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Somalia housing boom as Mogadishu emerges from ashes of war
January 4, 2016 | 0 Comments

Mogadishu (AFP) – Somalia’s elegant colonial villas were left in ruins by two decades of street fighting among warlords, and the seaside capital Mogadishu was dubbed the most dangerous city in the world.

New housing estates are being built amid an economic boom as diaspora Somalis return and newly wealthy businessmen capitalise on the relative peace in Mogadishu (AFP Photo/Mohamed Abdiwahab)

New housing estates are being built amid an economic boom as diaspora Somalis return and newly wealthy businessmen capitalise on the relative peace in Mogadishu (AFP Photo/Mohamed Abdiwahab)

But now new housing estates are being built amid an economic boom as diaspora Somalis return and newly wealthy businessmen capitalise on the relative peace in the city.

Some seven kilometres (four miles) outside Mogadishu in a formerly largely rural area, new homes are springing up, with almost 50 houses now ready on an estate, builders say.

Mohamed Abdullahi Ali, from Salaam Somali Bank, said it was a “great honour” to back the estimated $20 million (18 million euro) project.

Construction began in early 2015 and the project was touted as offering commercial returns and helping rebuild the nation.

“It is a new neighbourhood for all Somalis to buy affordable homes, by leaving the densely populated neighbourhoods of Mogadishu, and to come and stay with families here,” Ali said.

“According to our plan, we are going to build 500 homes that can cover the residential needs for 500 families in the first stage, and then will construct more houses.”

– Different vision of Mogadishu –

Tens of thousands forced to flee their homes still live in plastic and rag shelters in the capital, sometimes in the ruins of war-shattered buildings, and more than a million people are still in need of emergency aid in a country ravaged by famine in 2011, the United Nations says.

Car bombs and assassinations are still common, and a 22,000-strong African Union force fights alongside the army to protect the internationally-backed government from attacks by the Islamist Shebab insurgents.

The streets in the new estate offer a very different vision of Mogadishu.

Those returning to Somalia — including investors wanting to start new business in the their homeland — say the Daru Salaam estate offers them a more secure place to live.

“I came back to this city to buy a new home in Daru Salaam neighbourhood… the houses are well built,” said Abdiqadar Jimale Roble, 34, who grew up in Sweden from the age of 12 after Somalia spiralled into civil war in the early 1990s.

“I have been out of Somalia for long time but I came back because everybody needs his country — and the country is making much progress,” Roble added.

“I had to take part in that progress, and everybody should have a house in his country.”

For those returning with dollars earned abroad, the estate reflects the possible profits to be made even in a still dangerous country.

‘Humanitarian needs remain vast’ –

Sadia Sheikh Ahmed, who also grew up in Sweden after fleeing Somalia, said she had helped her relatives abroad snap up property.

“Initially we wanted to buy two houses, but now we and our relatives have bought eight homes, scheduled to be completed soon,” she said.

A two-storey house can cost some $130,000, while a more simple bungalow comes in at around $70,000.

Those are hefty sums in one of the poorest countries in the world, with a gross domestic product per capita of just $284, according to the World Bank, against a sub-Saharan Africa average of $1,300.

Development indicators are “among the lowest in the world”, the World Bank says, noting the Horn of Africa nation is “heavily dependent” on aid and remittances.

Over 308,000 children are acutely malnourished, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“After more than two decades of violence and political instability, Somalia is on a positive trajectory,” OCHA said, while warning the “promising trend” takes place amid a “precarious” humanitarian and security situation.

Those returning to Somalia -- including investors wanting to start new business in the their homeland -- say the Daru Salaam estate offers them a more secure place to live (AFP Photo/Mohamed Abdiwahab)

Those returning to Somalia — including investors wanting to start new business in the their homeland — say the Daru Salaam estate offers them a more secure place to live (AFP Photo/Mohamed Abdiwahab)

“Humanitarian needs remain vast and Somalia’s humanitarian crisis remains among the largest and most complex in the world,” OCHA added.

