Saturday 16 December 2017
(AFP (eng) 11/13/17)
Residents of the self-proclaimed state of Somaliland voted Monday in its third presidential poll, hoping to prove its democratic credentials and strengthen the case for independence from troubled Somalia. The northern territory, which is more tribally homogenous and stable than the rest of Somalia, broke away in 1991 and has been striving to attain international recognition ever since. Three candidates are running for the state's top office, seasoned politicians Muse Bihi of the ruling Kulmiye party and opposition candidates Abdirahman Iro and Faysal Ali Warabe, who was defeated in previous elections in 2010. "The procedure started peacefully this morning and we are confident that this election is going to be a milestone...
(AFP (eng) 11/13/17)
Ministers from 13 European and African countries on Monday pledged steps to ease the migrant crisis around the Mediterranean, vowing especially to improve conditions for migrants held in Libya. Interior ministers and other representatives from countries impacted by the ongoing wave of migration up through Africa towards Europe, including Libya, voiced deep concern over the "ongoing human tragedy" along the so-called Central Mediterranean route. "The participants intend to address the challenges posed by the alarming situation along the migration route to North Africa," Switzerland, which hosted the third meeting of the so-called contact group on the crisis, said in a statement. Thousands of migrants and refugees who attempt to travel along this route "find themselves in catastrophic situations," it said,...
(AFP (eng) 11/11/17)
An Islamic State faction in Somalia has grown significantly over the past year, carrying out attacks in Puntland and receiving some funding from Syria and Iraq, a report by UN sanctions monitors said Friday. The faction loyal to Sheikh Abdulqader Mumin was targeted by US drone strikes last week in the first US operation targeting IS in the Horn of Africa, US Africa Command said. In the report, the UN monitoring group for Somalia said the IS faction, which was estimated in 2016 "to number not more than a few dozen, has grown significantly in strength" and may "consist of as many as 200 fighters." Phone records from Mumin showed he was in contact with an IS operative in Yemen...
(AFP (eng) 11/11/17)
The self-proclaimed state of Somaliland will vote for a new president on Monday, hoping to continue a series of democratic transitions of power that sets it apart from its troubled neighbour Somalia. The northern territory, which is more tribally homogenous and stable than the rest of Somalia, broke away in 1991 and has been striving to attain international recognition ever since. Three candidates are running for the state's top office, seasoned politicians Muse Bihi of the ruling Kulmiye party and opposition candidates Abdirahman Iro and Faysal Ali Warabe, who was defeated in previous elections in 2010. Elections are meant to be held every five years, however the poll was delayed for two years due to drought and other technical issues...
(AFP (eng) 11/10/17)
The US military announced Thursday it had killed "several militants" in an airstrike against Al-Shabaab jihadists in Somalia. The attack took place early Thursday in the Bay region in the center of the country, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of Mogadishu. The strike was carried out "in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia," the US Africa Command said in a statement. "Al-Shabaab has pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and is dedicated to providing safe haven for terrorist attacks throughout the world," it said. Al-Shabaab was blamed for the October 14 truck bombing in Mogadishu that killed 358 people, and an attack on a hotel on October 29 that left 27 dead. On Saturday the US mission to Somalia urged...
(AFP (eng) 11/08/17)
The African Union's mission in Somalia has said it will withdraw 1,000 troops fighting jihadists in the country this year, as part of plans to pull out all soldiers by December 2020. In a statement released Tuesday, the AU's special representative for Somalia Francisco Madeira called for urgent support to enable the national army to take over responsibility for the country's security. "Troop movements have started in different parts of the country and will continue for the coming weeks," Madeira said. "This is a process of realignment to effect the reduction in numbers and also begin the handover process of national security responsibility to the Somali National Security Forces."
