in June at a summit in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) allocates more water for a number of thirsty upstream countries in the basin. But Egypt and Sudan say that it disregards their historical claim to the river’s water.
Citing a 1929 agreement between Egypt and Great Britain, then a colonial power, Egypt still claims a veto power over projects in upstream regions. Another treaty between Egypt and Sudan in 1959 outlined specific water allocations for the two countries.
But several Nile Basin states –- many of which periodically suffer from prolonged droughts — are demanding more water, as growing populations and climate change reshape their resource needs.
With Egypt’s water demands expected to exceed supplies by 2017, the nation will not agree to receive less water, said Mona Omar, Egyptian deputy foreign minister for African Affairs.
Covering about one-tenth of Africa, the Nile River Basin is a vital water resource for the continent.
Read more here.

Ottawa raises Makhtal case with Ethiopian diplomat

Medeshi
Ottawa raises Makhtal case with Ethiopian diplomat
Updated: Tue Aug. 04 2009
The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs officials met with Ethiopia's Charge d'Affairs in Ottawa Tuesday to raise concerns about the case of Bashir Makhtal.
Earlier this week the Ethiopian-born Canadian was sentenced to life in prison in Ethiopia after being convicted of terrorism-related charges.
Makhtal insists he's innocent and is appealing his conviction, which his Toronto-based lawyer has denounced as resulting from a `kangaroo court.'
Catherine Loubier, a spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, says the minister asked officials from his department to meet with Ethiopia's Charge d'Affairs.
Loubier says the officials underscored the Canadian government's request for regular consular access to Makhtal as well as its intention to explore all options for supporting him.
On Monday Cannon issued a statement saying he was extremely disappointed by Makhtal's conviction, but added that the government was not considering cutting off development aid to protest the judgement.

Ethiopia deports 15 U.S. students teaching English in Oromia


Medeshi
Ethiopia deports 15 U.S. students teaching English in Oromia

By David Arnold / VOA News
The federal government of Ethiopia deported 15 American students who were teaching English in small, rural communities in eastern Hararghe region of Oromiya for several weeks.
They had been volunteering in several communities not far from the Ogaden and an off-limits region of Ethiopia where government forces are battling Ogaden National Liberation Front rebel forces. The trip was organized by Learning Enterprises International in Stanford, California. This was the third year the project had been in operation.
Police performed a synchronized dawn raid of homes in HaraMaya, Awwadaay, Gobboo and Dadar on July 9, questioned them for the day, confiscating their cell phones and cameras and taking them to Addis. According to sources, at various times police accused the students of taking photographs, of asking questions about the disputed 2005 national elections and the coming 2010 elections, and of being in the country with improper visas. Community residents asking about the reason for the detentions were later told the students had the H1N1 virus.

The students were detained for two days and were not allowed to contact their families or the U.S. embassy. Embassy officials were unable to see them until shortly before federal officials put them on a plane and deported them on July 11. One of the students was held several extra days. An embassy spokesman said they have raised serious concerns about the handling of this case with the Government of Ethiopia, specifically regarding the refusal by Ethiopian security forces to permit these American citizens to contact the embassy. The embassy will continue discussions with the Ethiopian Government on the exact nature of the events.
State Minister for Government Communications Shimelis Kemal told VOA’s Eskinder Firew only that the students were involved in inappropriate activity “contrary to their mission.” None were charged with any violations of the law.
Source: VOA Horn of African News
—————————–
Additional Information
On Learning Enterprises’ website, the English-language teaching program in eastern Oromiya is described as follows:
The program runs during the Ethiopian summer break, so all your students will officially be on vacation from school. You will teach Mondays-Fridays for four hours a day, from 8 am to noon, and will be responsible for planning your own lessons to cater to your students’ needs and interests. Teaching is exciting and challenging, and you are encouraged to incorporate your personal skills and interests into the lessons.
Your students will generally be between the ages of 8 and 18. The region of Ethiopia in which you will work is Oromo-speaking, and all the students speak the Oromo language. Your students may include some who have little or no knowledge of English and others who are pretty good at it. Since the medium of instruction in Ethiopian high schools and higher education is in English, rural students, who have fewer opportunities to practice English, usually lag behind in the higher grades of the school system. Our main goal is to make students associate learning English and going to school with having fun. This should encourage them to continue studying English in the future and perform better in school.

