Somali Review’s Week in Focus: Oct. 21, 2016

 Week ending October 21, 2016 

‘HirShabelle’ president elected in Jowhar

Somalia’s last regional state was established this week, with long-serving federal MP Ali Abdullahi Osoble elected as the new state’s first president.

The newly established parliament of 98 legislators took office in Jowhar, which conference delegates voted as the new state capital.

Hirshabelle state parliament speaker Sheikh Osman Barre announced the election results. Osoble won 61 votes, and his challenger Mohamed Abdi Waar got 36 votes.

Ali “Guudlawe” Abdullahi Hussein, the former governor of Middle Shabelle region, was elected vice president with 86 votes compared to 10 to his challenger, Ali Hassan Takow.

Hirshabelle becomes the last state to join the Federal Republic of Somalia, after Hiiraan and Middle Shabelle regions merged into a single state.

IC community expresses concern about ex-warlords

This week, the international community called for the exclusion of “individuals with a history of criminality, violence and terrorism” from the two chambers of the Somali Federal Parliament: the House of the People and the Upper House.

The press statement – jointly issued by the United Nations, African Union, European Union, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, Ethiopia, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States – described the inclusion of such people as parliamentary candidates as “a regressive step at a time Somalia is poised to turn a new page”.

“Individuals with documented histories of criminality and violence should not be chosen by electoral colleges to represent their clans and sub-clans in the lower house of Parliament,” read the statement.

It was the first strongly worded statement from Somalia’s international partners regarding the character of the country’s new federal parliament.

NYT details the U.S. military’s ‘shadow war’ in Somalia

The New York Times Oct. 16th article, “In Somalia, U.S. Escalates a Shadow War“, detailed increased U.S. military military in the East African nation over the past year.

“Hundreds of American troops now rotate through makeshift bases in Somalia, the largest military presence since the United States pulled out of the country after the “Black Hawk Down” battle in 1993”, the Times reported.

The report detailed the complex relationship between the different parties in Somalia, saying that the U.S. maintains relations with AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia), the Federal Government of Somalia, and the sub-national regional governments.

In addition, the U.S.’s military involvement in Somalia used, “Special Operations troops, airstrikes, private contractors and African alliesin an escalating campaign against Islamist militants in the anarchic Horn of Africa nation.”

Further, the report described the role of Bancroft Global Development in training Somali special forces, called “Danab” (lightening, in Somali), to fight Al Shabaab group: “Mr. Stock said the goal was to create a small Somali military unit capable of battling the Shabab without repeating the mistakes in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the United States spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to build up large armies.”

But the New York Times had a word of caution about the escalating military interventionism policy, saying that the policy carried “enormous risks — including more American casualties, botched airstrikes that kill civilians and the potential for the United States to be drawn even more deeply into a troubled country that so far has stymied all efforts to fix it”.

Somali intelligence service detains Mogadishu editor

Somali security forces raided the offices of Xog-Ogaal, one of the oldest newspapers in Mogadishu, and arrested the editor Abdi Aden Guled.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said the arrest was a “cause for serious international concern” and called on Somali authorities to “demonstrate that they continue to abide by their commitments to press freedom by releasing the journalist”.

The VOA reported that Ministry of Internal Security sources had revealed that Mr. Guled was being held at “a NISA-run prison where al-Shabab suspects are being held”. NISA – National Intelligence and Security Agency – is the federal government’s intelligence agency primarily tasked with counter-terrorism efforts.

Mohamed Mohamud Aden, Xog-Ogaal newspaper’s chairman, was quoted saying: “They came without a warning, without showing us any warrants. They arrested the editor, seized computers, printers, and confiscated the newspaper’s archives.”

Aden said no one has been allowed to see Guled. “We would like to tell them that the editor is suffering from asthma, he is unwell, and they must know that,” he says.

Another journalist, Hamza Mohamed of Al Jazeera network, was detained for 48 hours by security services in Mogadishu for “questioning” but there were no charges, according to Al Jazeera.

Source: Somali Review