But the estate is symbolic of the possible changes in Mogadishu.

“The security here is very good and there have been no problems,” said Fuad Ahmed Warsame, marketing director of Daru Salaam Real Estate, which is building the new neighbourhood — meaning “house of peace.”

The company is headquartered in central Mogadishu’s famous Bakara Market, the city’s commercial heart, once infamous as the 1993 battle when fighters shot down two American Black Hawk helicopters. The bullet scars there have long been covered up with business booming.

“Our plan is to build a new neighbourhood with a good environment, new designs,” added Warsame.

*Source AFP/Yahoo

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Oxford statue row stirs ghosts of British colonialism
January 3, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Dario Thuburn*

A popular movement at the University of South Africa forced the removal of a statue of British colonialist Cecil Rhodes (AFP Photo/Rodger Bosch)

A popular movement at the University of South Africa forced the removal of a statue of British colonialist Cecil Rhodes (AFP Photo/Rodger Bosch)

London (AFP) – The toxic legacy of colonialism in Africa has stirred up a heated debate in Britain involving a prestigious Oxford University college, some high-powered alumni and a student campaign boosted by social media.

The focus of the debate is an unremarkable limestone statue looking down on Oxford’s High Street of Cecil Rhodes, the Victorian-era tycoon who founded the De Beers diamond company and what is now Zimbabwe.

“To put someone so literally on a pedestal is to tacitly condone their legacy,” said Daisy Chandley, a student and organising member of the Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford campaign.

Smudged by passing traffic on a busy thoroughfare and soiled by pigeons, the Rhodes statue is still in a stunning location surrounded by Oxford’s dreaming spires in the heart of the university’s college community.

An inscription underneath pays homage to Rhodes — a white supremacist like many builders of the British empire — for his donation to Oriel College.

Inspired by the popular movement that forced the removal of a statue of the famous colonialist at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, campaigners have been asking the British college to do the same.

– ‘Wider racism’ –

The campaigns are distinct but supporters in Oxford use the same hashtag #RhodesMustFall as the Cape Town campaign and their actions have fuelled a political debate in South Africa as well as soul-searching in Britain ranging well beyond the statue itself.

“There have always been those who have questioned the statue as well as the wider racism within the university but the movement in South Africa brought debate over similar problems in Oxford to the forefront and triggered collective action,” Chandley told AFP.

The university rejects accusations of racism but Oriel College promised to be “more diverse and inclusive of people from all backgrounds” in a response to the campaign earlier this month.

It said it would take down a Rhodes plaque on the wall of another college building and agreed to a six-month “listening exercise” on whether to remove the statue.

The college said Rhodes’s values “stand in absolute contrast to the ethos of the scholarship programme today and to the values of a modern University”.

It said it would put up a sign in an antique window below the statue saying that “the College does not in any way condone or glorify his views or actions”.

But it also talked up the positive contribution of the Rhodes Scholarships, which have allowed 8,000 students from around the world to study at Oxford, including former US president Bill Clinton and former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott.

One of the organisers of the campaign, South African Ntokozo Qwabe, was himself named a Rhodes Scholar last year and has defended himself against charges of hypocrisy by saying that he is taking back some of the money that Rhodes took from Africa.

“I’m no beneficiary of Rhodes. I’m a beneficiary of the resources and labour of my people which Rhodes pillaged and slaved,” he wrote on Facebook.

– ‘A man of his times’ –

Academics, politicians and famous Oxford alumni have waded into the row, heatedly debating the rights and wrongs of honouring a man who was a major driver of British territorial expansion in southern Africa and a key player in the Boer Wars that left thousands dead.

One opponent of the campaign even compared it to the monument-destroying Islamic State group.

In a letter to The Times newspaper, South Africa’s last white president F. W. de Klerk, who shared a Nobel Peace Prize with anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, dismissed the campaign as “folly”.

“If the political correctness of today were applied consistently, very few of Oxford’s great figures would pass scrutiny,” wrote de Klerk, who was key in ending racial segregation in South Africa.

