Pontus Marine LTD- Leader of fishing industry in Somaliland

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Just Back: khat out of the bag

Aidan Jones is the latest winner of our weekly travel writing competition for his account of an addictive pastime in Ethiopia.  
By Aidan Jones 
At the end of a muddy track, barely visible through the mist and drizzle, a knot of men paces anxiously, oblivious to the cold mountain rain. Friday prayers have just finished and Harar, the medieval cobblestone town of mystics, mosques, drug addicts and smugglers in north-east Ethiopia, is impatiently awaiting a delivery.

Friday, March 5, 2010

ICC interviews tortured Somaliland Christian

Osman Nour Hassan is a Somali Christian convert from Islam. Imprisoned twice for his faith in Christ, Osman endured repeated torture at the hand of Somaliland authorities.
He was last arrested in August 2009 for his evangelistic activity. ICC helped him to escape the country immediately after he was released from prison in November.
We had the opportunity to interview Osman regarding his torture and imprisonment and have included his responses below:
Q. Please tell us, in detail, the kind of persecution you faced after coming to Jesus Christ.

Pirates hijack tanker, head to Somalia, owner says

OSLO (Reuters) – Pirates have hijacked a Marshall Islands-registered tanker off Madagascar and are heading toward Somali waters, the ship's Norwegian owners said Friday.

The UBT Ocean, with a crew of 21, was carrying fuel oil from the United Arab Emirates to Tanzania, Svenn Pedersen, chief executive of shipowners Brovigtank, told Reuters. He said contact was lost with the vessel at about 0530 GMT Friday.

Pirate Hostages To Be Freed In 'Two Weeks'

Rob Cole, Sky News Online
A retired British couple being held by pirates in Somalia may be freed within a fortnight, a senior Somali official has said.
Deputy parliamentary speaker Mohamed Omar Dalha said there would be an "unconditional release" of Paul and Rachel Chandler.
The pirates had been demanding £5m since capturing the couple, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, off the coast of east Africa four months ago.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Radio show gives voice to Somali refugees in America

Radio show gives voice to Somali refugees in America

By Aja Harris, CNN
Minneapolis, Minnesota (CNN) -- On certain nights in Minnesota's Twin Cities, a turn of the radio dial can reveal Somali voices crackling over the radio waves.
But these aren't the voices of a distant land. They belong to Zuhur Ahmed, a local Somali radio host, and her show guests. Together, they are part of a population of about 30,000 Somali refugees in Minnesota.
Ahmed's show "Somali Community Link" offers a snapshot into local Somali life. Ahmed , 24, broadcasts most of the program, which airs on a local station called KFAI, in Somali. She uses the show to give a voice to the plight and triumphs of Somalis here.

UN, agencies should return to Somalia-UN envoy


By Abdiaziz Hassan
NAIROBI (Reuters) - The United Nations and other international agencies working on Somalia should move to the Horn of Africa nation from neighbouring Kenya to be more effective, the U.N. special envoy to Somalia said.
Most embassies, foreign charitable organisations and the U.N. itself are based in Nairobi due to security concerns in most of Somalia and near-daily gunfights and mortar attacks in the capital.
President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed's government has struggled to establish its influence, which has been whittled down by a three-year insurgency bent on toppling his Western-backed administration that only controls parts of the capital.

Somaliland's Deepest Gratitude to King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz

Again, the people of Somaliland and Somalia are thanking to his highness the King of Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz for lifting the ban.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia took productive step by allowing the livestock exports from Somaliland and Somalia. The livestock exports are economy backbone for both the countries, and 90% of daily income of Somali families is from livestock revenue. The Somali people at the horn of Africa cheered the decision of the kingdom to end the nine years old ban.
Historically, the Arabian Peninsula unveiled the importance and commercial quantity of Somali livestock during 19th century, after British Empire supplied meat to its military at Aden, Yemen, from the horn of African region, which caught the attention of the Yemeni traders, who later started exporting the meat and livestock from Somaliland to Saudi Arabia. The export of livestock by Yemeni traders was from the horn of Africa, Yemen and to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Finnish citizen running for president in Somaliland


Espoo engineer aims at broad-based government
Construction engineer Faisal Ali Farah, a naturalised Finnish citizen living in Espoo, is running for the office of President of Somaliland in elections scheduled for the coming autumn.
Somaliland, which declared itself independent from the rest of Somalia in 1991, has taken gradual steps toward democracy. A referendum on a constitution was held in 2001, the first local elections were held in 2002, and a multiparty democracy was adopted in 2003, at which time the first presidential elections were held.