Somaliland Advocate Vies for World Focus


Medeshi
Somaliland Advocate Vies for World Focus
There was a time in the 1960s and 1970s when Somali clans across East Africa imagined a "pan-Somalia" encompassing former British, Italian and French colonies, in addition to portions of eastern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. The former British and Italian colonies -- Somaliland in the north, and the southern U.N. Trust Territory of Somalia, respectively -- had taken a tentative first step towards realizing this greater Somali state, when they merged in 1960 to form the Republic of Somalia.
But the greater union was not to be. The former French colony declared independence, as Djibouti, and Ethiopia and Kenya each held onto their Somali regions. The Republic of Somalia began to fracture in the late 1980s, following decades of clan favoritism and repression under dictator Siad Barre. In 1991, the Somali National Movement (SNM), founded in 1981 to resist Barre's regime, ejected the last of Barre's troops from northern Somalia, and Somaliland declared its independence.
Nearly two decades later, Somaliland, population 3.5 million, is a rare bright spot on the Horn of Africa's political landscape. The country is at peace and growing economically, in stark contrast to the south, where Islamic extremists and clan factions continue to wage brutal civil warfare. Despite its successes, Somaliland has never been officially recognized by other nations or by world bodies such as the African Union and U.N. "Many Western countries are blindly parroting the A.U. dictum that Africa's post-colonial borders are sacrosanct," explained Ahmed Egal, a founding member of the SNM.
Egal says it's time for the world to embrace Somaliland, and consider the country a base for addressing instability in the south. Egal, who now lives in Saudi Arabia, detailed his proposals by e-mail to World Politics Review. "It is necessary to embrace the only peaceful, functioning, Muslim, representative government in the Horn of Africa, namely Somaliland," Egal wrote.
Egal's proposal comes as the latest "Transitional Federal Government" in Mogadishu faces heightened pressure from an alliance of extremist Islamic groups. The TFG is recognized by the U.S., the U.N. and the A.U. as the legitimate government of Somalia, Somaliland and the autonomous region of Puntland. But in reality, the TFG controls only a few neighborhoods in Mogadishu and depends heavily on foreign military assistance for its survival. The TFG "is being relentlessly attacked by a coalition of Islamist transnational extremists and Islamist nationalists determined to topple the government," an anonymous East Africa correspondent wrote in the July issue of Sentinel (.pdf), a counterterrorism journal based at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
To prevent the takeover of Somalia by Islamic extremists, the world should start by shifting its backing from the TFG to Somaliland, Egal recommended. "The newly recognized country of Somaliland should be tasked by the international community with training and re-establishing the Somali national army. In addition, a new A.U. military mission for Somalia comprised principally of Somaliland forces with logistical support, special forces training and equipment provision by the U.S., Russia and the EU should be established and dispatched urgently to Somalia with offensive mission approval and the explicit aim to secure the country and defeat the terrorists."
Subsequently, "Somalia should be placed under U.N. trusteeship until a freely and democratically elected government is chosen by its people," Egal advised.
Egal's recommendations are controversial, especially in light of Washington's sustained commitment to the TFG and to the peace process -- anchored by talks in Djibouti -- that underpins the TFG's legitimacy. But Egal's proposal for a new process, based in Somaliland, does have some historical precedent. Egal explained that Somaliland's success is rooted in its commitment to truly democratic, grass-roots governance. "The traditional cultural, political and social structures remained paramount and were able to trump the political and military leadership of the liberation movement."
In the wake of the SNM's battlefield victories in 1991, "the elders of the various clans stepped in and convened a grand conference in Borama to establish a constitutional structure and effective civilian administration that was accepted by all the communities, and to which they freely and voluntarily granted their fealty."
"The Borama conference is an amazing example of indigenous, grass-roots, African nation building and democratic constitutionalism that merits further academic study and research," Egal wrote. He said its example could guide a renewed effort at establishing popular government throughout Somalia.
"Since the late 1990s, Somaliland has advised time and again that the 'top-down' approach chosen by the international community -- establishing successive so-called governments for Somalia drawn from warlords, self-appointed 'civil society leaders' and their cohorts -- was an exercise in futility."
Many would agree about the futility of the world's current approach to resolving Somalia's 18-year conflict. But fewer would agree to Egal's proposal to build a new approach around Somaliland. The TFG's process is "as good as we're going to get at this time," a State Department source said.
David Axe is an independent correspondent, a World Politics Review contributing editor, and the author of "War Bots." He blogs at War is Boring.


