Somalia Week in Focus: Top Stories (Mar. 10, 2017)

 Week ending March 10, 2017 

110 people die from drought in one region of Somalia

Over 100 people have died from drought conditions in Bay region, of southwestern Somalia, new Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire said.

Prime Minister Khaire made the announcement to the National Drought Committee, which is tasked with coordinating drought relief efforts nation-wide.

The UN estimates that some 6.2 million Somalis need food assistance to avert a disaster similar to the 2010-2011 famine. The UN has called for US$4.4billion in emergency aid assistance for four countries: Somalia, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen.

Prime Minister Khaire said: “My estimation is that half of the country’s population has felt the impact of this drought”.

In addition to loss of lives, livestock and crop production, tens of thousands have fled and there is fear of an outbreak of water-borne diseases.

Somaliland uncovers 17 bodies in a mass grave from 1980s

An investigation headed by Somaliland’s War Crimes Investigation Commission has discovered a new “mass grave” in Berbera, a port city along Somalia’s northern coast.

The mass grave allegedly contains the remains of 17 persons believed to have been killed and buried during the 1980s uprising against former Somali dictator Mohamed Siyad Barre.

The Commission is working closely with international forensic experts to exhume the bodies and gather evidence, the VOA reported.

Somaliland, consisting of northwestern regions of Somalia, unilaterally declared independence in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.

Puntland MP survives attack, Bossaso court sentences Al Shabaab members

A member of Parliament in Somalia’s Puntland state has survived a bombing attack in Galkayo. MP Abdulkadir Farah Botan survived heavy wounds, including losing one of his legs, when a bomb planted in his car exploded.

No group has claimed responsibility for the March 7 attack in Galkayo, but Al Shabaab militants have targeted Puntland officials since 2006. MP Botan is considered a political ally of Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali ‘Gaas’.

In an unrelated incident, four persons were wounded on March 4 when unidentified assailants hurled hand grenades at Bossaso Court. On March 7, the Puntland military court in Bossaso sentenced six Al Shabaab suspects to 10-year prison terms.

68 more Somalis deported from the U.S. to Somalia

The US government has deported a second group of Somali nationals from US detention centers.

On March 10, a plane transporting 68 Somali deportees arrived at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport.

Acting Somali Minister of Internal Security Abdirizak Omar Mohamed told VOA that the Somali government and the US government have “no agreement…about deportations” but that the deportees had “requested to be returned to Somalia”.

In January, merely days since President Donald Trump took office in Washington, 90 Somalis were deported to Mogadishu.

Somalia benefits from nearly US$122million in Turkish aid since 2011

Turkish humanitarian aid to Somalia since 2011 exceeds US$121.9million, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) announced on March 9.

AFAD managed US$68.1million, the Turkish Red Crescent Society managed US$47million, and the Religious Affairs Directorate managed US$6.7million, according the AFAD report.

The aid included food, clothes, prefabricated homes, blankets, and medical supplies. In addition, other projects were implemented including at Mogadishu’s airport, water facilities, hospitals, schools, and Islamic centers.

Turkey’s aid to Somalia increased at the height of the 2011 famine, with then-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan visiting Mogadishu leading a large Turkish delegation that included his own family.

Source: Somali Review