Khat smugglers deported

2 Brits brought 95 pounds of drug to BWI

Two British men have been deported after pleading guilty in county court last week to trying to smuggle 95 pounds of a euphoric plant called "khat" through customs at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.
(Photo courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
That’s not socks and underwear! Police and customs officials found 95 pounds of a euphoric plant called khat in luggage at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport in December. Two British men pleaded guilty last week to trying to smuggle the narcotic drug into BWI.

Ethiopia: parliamentary candidate killed, Opposition suspects government behind attack

(ADDIS ABABA) – An opposition group said on Wednesday that his parliamentary candidate was stabbed to death on Tuesday by suspected government agents.
The Candidate, Aregawi Gebreyohannes, who runs for Arena-Tigray party was killed in a bar he owned in Hitsat Village, in the northern Tigray region, the home ground of the ruling EPRDF party.

Justices Weigh Claims Over Torture in Somalia

Justices Weigh Claims Over Torture in Somalia
By ADAM LIPTAK, New York Times

WASHINGTON — After the Supreme Court heard an hour of technical arguments Wednesday about whether foreign officials may be sued in the United States over torture claims, one of the plaintiffs in the case stood on the steps outside and recalled what had happened to him in Somalia in the 1980s.
“They destroyed my entire tribe,” Bashe Abdi Yousuf said of the regime of Maj. Gen. Mohamed Siad Barre. “I was tortured — waterboarded and put in electric shock.”

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Mourning Tree - An Autobiography and A Prison Memoir. Review

By Ibrahim Hashi Jama

The Mourning Tree - An Autobiography and A Prison Memoir
Mohamed Barud Ali, February 2010
Published by Ponte Invisible, available from www.redsea-online.com/books
In 1993, as a Minister of the Republic of Somaliland, “I was given the same office that the National Security Service interrogated me in the first night I was arrested [in 1982]. What can I say? All the demons have been exorcised from my life”. So ends, in characteristic modesty and generosity of spirit, the memoirs of Mohamed Barud Ali. The memoirs titled “The Mourning Tree – An Autobiography and Prison Memoirs” were launched on 20th February – an eventful date for the author and one which has since been commemorated in the Republic of Somaliland. The memoirs which have been published as the well chosen first book in a series titled “men and women” of Somaliland, is not just the story of a man, but also reflect the tale of a nation.

Mobile Transfers Save Money and Lives in Somalia

NAIROBI (Reuters) - About a year ago, Muqtar Ali's brother was shot dead by gunmen in the busy Bakara market of Somalia's capital Mogadishu, and his $200 in cash was stolen.

Ali says that if a new mobile money transfer service unveiled by Somalia's biggest mobile telecoms firm last month had been in place then, his brother would still be alive.

Floods displace thousands in Somaliland-Ethiopia border area

HARGEISA , 3 March 2010 (IRIN) - Around 1,000 families have been displaced by flooding after heavy rains in an area straddling the border between Ethiopia and the self-declared independent republic of Somaliland, according to officials.

“The floods occurred in the last 24 hours. About 1,000 families were displaced, and they are with their relatives in other parts of Allaybaday and Tog-wajale districts in Gabiley region,” regional governor Said Mohamed Ahmed Aw Abdi, known as Habib, told IRIN on 3 March.
Habib said three people died in the floods which also destroyed dams used for water storage by farmers and agro-pastoralists. Hundreds of buildings in the border area, including private homes and government buildings such as customs and immigration offices have been evacuated, according to one official in the area.