His WPR column, War is Boring, appears every Wednesday.
Photo: Girls wearing the colors of the Somaliland flag before elections, December 2005 (photo by flickr user F. Omer, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 License).


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Western concern grows over Somali war fallout

Medeshi
Western concern grows over Somali war fallout
Tue Aug 4, 2009
By William Maclean, Security Correspondent -Analysis
LONDON (Reuters) - Australia's arrest of four suspected attack plotters said to have links to a Somali group may suggest radicalized veterans of war in the Horn of Africa are willing to return to the diaspora to strike Western targets.
The four, all Australian citizens with Somali and Lebanese backgrounds, were arrested in dawn raids on 19 properties across Melbourne, after a seven-month investigation involving several forces and Australia's national security agency ASIO.
The group in question is al Shabaab, which is conducting an international recruitment campaign backed by al Qaeda's propaganda network for fighters to join its push to take power in Mogadishu and impose strict Islamic rule.
Although al Shabaab plays up its link to the transnational network of Osama bin laden, attacking Western targets overseas is not its primary goal, which is overwhelmingly domestic.
But one consequence of its use of ethnic Somalis from the millions-strong diaspora community may be that veterans head home with the funds or skills to attack Western targets of their own volition, Western counter-terrorism officials say.
"The chances are extremely remote that this was Shabaab saying 'Go off and strike Australia'," said Will Hartley, Editor of Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Center, a security consultancy and information provider.
"NOT MERELY RESISTANCE FIGHTERS"
"Far more likely is that Australia was targeted by Australians who had been in Somalia, were radicalized, and were intent on carrying out or expanding the jihad themselves ... not under Shabaab orders," he said.
The arrests coincide with a surge in Western concern about radicalization of some Western converts to Islam. On July 29 U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder warned of increased "radicalization" of Americans going abroad and then returning home with the "aim of doing harm to the American people."
He was speaking two days after seven people were arrested in North Carolina for allegedly plotting attacks overseas. Holder also expressed concerns about a group of young Somali men leaving the Minneapolis area to join al Shabaab.
Acting Australian Federal Police Commissioner Tony Negus said those arrested on Tuesday had planned to storm a suburban Sydney army base with automatic weapons and kill those inside.
Prosecutors told the Melbourne Magistrate's Court they had evidence some of the men had taken part in training in Somalia and at least one had engaged in frontline fighting in Somalia.
Western officials worry that today's chaotic Somalia resembles Afghanistan in the 1990s, when militants including bin Laden's associates used the safe haven of ungoverned areas on the Pakistan border to plan attacks on Western targets.
In a speech posted on militant web forums on July 30, an al Qaeda leader, Abu Yahya al-Libi, appeared to urge Somali supporters of Shabaab to widen their list of targets beyond the nationalist agenda of ending foreign occupation - a reference to African Union peacekeepers in Somalia.
"You and we are mujahideen in the Cause of Allah, fighters against the enemies of Allah. We are not merely resistance fighters who push out enemies who came to our lands," he said, according to a translation by the Site Intelligence Group. He added: "We fight to drive out the foreign occupation from our lands ... and to eliminate every regime or law that disagrees with our faith, and so that Islam alone rules our lands and so that all mankind are servants of Allah alone."
Rashid Abdi, a Somalia expert at the International Crisis Group, said al Qaeda's internationalist rhetoric in support of al Shabaab on militant chatrooms and Web sites had helped widen the group's appeal among radical communities around the world.
And al Shabaab's own propaganda has drawn parallels between itself and the Taliban in Afghanistan and insurgencies in Algeria and Chechnya, in an apparent attempt to attract hardcore militants elsewhere in the world to join its fight.
AL QAEDA ORBIT
But domestic Somali politics was also a driver in al Shabaab's "moving into the al Qaeda orbit," Abdi said.
Al Shabaab, which holds swathes of south and central Somalia, has been enraged by Western and African backing for a new government formed this year and feels it would already have defeated the administration if it had not been for this support.
The United States has offered military support to Somalia's government, including more than 40 tons of weapons and ammunition, to help it fight insurgents, a senior U.S. official has said. It has also offered training for security forces.
Shabaab's radicalization "is a function of what is going on militarily and politically on the ground," Abdi said.
"They feel besieged, they feel that their victory has been snatched from them largely because of Western interference... You can see why the west is now more of a target for al Shabaab."
(Editing by Janet McBride)