The Economic Freedom Fighters, a radical left-wing party in South Africa, expressed “disgust” at de Klerk’s comments and called for his Nobel to be revoked.

“All apartheid and colonial statues and symbols must fall, not just here in South Africa, but the world over,” it said in a statement.

But in an open letter to Britain’s Independent daily, Abbott said Rhodes was “a man of his times”.

“The university should remember that its mission is not to reflect fashion but to seek truth and that means striving to understand before rushing to judge.”

*Source AFP/Yahoo

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Rewards for Justice – Reward Offers for Information on al-Shabaab Key Leaders
November 19, 2015 | 0 Comments

1016381365The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice program is offering rewards for information leading to the identification or location of six key leaders of the Somalia-based terrorist organization al-Shabaab. The U.S. Secretary of State has authorized rewards of up to $6 million for information on the whereabouts of Abu Ubaidah (Direye), up to $5 million each for information on Mahad Karate, Ma’alim Daud, and Hassan Afgooye, and up to $3 million each for information on Maalim Salman and Ahmed Iman Ali. Since 2006, al-Shabaab has killed thousands of civilians, aid workers, and peacekeepers in Somalia, Uganda, and Kenya. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the July 11, 2010, suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda, which killed more than 70 people, including one American citizen. Al-Shabaab also claimed responsibility for the September 21-24, 2013, terrorist attack against the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, which left more than 60 people dead and nearly 200 wounded and the April 2 attack on Garrissa University College in Kenya, which resulted in 150 deaths. The U.S. Secretary of State designated al-Shabaab a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 18, 2008. In February 2012, al-Shabaab and the al-Qaida terrorist network jointly announced they had formed an alliance. Abu Ubaidah, also known as Direye, was named the leader of al-Shabaab on September 6, 2014, after the death of former al- Shabaab emir Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed (a.k.a. Godane). Mahad Karate, also known as Abdirahman Mohamed Warsame has played a key role in the wing of al-Shabaab responsible for assassinations and the April 2 attack on Garissa University College. Ma’alim Daud is responsible for al-Shabaab’s planning, recruitment, training, and operations against the government of Somalia and Western targets. Hassan Afgooye oversees a complex financial network whose activities range from fake charities, and fundraising to racketeering and kidnapping in support of al-Shabaab’s activities. Maalim Salman leads al-Shabaab’s African foreign terrorist fighters and has been involved in operations in Africa targeting tourists, entertainment establishments, and churches. Ahmed Iman Ali has recruited Kenyan youth and raised funds for al-Shabaab. More information about these individuals is located on the Rewards for Justice website at www.rewardsforjustice.net. We encourage anyone with information on these individuals to contact Rewards for Justice via the website, e-mail (info@rewardsforjustice.net), phone (1-800-877-3927), or mail (Rewards for Justice, Washington, D.C., 20520-0303, USA). All information will be kept strictly confidential. Rewards for Justice is administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Since its inception in 1984, the program has paid in excess of $125 million to more than 80 individuals who provided actionable information that put terrorists behind bars or prevented acts of international terrorism worldwide. Follow us on Twitter at @Rewards4Justice. *State Department]]>

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Protection for Somali children with new vaccine against deadly disease
November 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

