- The Minister of interior said in a press conference that Al-Shabaab was behind the bombings.
- He said some of the Al-Shabaab members were detained after the attacks and others managed to flee to the war-torn city of Mogadishu in Somalia.
- The Minister said The Leader of the Al-Shabaab group, Ahmed Abdi Godane who is originally from Somaliland was the mastermind of the attacks.
- He said the regional court will announce the details of the operation very soon.
Suicide bombers attacked the UNDP office, Ethiopian Embassy and the Presidential Palace on the 29th of October 2008. About 24 people were killed and more than 30 were injured
Sunday, November 30, 2008
The following entities have been identified as being owned or controlled by the Government of Iran:
- NAFTIRAN INTERTRADE CO. (NICO) SARL (a.k.a. NICO), 6, Avenue de la Tour-Haldimand, Pully, VD, Switzerland 1009, Switzerland
- [IRAN]NAFTIRAN INTERTRADE COMPANY LTD (a.k.a. NAFT IRAN INTERTRADE COMPANY LTD; a.k.a. NICO), 22 Grenville St., St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands JE4 8PX, United Kingdom; 22 Grenville St., St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands JE 4UF, United Kingdom; Petro Pars Building, Saadat Abad Ave, No 35, Farhang Blvd, Tehran, Iran
- [IRAN]NATIONAL IRANIAN OIL COMPANY (a.k.a. NIOC), Hafez Crossing, Taleghani Avenue, P.O. Box 1863 and 2501, Tehran, Iran [IRAN]
Saturday, November 29, 2008
- al-ansari construction
Ali Iskandar Al Ansari & Sons Co.Product & Services: CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT & MACHINERY - RENTAL
Address:P.O. Box 22252, Doha, Qatar
Key Persons:Ismail Ali Eskander Al Ansari - General Manager
- al-baraka construction
Al Baraka Construction Co. Ltd. that provides its services in the construction domain.
- Indian islamic Assocation of Qatar
Islam will function as a catalyst in shaping up the future world. It is going to be the ultimate answer to Communism and Capitalism, said prominent Indian Islamic Scholar T K Abdullah.
Addressing a public meeting organised by Indian Islamic Association Qatar (IIAQ), Abdullah, a noted orator from the southern Indian State of Kerala said Islam will soon emerge as a major threat to Capitalism.
“Be it against Islam or in favour of it, Islam is the most widely debated issue in the contemporary world; and it is going to be the ultimate answer to the world’s problems. Islam will emerge as new world order blurring the boundaries of East and West”,he said. Quoting prominent Islamic scholars, Abdulla recalled how these visionaries had predicted the collapse of Communism decades before its fall in erstwhile Soviet Russia and East Europe. Now, it is Islam versus Capitalism. The foundation of capitalism has already been shaken. The whole system is struggling for its survival; and in the shaping up of new world order, Islam will certainly play a major role, he said.
T Arifali, Ameer, Jamaate Islami, Kerala wanted the authorities in India to expose the real hands behind the recent series blasts in country. (IE the Joooos -ed.)
- revolutionary armed force of the sahara
Revolutionary Armed Forces of the Sahara (FARS) is a toubou militant group in Niger, presumably of separatist intentions, who kidnapped two Italian tourists in August 2006. Boubakar Mohamed Sogoma, ethnically toubou, is a commander of FARS in 2008.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Representatives of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and a faction of the Eritrea-based Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS), led by Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, began their latest talks on 22 November.
"It was not perfect, but it was a compromise deal to get a unity government," Mohamed Abdi Yusuf, a member of the ARS central committee and one of the negotiators, told IRIN on 26 November. "It is a bitter pill but we have to swallow it for the good of the country and the people."
Other sources, however, said interim President Abdullahi Yusuf was not involved and opposed the deal.
"The president was not in any way involved in this agreement, therefore nothing agreed there is binding on him," Abdirashid Mohamed Iro, an MP and close adviser to Yusuf, said.
- The agreement provides for the enlargement of parliament to 550 members from the current 275.
- Two hundred seats will go to the ARS and 75 to civil society, including women, the business community and the diaspora.