Job opportunities in Burao, Somaliland

Medeshi
Job opportunities in Burao, Somaliland
Project Support Manager (Click on this link for more information)
Medair
Burao, Somaliland Somalia
Last updated on: August 3, 2009
Description: Project Overview Health, nutrition, relief, and WatSan projects in different areas in Somalia and Somaliland for drought and conflict affected IDPs. Responsibilities The organisation and management of administrative / HR, logistics, and financial pro...
Health Project Manager (Click on this link for more information)
Medair
Burao, Somaliland Somalia
Last updated on: August 4, 2009
Description: Project Overview Health, nutrition, WatSan and hygiene/health education programme in Cadale District including rehabilitation of existing Medical Centre and rural health posts. Health, nutrition, sanitation and hygiene education programme in Burao, Togdh...

INTERVIEW-Eritrea wants peaceful Somalia, denies meddling

Medeshi
INTERVIEW-Eritrea wants peaceful Somalia, denies meddling
Tue Aug 4, 2009
* Sanctions threat against Eritrea will not work
* Somali government doomed to fail
* Now is the time for inclusive political dialogue
By David Clarke
NAIROBI, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Eritrea wants a peaceful and united Somalia and believes now is the best time in nearly two decades to foster genuine political dialogue involving all in the Horn of African nation, Eritrea's information minister said.
Washington's new top diplomat for Africa has been seeking to engage with Eritrea, and met the country's foreign minister in Libya last month, but has also blamed Asmara for fuelling conflict that has plagued Somalia since 1992.
Eritrea has repeatedly denied it is helping arm al Shabaab insurgents fighting Somalia's latest transition government and bristles at calls for U.N. sanctions against the small nation that borders Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sudan.
"I don't think that in this 21st century the philosophy of carrot and stick will work," Information Minister Ali Abdu told Reuters, when asked what his message to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be during her visit to Africa this week.
"In this 21st century, people could have differences but they can agree to disagree and respect each other, instead of using the carrot and stick," he said in a telephone interview.
Eritrea's arch foe in Horn of Africa is Ethiopia -- Washington's main ally in the region.
Ali said Ethiopia, rather than Eritrea, should be sanctioned for meddling in Somalia. U.N. and U.S. accusations against Asmara originated from retrograde "interest groups", and probably did not reflect Obama administration policy, he said.
The two nations are embroiled in a border dispute that has been rumbling since Eritrea won independence from Ethiopia in the early 1990s after a 30-year war.
Some analysts and diplomats believe Eritrea and Ethiopia are fighting a proxy war in Somalia -- with Asmara backing rebels who want to impose their own harsh version of sharia law and Addis Ababa supporting pro-government militia.
DOOMED TO FAIL
Ali said the latest Somali transition government, born out of a U.N.-hosted peace process in Djibouti in January, was doomed to fail because it was imposed by foreign powers.
"The Eritrean objective is to see a peaceful, stable and united Somalia. You can't do this by imposing external governments against the choice of the Somali people," he said.
"And whatever might, and whatever power, and whatever money you have, you can't impose your liking on the entire people. That's why the Somali people are going from war to war."
The government, led by former Islamist rebel Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, only controls a few blocks of the capital Mogadishu and some towns in central Somalia. Al Shabaab and allied militias hold sway in the south and parts of the capital.
President Ahmed is supported by African Union troops in Mogadishu and his own forces are being armed by Washington. The United States fears Somalia will become a safe haven for al Qaeda-linked militants if the government collapses.
"I don't think it will survive, because it's not legal," said Ali. "Let us support a genuine political process that is not encumbered by external interference and that respects the choice of the whole Somali people.
"The best time to allow Somalis to have a genuine political process was 18 years ago. The second best time is now. Otherwise, we will have the same regrets after 18 years." (Additional reporting by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

