President Trump orders more air strikes in Somalia

Seventy days into his administration, President Donald Trump has issued his first order for military operation in Africa.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump approved a mission proposal from the Pentagon which will allow the U.S. Africa Command, AFRICOM, to strike at any part of the country designated “area of active hostility.”

A one paragraph statement from Pentagon spokesperson, Jeff Davis, stated that “The president has approved a Department of Defense proposal to provide additional precision fires in support of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali security forces operations to defeat al-Shabaab in Somalia.”

This change is an uptick from the Obama administration authorisation which only allowed strikes in self-defense and in defense of AMISOM.

News outlets in the U.S. reported earlier this month that the head of AFRICOM, Thomas Waldhauser, requested additional authority to give the command more flexibility and timeliness in terms of making decisions to prosecute targets. This is generally understood to mean that the Command wants authority to strike at will, to conduct operations without recourse to the White House for each mission. It is not clear if such authority will be limited to Somalia or cover all parts of the continent that AFRICOM focuses on including Libya and North-east Nigeria.

The statement from the Pentagon did not indicate that the administration has given AFRICOM the authority to strike at will.

However, the approval for additional strikes against al-Shabaab came a day after the administration relaxed preventive rules against rampant civilian casualties. Mr. Trump signed a directive on Wednesday, that designated part of Somalia “area of active hostilities,” thereby making war-zone rules which mean less protection for civilians to be imposed on such places. This is raising alarm given recent reports of civilian casualties in Mosul, Iraq.

In a testimony before the United States Senate on March 9, Mr. Waldhauser, a general, re-stated U.S. commitment to the fight against Boko Haram.

“In West Africa, our primary focus is containing and degrading Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa,” he said.

“With forces from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, we are working with the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to enable regional cooperation and expand partner capacity to ensure Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa do not further destabilise the region.”

There is no likelihood of direct operation by AFRICOM in the Lake Chad Basin in the foreseeable future. Mr. Waldhauser declared at the Senate hearing that “the MNJTF has been successful in enabling multinational cooperation and coordinating multinational operations and has placed significant pressure on Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa.”


Source: Premium Times

BREAKING: President Trump Declares Somalia a War Zone

BREAKING: Al-Shabaab leader, Hussein Mukhtar surrenders.

The African Union Mission in Somalia, AMISOM, on Thursday confirmed that the leader of the militant group al-Shabaab has surrendered to government forces in Baidoa town in southern Somalia.

The AU mission confirmed that Hussein Mukhtar surrendered to the Somali National Army (SNA) on Tuesday following a government amnesty offer for militants to surrender.

“AMISOM calls on Al-Shabaab fighters to heed the government’s amnesty,’’ AMISOM said in a statement.

It called on al-Shabaab militants to lay down their weapons and join the Somali people to rebuild their county.

“AMISON hopes that other sons and daughters of Somalia who have been misled into terrorist acts will emulate the courageous action of Mukhtar,” it said.

The Somali government announced an amnesty offer in 2014 to members of the al-Qaida linked group al-Shabaab, which had been launching attacks on government forces and AMISOM.

NAN recalls that Al-Shabaab once controlled much of southern and central Somalia and imposed a harsh form of Islamic law that banned music and led to public amputations for accused thieves.

Government and African Union troops have recaptured most of the territory, but the militants were still able to kill several members of parliament last year, and launch two major assaults on the presidential palace.

The Somali government first offered amnesty to al-Shabaab fighters last September, after al-Shabaab’s top leader, Ahmed Godane, was killed in a U.S. airstrike.

Since Godane’s death, al-Shabaab’s leaders have been divided, but it has remained a strong fighting force and challenge to the Somali government.

In words directed at the militants, then president Hassan Mohamud said he knows many al-Shabab members joined for “reasons that made sense at the time,” including the need for money, or a sense they were proving themselves to be good Muslims or good Somalis.

But, he added, “What you did does not have to dictate the rest of your life.”

Mr. Mohamud acknowledged some Somalis are uneasy about amnesty for al-Shabab members. He said those who defect go through a process of “supervised rehabilitation” and are monitored by Somali security forces to ensure they continue to reject the militant group.

He asked Somalis to “accept the need for concession and to exercise forgiveness” in order to close “a dark chapter in Somalia’s history.


Source: Xinhua/NAN

Somalia Election: Somali-US national, Mohamed Abdullahi Emerges As President

Mohamed Abdullahi, a Somali-U.S national, has been elected as the country’s new president in a vote held in an aircraft hangar.