- The talks also extended the life of the transitional period for two years, from August 2009.
Iro described the deal as unworkable. "A 550-member parliament for Somalia is simply unrealistic and unsustainable," he said. "We don't even have space big enough to hold meetings."
An analyst said it would be difficult to implement.
"Increasing the size of the parliament may just complicate matters and will make reaching decisions extremely difficult," Timothy Othieno, a regional analyst at the London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI), said.
The arrangement between the TFG and one faction was bound to come into conflict with the Asmara faction and Al-Shabab "which, unfortunately, once again, spells doom for the people of Somalia".
He added: "I am afraid this arrangement may fail."
Neither the armed wing of the Islamic Courts, the Al-Shabab group, nor the Asmara faction of the ARS, led by Sheikh Hassan Dahir, was involved in the Djibouti talks.
A civil society activist told IRIN the agreement was a compromise document "and will not please everybody", including those who signed it.
"The TFG is divided and so is the Alliance and that will make their work even more difficult," he said. "The main challenge now is not only to sell the agreement to the Somali people and the international community but to their own erstwhile allies."
Monday, November 24, 2008
- When will the outside assault come on the Shabaab - Pirates? Its coming before January.
- With the Shabaab and Islamist and al Qaeda support of the Shabaab, this is going to be generally beyond the scope of a private Snach and grab of hostages.
- I read the press being planted to prepare the public for the attack(s).
There are several international medium sized operations being planned as contingencies, US, Russia, India, China
- - I hope they talk to each other.
This is a time for cooperation. They can go back to being enemies later.
The Shabaab think they own Somalia, and they will not be intimidated by shows of force- These youg guns have nothing to live for but martyrdom.
- Find the three headed snake and cut of the heads
- Cut the snake's body to pieces
- Stand by near the pieces of the snake to find out who is funding them as their Islamist funders try to salvage what they can of the snake
- When the funders raise a new head from each piece, cut those heads off, and the hands of those who tried to resuscitate.
Bruno Schiemsky - who formerly monitored UN arms shipments into Somalia - says these funding links take a variety of forms:
India 'sinks Somali pirate ship'
Somalis grow fearful of Islamists
- Islamists have used the pirates to bring in arms shipments and foreign fighters, providing weapons and training in their use in return.
- They also help with bases from which the pirates operate Hardliners, known as the Shabab, now have a degree of control over several pirate groups and provide operating funds and specialist weapons in return for a share of the ransoms being paid to free the ships and crew
As many as 2,500 young Somalis have been trained by the Shabab at points all along the Somali coast
- The Islamists are using the pirates to train their own forces in naval tactics so that they can provide protection for arms being smuggled in Somalia from Eritrea
(where was Batista Tagme Na Wai? He has now arresed a Navy Sergeant in an attempted to again implicate
....On Monday, the president of the tiny West African country returned to work, meeting with diplomats and overseeing the creation of a commission that will investigate the attempted coup, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.
Col. Armando Nhaga confirmed that the arrested six soldiers were being questioned. Three others fled after the battle.
He said that among those still at large is Ntcham Yala, a navy sergeant who is believed to be close to the ousted head of the navy, Rear Adm. Bubo Na Tchuto.
Na Tchuto was placed under house arrest in August after being accused of attempting to orchestrate a coup. But he escaped six days later, fleeing by sea to neighboring Gambia, where he was briefly arrested and then released, Nhaga said.
Na Tchuto could not be located for comment Monday but he has previously denied involvement in the prior foiled coup.
- The U.N. says Guinea-Bissau is a key transit point for cocaine smuggled from Latin America to Europe.
- The government estimates that as much as 1,750 pounds of cocaine transits the country's borders each week, most of it flown in small planes from South America.
U.N. drug officials believe the traffickers drop off the drugs on the uninhabited islands that dot the country's coastline.
- It's a territory that until August was under the control of Na Tchuto's navy.
Sunday's attack came days after the government announced the provisional results of last week's parliamentary elections, which saw the party of former President Kumba Yala lose a fifth of its delegates.
- Yala rejected the results even though international observers deemed them legitimate.