Desperate water shortage in Somaliland


Medeshi
Desperate water shortage in Somaliland
HARGEISA, 4 August 2009 (IRIN) - The self-declared republic of Somaliland has been gripped by a drought that has left thousands of families and their livestock in desperate need of water, officials say.
"The first thing people ask you is for water, because both the people and their animals [are] seriously weak and cannot reach water wells in the remote areas," Said Ahmed Du’alle Bullale, MP for Saraar region, told IRIN on 2 August.
The parliamentarian, who recently visited Saraar, Sool and Sanag regions, said many water wells had dried up. Those that still had water served very large populations.
"About 100,000 [people] from Togdheer, Sool and Sanaag regions were displaced by the recent drought and no one is supporting [them]," he added.
The worst-affected areas included the main Saraar plains between Sanaag and Togdheer and Ba’ade, between Sool and Sanaag.
"Most people have moved to places where some Gu’ [long] rains were received, such as the mountains of Sanaag near Erigavo and the southeast district of Togdheer," the MP said.
The mayor of Ainabo town, Khalif Ismail Saleban, said about 35,000 pastoralist families had moved from other regions in search of pasture for their livestock to areas between Qori-lugud and Buhootle, where some long rains had fallen.
This had increased the number of displaced people in the town, which is the capital of Saraar region. "We have more than 400 families who lost their animals in the drought," he told IRIN.
A local chief in Ainabo, Ibrahim Isse Hassan, said the drought had also cut the market value of livestock. The highest price for sheep, for example, was down to US$38 from $42 a few weeks ago, yet the price of rice was still $36.
On 22 June, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS Net) warned that the drought in Somalia's central region had extended north into the key pastoral areas of the Sool plateau, Nugal valley, and Hawd livelihood zones.
The situation threatened more than 700,000 pastoralists and a significant number of urban households, whose income and food sources are strongly linked to livestock marketing and trade.
"Emergency assistance is required in order to prevent severe deterioration in food security," FEWS Net said. The situation had resulted from cumulative effects of four consecutive seasons of below-normal rainfall, it noted, adding that pasture and grazing conditions had deteriorated to an alarming degree.
Theme(s): (IRIN) Drought2006 [ENDS]