200 (1)An outbreak of polio which began in Somalia in May 2013 led to 199 people, mostly children, being affected by the incurable disease. The last case was reported on 11 August 2014 and last month it was officially announced that the outbreak was over. The President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, took part in the launch ceremony at Villa Somalia, Mogadishu on 15 November. “The new vaccine is key to protecting children from polio,” said Hawa Hassan Mohamed, the Minister for Health for the Somali Federal Government. “We are willing to work with all our partners to ensure that we do not see a return of this incurable disease that has devastated so many young lives.” More than 450,000 Somali children born each year should receive one dose of the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), as part of the routine immunization programme. Children under one year of age will continue to receive three doses of the oral polio vaccine as part of routine immunization. When they receive their third dose of the orally administered vaccine, they will also be given a single dose of the new injectable vaccine. “The new vaccine is key to protecting children from polio and ensuring that we do not see a return of this incurable disease that has devastated so many young lives,” said Steven Lauwerier, UNICEF Somalia Representative. “UNICEF is committed to ensuring that Somali children receive the maximum protection and are given all life-saving vaccinations on time. Continued efforts and collaboration among all partners and communities will strengthen routine immunization and ensure this takes place. “ The introduction of IPV into the routine immunisation schedule is part of a worldwide roll-out of the vaccine across 126 countries – the largest and fastest globally coordinated vaccine introduction project in history. It is funded as part of the budget of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), and support is channeled through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO and UNICEF. Following the start of the polio outbreak in May 2013, more than 35 supplementary immunization campaigns using 62 million doses of the OPV vaccine, targeting children under five years of age, were implemented across Somalia. Several of these campaigns, run by the Somali health authorities, with the support of World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) have targeted children under 10 years of age and adults. The campaigns are continuing to ensure the outbreak does not return. “It is critical that families ensure their children have all the routine immunizations as well as the supplementary campaigns,” said Dr Popal, World Health Organisation Representative in Somalia. “IPV together with OPV will help keep Somali children safe from polio.” The universal introduction of IPV is part of the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018. It contributes to the eradication of polio and secures the gains made against the disease through stronger immunization systems, so that all children in all countries have access to vaccines.  While Somalia had the last reported case in Africa in 2014, regions are only certified to have eradicated polio if no cases of the wild poliovirus are reported for three successive years in any of the countries. *APO]]>

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flydubai arrives in Asmara
October 26, 2015 | 0 Comments

Flights commence to the airline’s 13th destination in East Africa [caption id="attachment_21867" align="alignleft" width="300"]The flydubai Delegation led by Sudhir Sreedharan disembarks in Asmara The flydubai Delegation led by Sudhir Sreedharan disembarks in Asmara[/caption] flydubai’s inaugural flight landed yesterday in the capital city of Eritrea, Asmara. As it landed at Asmara International Airport, senior Eritrean officials including Tesfaslassie Berhane, Minister of Transportation and Communication, Askalu Menkorios, Minister of Tourism and Paulos Kahsai, Director General Civil Aviation Authority welcomed the flydubai delegation led by Sudhir Sreedharan, Senior Vice President, Commercial (GCC, Subcontinent, Africa) and members of the airline’s senior management team. Ghaith Al Ghaith, flydubai’s Chief Executive Officer said, “The addition of Asmara to our network reflects our commitment to enhancing air connectivity to Dubai which includes 67 points that did not previously have direct air links to Dubai or were underserved. The Eritrean capital becomes our 13th destination in East Africa.” Asmara is the 18th destination flydubai launched this year and the airline has recently launched operations to Burundi, Rwanda, Somaliland, Tanzania and Uganda. Sudhir Sreedharan Senior Vice President, Commercial (GCC, Subcontinent, Africa), flydubai said: “With the addition of four flights a week to Asmara, we are providing passengers from East Africa with a direct link to Dubai. When passengers choose flydubai they will enjoy our convenient, reliable and affordable travel services, our onboard experience and our dedicated Business Class.” Business Class passengers can enjoy a comfortable spacious seat, a choice of meals from an internationally-inspired menu, a generous checked baggage allowance and fast track through immigration and security. In addition, Business Class passengers have access to business lounges across the network and a dedicated 24-hour Business team to assist with bookings and attend to enquires throughout their journey. Passengers travelling in Economy Class can enjoy the inflight entertainment system equipped with more than 1,300 hours of content, including movies, games and newspapers. The Boeing Sky Interior minimises jetlag and increases overhead locker space to ensure the best possible onboard experience. Economy Class passengers have access to a variety of hot and cold meals available for purchase on board and on a pre-order basis. Flight details: Flights between Dubai and Asmara commenced on 25 October 2015 with 4 flights a week, with flight FZ665/666 operating on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Fares: Economy return fares between Asmara and Dubai start from USD 450. This includes 20 kgs checked in luggage allowance. Business Class return fares start at USD 2,000 and includes all taxes and 40 kgs checked in luggage allowance. Flights between Dubai and Asmara can be purchased from flydubai’s website , its Contact Centre +971 600 544 445, flydubai Travel Shops and through travel partners. Dubai-based flydubai strives to remove barriers to travel and enhance connectivity between different cultures across its ever-expanding network. Since launching its operations in 2009, flydubai has: Created a network of more than 95 destinations, with 18 new routes launched in 2015. Opened up 67 new routes that did not previously have direct air links to Dubai or were not served by a UAE national carrier from Dubai. Built up a fleet of 50 new aircraft and will take delivery of more than 100 aircraft by the end of 2023, all of which will be Boeing 737-800s. In addition, flydubai’s agility and flexibility as a young airline has enhanced Dubai’s economic development, in line with the Government of Dubai’s vision, by creating trade and tourism flows in previously underserved markets. *APO]]>

