Friday, September 17, 2010

Somali women hold copies of the Koran as they join thousands of others during a Map Somalia's Shabaab stage demo over Quran-burning

Somali women hold copies of the Koran as they join thousands of others during a

Somalia's Shabaab stage demo over Quran-burning

Published on : 16 September 2010 - 9:55am | By RNW Africa Desk (Photo; Abdurashi Abdulle Abikar/AFP)
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Thousands gathered in a Mogadishu stadium Wednesday for a demonstration organised by the Al Qaeda-inspired group al-Shabaab to protest a now abandoned plan by a US church to burn copies of the Quran.
Florida pastor Terry Jones cancelled his plans at the weekend under pressure from the White House, but the Somali group posted pictures of individuals burning the holy Muslim book on its websites on Tuesday and called the protest.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Somali nomad in a big city cartoon



Thursday, September 9, 2010

Somalia: Al-shabab Arrests Soccer Players in Kismayo


Published On: Thursday, September, 09 2010 - 06:15:36 

Kismayo (Sunatimes) Al-shabab insurgents arrested seven youths in Kismayo for playing soccer.                                                                                                                            The youths have been taken to Kismayo’s police station.
One of Al-shabab’s officials in Kismayo, Abdinasir Abdalla Al-Faysal, said that the soccer players refused to obey Al-shabab’s order. The group had earlier banned local citizens from watching or playing football.
Youth in Kismayo usually play soccer in town, along the coast. 
Mr. Al-Faysal, who is one of the officials of Al-shabab, said that his group is fighting what he called “the western game”.
The youth were playing soccer in one of Kismayo’s play grounds when they were arrested by the militia.
The arrests come at a time when Al-shabab has already taken over other football pitches and play grounds. Some of the play grounds now 

'My life as a Somali doctor'


Dr Hafsa with patient and newborn baby

Somali Dr Hafsa Abdurrahman Mohamed, 26, describes what it is like working at a hospital in Marere, a town in the southern Islamist-controlled part of the country.
She was one of the 20 student doctors to graduate from a medical school in the capital, Mogadishu, in December 2008 - the first to do so for nearly two decades.

The best thing about my work is when the baby is born and together with the mother, they are both safe; the moment when the baby cries out.

All the women are so welcoming. Especially the pregnant women - they are very happy to have a female doctor
I want to help Somali women.
It was difficult studying in Mogadishu. Sometimes it was difficult to travel to the university because of the fighting. And then if you made it to the class but there was fighting near the university, you would worry how you would get home.
That is past now and I am very happy that I have reached my aim which was to be a doctor.
I had never been to Marere before I came to work here but I chose to take this job here in Marere because it is peaceful.
The journey to Marere from Mogadishu should take one day of driving by car but the roads are very bad so it took three days.

Doctor graduates in Mogadishu
I was worried I would not be accepted but I had no need - the people were very friendly and welcoming to me and I was made to feel comfortable.
It is a small town and the people are farmers.
Livestock cannot survive here - they die from disease. Because of this there are no animals in Marere. Meat has to come from the next town called Jilib.
Farmers grow maize, mangoes and other fruits. There are some small shops but there's not much trade.
Enough beds
There are about 200 beds at the hospital where I work, which was built by Medecins Sans Frontieres.
There is one other doctor - a man - who has been there three months longer than I have. There are also two midwives but they also do normal nursing.
Map of Somalia showing Marere
We have a ward for children and one for adults and there are normally enough beds for the number of patients we have. Mostly, it is OK.
I begin my working day at 0800 hours, visiting the in-patients at their beds to check how they are and then I go to the ante-natal consultation unit.
If a mother comes to give birth and if she can give birth naturally then the midwife helps but if she cannot, then I do a caesarean. I do sometimes one operation a week.
I actually live at the hospital but it is not like I am always on call. I don't get a lot of calls unless there are complications which is quite rare.
Welcoming women
There are no machines in the hospital - we don't have ultrasound nor x-ray, so we only know what is wrong with people from symptoms.
That is how diagnosis is done.

Somali baby delivered by Dr Hafsa [MSF]
This baby was named Hafsa in her honour

We have a generator so the hospital has electricity and we have internet. Wells provide clean water. The most common complaints are malaria, TB, cholera and bilharzia.
At first the male patients are so surprised to have a woman doctor but then they are welcoming. There is no problem.
All the women are so welcoming. Especially the pregnant women - they are very happy to have a female doctor.
On average, about 70 expecting mothers come to the hospital for check-ups which is a lot. But for the whole of last month, only 10 babies were born in the hospital.
It is because the women don't know when they are due and so end up giving birth at their homes in the villages using traditional midwives.
It is because no-one has vehicles to carry and bring them to the hospital when they are in labour and so if there's any complication, the mother and the baby can die.
The hospital has a normal car that is used as an ambulance but if their family doesn't call, then no-one knows to go and collect and help.
I educate the expecting mothers on food and nutrition, dangers like high blood pressure and the importance of breast-feeding but if they came to the hospital to give birth, it would be much better.
Many mothers and babies would not die then.
I work six days a week. On my day off, I study because I want to specialise in gynaecology and obstetrics.