(Reuters (Eng) 11/08/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - A militant faction loyal to Islamic State (IS) has increased its following in northern Somalia from a few dozen last year to up to 200 this year, a U.N. report said, days after the group came under U.S. air attack for the first time. The increase in strength of the IS spin-off group has attracted attention because some security officials fear it could offer a safe haven for Islamic State militants fleeing military defeat in Syria or Iraq. “The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) faction loyal to Sheikh Abdulqader Mumin - estimated...in 2016 to number not more than a few dozen..., has growing significantly in strength, and (now) consists of as many as 200...
(AFP (eng) 11/08/17)
A dozen other students look on as Umar Amadu uses a glass pipette to draw a solution from a conical flask as part of a chemistry experiment. It could be a scene from any school laboratory around the world, but until two months ago Amadu and his fellow students had no access to any science equipment. Science subjects at his rural secondary school outside the city of Katsina in northern Nigeria were taught using theory only. But now they have all the kit they need to put theory into practice, thanks to a mobile science lab that tours selected state schools. "It's an exciting experience. We were being taught only the theoretical aspect of science subjects," Amadu, who wants to...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/07/17)
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc. [UBER.UL] is growing rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa and considering moves into more markets, despite sometimes violent opposition from metered taxi drivers, a senior executive said on Tuesday. Uber’s service has triggered protests by rivals from London to New Delhi as it up-ends traditional business models that require professional drivers to pay steep licensing fees to do business. “We are bullish on Africa. The growth here is still substantial and we think that given the right regulatory environment, the growth could be even better,” Justin Spratt, head of business development for the sub-Saharan region, told Reuters. “Africa’s growth thus far has been faster than America and a large part of that is...
(AFP (eng) 11/06/17)
The US mission to Somalia on Saturday urged all of its non-essential staff to leave Mogadishu immediately following a specific threat against them at the capital's international airport. The warning came just hours after US forces confirmed carrying out their first-ever drone strikes targeting Islamic State (IS) jihadists in the Horn of Africa nation. "Due to specific threat information against US personnel on the Mogadishu International Airport, the US Mission to Somalia has directed its non-essential US citizen employees to depart Mogadishu until further notice," a statement posted on its website said. It reiterated warnings that the situation in Somalia was "extremely unstable", saying the threat level against US citizens remained "critical". In a statement released in Washington late on...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/06/17)
(Reuters) - Somalia’s Islamist al Shabaab insurgency shot four men accused of spying on Monday in a public execution which underscored the insurgents’ control of swathes of the country’s southern region even as the government girds up for an offensive against them. “The four men were captured weeks ago. They were publicly executed today after the court ruling and after admitting espionage,” Mohamed Abu Abdalla, al Shabaab’s governor for the Jubba regions said by phone. “Two of them were spying for the Ethiopian government and the other two were spying for Somali government intelligence.” The men were shot in Buale, the capital of Middle Jubba, he said, a region mostly controlled by al Shabaab that lies south of the capital...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/06/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa’s mobile internet connections are set to double in the next five years, a study showed on Monday, thanks to affordable smartphones and the roll-out of high-speed networks. A report by research and consulting firm Ovum in London estimates that mobile broadband connections will rise from 419 million at the end of this year to 1.07 billion by the end of 2022. “Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the continent in areas such as digital media, mobile financial services, and the Internet of Things,” said Matthew Reed, Practice Leader Middle East and Africa at Ovum. “But as Africa’s TMT market becomes more convergent and complex, service providers are under...
(AFP (eng) 11/04/17)
The US conducted a pair of drone strikes against Islamic State fighters in Somalia on Friday, the first time America has hit the jihadists in the Horn of Africa nation, officials said. The strikes occurred in northeastern Somalia and killed "several terrorists," the US military's Africa Command said in a statement. According to Voice of America, which cited the chairman of the town of Qandala in the semiautonomous region of Puntland, six missiles hit an IS base in Buqa village, 60 kilometers (35 miles) away. "Local residents and pastoralists were shocked and fled from the area," Jama Mohamed Qurshe told VOA. AFRICOM spokesman Lieutenant Commander Anthony Falvo...
