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Somalia Report Weekly Newsletter - Volume 28

1
Friday December 02, 2011 - 22:09:49 in Reports by Super Admin
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    Somalia Report Weekly Newsletter - Volume 28

    Issue 1, Volume 28 Weekly Somalia report

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Issue 1, Volume 28 Weekly Somalia report

Dear Readers,

Mogadishu (Sunatimes) While Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and his ministersblithely played footballon Lido beach in Mogadishu last week in the latest attempt to portray the city as safe, ordinary citizens and soldiers who do not enjoy quite the same level of security were facing a different reality.



It seems at the moment that even if an al-Shabaab member were to stroll into the middle of town with an old-fashioned cartoon bomb, fuse sputtering merrily, held aloft over his head, he would still be able to blow his target to smithereens without being stopped.

The daily fizz of bullets may have stopped in most areas after al-Shabaab quit its bases, but plenty of IEDs and suicide bombers have taken its place. This week alone,four soldiers were killedin an assassination attempt against the deputy army commander,a team of street sweepers was killed by an IED,eleven people diedin two separate bombings on Tuesday,a blast injured at least four in Banadir Hospital and, most awful of all,two children diedwhen they an IED they were tossing around went off.

And this is what the TFG calls safe? We'd hate to see a dangerous week in the new Mogadishu. Perhaps the prime minister may find that trying to get his ramshackle security forces to stop al-Shabaab making life a misery for Mogadishu residents would be a better use of his time than showcasing his Zidane turn for the media.

Still, at least the government can point tointercepting two truckspacked with explosives that were heading for Dhobley to target Kenya and government forcesand brag aboutrepulsing an al-Shabaab attackon bases in Gedo.

Such minor successes in Gedo and Lower Juba could be threatened, however, if the government doesn't actually break out the cash and begin paying its troops outside the city. Mogadishu's soldiers have been paid after four months, but those fighting out in the sticks arestill penniless. Officials blame the pesky precipitation, which has also quite literally rained on Kenya's parade, saying it prevents them getting money out to soldiers.With al-Shabaab launchingregular attacks on bases and convoys in Gedo and Lower Juba, the government will need its troops motivated, and there is no better motivator than a regular pay check.

That same rain has delivered mixed blessings, bringing some relief to the parched land and allowing some IDPs tobegin returning home.It has, however, also led to anoutbeak of cholera and malariain Gedo and other regions as IDPs sup from muddy puddles while waiting for aid to arrive.

Al-Shabaab, perhaps also with one eye on the skies and a feeling that the worst of the drought is over, this week put the boot in further to aid agencies,officially banning 16 and raiding offices in Baidoa.It is a risky move by the insurgent group, which lost popularity due to earlier aid bans, but it nonetheless accused the agencies of the usual diet of spying and attempting to convert people to Christianity.In particular, banning the likes of UNICEF, which was consistently bringing supplies in to Baidoa to feed malnourished children, may not go down well with struggling communities. UNICEF warned that stopping it working would put further lives at risk.

Still, when one door closes another opens, and Ethiopiaincreasing its troop presence in Somaliacould help the insurgents once more paint themselves as stout defenders of Islam against the evil Christian infidel.Even al-Shabaab's proxy, Ahlu Sunnah wal Jamaa, this weekwarned it was concerned this might happen.

Before we move on to piracy, there were various other bits and bobs worth highlighting. The president of Galmudug is facing something of arevolt to his glorious leadershipfrom MPs, although he is doing his best to ignore it completely,and apeace deal was signedin Galkayo to end fighting there.So now peace reigns across Central Somalia, right? Wrong! In an all-too-familiar fashion, as soon as one group of people agree to stop killing each other,another bunch take up the baton.

Piracy

There were two releases this week, meaning prostitutes and purveyors of booze and drugs can look forward to brisk business. The Italian vessel Rosalia D'Amatowent for a reported $6 million, and theSingapore-flagged MT Geminifor $4 million.

Four South Koreans from the MT Gemini were granted an extended holiday in Somalia when their captors took them onshore, saying they are holding onto them because South Korea was holding pirates in its jails. Pirates have tried to exert similar pressure on India, to no avail, so don't expect much change in stance from the Asian nation.

Perhaps British hostages will be the next tools, as the Britsh Navy snarled with its stiff-upper-lip at a group of pirates,chasing them down and arresting seven. This was the latest setback for the pirates, who still haven't managed to get any new high-value cargo vessels to replace those sailing off. They now have just seven vessel that can command a decent ransom, and it looks like they will have to maximize every penny from those, and the aid workers and tourists they are holding, if they want to keep the piggy banks full into the future.

Those were the main developments, but if you want to read more on the other goings-on, you can do so in ourpiracy report.

New editor
And so, that's it from me in my final newsletter for Somalia Report. Jay Bahadur will be taking over in a little under two weeks to take Somalia Report forward, so I hope you welcome him with open arms while shedding a sneaky tear at my departure. And, if you happen to notice a few wet drips on this newsletter, I'll leave it up to you to decide whether they are my own salty tears or splashes from the bottle of champagne I may have just opened.

If you wish to follow my exploits as I head into the future as a published author, you can follow me on twitter (@MichaelLogan), check in on mywebsiteor follow myauthor pageon Facebook.

I wish you all the best for the future, and hope you continue to follow Somalia Report as the publication heads into its second year.

By Michael Logan.


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