Ex-Prime Minister, Mohamed, beat President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in what analysts described as a surprise result.


The vote was held at the heavily guarded airport complex in the capital, Mogadishu, due to security concerns.


After the first round of voting, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, was leading with 88 votes, followed by a former Prime Minister, Mohamed Abdulahi Mohamed, and then Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, after which voting proceeded to the second round.



Earlier, a former female presidential contestant, Fadumo Dayib, pulled out of the race, saying the system was unconstitutional and corrupt.

Mortar attacks in Mogadishu as Somalia prepares for presidential election

At least five civilians were reported wounded on Tuesday following al-Shabaab attacks in Mogadishu a day before a planned presidential election, police and said.

Explosions could be heard even as a police officer, Mohamed Dahir, explained they were mortars launched by the militant group. Al-Shabaab wants to disrupt the election, said the officer.

At least five mortar shells fell. Five people were reported injured when two landed near the airport, police said.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility using its radio station, Andalus. Militants also fired several mortars at an African Union military base on the outskirts of the capital, according to Somali police. It was unknown if those had resulted in casualties.

Security has been beefed up in the capital precisely because of fears al-Shabaab might try to disrupt the election.

Authorities in Mogadishu have vowed to ensure a safe vote on Wednesday.

Local flights have been cancelled until Thursday. Additionally, flights from Kenya – responsible for bringing in supplies of the popular stimulant khat – have been cancelled temporarily.

There are also temporary controls on movement inside the country, with all bus service cut for the time being. Residents have been encouraged to walk instead.

Hundreds of Somali forces and AU troops have been placed around the capital to handle security, said Somali security official Mohamed Hassan.


Source: NAN

24 Candidates Vie For Somalia Presidency

The Somalia presidential electoral committee has cleared 24 candidates to vie for the top seat on February 8, 2017 in Mogadishu.

The committee is composed of members of the Lower and Upper houses, Africa Review said on Monday.

The candidates include incumbent President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke, former transitional president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and former transitional PM Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.

Others include Mr Abdurahman Mohamed Farole, a former leader of Puntland, a semiautonomous authority in Northeastern Somalia, former Mogadishu mayor Mohamed Ahmed Nur alias Tarzan and former ambassador to Kenya Mohamed Ali Nur.

Mr Ali Nur is the director of the Centre for Reconciliation and Dialogue, a think tank in the south central regions.

The 24 candidates are scheduled to address a joint session of the 275-member Lower and the 54-member Upper houses next month.

“Each candidate will be allocated 15 minutes to express his policy,” said the electoral committee chairman, Mr Abdurahman Duale Bayle.

“No female candidates will contest the race to Villa Somalia, the state house in Mogadishu,” stated the electoral committee secretary, Mr Osman Haji Ali.

Two women – Ms Faduma Dayib and Ms Anab Dahir- have withdrawn from the contest.

President Mohamoud’s four-year term ended on September 10 2016.

The government declared that it could not hold a one-man, one-vote election, and initiated the indirect voting involving members of the Lower and Upper houses.

The regional administrations, including Puntland, Somaliland, Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Southwwest and Jubaland are also part of the electoral colleges.

Somalia’s al Shabaab says kills dozens of Kenyan troops in raid on base

The Islamist group al Shabaab said on Friday its fighters killed dozens of Kenyan troops when they attacked a remote military base in Somalia the previous day, a claim the Kenyan army denied.

A spokesman for al Shabaab, which often launches attacks on troops of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), said its fighters killed at least 57 Kenyans at the base in the southern town of Kulbiyow, near the Kenyan border.

Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman, told Reuters about Friday’s attack.

“We are pursuing the Kenyan soldiers who ran away into the woods.

“Two mujahideen (fighters) rammed suicide car bombs into the base in Kulbiyow town before storming it,” he said, adding that as well as counting 57 Kenyan bodies, the group seized vehicles and weapons.

“We have taken over the base.”

Al Shabaab, whose assessment of casualties often differs markedly from official versions, typically rams the entrance to a target site with a car or truck bomb so fighters can storm in.

The group, which once ruled much of Somalia, wants to topple the Western-backed government in Mogadishu and drive out the peacekeepers made up of soldiers from Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Ethiopia and other African countries.