Letter to Somalilanders

Medeshi
04/08/2009
Letter to Somalilanders
Dear Somalilanders
I have listened to Mr. Riyaale’spress conference, albeit to a limited number of journalists, on the Internet very late and I could not believe what I was hearing. I couldn’t believe the lame excuses that the President was coming up to justify this decision to expel Interpeace from Somaliland.
I think it is about time Riyaale realized that he can no longer insult the intelligence of Somaliland people.
Let us start with Mr Zamora. We all know that this man has been working hard to help Somaliland for the last 10years. We also know that has made immense contribution towards the democratization of Somalilamd. He made vast and valuable assistance to both the Somaliland Government as well as other organizations such as The National Electoral Commission and the Parliament. If Riyale is not aware of Mr. Zamora’s contribution to Somaliland those who care about it are.
Like many others, I am a Somalilander who knows who are the friends and foes of our Country. We know that Zamora drafted our electoral law as well as the registration one.
As for Interpeace, it is sad that the President, his cronies and all those who are against the democratization of Somaliland have started smear campaign against an organization which has done so much for Somaliland. We know that Interpeace supported the last Parliamentary elections and had good working relationship with the former NEC. It was Interpeace who built the offices for the House Representatives. They have also organized the International observers during the Parliamentary elections.
The question now is why did Riyale and his government waited this long if they knew that Interpeace and Mr. Zamora were undermining Somaliland?
The other factor that Riyale is ignoring, and he didn’t say a word about, is the absolute incompetence of the NEC. The reality is that this Commission is not capable of running an election process. In fact, it is this commission that created the mess that the country is in now and, to my opinion, should be replaced or, at least, the Chairman should be sacked as he is not competent enough to handle a task of this magnitude.
The irony is that it was Riyale and his party supporters who always argued that there could be no elections without voter registration. Is it not amazing, now that the there a list of voter registration, that they have done a u-turn. We all know, from Interpeace, that the list is not perfect and there is still work to be done but the truth is it is better than nothing and it can be improved as we go along.
To conclude, one doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand that Riyale and his party ran out of excuses and that they will do anything to cling on to power. The task for Somalilanders today is to demand free and fair elections and get rid of this inept and incompetent government.
May Allah bless Somaliland
Ahmed Yussuf
Yussufa918@yahoo.com

Monday, August 3, 2009

Somali pirates get $2.7 mln ransom for German ship


Medeshi
Somali pirates get $2.7 mln ransom for German ship
Mon Aug 3, 2009
MOGADISHU, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Somali pirates holding a German ship with five Germans, three Russians, two Ukrainians and 14 Filipinos on board have received a $2.7 million ransom and are counting it before releasing the ship, a pirate told Reuters.
"We have taken $2.7 million ransom for Hansa, a German ship," pirate Abdi told Reuters by phone from Haradhere, a piracy haven.
"We are now dividing the money. We shall get down (off the ship) soon."
The German-flagged container vessel Hansa Stavanger was captured about 400 miles (645 km) off the southern Somali port of Kismayu on April 4.
The release of the 20,000 tonne ship, owned by Hamburg shipping company Leonhardt & Blumberg, was expected last week but it was delayed after the pirates demanded a higher ransom.
Earlier, a Malaysian-owned tugboat held for over seven months was released after a ransom was paid, with 11 Indonesian crew.
Gangs of Somali pirates in the shipping lanes linking Asia and Europe have made millions of dollars in ransom payments from ships hijacked in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. (Reporting by Mohamed Ahmed and Abdi Guled; Editing by Sophie Hares)

US Embassy Press Release on the current political situation in Somaliland


Medeshi
US Embassy Press Release on the current political situation in Somaliland
Monday, August 03, 2009
The United States government is profoundly dismayed with the recent developments in Somaliland, particularly the decision by President Riyale and the National Electoral Commission to discard the recently-completed voter registration list.
We believe the list forms a sound basis for use in the elections scheduled for September 27. We have directly urged President Riyale to reconsider his decision