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Somalia Needs Direct Investment, Not Aid
October 4, 2015 | 0 Comments

NEW YORK— 4CB56184-2FB3-4951-84F7-96DC5984F199_w640_r1_cx0_cy4_cw0_sSomali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke says he sees a new era of hope and peace for his country which has struggled for years with lawlessness, civil wars, terrorism and piracy. Speaking to VOA in New York Friday, Sharmarke said his government is proposing a “grand development plan” that would help Somalia build a better and bright future. “We have proposed that all U.N. member states contribute and help Somalia rebuild itself,” he said. “We do not need charity, we need a direct investment.” Sharmarke said now is the time to help Somalis depend on their natural resources, rather than insufficient aid from the donor countries. “If the world gives us a chance and invest our country, we can potentially lead the economy of East Africa, he said. In past speeches at the U.N. during the decades of anarchy, Somali leaders often focused on appeals for international aid, reconciliation and the fight against terrorists and piracy, but Sharmarke says Somalis can no longer be slaves for fear and hopelessness. Recovering “We are recovering from more than two decades of trouble and violence , the country has started to rebuild, we should not keep talking about fear, but the glimpse of hope, we see in the horizon,” he said On the political side,  Sharmarke stressed that his government has made a political progress toward the country’s vision of holding popular elections. He said a National Consultative Forum was launched and that would eventually lead Somalia to “one person, one vote” elections that officials were hoping to hold next year. “Once we realized that we could not finish the job needed for 2016 public vote, we have decided to convene a national consolation aimed at shaping a possible transition for next year, ” he said. Terrorism A constant threat facing Somalia is posed by the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militant group.  Sharmake said the group cannot be defeated only through military means. “We defeated Al-Shabab in the military fronts, but to wipe them out of Somalia needs a relentless and constant effort to fight against their extremist ideology, he said. British Prime Minister David Cameron recently announced that his army will help in operations to defeat Al- Shabab in Somalia.   Sharmarke said sending troops to Somalia is not the long term solution for his country. “We would prefer countries including Britain to help the establishment of strong, well –trained and well equipped Somali National Army who will not only help eradicate sl-Shabab but also eventually take over Somalia’s future security responsibilities.” he said. Al-Shabab has been trying since 2006 to overthrow the Somali government and establish a strict Islamic state. The group controlled most of southern Somalia as recently as 2010, but was pushed into the countryside by African Union and Somali government forces. The militants carry out frequent attacks, often targeting government officials and African Union troops. *Source VOA]]>

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President: “The Somali National Army is making rapid progress, and the Federal Government is committed to fully supporting their efforts’’
September 29, 2015 | 0 Comments

unnamed2The New Chief of Somali National Army, Major General Mohamed Aden Ahmed and his deputy, Brigadier General Ali Bashi Mohamed Haji Omar, were sworn into service this week, taking their oaths of office in front of the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, HE Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. The swearing-in ceremony took place at the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu. The President urged the new army commanders to continue apace with reform efforts. He recognised the valuable leadership of their predecessors, General Dahir Aden Elmi Indha Qarshe, and General Abdirizak Khalif Elmi. “The Somali National Army has made huge progress- particularly in the last year. The Federal Government is committed to supporting and covering the needs of the SNA. The brave men and women of SNA, with the support of AMISOM have succeeded in liberating most of Somalia from our enemy. I urge you to continue the good work begun by your predecessors and to bring peace and stability to Somalia,” said the President. The Prime Minister HE Omar Abdirashid Sharma’arke and other government officials were present at the ceremony. *APO]]>

