Somalia Week in Focus: Top Stories (Feb. 3, 2017)

Week ending February 3, 2017

ICJ rules in favor of Somalia in maritime row with Kenya

The International Court of Justice, the UN’s main judicial organ, voted this week in the case of maritime delimitation between Kenya and Somalia along their Indian Ocean shared coastline.

In August 2014, the Somali government approached the ICJ to rule on the maritime row between Mogadishu and Nairobi. The court listened to weeks of presentations and deliberations by both sides before the vote.

According to the UN News Centre: “In its final judgement and without appeal, the Court rejected objections raised by Kenya which referred to a memorandum of understanding and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and found that it has jurisdiction to entertain Somalia’s application and that the application is admissible.”

The Kenyan government argued against the Court’s jurisdiction in the matter, citing a 2009 MOU it signed with the Somali government and UN conventions.

6.2 million need food assistance in Somalia: UN

The UN has warned again that Somalia is on the brink of famine, with some 6.2 million people in need of food assistance. That figure has risen sharply from Sept. 2016, when it was estimated that 5 million people need food aid.

In a statement, the UN said that “inadequate rainfall and lack of water has wiped out crops and killed livestock, while communities are being forced to sell their assets”.

Children are especially affected, with some 363,000 children in need of urgent nutrition support.

British Secretary for International Development Priti Patel, who visited Mogadishu this week, said in a statement that, “the UK is stepping up support to save lives and provide basic food, clean water and nutrition”.

Decapitated bodies found in Puntland, rapists sentenced

Three tortured and decapitated bodies were found along a highway in Puntland region of northern Somalia.

Media reports indicate that the bodies were found south of the port city of Bossaso on Jan. 28, three days after suspected militants abducted nine persons traveling by road in Puntland’s Bari region.

Some of the abducted persons were off-duty Puntland soldiers. The decapitated bodies were left for public display, as extremists continue fomenting anti-state violence against the Puntland administration.

In October 2016, a group of about 60 militants claiming allegiance to ISIS extremist group captured control of Qandala coastal town, east of Bossaso. Puntland troops re-captured Qandala in December and insurgents began a wave of killings, bombings and attacks targeting government officials in Bossaso.

In a separate case, a Puntland court sentenced five convicted rapists to jail terms between 5 and 10 years in prison, following a gang-rape case in Galdogob, a district west of Galkayo in Puntland’s Mudug region.

Kenya under pressure to withdraw Somalia troops

The Kenyan government is under pressure from opposition parties to withdraw troops from Somalia.

Kenya intervened militarily in southern Somalia in Oct. 2011, after Somalia-based Al Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in Kenyan coastal towns which hurt the country’s tourism industry.

Kenyan troops joined the UN-endorsed African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), a 22,000-strong peacekeeping force with troops from seven countries. Kenyan-AMISOM troops operate in the southern port of Kismayo and Jubaland regions.

Kenyan opposition parties have been criticized for urging the withdrawal from Kenyan troops from Somalia. Kenyan opposition figure Jacob Haji, Secretary-General of the Democratic party, said his party would “like the government to revisit the issue of the soldiers’ presence in Somalia”.

His remarks came days after Al Shabaab fighters raided a Kenyan army post near the Somali-Kenyan border, with Kenyan military officials confirming that 9 Kenyan soldiers died repelling the attackers.

Source: Somali Review