Driven out from the capital Mogadishu in 2011, al Shabaab has been fighting for years to impose its strict interpretation of Islam on Somalia.

African Union and Somali troops have driven al Shabaab fighters from major urban strongholds and ports, but they have often struggled to defend smaller, more remote areas from attacks.

“That is false,” Kenyan military spokesman Lt. Col. Paul Njuguna told Reuters, in reference to al Shabaab’s claim that 57 soldiers were killed although he did not give any casualty figures.

“The operation is ongoing. We are receiving updates,” the officer added.

Kenyan television channel NTV reported in a headline that “several KDF (Kenya Defence Forces) soldiers believed killed” in the raid and heavy fighting was reported.

In January 2016, al Shabaab said it had killed more than 100 Kenyan soldiers in El Adde, a Somali camp near the border with Kenya.

The Kenyan military never gave details of casualties, but Kenya media reports suggested a toll of that magnitude.


Source: Reuters

US to halt visa applications from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen for 30 days

President Donald Trump is on Thursday poised to suspend the US refugee program for four months and to halt visas for travellers from seven Muslim countries, according to US media.

A draft executive order published in the Washington Post said refugees from war-torn Syria will be indefinitely banned, while the broader US refugee admissions program will be suspended for 120 days as officials draw up a list of low risk countries.

Meanwhile, all visa applications from countries deemed a terrorist threat — Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen — will be halted for 30 days.

Alongside this, the Pentagon will be given 90 days to draw up a plan to set up “safe zones” in or near Syria where refugees from its civil war can shelter.

It is unclear whether the published draft is the final version, or when Trump will sign it, but it would make good on his campaign promises.

Trump told ABC News late Wednesday that his plan to limit the entry of people from Muslim countries was necessary because the world is “a total mess.”

“No it’s not the Muslim ban, but it’s countries that have tremendous terror,” Trump said. “And it’s countries that people are going to come in and cause us tremendous problems.”

Trump refused to say which countries were on the list, but he did say he believed that Europe “made a tremendous mistake by allowing these millions of people to go into Germany and various other countries,” describing it as “a disaster.”

Trump was asked if he worried that the limits would anger Muslims around the world.

“Anger? There’s plenty of anger right now. How can you have more?” he said.

“The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets. What, you think this is going to cause a little more anger? The world is an angry place. … We went into Iraq. We shouldn’t have gone into Iraq. We shouldn’t have gotten out the way we got out. The world is a total mess.”

– Playing into IS hands? –
Trump’s hardline attitude towards what he calls “radical Islamic terrorism” was one of the most controversial themes of his election campaign.

Rights groups have accused him of stigmatizing a global faith, and some experts warn that offending America’s Muslim allies will hurt the fight against extremism.

“Turning our back on vulnerable refugees doesn’t protect the United States,” said Michael Olsen, former director of the US National Counterterrorism Center.

“In fact, it plays into ISIS’s false narrative that we are at war with all Muslims instead of terrorist organizations,” he told watchdog Human Rights First.

Trump also vowed to “eradicate ISIS from the face of the earth”, which proved popular with US voters.

Ryan Crocker, former US ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq, told the group that the executive order would threaten refugees who risked their lives to help US troops.

“Banning the admission of Syrian refugees contradicts American values, undermines American leadership and threatens American security by making the ISIS case that we are at war with Islam,” he argued.

– No ‘major negative’ in Trump refugee plan –
Other former officials, however, were not worried by the pending order — suggesting that while it has little use as a security measure, anger would blow over.

James Jeffrey, who was deputy national security adviser under former president George W. Bush, said: “I don’t think there’ll be much of a change in anything.”

Jeffrey argued that even under former president Barack Obama, the United States had allowed in very few Syrian refugees — only 18,000 since the war began in 2011.

Meanwhile, allies in the Sunni Muslim world are far more concerned by the immediate threats posed by Iran and the Islamic State group than by US visa law.

“So I don’t see a major negative in foreign affairs from this,” said Jeffrey, now a fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“We had a bad reputation no matter what we did even when we were being at our very very tippy-toe best with Barack Obama. It doesn’t matter,” he told AFP.

“In populations there is a great deal of skepticism about the United States. It’s hard-wired, regardless of the president, no matter what we do.”

The possible draft signing on Thursday would be the latest in a daily series of executive orders rolled out by Trump’s administration since he took office on Friday — touching on national security, immigration, and health care.

