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Somalia Report Weekly Newsletter-Volume 9

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Friday July 15, 2011 - 20:04:28 in Reports by Super Admin
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    Somalia Report Weekly Newsletter-Volume 9

    July 15, 2011 Issue 1, Volume 9

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July 15, 2011 Issue 1, Volume 9
Dear Readers,

The big story this week was still the drought and ensuing refugee crisis, as the international response began to slowly gather pace.

First up - unsurprisingly, given their reputation as being the most-effective UN body - was UNICEF. The agency responded quickly to militant Islamist group al-Shabaab's lifting of a ban on foreign aid groups working in areas under its control tosend in five metric tons of aid to the insurgent-controlled Baidoa. The agency issued a grim warning as it did so, saying the 460 children it had counted as dying from drought-related causes this year was just the tip of the iceberg.



We then sawfurther action, with the US promising $5 million in aid, Kenya agreeing to finally open an extra camp in the overcrowded Dadaab refugee complex, and Action Against Hunger announcing a hefty 24 metric tons of aid would be heading to Mogadishu early next week.

While the US is opening its wallet, it was rather more cagey about al-Shabaab's lifting of the ban, and it is no wonder given the volatile internal dynamics in the insurgent group. Disputes over allowing foreign aid agencies back inhave worsened internal disputesand apparently increased discontent with the group's leader Ahmed Godane. There were even reports of some fighters pulling out of Mogadishu as a result.


The Somali government has also said it is responding to the crisis, although officials are pleading poverty - despite being $3.6 million dollars richer after the recent confiscation of pirate ransom cash from a foreign security team - and calling for the international community to help.

Conflict

There was still little fighting to speak of in south and central Somalia or the capital Mogadishu, as hundreds of thousands of internally displaced clog the streets and both sides seemingly prioritize the battle for hearts and minds through providing the most effective response to the desperate hordes.

More battles in the border regions could be in the offing, however, as pro-government militia Ahlu Sunnah wal Jamaaappointed a new leaderfor southern Somalia to replace Sheikh Hassan Sheikh Abdi Qoryooley, who was killed in an al-Shabaab ambush in May.ASWJ said that under the leadership of the new boss, the impressively titled Sheikh Aydarus Sheikh Ahmed Siid Warsame, the militia would soon relaunch the offensive that saw new territory taken in Gedo earlier this year.

In Puntland there were worrying signs that the conflict with militia loyal to Mohamed Siad Atam - who denies links with al-Shabaab - is going to remain a long-running concern.Two Puntland forces were killed in an ambushby Atam's men, showing that operations to flush him out are not exactly going to plan.


Piracy

After a prolonged period of inactivity due to the bad weather, Somali pirates got back on the horse this week with theseizure of a vessel carrying several thousand goatsto Dubai. Details on the vessel's name and ownership are sketchy and uncertain, but according to Puntland officials and diplomats in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, the United Arab Emirates-owned Al Nasr was seized shortly after it left the Puntland port of Bosaso on Wednesday. Both sources say that seven Pakistani and seven Indians were on board. The vessel has been taken to an unknown location, and there is no information on the condition of the crew. Nor do we know how the goats are doing, but given that boiled and roasted goat is a popular meal in the region, we can only fear the worst.

The pirate gang holding the MT Gemini obviously got a good deal on phone credit on Friday, for they embarked on a calling frenzy, informing seemingly every journalist in Somalia that they expectcompensation from the South Korean government for peers killed earlier this year.Should the government not comply with this demand, the pirates warn they will execute four South Korean crew members from the vessel. While using the media to advance ransom negotiations is not a new tactic, trying to get money directly from governments is relatively recent. Given that the South Koreans have shown they are not afraid to their hands dirty, antagonizing the government may not prove to be the wisest tactic.

There is plenty more piracy news, but rather than rehash it here, we point you to ourweekly piracy report, hot off the griddle today. We can assure you this rather underhand tactic has nothing to do with the fact it is 6pm on a Friday evening, and the bars have been open for quite some time now.

On a final note, we have also started aFacebook page. Youcan also follow us on twitter (@SomaliaReport). Both are good ways for you social media types to give us glowing feedback, or virulent abuse, if that is what lights your lemon.

It only remains for us to wish those of you lucky enough to not be working every hour under the sun a pleasant weekend.

See you next week.

Regards,
The Editor.


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