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China donates USD1.2 million to support the AU Mission in Somalia
September 9, 2015 | 0 Comments

Commissioner Chergui expresses appreciation for China’s strategic partnership for peace in Africa [caption id="attachment_20522" align="alignleft" width="300"]China's Ambassador to Ethiopia and AU Gu Xiaojie with AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Amb. Smail Chergui China’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and AU Gu Xiaojie with AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Amb. Smail Chergui[/caption] The Government of the People’s Republic of China has donated USD 1.2 million to support the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The grant documents were signed at AU Headquarters, on 07 September 2015, by the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Amb. Smail Chergui, and China’s Permanent Observer to the African Union, Amb. Kuang Weilin. Speaking on the occasion, Commissioner Chergui thanked the Chinese Government for the grant and recalled, with gratitude, that in September 2014, China donated USD two million to support the AU’s efforts to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and in January 2015, China again donated USD 1.2 million to the AU Peace Fund. On behalf of the Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the Commissioner re-stated Africa’s sincere appreciation for China’s strategic partnership for peace, security and stability in Africa. “This latest grant will help enhance the heroic efforts of Africa’s soldiers for peace in Somalia,” he added. On his part, Ambassador Kuang Weilin reassured Commissioner Chergui that China will continue to stand with Africa, as the continent strives to rid itself of conflict and achieve sustainable development and prosperity for its people. The Commissioner and the Chinese Ambassador exchanged views on a wide range of current peace and security situations and issues in Africa, including international efforts to resolve the conflict in South Soudan. AUC]]>

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At least 50 dead' in Shebab attack on AU base: Western sources
September 3, 2015 | 0 Comments

An African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) soldier stands guard close to destroyed vehicles following a suicide attack which targeted a convoy of African Union troops on September 8, 2014 (AFP Photo/Abdulfita Hashi Nor) An African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) soldier stands guard close to destroyed vehicles following a suicide attack which targeted a convoy of African Union troops on September 8, 2014 (AFP Photo/Abdulfita Hashi Nor)[/caption] Nairobi (AFP) – At least 50 African Union soldiers are believed to have been killed and another 50 are missing after Shebab militants overran a military camp in southern Somalia on Tuesday, according to Western military officials.

The attack on the camp in Janale, 80 kilometres (50 miles) southwest of Mogadishu in the Lower Shabelle region and manned by Ugandan troops, now ranks as one of the deadliest yet against AMISOM troops.

“It is assessed that at least 50 AMISOM troops died,” said a briefing note sent to diplomats by Western military officials and seen by AFP. It said that in total around 100 soldiers were “unaccounted for” after the attack.

Somalia’s Al-Qaeda affiliate, which has recently lost a string of key bases in the face of an AMISOM offensive, said the attack was revenge for the killing of seven civilians by Ugandan troops at a wedding in the town of Merka in July.

The number feared dead matches that claimed by a Shebab spokesman, although the AU force — which numbers over 22,000 and also includes troops from Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi and Djibouti — has said it has not yet counted the dead.

“Given the complex nature of the attack, AMISOM is currently verifying the number of casualties and extent of the damage,” said a statement issued late Tuesday, more than 12 hours after the assault.

– No air support –

Western military sources said the attack began with the destruction of two bridges, cutting the camp off. A suicide car bomber rammed the base followed by an estimated 200 Shebab fighters who overran the camp.

AMISOM said its troops “undertook a tactical withdrawal” as the attack began, and the briefing note said the soldiers did not have any air support.