Also Thursday, Trump is to speak before Republican lawmakers at their winter retreat in Philadelphia — an opportunity for him to reassure some of his party faithful about the actions of his provocative first week at the White House.

BREAKING: Al-Shabaab attack on Somali hotel claims at least 7 lives [VIDEO]

At least seven people were killed after two car bombs exploded outside a popular Mogadishu hotel Wednesday, and gunmen forced their way inside the building and opened fire, police said.

The attack, claimed by the Al-Qaeda-aligned Shabaab insurgent group, began when a car loaded with explosives rammed the gate of the Dayah Hotel near the Somali parliament and state house.

Gunmen then stormed the hotel and exchanged fire with security guards, according to police official Ibrahim Mohammed.


A second massive blast went off after ambulances and journalists had already rushed to the scene, leaving at least four reporters injured, including an AFP photographer who suffered shrapnel wounds to his shoulder and leg.

AFP images showed security forces and civilians milling about outside the devastated hotel — its windows and doors blown out — after the first explosion, when a second car exploded with a massive blast, sending thick plumes of smoke into the air and sending people fleeing.

Gunfire rang out from the hotel as civilians and rescue workers carried away the injured.

“So far we have counted about seven dead, most of them civilians and security guards. There are also many people who were wounded in the two blasts,” said Mohammed.

“Two gunmen were killed and the area is under control of security forces,” he said.

The Shabaab group claimed responsibility in a statement distributed on its Telegram messaging account.

“The mujahideen fighters have attacked a hotel and have managed to enter the hotel after detonating a car loaded with explosives,” it said.

The Shabaab is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government of Somalia and regularly stages deadly attacks on state, military and civilian targets in the capital and elsewhere in the war-torn country.

– ‘Limited’ election –
The hotel attack is the deadliest so far in Somalia in 2017 and comes as the country is in the midst of a drawn-out election process to choose a new government.

In December 2016, more than 20 people were killed when a truck laden with explosives was detonated near a military base close to the Mogadishu port.

Somalia has not had an effective central government since the 1991 overthrow of president Siad Barre’s military regime which ushered in decades of anarchy and conflict in a country deeply divided along clan lines.

The clan rivalries and lawlessness provided fertile ground for the Shabaab to take hold and seize territory, frustrating efforts to set up a central administration.

After a series of transitional governments were formed abroad, a previous parliament was chosen by 135 clan elders and set up in Mogadishu in 2012.

Somalis were promised a one-person, one-vote election in 2016.

But political infighting and ongoing insecurity due to the presence of Shabaab meant Somalis were handed a “limited” election, in which 14,025 specially picked delegates voted for 275 parliamentary seats distributed according to clan.

Another 72 seats in a new upper house were shared out according to region.

The newly-elected lawmakers will soon vote for a new president, however a date has not been set for the election, which has been delayed numerous times.

The 2016 process is seen as taking the country a step closer to a universal suffrage election now planned for 2020.

Somalia honors 136 Nigerian police officers.

A total of 136 policemen from Nigeria were awarded medals to mark the end of their duty tour in Somalia.

This was disclosed in a statement by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

The statement indicated that the 136 policemen participated in a medal parade on Tuesday to mark the end of their one-year duty term in Somalia.

“The officers were awarded medals at a ceremony presided over by the deputy special police commissioner of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM),” the statement read.

“Somali police commissioner Gen Mohamed Sheikh Hassan Hamud was also present, with a delegation of Somali officials.”

It said Lydia Wanyoto, chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) in Somalia, appreciated the Nigerian government for supporting the peace process in Somalia.

She also expressed gratitude to the Somali security forces present at the ceremony for recognising the Nigerian contribution.

“We are here because of Somalia; saying it yourself on behalf of the Somali government makes our work easy; it gives us morale and makes us to work even harder,” she said.

“I want to thank you for the services you have provided; thank you for being here in Somalia, for volunteering to assist the people in Somalia.”

Mohamed Sheikh Hassan Hamud, Somali police commissioner, also commended the Nigerian police contingent for its contribution to the restoration of law and order in his country.

“You have been good ambassadors,” Hamud said. “Somalia will not forget Nigeria standing side-by-side with Somali people and the federal government.”

The contingent is the fifth formed police unit from Nigeria to serve in Somalia under AMISOM.

They will be replaced by a new police contingent from Nigeria.