Somalia airport hit by suicide car bombing

A Somali government soldier at the gate of Mogadishu airport, 09/09 
The airport is one of the few areas of Mogadishu under government control
At least eight people have been killed in a car bomb attack and gun battle at Somalia's main airport in Mogadishu, officials say.
Insurgents opened fire on African Union peacekeepers after the initial explosion, airport officials said.
Unconfirmed reports say AU soldiers and insurgents were killed in the battle.
The hard-line Islamist group al-Shabab, which is fighting the government for control of the country, has reportedly said it carried out the attack.
Airport officials told the BBC that AU forces had stopped the first vehicle as it drove towards the airport's main entrance.
The vehicle exploded, and shortly afterwards insurgents arrived in another vehicle and began shooting.
Heavily fortified The officials said several insurgents were killed, along with a Somali man working with a private airline.
Mogadishu's airport, of huge strategic importance, is one of the few parts of the capital controlled by forces from the AU and the government.
Mohammed Abdi, a local shopkeeper, told Reuters news agency that he had witnessed two explosions at the airport's heavily fortified main entrance.
"The car powerfully rammed an Amisom [African Union Mission in Somalia] troops' post at the airport's gate," he said.
He said he had seen eight bodies, including several AU soldiers.
Yusuf Bashir, another local shopkeeper, told Spanish news agency Efe that eight civilians had been killed, and he said he had seen several AU soldiers injured.
As well as the car bomb, two suicide attackers had arrived at the airport on foot and detonated their explosives, said Mr Bashir.
A Somali military official told the Associated Press that two women had been killed while begging outside the airport's entrance.
In recent weeks, al-Shabab has stepped up the intensity of its insurgency against government forces and AU peacekeepers.
On Wednesday, 11 people were killed in clashes between al-Shabab fighters and Somali troops.
In the worst single attack, gunmen from the Islamist group stormed a hotel last month and killed at least 32 people, including six MPs.
The government had said that it expected a surge in rebel activity as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan drew to a close.
Al-Shabab is fighting to overthrow the government and install its own radical interpretation of Islamic law.
Al-Shabab and other Islamist rebels control large parts of the country, while the government holds only small parts of Mogadishu.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Slandered I Online Edition

US warms up to Muslims at dinner

Published on
By Ally Jamah 
US Ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger has announced measures aimed at boosting US relations with Muslims in Kenya after significant strains in the past.
The envoy discussed details of a programme in which outreach teams from the US embassy will hold public meetings in Coast Province to discuss US policies towards Muslims.
The meetings — to be held every three months — will also discuss other issues of interest, including visa application processes and education opportunities in the US.
coastal issues
"This Coast outreach programme is led by one of our new officers at the embassy. We will also dedicate a website to coastal issues that touch on members of the Muslim community," he said.
The envoy spoke when he hosted more than 300 Muslims at his residence during an iftaar dinner to break the Ramadhan fast.
The dinner in Nairobi coincided with a similar one in Washington DC hosted by President Barack Obama in the White House, where he dined with Muslim leaders.
"Ramadhan reminds us of the principles we hold in common and Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings," said Mr Obama.
The envoy added the US would expand support for anti-drug trafficking efforts as well as rehabilitation.
He urged the Government to integrate marginalised Muslim communities in social, economic and political life of the nation.
"Achieving that is part of the broader effort to bring fundamental change in Kenya through implementation of the reform agenda," he said.
Ranneberger said the US had strengthened partnership with Muslims in Kenya through scholarships to disadvantaged students, supporting the annual Lamu Cultural Festival and boosting exchange programmes.

38 illegal immigrants arrested Nairobi Eastleigh

The Standerd Kenya

Tuesday, 7th September 2010

38 illegal immigrants arrested Nairobi  Eastleigh

Published on

Tuesday, 7th September 2010

By Cyrus Ombati
Thirty-eight illegal immigrants have been arrested in a police swoop. The foreigners who included 28 Somalis, four Eritreans, five Pakistanis and one Congolese were arrested from different houses during the operation.
Police said the victims did not have legal documents. Nairobi Area PPO Anthony Kibuchi said they would continue with the operation across the city after it emerged there are many illegal immigrants.
ÒWe have realised there are so many such people here and we urge them to either register with the authorities or face the law,Ó said Mr Kibuchi. They were taken to different police stations, before they appear before court.
Those arrested on Monday night were taken to different police stations for grilling before they could appear before court.