(AFP (eng) 11/03/17)
US politicians are voicing concern over America's growing military presence across Africa, where they worry the Pentagon is getting ever more embroiled in a secretive campaign against a shifting enemy. Last month's killing of four US soldiers in a Niger ambush has thrust the issue into the spotlight, with lawmakers calling for greater transparency on what is going on in Africa. "The footprint in Africa is much bigger than the American public understands," Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said this week. The Niger ambush has also rekindled debate over the legal authorities the Pentagon uses to fight jihadist groups overseas, particularly in Africa where about 6,000 US troops are deployed across the vast continent. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis this week faced...
(AFP (eng) 10/31/17)
MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somali authorities imposed a daytime ban on Monday on the movement of large trucks and road tankers inside the capital Mogadishu in an attempt to improve security following a wave of devastating attacks by militants. The move followed twin truck bombings on Oct. 15 that killed more than 350 people in the city, in the deadliest attack in the history of the Horn of Africa nation. Though the Islamist militant group al Shabaab did not claim responsibility for that attack, the method is one it has often used. “Trucks and tankers cannot pass ... from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm. This is to ensure security and (to offer) a solution to the complaints of the public,” Tabid...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
MOGADISHU (Reuters) - An Islamist attack on a hotel in Mogadishu ended on Sunday after 29 people were killed during a siege lasting nearly 12 hours, police said, prompting the government to sack two top security officials over their failure to stop repeated attacks. The attack proved once again that insurgents can carry out deadly assaults in the heart of the Somali capital. Twin bombings in Mogadishu two weeks ago killed more than 350 people, the worst such attacks in the country’s history. More than 50 people are still missing. Islamist militants al Shabaab claimed responsibility for this weekend’s attack, which took place ahead of a planned meeting to try to defuse tensions between the federal government and regional states...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Economic growth is expected to rise to 3.4 percent in sub-Saharan Africa next year from 2.6 percent in 2017, the IMF said in a report on Monday, but warned that rising debt and political risks in larger economies would weigh down future growth. Nigeria and South African are the biggest economies in Africa south of the Sahara, but both nations have been clouded by political uncertainty linked to the tenure of their leaders. The IMF said a good harvest and recovery in oil output in Nigeria would contribute more than half of the growth in the region this year while an uptick in mining and a better harvest in South Africa as well as a rebound in...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
The death toll from a deadly attack on a hotel in Mogadishu rose to 27 on Sunday, prompting the Somali government to sack its police and intelligence chiefs. The move came after Al-Qaeda aligned Shabaab gunmen staged coordinated bomb attacks Saturday outside the Nasa Hablod Hotel 2 before storming the building. Two weeks ago, Mogadishu was hit by a massive truck bombing that killed 358 people in the troubled country's worst-ever attack. Saturday's carnage was unleashed when a car bomb exploded outside the hotel entrance followed by a minibus loaded with explosives going off at a nearby intersection. The gunmen then rushed into the popular hotel, launching a siege that lasted several hours.
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
Somalia's security ministry said Sunday that forces had killed two gunmen and captured three after a siege at a Mogadishu hotel following a twin car bombing that left at least 14 dead. Spokesman Abdiasiz Ali Ibrahim said a number of people had been rescued from Shabaab gunmen at the Nasa Hablod Hotel 2. The attack began when a car bomb exploded outside the hotel entrance, followed by a minibus loaded with explosives going off at a nearby intersection. "Five gunmen stormed the building, two of them were killed and the rest captured alive. The security forces are still working on retrieving the casualties, we don't have exact number of the casualties so far," the spokesman told reporters. Another security official...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
A weekend attack claimed by the Al-Qaeda aligned Shabaab on a hotel in Mogadishu has killed at least 27 people, just two weeks after the deadliest attack in Somalia's history killed 358 people in the capital. It is just the latest in a string of attacks in recent years, the worst of which are described below. - 2017 - October 28: A car bomb explodes outside the entrance of the Nasa Hablod Hotel 2 in the north of the capital, followed by a minibus loaded with explosives going off at a nearby intersection. Five gunmen then rush into the hotel where security services kill two of the attackers and three others are captured. At least 27 people are killed in...

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