Nigerian Troops In Somalia Not Paid For 11 Months- Report

Eleven months after they were deployed on peace enforcement duties in Somalia as Formed Police Unit (FPU) to assist the Somali police maintain law and order and provide cover for the country’s first democratic elections holding tomorrow, Nigerian troops have not been paid.

Superintendent of Police (SUPOL) Theophelius Eze is an epitome of tough cops. As the commandant of the 140 strong contingents of Nigerian mobile policemen deployed in the war blighted Republic of Somalia on peace enforcement/support duty, Eze and his men are the last line of defence between the dreaded Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen otherwise known as the terror organisation Al-Shabaab and the government troops.
Eze and his men, referred to as the Formed Police Unit (FPU) in Somalia have their duties spelt out in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). They are to, among others, provide training and logistics support for the newly formed Somali Police Force (SPF); secure and restore civil order in all territories retaken from Al-Shabaab and provide security for the Individual Police Officers (IPO) specially recruited by the African Union (AU).
In the police unit of the AMISOM troops, only the officers in the FPU are permitted to bear arms.
“Before coming, we were trained for six months, we knew it will not just be peacekeeping but peace support operations, we were trained by the Nigeria Police in all manners of operations including crowd control and Very Important Personality (VIP) movement,” Eze said.
He and the other officers are not the first Nigerians to be deployed in Somalia. They are the fifth batch of 140 mobile unit contributed by the Federal Government AMISOM operations to bring lasting peace to Somalia.
Five other African countries, Burundi, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti also contribute military troops to the mission.
The first batch of mobile policemen, who touched down at the Mogadishu Airport in Somalia in September 2012, was holed up for almost half of the six months of the tour of duty at the base camp, a gigantic military fortress built by the AMISOM.
In 2012, much of Mogadishu and the rest of the vast Somalia geography were still in the hands of Al-Shabaab.
The police worked behind the lines as the military began to take more territories, pushing the terrorists back into the countryside. Slowly, the Nigerian police began to enforce civil order, training and supporting the ragtag undisciplined and totally unprofessional Somali Police.

There was nothing to prepare the fifth batch of Nigeria police contingent for the shock that awaited them in Somalia. Not even the training in the country. The team suddenly realised they will not be keeping peace and controlling crowd, their presence alone made them prominent targets for Al-shabaab. “When we got here, we suddenly realised we were fighting terrorism and we have to adjust to that reality,” Eze said.
The police were camped at the Stadium barracks, situated in Yawshid District, one of the most undesirable neighbourhoods of Mogadishu. The stadium, where the policemen are accommodated, has a not-too-sterling record. Before Al-shabaab took over the capital city, it was where sporting activities held and talents discovered, but Al-shabaab turned it to its slaughter lab where offenders were routinely beheaded. All over the buildings, one could see the handiwork of bullets, mortars and rockets.
The camp is heavily guarded, but not fortified enough to ward off terrorists’ attacks.
“They (terrorists) usually attack us from the air,” said Muhammed Sani, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), who is FPU’s Operations Commander.
The terrorists have are delighted shelling the camp of the Nigerian troops. Earlier this month, four of such of such bombardments killed two civilians but none of the officers was affected.
The Nigerians are also put in harm’s way any time they go on patrol. In August, during a tour of duty, a female cop, Ladi John, a Sergeant, was shot at close range by the terrorist.
“She was shot at close range, the bullet missed her heart by the whiskers. She was rushed to Nairobi where she spent two months recuperating. Thank God she is back and she is alive. This is one of the hazards of the job. We have seen worst things,” Sani said.
But Eze said his team has devised a method to checkmate the terrorists. Not fool-proved though, the method has helped in the past to avert greater tragedy.
Eze said: “We are proactive about security here; we do not allow them to bring the fight to us; we have been successful using the cordon and search approach which we do majorly on intelligence. We do that twice a week with our mentees – the Somali Police. Recently in Bakara Market, we recovered large cache of materials used in making Improvised Explosive Device (IEDs).”
But the gallant Nigerians face a lot of challenges from explosions daily.
“Since we recovered the IED materials, we just realised that bombs have been going off indiscriminately in Mogadishu. This country is highly unpredictable, anything can happen anytime” he said.

Read More:

Nigerian troops in Somalia not paid for 11 months

Somalia Food Crisis: 300,000 Children Need Help- UN

Nearly five million people in Somalia are suffering from a shortage of food due to poor rainfall, floods and displacement, the United Nations says.