Ethiopians arrested earlier

The arrests came days after 89 Ethiopians were arrested from a stuffy house in Uthiru area for being in the country illegally.
They were all staying in a four-bed roomed house and they took bread and tea daily as their meal.

The Ethiopians have started serving a three-month jail term after failing to raise a fine of Sh10,000 each.
The Ethiopians told Kibera senior magistrate Grace Nzioka they were on transit to South Africa where they had been promised jobs.
The magistrate noted the country was becoming a hub for human trafficking and deterrent measures were needed to check the crime.
Interestingly 39 of those arrested in Uthiru had earlier this year been nabbed in Kajiado area and sentenced to various jail terms for similar offenses but it is not clear how they found their freedom.
Police say most immigrants pass through the porous borders before ending up in Nairobi but fail to register or report to the immigration officials as required by the laws.
Investigations show some of the immigrants are behind a number of crimes where they stay, which is a concern to authorities.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hotel Suicide Bomber Linked to al-Shabab's Senior Leader

VOA NEWS Africa 

Somali government forces walk outside the Muna Hotel which was stormed by a suicide bomber and a gunman in Mogadishu, Somalia, 24 Aug 2010
Photo: AP
Somali government forces walk outside the Muna Hotel which was stormed by a suicide bomber and a gunman in Mogadishu, Somalia, 24 Aug 2010

One of the suicide bombers who took part in Tuesday's deadly attack against Somali lawmakers in a Mogadishu hotel has been identified as a young man recruited by an al-Shabab senior leader, who is believed to be playing a major role in transforming the extremist group into a proxy for al-Qaida.
Michael Leiter is head of the National Counterterrorism Center. He spoke with VOA Senior News Analyst Gary Thomas about al-Shabab and the tragedy in Somalia.
VOA sources in Somalia have identified one of the two suicide bombers in Tuesday's attack as 16-year-old Aden Hussein, who had been working as a body guard for senior al-Shabab leader Muktar Robow, also known as Abu Mansur.

Hussein's identity was confirmed through photographs taken of the attackers in the aftermath of the bombings at Muna Hotel, which killed more than 30 people, including several Somali members of parliament.

Who is he?

The second suicide bomber has not yet been identified.  But the sources say Aden Hussein was from the southwestern town of Baidoa in Somalia's Bay region, an al-Shabab stronghold.  Muktar Robow is from Bay and members of his Rahanweyn clan are well-represented in the Baidoa area.

There is speculation that Robow may have hand-picked Hussein and other boys to groom them for suicide missions.  Another young suicide bomber, who took part in the February 2009 attack on Burundian peacekeepers in Mogadishu, is also said to have worked as a body guard for Muktar Robow.

Robow spent several months in Afghanistan in 2000 training with the Taliban and al-Qaida and emerged as a radical Islamist leader in Somalia during the brief rule of the Islamic Courts Union in 2006.

After its collapse following Ethiopia's military intervention in Somalia, Robow helped reconstitute al-Shabab and became its spokesman and eventually the group's deputy commander.

In 2007, Robow portrayed al-Shabab as an Islamist nationalist movement and denied the group had any links to al-Qaida.  But in January, he openly declared the group's allegiance to the terrorist group and offered to send fighters to Yemen to help al-Qaida there in its fight against government forces.

Intelligence analysis

U.S. intelligence officials believe Robow has been instrumental in attracting foreign, al-Qaida-trained fighters to Somalia in recent years.   Hundreds of fighters from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, Chechnya, among others, have joined al-Shabab ranks.  Many brought with them the know-how and experience of conducting roadside bombings and suicide attacks.

Ugandan and Burundian troops working as peacekeepers in an African Union mission in Somalia, known as AMISOM, have been al-Shabab's main target.  In July, the extremist group claimed responsibility for double suicide bombings in Kampala as punishment for Uganda's participation in AMISOM. 

Many observers say al-Shabab is trying to pressure an AMISOM withdrawal because the peacekeeping force is the only obstacle in the way of al-Shabab taking over the country.

The attack on Muna Hotel demonstrated that al-Shabab's reach is growing in the capital.  Somali parliament member Mohamed Amin Osman says many of the 550 lawmakers do not feel safe in Somalia and have left or are leaving the country.

"The United Nations never planned any protection of the Somali MPs," AMISOM never planned any protection of Somali MPs.  They protect only three people - the speaker, the president and the prime minister.  That is it.  Even ministers do not have any protection.  And 95 percent of the town is under the control of al-Shabab.  So, this is the problem."

The African Union considers the Somalia peacekeeping mission critical to stabilizing the country.  But critics of AMISOM say the presence of foreign troops in Somalia is allowing al-Shabab to pose as nationalists and gives extremists an excuse to carry out deadly attacks.  

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