Since winning independence from Portugal in 1973, Guinea-Bissau has suffered multiple coups and a civil war.
- Vieira himself came to power in a 1980 coup, while Kumba Yala was deposed in one in 2003.
Posted to the web 23 November 2008
Soldiers attacked the residence of President João Bernardo Vieira of Guinea-Bissau in the early hours of Sunday in what appeared to be post-election instability, news agencies report.
- Reuters reported that Shola Omoregie, the United Nations Secretary-General's representative in Guinea-Bissau, said the president and his family had survived the attack but that "the situation is very serious."
- The agency quoted military chief General Batista Tagme Na Wai as saying five attackers had been arrested, "and the situation is under control.
- The Associated Press reported the interior minister, Cipriano Cassama, as saying one member of the presidential guard had been killed and several injured.
- The BBC's West Africa correspondent described the assault as an apparent attempt at a coup.
- Election officials announced on Friday that the former ruling party, PAIGC (the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, founded by Amílcar Cabral), had won parliamentary elections held on November 16.
- The recent breakdown of a stability pact had caused concern that the country was too unstable to hold elections.
Email This Page Print This Page Comment on this article View comments allAfrica.com
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I wonder al-Shabaab is protecting some of their financial backers....
See the story below...
Written by Ali Moallim
Saturday, 22 November 2008
Mogadishu,(insidesomalia.org)- Dozens of Somali Islamist insurgents stormed a port on Friday hunting the pirates behind the seizure of a Saudi supertanker that was the world's biggest hijack, a local elder said.
Separately, police in the capital Mogadishu said they had ambushed and shot dead 17 Islamist militants, in the latest illustration of the chaos in the Horn of Africa country that has fuelled a dramatic surge in piracy.
The Sirius Star a Saudi vessel with a $100 million oil cargo and 25-man crew from the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Croatia, Poland and Britain -- is believed anchored offshore near Haradheere, about half-way up Somalia's long coastline.
"Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country and hijacking its ship is a bigger crime than other ships," Sheikh Abdirahim Isse Adow, an Islamist spokesman, told Reuters. "Haradheere is under our control and we shall do something about that ship."
Both the U.S. Navy and Dubai-based ship operator Vela International said they could not confirm a media report the hijackers were demanding a $25 million ransom. That would be the biggest demand to date by pirates who prey on boats in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean off Somalia.
A pirate identifying himself as Jamii Adam told the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that negotiations were taking place with the ship's owners, saying the ransom demanded was not excessive but declining to give a figure.
He said it had cost the pirates $500,000 to seize the vessel. "We bore many costs to hijack it," he said.
....The elder in Haradheere port told Reuters the Islamists arrived wanting to find out immediately about the Sirius Star, which was captured on Saturday about 450 nautical miles off Kenya in the pirates' furthest strike to date.
"The Islamists arrived searching for the pirates and the whereabouts of the Saudi ship," said the elder, who declined to be named. "I saw four cars full of Islamists driving in the town from corner to corner.
The Islamists say they will attack the pirates for hijacking a Muslim ship."
In Mogadishu, al Shabaab gunmen drove to the home of the local Madina district chairman early in the morning, but found police officers lying in wait, witnesses said.
"We got information before they left their hideouts and we were able to surround them," said a police spokesman. "Thirteen of the dead bodies lie in the street near the chairman's house."
Residents said the al Shabaab fighters wore black scarves round their heads with Arabic script reading "God is great".
Somalis are traditionally moderate Muslims, and analysts say al Shabaab -- which Washington has listed as a foreign terrorist organisation with close links to al Qaeda does not have deep popular support, despite having the upper hand militarily.
Somalia has been without effective central government since the 1991 toppling of a military dictator by warlords.
The capture of the Sirius Star has caused panic around the world, with the rampant piracy threatening to become a further drag on trade at a time of global economic downturn.
Kenya's Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula summoned foreign ambassadors in Nairobi to appeal for their countries to make all efforts to end the menace. "Act now and not tomorrow," he said.
The Rest @ Inside Somalia
Washington, DC--The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated three members of al-Shabaab, a violent and brutal extremist group in Somalia.