“Low cloud and landing restrictions prevented air support by UN contracted support helicopters,” said the briefing note.

It also said Kenyan and Ethiopian jets as well as US drones “were unavailable at the time of the attack” while AMISOM tanks and artillery located in Janale had been redeployed elsewhere.

The report highlights the challenge that AMISOM faces in holding territory seized from the Islamists, who frequently melt away into the bush in the face of conventional offensives and subsequently strike back with guerrilla assaults — where their objective is only to inflict casualties.

Witnesses said the Shebab took over the camp, looting weapons stores and loading corpses onto trucks.

[caption id="attachment_20361" align="alignright" width="300"]AMISOM has said the camp was manned by soldiers from Uganda, and the number feared dead matches that claimed by a Shebab spokesman (AFP Photo/Mohamed Abdiwahab) AMISOM has said the camp was manned by soldiers from Uganda, and the number feared dead matches that claimed by a Shebab spokesman (AFP Photo/Mohamed Abdiwahab)[/caption]

The group has previously gathered the bodies of dead soldiers for use in propaganda videos.

“They were collecting dead bodies, I saw nearly 30 soldiers killed during the fighting,” said local resident Hussein Idris.

The Shebab is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu, which is protected by AMISOM.

In June, Shebab fighters killed dozens of Burundian soldiers when they overran an AMISOM outpost northwest of Mogadishu. The militants also stage frequent suicide attacks inside the capital.

But the AMISOM force has also made significant gains against the Shebab, pushing them out of several strongholds in the southwest of the country.

*Source AFP/Yahoo ]]>

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11th AFRICAN GAMES – BRAZZAVILLE, REPUBLIC OF CONGO, 04-19 September, 2015
August 27, 2015 | 0 Comments

newsletter-special-brazzaville-2015-englishThe 11th Edition of the African Games is scheduled to take place on 4th to 19th September, 2015, in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. This edition will mark the 50th Anniversary of the African Games, since the 1st edition in 1965 that was also hosted by the Republic of Congo. Approximately 7000 athletes from 50 African countries will converge back to the birth place of the African Games in Brazzaville to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the African Union in the spirit of Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.

This edition is also a milestone for the AU as it is the first one under the auspices of the African Union as the owner of the Games, following the dissolution of the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA) as well as the integration of the functions of the SCSA into the AU. The integrated functions of the SCSA include the ownership, coordination and organization of the African Games.

The opening ceremony will take place on 4th September, 2015, and will be presided over by H.E. Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo, and attended by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, H.E. Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs and H.E. Martial de Paul Ikounga, Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology. The African Games will be preceded by the Bureau Meeting of the Specialized Technical Committees on Youth, Culture and Sport and a Sub-Committee of the STC Ministers of Sport on 3th September, 2015.

During the games, the AU will rally the continent around the spirit of Pan-Africanism through its key message i.e. “I am African, I am the African Union” and through its 50 year Agenda 2063 development framework. Agenda 2063″ is an approach to how the continent should effectively learn from the lessons of the past, build on the progress now underway and strategically exploit all possible opportunities available in the immediate and medium term, so as to ensure positive socioeconomic transformation within the next 50 years. The agenda will assist the continent achieve its vision, i.e. an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena.

“Because of the power of sport, we see this event as an important milestone on the road to achieving the objectives of our continental vision and action plan, which Africa has christened Agenda 2063: the Africa We Want”, said AU Commission Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

SOURCE African Union Commission (AUC)

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Somali entrepreneur Zakaria Hersi has launched a multimillion-dollar internet startup called Efritin Nigeria
August 14, 2015 | 0 Comments

