Somalia Week in Focus: Top Stories (Jan. 27, 2017)

 Week ending January 27, 2017 

28 killed in Somalia hotel attack 

Al Shabaab extremists attacked Hotel Dayah in Mogadishu this week, sparking violence that killed at least 28 persons.

Similar to previous attacks, a suicide car bomber struck the front of the hotel, subsequently followed by a group of attackers who stormed the hotel.

Somali police official Mohamud Abdi confirmed that 28 persons were killed and 43 others wounded. Somali security forces also killed four Al Shabaab attackers to end the hotel siege.

At least two clan elders were killed, along with others involved int eh Somali electoral process. Al Shabaab has intensified its bombings and guerrilla as Somalia’s prepares to finalize the presidential election on February 8.

Meanwhile, Kenyan media reported that 68 Kenyan soldiers serving under the AMISOM mandate were killed in an Al Shabaab raid on Friday in Jubaland region, of southern Somalia.

Somalia elects Upper House speakers, sets presidential election

The 54-member Upper House of Somalia’s new federal parliament elected Abdi Hashi Abdullahi to be the first Speaker of the Upper House.

Mr. Hashi hails from the breakaway region of Somaliland, but is a renowned unionist and has served in a number of Somali federal parliaments. Somaliland, which unilaterally declared independence in 1991, does not recognize the authority of Mogadishu over Somaliland territories.

Mr. Abshir Mohamed Bukhari and Mowlid Hussein Guhad were elected as first and second Deputy Speakers, respectively. The two Deputy Speakers represent Galmudug and Jubaland regions, respectively.

This week, the federal parliament also nominated an electoral commission to manage the presidential election. The commission announced that Feb. 8 is the new election date.

The presidential election has been delayed at least four times.

MSF to resume Somalia operations after four years

The international aid organization Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym MSF, announced this week that it would resume its Somalia medical operations for the first time in over three years.

MSF shut down its operations and pulled out of Somalia in August 2013, citing attacks on its staff, ending 22 years of medical humanitarian work in Somalia.

The move is likely to be welcomed by the Somali health sector, who benefit from MSF’s expertise, medical assistance and training programs in Somalia.

US deports 98 Somalis to Mogadishu

This week, the US government deported 98 persons from the US who have served jail terms, marking the first large-scale deportation of Somalis from the US in recent memory.

The move is part of US agreement with the Somali federal government, to deport individuals convicted of criminal activities in US courts.

Somali government officials have not publicly addressed the deportations. Kenyan media reported that the deportees were flown from Dallas, Texas, to Nairobi, Kenya, and finally on to their final destination in Mogadishu.

AU urged to release findings on civilian killing in Somalia deployment

International human rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the African Union to release the findings of an AU investigation into “unlawful killings” of civilians in Somalia by African peacekeepers.

The incident occurred in Wardinle village, in Bay region of southwestern Somalia, whereby Ethiopian soldiers serving under the AMISOM peacekeeping mandate were involved in an attack that led to 14 civilian deaths.

Following public outcry, the AU commenced an investigation into the killings but the findings have not been released to the public. HRW researchers have warned the AU to ensure that the investigation is “not swept under the carpet”.

AMISOM troops have been serving in Somalia since March 2007.

Source: Somali Review