Eritrean rebels claim successful attack on intelligence center

Medeshi
Eritrean rebels claim successful attack on intelligence center
Sunday 2 August 2009
August 1, 2009 (ADDIS ABABA) – Two Eritrean rebel groups said today they hit sharply a government camp of an intelligence unit in southern Eritrea town of Senafe killing 13 military.
The rebel Forces from Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO) and Eritrean Salvation Front (RSF), who carried out the attack on July 25, believe that the government agents in this base were responsible for killing and capturing of refugee escapees from the “brutal system”.
"Our Afar fighters along with their RSF counterparts on Tuesday at 7 o’clock local time have launched a coordinated and simultaneous commando type operation, in response to ongoing brutal repression and ethnic cleanse against our Afar people and the Eritrean people in general" Yasin Mohammed, RSADO’s communication and information department head told Sudan Tribune on Saturday.
The rebel official said further they captured five government soldiers and brought them back in to Ethiopia. Further, they reiterated their commitment to Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War adding they would hand them over to the UN through the Ethiopian government.
The rebels added they seized 9 Kalashnikov assault rifles, 1 RPG weapon, 1 Heavy Machine Gun, 3 communication phones, and important military documents.
RSADO and DMLEK opposition groups that represent their respective Afar and Kunama Ethnic minorities, have long accused president Isayas Afeworki-led Eritrean government of marginalizing their people and launching an ethnic cleanse against their people in recent years.
The rebel groups have vowed to jointly continue similar and large scale attacks against what they refereed as is "the most repressive regime in the Horn of Africa."
Recently, the Afar movement, RSADO one among a 13 opposition umbrella group (EDA), has intensified military campaigns against Asmara.
The afar rebels have carried out more than five attacks, in the past six months, causing significant blow to the government. Last November they destroyed a military radar system and attacked military camp killing 285 soldiers deep inside Eritrea’s territories.
The Eritrean government is accused of being reason for worst refugee crisis only next to Somalia in just a few years. Afar with 90% illiteracy rate, worst infant mortality and life expectancy in the country, have now produced most refugees to come out of Eritrea, with hundred thousand fleeing death, malnutrition and kidnapping.
Currently, Some 30,000 Eritrean refugees are being sheltered in Ethiopia, others in neighboring countries like Djibouti, Yemen, Sudan and Saudi Arabia.
(ST)

Indian firm wins Sugar factory contract in Ethiopia


Medeshi
UTTAM wins Wonji contract
By Muluken Yewondwossen
Indian firm UTTAM Sucrotech has won the contract for the expansion of Wonji Shoa Sugar Factory (WSSF), the Indian Embassy has disclosed.
The expanded factory is to have a crushing capacity of 6,250 tonnes of sugar cane per day. The Indian government has given a 640 million dollar loan for three sugar factory projects: two expansion projects at Fincha and Wonji and a giant new factory at Tendaho in Afar Regional State.
The money is to be released phase by phase from the Indian-state owned Import Export (EXIM) Bank.According to the agreement signed between India and Ethiopia, 85 per cent of the total project works should be handled by Indian-based companies. Uttam, the Delhi-based sugar plant machinery manufacturing company, is also involved in some projects that are part of the ongoing construction of Tendaho Sugar factory.The one billion birr Wonji expansion project is to take place in the same area as the existing facility, which is about 100km south east of Addis Ababa, east Oromia region adjacent to the Nazareth-Asela highway, a manageable distance of 850km from the Port to Djibouti.
According to the bid document, Sucrotech is to carry out all civil, structural, sanitary and drainage work for plant buildings and site development work, as per the technical specifications laid down in the document. It is also to do the design, manufacture, supply, delivery to Port of Djibouti, the erection of mechanical and electrical equipment, and employer training.
J P Mukherhi and Associates, another Indian-based company carried out the technical consultation at the cost of 17 million birr.
According to a source at Wonji, other big Indian companies engaged in other projects, Overseas Infrastructure Alliance (OIA) and National Engineering, participated in the expansion bid:. OIA had been arguing with UTTAM because it requested a 15 per cent administration fee from the subcontract winners, and wanted to receive all the incentives the Indian Government provides to its export companies involved in the Tendaho project. This dispute took the case to the Bombay High Court a year ago.
The Government of Ethiopia awarded the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract for what will be the country’s biggest sugar factory, Tendaho, to Overseas Infrastructure Alliance (OIA). The contract makes OIA responsible for hiring other Indian companies and managing the procurement, construction and engineering aspects of the project.
In line with its responsibilities, the company awarded contracts to two Indian companies, IJAC for steam generation and UTTAM Sucrotech for processing house installations. However, UTTAM was not happy with Overseas’ role at the project and queried the evaluation of the EPC tender.
A few months ago, through the intervention of the Indian Government, the conflict between the two companies was resolved.
Currently, Ethiopia has only three state-owned sugar factories: Wonji Shoa, Metahara and Fincha, which are producing 2.8 million quintals of sugar per annum, while the demand has reached 4.6 million quintals.Recently, the Government gave priority attention to sugar and ethanol development at a total cost of 15 billion birr. It is managing the expansion projects at these three factories and constructing the new Tendaho sugar factory in the basin of Awash river, which also hosts Wonji and Metahara.
Tendaho, which cultivates on 64,000ha of land, has been allocated eight billion birr out of this budget. When completed, it will have the capacity to crush 26,000ts of sugarcane. When the projects in all the sugar factories are finished, Ethiopia will produce 800,000ts of sugar annually.
The Capital