2015813635750245446144756n1Efritin.com an online classifieds platform that provides a marketplace for buyers and sellers to exchange their items has employed over 100 Nigerians within its first 3 months of operation in the country. This was stated at the official launch of the company at a media conference held recently in Protea Hotel ikeja. According to Mr. Babak Tighnavard, Chief Operating Officer Saltside Technologies, Saltside Technologies the parent company of Efritin.com was founded to build leading online marketplaces in underserved markets, creating sustainable value for the community. Saltside started in 2011 with just 4 employees but in 2015 they are now 500 employees in Bangladesh, Ghana, Sri Lanka and now in Nigeria with over 100 employees. Their success story in each market is hinged on doing things locally and employing quality staff.” Mr. Zakaria Hersi informed that part of their success story of doing things locally in each market gave rise to the name ‘Efritin.com’ meaning ‘Everything’ in pidgin language. He further said that Efritin is focused on providing a safer platform for buyers and sellers to meet and exchange their items. Efritin focuses on used items because of the trading culture of Nigerians, the high volume of offline marketplaces and the large economy around unused goods. He added that the team at Efritin places high value on offering a safer platform, which is why all sellers must be physically verified on their platform within 48hours of posting an advert before it goes live. The verification is a one-time process and the ads go live within 4 hours after verification.

2015813635750246142550022n7Mr. Zakaria also said that Efritin has taken into consideration the stress and traffic level for moving from one location to the other and has gone a step further to provide convenience for their customers by offering a delivery service for buyers and sellers who have agreed on a transaction. The Efritin Delivers services have started operations and are delivering items under 3kg within Lagos.
Ms. Uche Ajene, the Marketing Manager at Efritin.com further added that Efritin has added value to the lives of Nigerians by creating job opportunities across all demographics and expanding sales channels for many shop owners in popular markets across Nigeria. Efritin does not specify in any particular category – you can buy and sell items in more than 50 different categories. Efritin aims to disrupt how classifieds are done in Nigeria by addressing a key issue of trust in online transactions with their verification process and the tenacious and growing team is well poised to make Efritin.com the number 1 classified site in Nigeria. *Source Hiiraan
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Government of Kenya fully satisfied that Dahabshiil is compliant and poses no risk
August 8, 2015 | 0 Comments

An official Kenyan Government Gazette notice has given Dahabshiil Kenya’s compliance systems a clean bill of health. An official Kenyan Government Gazette notice has given Dahabshiil  Kenya’s compliance systems a clean bill of health. dahabshiil (1)The Gazette officially removes Dahabshiil Kenya from the government’s list, published earlier this year, of people and businesses who were to be investigated in order to ensure they had no links to terrorist groups or activities. The Cabinet Secretary for the Interior and the Co-ordination of National Government confirmed that Dahabshiil Kenya has shown cause why it should not be listed as a specified entity, as it abides by all stipulated conditions for licensed remittance providers active in Kenya. The authorities have now completed a comprehensive review of Dahabshiil Kenya’s operations, policies and practices. They are satisfied that the company complies fully with the law, and operates strict anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing practices. The Gazette notifies the public that no order should be made specifying Dahabshiil Kenya, amongst others, after it was provisionally listed as part of a blanket review of all licensed remittance providers in Kenya. The delisting follows the Central Bank of Kenya’s move to lift the suspension on Dahabshiil Kenya in June after it had suspended the operations of all licensed remittance providers on 7 April 2015. Chief Executive Officer of Dahabshiil Group, Abdirashid Duale, said: “The formal delisting absolutely clears Dahabshiil Kenya of any wrongdoing. The Kenyan authorities are fully satisfied that Dahabshiil Kenya has noinvolvement whatsoever with the funding of terrorist organisations and complies fully with all international regulations and industry best practice. “The Dahabshiil network operates in 126 countries, including Kenya, the UK and the USA, and we respect and comply with the laws of each and every country. Our services provide a vital lifeline for people to feed, educate and otherwise help their families and loved ones, and to run businesses, thus creating jobs.” Dahabshiil makes significant contributions to the Kenyan economy. It helps create hundreds of thousands of jobs, either by providing direct employment, or by enabling the transfer of investment funds, which creates more jobs, and further helps reduce poverty. Dahabshiil supports communities in the countries it serves, including Kenya. It invests 10% of its profits in humanitarian and community regeneration projects, including building schools, hospitals, and providing safe drinking water. *Source APO]]>

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