More than 300,000 children under the age of five are severely malnourished and require urgent assistance.

Most of those in need of help have been internally displaced following decades of conflict.

Malnutrition levels in Somalia have increased over the last six months with nearly half the population affected.

The number of people without enough food has increased by 300,000 since February.

Read More: BBC

Early Morning Suicide Bombing Kills 10 In Somalia

A suicide bomber belonging to the Islamist insurgent group, al-Shabaab, killed at least 10 people on Thursday in central Somalia.

Officials and witnesses said the attack targeted a convoy carrying a senior regional official in the town of Galkayo, 750 kilometres north of the capital, Mogadishu.

A senior police officer, who asked to remain anonymous, said the official and several of his bodyguards were killed.

A witness, Jama Yusuf, said there was blood everywhere, adding that he saw several bodies. He said because the attack occurred very close to a hotel, apparently some of the occupants may have been injured.

Meanwhile, Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack, on its Radio Andalus.


African President Reveals Where Boko Haram Fighters Are Trained

Boko Haram fighters have been trained in Somalia before returning to West Africa, Somalia’s president told a security conference in Germany yesterday.

“Without a stable Somalia, the whole region of the Horn of Africa will remain unstable and by and large, the African continent. There are proofs and evidence that (for) some time Boko Haram have been trained in Somalia and they went back to Nigeria,” President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said.

“The terrorists are so linked together, they are associated and so organised, (that) we the world we need to be so organised,” he added.
It was not clear from his comments whether he believed al Shabaab was still training Boko Haram fighters. Somalia, plagued by political in-fighting, corruption and attacks by al Shabaab insurgents, has recently made limited progress towards creating a functioning political system.
Credit: Reuters

Somalia Ministry of Religious Affairs Bans Christmas And New Year Celebrations, Says They Are Contrary To Islamic Culture

Somalia’s Federal government today Tuesday, December 22, banned the celebrations of Christmas and New Year in the capital Mogadishu. It says celebrating Christmas is against faith of Somali Muslims and won’t allow it happen in the country.
Director General of Somalia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs, Sheikh Mohamed Khayrow announced the decision in a Press Conference held in Mogadishu along with the Vice Chairman of the Supreme Religious Council (SRC), Sheikh Nur Barud Gurhan.
All events related to Christmas and New Year celebrations are contrary to Islamic culture, which could damage aqidah (faith) of the Muslim community. He added:
“All security forces are advised to halt or dissolve any gatherings. There should be no activity at all.”
Sheikh Nur Barud Gurhan, the deputy chairman of the Supreme Religious Council of Somalia said that such events might motivate extremist group al-Shabaab to launch attacks in the capital.
“We [Islamic Scholars] are warning against the celebration of such events which are not relevant to the principles of our religion. Such events give also al-Shabaab to carry out attacks.”

Sources: Live From Mogadishu/Horseed Media

Somalia’s Al-Qaeda Threatens To Slaughter Members Who Join ISIS

Somalia’s Shebab fighters have warned they will “cut the throat” of members who shift allegiance from Al-Qaeda to Islamic State, amid reports some factions have already been punished for doing so.

“If anyone says he belongs to another Islamic movement, kill him on the spot,” top Shebab official Abu Abdalla, said in a radio broadcast Monday. “We will cut the throat of any one… if they undermine unity.”

Credit: AFP

African Troops Take Key Port from Al Shabaab

Somali troops backed by African peacekeepers on Sunday recaptured the last major port in Somalia held by Al Shabaab, removing a key source of revenue for the Islamist militia.

The move was another blow for Al-Qaeda’s main affiliate in Africa and came just a month after the death of their leader Ahmed Abdi Godane in a US air and drone strike.

The African Union’s AMISOM force, which draws 22,000 soldiers from six nations, said Barawe, 200 kilometres (120 miles) southwest of Mogadishu, fell without “much resistance from the terrorist group.”

“The terrorists used the port there to import arms as well as receive foreign fighters into their ranks,” an AMISOM statement said.

“The group also used Barawe to export charcoal to the Middle East, a lucrative multi-million dollar business that served as their main source of funding,” the statement said.

Provincial governor Abdukadir Mohamed Nur said the situation was “calm and the militiamen had fled before the forces reached the town”.

“They could not put up resistance and have emptied their positions,” he said.

Al Shabaab exported charcoal through Barawe to Gulf countries, earning at least $25 million (19 million euros) a year from the trade according to UN estimates.