Ethiopian court gives Canadian life sentence

Medeshi

Ethiopian court gives Canadian life sentence
By SAMSON HAILEYESUS
Associated Press 2009-08-03
The Ethiopian High Court on Monday sentenced a Ethiopian-born Canadian citizen to life in prison for being a member of an Ethiopian rebel group and engaging in terrorist activities.
Bashir Ahmed Makhtal was given the second-highest penalty to serve as a deterrent to other members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front, said a judge, who read the sentence on behalf of a three-man panel. The judges were not identified.
The High Court already rendered a verdict on July 27. It found Makhtal guilty of membership in the political and military central committees of the Ogaden National Liberation Front; working to coordinate attacks against the Ethiopian army, and working with the Eritrean government in recruiting and training insurgents.
"The nature of these crimes forces the court to impose punishment that would act as a lesson to deter others. And the court has decided to impose a life sentence," said the court. Makhtal could have received the death penalty.
Thumbing his rosary, Makhtal remained calm and composed as the sentence was read.
A Canadian diplomat who attended the court session declined to comment.
The defense said Makhtal, "was at the wrong place at the wrong time." Makhtal was arrested at the border of Kenya and Somalia in early 2007 at a time when Ethiopia had invaded the country to back the fragile Somali government against Islamic militants. Ethiopia eventually withdrew in January 2009.
Defense lawyer Gebreamlak, who only gave his first name, later said he will appeal the verdict and sentence. The defense has in the past said that Makhtal was kept in detention because his deceased grandfather was a co-founder of the Ogaden National Liberation Front.
The Ogaden National Liberation Front, which the government brands a terrorist organization, has been fighting for autonomy in eastern Ethiopia. The government also accuses Eritrea of supporting the group.
Ethiopia and Eritrea are archrivals with a border dispute that remains unresolved despite war over the issue and a ruling by an independent commission giving a town at the center of the dispute, Badme, to Eritrea.
Human rights groups have said Makhtal was one of hundreds of people held in secret prisons in Ethiopia on suspicion of being involved in terrorism. Makhtal's release after two years was secret but his subsequent trial was public.
Have your say:

Somaliland Hires Freelance Diplomats


Medeshi
Somaliland Hires Freelance Diplomats Sunday August 02nd 2009
Filed under: Africa's Annoying, Let's Talk, David Axe
by DAVID AXE
Somaliland, population 1 million, is a fully autonomous — but unrecognized, internationally — region of the Republic of Somalia, with its own laws, courts, currency and army. It’s also one of the handful of “unofficial” countries in the world that has few full-time diplomats, and so hires freelancers to sit at the world’s negotiating tables. The Associated Press has a piece on Independent Diplomat, a Belgium-based nonprofit organization that offers diplomatic services on a “pay-what-you-can” basis.
Director Nicholas Whyte seems quite passionate about Somaliland deserving international recognition. “International policy has been predicated on shoring up Somalia’s weak and embattled central government rather than supporting the one part of the country that has demonstrated its ability to avoid conflict,” Whyte said.
(Photo: Somaliland Times)