U.S. Supreme Court Hear Case against Former Somali Minister of Defense Today March 3, 2010

Amnesty International USA

Joint Press Release (Earlier released in Feb, 2010)
U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Case against Former Somali Minister of Defense One Month from Today
Major human rights organizations file amici curiae brief along with individual torture survivors and their families, religious groups, and torture survivor support organizations

Ethiopia aid 'spent on weapons'


By Martin Plaut
Africa editor, BBC World Service
Millions of dollars in Western aid for victims of the Ethiopian famine of 1984-85 was siphoned off by rebels to buy weapons, a BBC investigation finds.
Former rebel leaders told the BBC that they posed as merchants in meetings with charity workers to get aid money.
(Photo:  Gebremedhin Araya (L) says he posed as a merchant, but was in fact a rebel)

Somali pirates seize Saudi tanker

Somali pirates have captured a small Saudi tanker and its crew, the EU naval force in the Gulf of Aden says.
The tanker, travelling from Japan to Jeddah, was empty when pirates hijacked the vessel and took its crew captive.
The MT Nisir Al Saudi was outside the shipping lanes patrolled by naval warships, it was reported.
Somali pirate attacks usually increase in the months between March and May because calmer seas allow the pirates to operate more freely.

NATO warship sinks pirate ship off Somalia


By Slobodan Lekic
Associated Press
BRUSSELS: A NATO destroyer has sunk a pirate mothership in the Indian Ocean off the Somali coast after allowing the crew to leave, the alliance said Monday.
Shona Lowe, an anti-piracy spokeswoman, said the HDMS Absalon — the Danish flagship of the three-vessel NATO flotilla in the region — disrupted a pirate operation by ''scuttling'' one of the large boats used by Somali gangs to transport attack teams to piracy hunting areas far off the coast.
The mothership was fired on and sunk after its crew members were transferred to a smaller boat in tow, which was allowed to return to the mainland, she said.

Lankan crew in Somaliland port freed


Sri Lanka crew including the captain of cargo ship Ro-Ro MV Leila which was being held off the Somaliland port of Berbera has been freed and is due in the country this week.
The UAE owned Panama-flagged MV Leila is being held at the Somali port of Berbera since September 15, 2009 under a court order over a legal dispute between Somaliland authorities, cargo owners and the ship-owner.

Can Torture Victims Sue Their Tormentors?

by Nina Totenberg- National Public Radio
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in a major case testing whether torture victims living in the United States can sue their tormentors, who are also living here.

Before there was "Black Hawk down" or pirates preying on ships off Somalia, there was an ethnic war, a military dictator and a brutal regime in Somalia — a regime engaged in torture, abduction, summary executions and large-scale rape. In 1991, when the regime was overthrown, its prime minister, Mohamed Ali Samantar, fled first to Europe and then to the U.S., where he settled down quietly in suburban Virginia.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Somalia war moves to the airwaves

Hassan Yusuf monitors a computer in the control room during a live broadcast of the Somali government run radio Mogadishu, Monday, March 1, 2010. Al-Shabab, which controls most of southern Somalia and even most of the capital Mogadishu, is using the Internet and radio stations in an intensive campaign to discredit the embattled government, get its jihadist message out, attract more recruits at home and abroad and win over ordinary Somalis. For its part, the government has not wanted to be left behind in the propaganda war. In October it upgraded its Radio Mogadishu, changing antiquated equipment that had limited broadcast range. (AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor)
Last year Somalia's Radio Warsan was a pro-government station that vilified al-Qaida-linked insurgents. Today it is in the hands of the rebels as they battle the U.N.-backed government on the ground with guns and on the nation's airwaves with pro-jihad messages.

Somali pirates 'in land attack'

New land tactics being employed by Somali pirates may be a cause for concern, a UN spokesman told the BBC.
Peter Smerdon said three trucks and their drivers were being held in the pirate town of Eyl after delivering food aid last week in central Somalia.
He said they were hijacked on Thursday when travelling without an escort in the first incident of its kind.
Pirates have seized several ships carrying food aid and such boats are now brought in by naval escort.