Al Shabaab: Kenya Appoints New Intelligence Chief


Kenya on Thursday swore in a new intelligence chief, Major-General Philip Kameru, in the bid to address the rising threat from Al Shabaab militants in neighboring Somalia bent on retaliation after U.S. missiles last week killed their leader and co-founder Ahmed Godane.

Major-General Kameru’s appointment as the new director general of Kenya’s National Intelligence Service comes nearly a year after Al Shabaab gunmen killed 67 people in an attack on Nairobi shopping mall.

Kenyan security bosses were lambasted by the public for failing to prevent the four-day siege and Kameru’s predecessor, retired Major-General Michael Gichangi, resigned in August under pressure over a rise in attacks blamed on Al Shabaab.

Al Shabaab had pledged that they would take revenge for Kenyan and Western involvement in Somalia.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has said he picked Kameru for his success in intelligence-gathering in Somalia.

In a statement from the presidency on Thursday, Kenyatta told the new security chief to work effectively with other government officials.

Al Shabaab Twin Car Bomb Revenge Attack


Somalia’s Al Shabaab Islamist group claimed responsibility for two car bomb attacks on Monday targeting African peacekeepers and a government convoy. This is the first of such strikes by the group since it vowed revenge for the killing of its leader, Ahmed Godane last week.

Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, spokesman for Al Shabaab’s military operations confirms that,”We are behind the two car bombs driven by mujahideen” (fighters). This statement was made after the attack.  At least 12 civilians were killed in the first blast that aimed at a convoy of African troops and hit nearby civilian vehicles.

Al-Shabab Names New Leader

APTOPIX Somalia al-Qaida

Confirming the death of Ahmed Abdi Godane, Somalia’s Al-Shabab appoints new leader. In a statement issued on Saturday, Al-Shabab said Ahmad Umar Abu Ubaidah will replace Godane.

According to the statement, two of Godane’s companions also died in the attack.

The militant group further promised revenge for Godane’s death, warning its enemies against the consequences of killing Al-Shabab members.

Somalia is on high alert due to possible retaliatory attacks by Al-Shabab militants following Godane’s death.

 National Security Minister General Khalif Ahmed Ereg in Somalia said, that they have obtained information indicating that Al-Shabab is planning to carry out a wave of retaliatory strikes against medical facilities, education centers and government buildings.

U.S. Confirms Al Shabaab Leader Godane Dead


The Pentagon confirmed on Friday that Ahmed Abdi Godane,  leader of the al Shabaab Islamist group, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Somalia this week, calling it a “major symbolic and operational loss” for the Al Qaeda-affiliated militants.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said in a statement that, “We have confirmed that Ahmed Godane, the co-founder of al Shabaab, has been killed.”

His death leaves a gap in Al Shabaab’s leadership and was seen as posing the biggest challenge to the group’s unity since it emerged as a fighting force eight years ago.

Abdi Ayante, director of the Heritage Institute for Policy Studies in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, said Godane’s death would be “a game changer in many ways for al Shabaab.”

Before the Pentagon confirmed Godane’s death, Ayante said, “What is likely to happen is a struggle for power.” He adds that,  fragmentation was also possible in the absence of a leader with Godane’s experience and ruthless approach to dissent.

U.S. forces struck Godane’s encampment in south-central Somalia with Hellfire missiles and laser-guided munitions on Monday, but the Pentagon did not confirm his death until Friday, saying it was still assessing the results of the airstrike.

US Strikes Major Al Shabaab Base- Somali Officials


Reports  say that the US has struck where Al Shabaab were meeting.

Ahmed, a Senior Intelligence Official with the Somalian Government said, “there was an air strike at a base where senior members of al Shabaab had a meeting last night.”  He also added that, “So far Godane’s death is a strong rumor that may or may not turn to be true. What we know is that the militants were bombarded. However, it is difficult to know how many of them or who particularly died.”

Abdiqadir Mohamed Sidii, Governor of Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia, where the strike occurred, some 245 km (150 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu, said he believed Godane and other senior al Shabaab members had been killed.

He said, “We understand a U.S. drone killed Ahmed Abdi Godane and other seven senior members last night near Hawaay area around Barawe town.” He however did not say how he got the information on the attack, given the location is in an area still under Al Shabaab control.

Residents in Haaway said they heard loud explosions late Monday in an area they described as a densely forested.