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Uganda president makes historic visit to Somali Capital

Modnay 29 November 2010

By Mustafa Haji Nur

MOGADISHU — Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday made a surprise visit to the Somali capital Mogadishu, becoming the first foreign head of state to set foot there in almost 20 years, officials said.

Museveni spent several hours in Mogadishu, arriving in the morning and leaving in the afternoon, officials with the African Union force AMISOM said.

The veteran Ugandan leader was accompanied by a group of army officers and visited Ugandan troops, who form the bulk of the 7,500-strong peacekeeping force.

Museveni met with Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, new Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and other officials, AMISON officials said.

Somalia is widely seen as one of the world's most dangerous countries and is almost entirely in the hands of Islamist insurgents fighting to overthrow the UN-backed transitional government. The insurgents also control most of the capital itself.

"President Yoweri Museveni arrived in Mogadishu today and met with government officials including the president, prime minister and the speaker, ... and he discussed with them the achievements so far attained in terms of security," Major Ba-Hoku Barigye, spokesman of the AU force in Mogadishu, said.

"He was also carrying a message of solidarity for the people of Somalia who were affected by the violence and, of course, as a commander-in-chief he visited his forces," he added.

Museveni also visited injured civilians receiving treatment in an AMISOM field hospital.

Somalia's transitional government owes its survival to the backing it receives from the some 7,500 Ugandan and Burundian troops that make up the AU force.

Radical Shebab Islamists, linked to Al-Qaeda, have vowed to overthrow the transitional government and its foreign backers, whom they frequently target.

The AU force regularly comes in for criticism for its presumed role in civilian casualties when it retaliates against Shebab attacks.

A Somali government statement thanked Museveni for the visit, saying it was the first by a foreign head of state in almost 20 years.

Museveni's visit comes the day after Somali lawmakers overcame differences over the new prime minister Mohamed, a relative newcomer to Somali politics, and approved the cabinet he appointed.

"The two presidents discussed ways of ... cooperating in marshalling the support necessary for the new Somali government to fulfill its duties," a government statement said.

Parliament took more than two weeks to endorse Mohamed, eventually doing so on October 31. The vote to endorse the 18-member cabinet that the new prime minister unveiled on November 12 was also delayed several time as lawmakers argued over how voting should be carried out.

President Sharif's appointment of Mohamed led to a bitter dispute with the parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, revealing continuing rifts within the transitional administration's key players.

Since its formation in Kenya in 2004, the transitional government has failed to assert its authority on the Somali territory, 80 percent of which is currently controlled by the Shebab.

The new cabinet only hasa few months to break the back of the insurgency and reclaim the capital and other key cities before the transitional government's mandate expires in August next year.

Somalia has been without a credible central authority since the 1991 ouster of president Mohamed Siad Barre.

Source: AFP

Nigeria explains delay in troop’s deployment to Somalia

September 25, 2010

The Nigerian Government yesterday told the international community that it will not send troops to the war torn Somalia for any peace keeping operations but only peace enforcement to avoid spilling of blood of its armed forces personnel. The US and the UN have been pushing for Nigeria to lead other countries in sending troops to carryout peace keeping operations in Somaila with a view to restoring peace in the country.

However, Nigeria had over the years expressed relunctance in troop deployment in the country citing the precariuos security situation in Somalia. Addressing international journalists on the sideline of the 65th edition of the United Nations General Assembly, (UNGA), in New York, United States (US), President Goodluck Jonathan said fundamental issues concerning the Somalia problems must be addressed before Nigeria will agree to send any of its soldiers to the troubled country.

President Jonathan said “In terms of when Nigeria will send troops to Somalia I cannot tell you the date. Our position in Somalia is that the position in Somalia does not require peacekeeping but requires reinforcement”, He maintained that anything done contrary to peace enforcement operation would amount to sending soldiers to their early graves “because if you dare it, some of the militia can ambush and kill your own soldiers and no head of a country will smile seeing people wearing colours of their countries being murdered and that is why we must make sure that we prepare a solid team.

“Initially we were to send 1000, we may even send more because we need to protect them and we must have the required equipment from the United Nations and relevant funds. Surely we will see that through,” the president said.

Source: Business Day

Somalia: Land Mine Explosion Targeted to Amisom Troops' Military Vehicle in Mogadishu

Hassan Osman Abdi

19 October 2009

Mogadishu — Land mine explosion has been targeted to one of the AMISOM troops' military vehicles at around Kulliyada Jalle Si'ad, a base for Burundian troops in the capital, officials said on Monday.

Chauvin, the spokesman of the Burundian told Shabelle radio that one of their military vehicles was damaged in the blast targeted to one of their convoy traveling around Kulliyadda Jalle Si'ad near their base in Mogadishu denying that there were no other casualties reached on their side.

Reports say that fighting between the Islamist fighters and the Burundian soldiers had started after the explosion which continued for a while and caused to halt the movement of the traffic and people in the area.

Residents told Shabelle radio that they could see one of the AMSIOM troops' truck which was heavily damaged adding that there were also more AU troops around the area of the explosion who were firing bullets to each directions as the blast occurred.

It is unclear the real casualties of the land mine explosion.

But Harakat Al-shabab Mujahideen officials who contacted with Shabelle radio claimed the responsibility of the landmine explosion saying that they killed more troops pointing out they also inflicted more casualties to the Burundian troops and attacked them once again.

UN Addresses War, Piracy In Somalia  

Friday, January 29, 2010

New York

The security council adopted a resolution today supporting the extension of the African Union peacekeeping operation in Somalia (AMISOM) for another year. US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice stated that the resolution underscored the importance of support for the transitional federal government and expressed concern about the country’s deteriorating humanitarian situation.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees, over 100 000 Somali’s have been forced out of Mogadishu in the past month due to an escalation in fighting between armed groups, many of which have increasingly targeted civilians and humanitarian organizations. The World Food Program (WFP) was forced to suspend its food distribution earlier this month, and will remain unable to resume service until security conditions are stabilized.

A report released in Geneva earlier today by Dr Shamsul Bari, the UN’s independent expert on human rights in Somalia, highlighted the devastating consequences of the conflict on civilian populations and called on the international community to strengthen its engagement to the country. “ The Islamist forces fighting to topple the TGF (Transitional Government Forces ) are reported to have carried out extrajudicial executions, planted mines, bombs and other explosive devices in civilian areas, and used civilians as human shields.” said Bari, who also warned that the growth of piracy along the Somali coast was an important security threat to the region. The UN Contact Group on piracy off the coast of Somalia also convened today to discuss possible initiatives and solutions to counter the dangers posed by pirates.

In an attempt to set up safe transport corridors for commercial vessels and protect WFP food shipments into Mogadishu, the European Union has been conducting naval operations (EUNAVFOR) along the Somali coast since late 2008. According to EUNAVFOR Chief of Staff Captain Paul Chivers, the total number of attacks has continued to increase, although the number of successful ones has diminished. There are currently 9 ships being held by pirates off the coast of Somalia.

Source: Talk Radio News Service

Somalia: caught in the war of Mogadishu

REPORTERS: The Somali capital, Mogadishu, has turned into a battle zone between Islamist insurgents and Somali troops, with African Union and AMISOM peacekeeping troops caught in the crossfire. FRANC...