UN rights boss urges Egypt to stop shooting migrants

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations' human rights chief accused Egypt on Tuesday of shooting unarmed African migrants trying to enter Israel via the Sinai Desert and said 60 of them had been killed since July 2007.
Navi Pillay, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, called for Cairo to urgently launch an independent and credible inquiry into what could be a "shoot-to-kill policy" by some Egyptian security forces.

Status of seized vessels and crews in Somalia and the Indian ocean

Source: http://www.australia.to/2010/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1184:status-of-seized-vessels-and-crews-in-somalia-and-the-indian-ocean&catid=99:status-of-abducted-vessels-in-somalia&Itemid=132
Summary: Today, 22. February 2010, 06h00 UTC, still at least 9 foreign vessels plus one barge are kept in Somalia against the will of their owners, while at least 187 seafarers - including an elderly British yachting couple - suffer to be released. See the Somali Marine & Coastal Monitor

Monday, March 1, 2010

Uganda: Museveni 'wants son to take over'

Uganda's main opposition party has accused President Yoweri Museveni of preparing his son to succeed him.
The president's son, Lt Col Kainerugaba Muhoozi, who already commands a special forces unit, has now been given control of the elite presidential guard.(Phot: First family: Mr Museveni (l), his son (c) and his ministerial wife (r)
"He's making the Ugandan presidency a monarchical affair and is clearly anointing his son to succeed him," said opposition spokesman Hussein Kyanjo.
Several of Mr Museveni's relatives hold senior positions in his administration.

Ethiopia celebrates 114th anniversary of Battle of Adwa Victory


ABYSSINIANS DEFEAT ITALIANS.; Both Wings of Baratieri's Army Enveloped in an Energetic Attack .
Ethiopia marks the 114th anniversary of the Battle of Adwa Victory, in which the Ethiopian army defeated the invading Italian army on March 1, 1896. Ethiopia was the first and only country in Africa that defeated a European colonial power during the 'scramble for Africa', making it the only independent nation in Africa that has never been colonized.
Ethiopia under Emperor Menelik II decimated the invading Italian army in the Battle of Adwa, which made it a symbol of independence and pride for all black people around the World. The colors of Ethiopia's flag [Green, Yellow, Red] have been adopted by many African countries after their independence and school children across Africa are taught about the Battle of Adwa.

Britain to ban Somali terrorist group al-Shabab

LONDON — The British government said Monday it is banning Somali terrorist organization al-Shabab, an al-Qaida-linked Islamist group fighting the anarchic country's transitional government.

Somaliland. An African Struggle for Nationhood and International Recognition

Co-published with the Institute for Global Dialogue
Somaliland has been described as an ‘inspiring story of resilience and reconstruction, and a truly African Renaissance, that has many lessons to teach the rest of Africa and the international community’. This study seeks to identify some of those lessons, particularly those pertaining to Somaliland’s sustained efforts to create internal unity and gain regional and international recognition.
Based on extensive research in Somaliland, as well as a wealth of experience in the wider region, this book provides a vivid insight into this intriguing tale of reconciliation, reconstruction, religion, and recognition.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Saudi Brutality : Hospital fears for abused maid’s life

JEDDAH: Erfan & Bagedo Hospital in Jeddah has rejected the request of Safa police to hand over an Indonesian maid, who has been receiving treatment at the hospital, to her sponsor.
The maid was admitted to hospital on Dec. 20, 2009 after she fell from the third floor of her sponsor’s apartment building.

Ethiopian tribesmen kill Kenya policeman at border


NAIROBI (Reuters) - A Kenyan police officer has been killed by members of an Ethiopian tribal militia after a clash along the two countries' common border, Kenyan media said on Saturday.

Somali rebels 'block UN food aid'

Islamist militants in Somalia are stopping convoys of food reaching more than 360,000 displaced people, the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) says.

Chile quake 'affects two million'

Two million people have been affected by the massive earthquake that struck central Chile on Saturday, President Michelle Bachelet has said.
In a TV address, she said the forces of nature were testing the nation.