"Today's action targets three leaders of al-Shabaab, an al Qaida-linked terrorist group that uses lethal tactics to undermine peace and civil society in Somalia,"
said Adam Szubin, director of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control. "These terrorist commanders have had direct involvement in the kidnappings and cold-blooded murders of numerous Somali officials and civilians and they should be cut off from the world's financial system."
Al-Shabaab has used intimidation and violence to undermine the Somali government and threaten civil society activists working to bring about peace through political dialogue and reconciliation. It has claimed responsibility for shooting Deputy District Administrators in Somalia and for several bombings and shootings in Mogadishu targeting Ethiopian troops and Somali government officials.
In addition to attacks that have killed or wounded various Somali government officials, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the February 6, 2008 bombings in Boosaaso, Puntland, which killed 22 Ethiopian civilians and wounded 66.
Further, a number of al-Shabaab members are affiliated with al Qaida, and many of al-Shabaab's senior leaders are believed to have trained and fought with al Qaida in Afghanistan.
The U.S. Department of State named al-Shabaab as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on February 26, 2008.
Today's action was taken pursuant to Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.
- Any assets these individuals hold under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen
- U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the designees.
AHMED ABDI AW-MOHAMED
- Ahmed Abdi Aw MohammedMuktar
- Abdulrahim Abuzubair
- Shaykh Mukhtar
- Abu Zubeyr
- Godani Godane
- DOB: 10 July 1977
- POB: Hargeysa, Somalia
- Nationality: Somali
Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed is the founder and a current leader of al-Shabaab.
- He claimed his group was responsible for the May 2007 assassination of a judge in Beledweyne, Somalia, and in March 2007 he coordinated attacks on Ethiopian troops in Somalia.
- Aw-Mohamed has also served as a conduit for financing to al-Shabaab.
ISSA OSMAN ISSA
- Abdullah Bur
- Abdullah Atto
- Abdala Sudani
- DOB: 1973
- POB: Malindi, Kenya
- Nationality: Kenyan
Issa Osman Issa has a leadership role in al-Shabaab and has served as a commander of al-Shabaab forces in Somalia.
- In late April 2007, Issa led a militia assault against Mogadishu's Basil Hotel, which was often frequented by Ugandan peacekeepers.
- He also was reportedly involved in recruiting an individual to carry out a successful April 2007 suicide attack against the Ethiopian military presence in Afgooye, Somalia.
- Before al-Shabaab's creation, Issa was one of the operatives who fired the surface-to-air missiles used in the failed 2002 attempt to shoot down an Israeli airliner in Mombasa, Kenya.
- Issa was also involved in the planning of the near-simultaneous attack in 2002 against the Paradise Hotel in Kikambala, Kenya, in which a vehicle-borne explosive device struck the hotel, killing 12 and injuring 40.
- Mukhtar Ali Rubu
- Mukhtar Abdullahi Ali
- Mujahid Mukhtar Robow Ali
- Shaykh Mukhtar Robo Ali
- Abu Mansur
- Abu Mansour
- DOB: 1969 ALT. DOB: 10 October 1969*
- POB: Xudur, Somalia
- ALT. POB: Keren, Eritrea
- *Nationality: Eritrean*
- National ID No.: 1372584
- Kenya*Passport No: 0310857, Eritrea, issued 21 August 2006, expires 20 August 2008*
*This identifying information is derived from an Eritrean passport issued under the alias name of Mukhtar Abdullahi Ali.
- Mukhtar Robow serves as al-Shabaab's spokesperson, communicating to the press and public on its behalf. He has also served as al-Shabaab's spiritual leader and as its military commander in Southern Somalia.
- As an al-Shabaab military commander, Robow has targeted Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG), Ethiopian and African Union troops in Somalia.
- In December 2007, Robow's al-Shabaab forces attacked military bases of the Somali government forces, Ethiopian forces and African Union peacekeepers in Mogadishu.
- In addition, Robow and former al-Shabaab leader Aden Hashi Ayrow (deceased) were responsible for the November 2006 suicide attack against a TFG checkpoint in Baidoa, Somalia. The attack killed at least eight and wounded four.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Millions of dollars obtained through piracy in the Indian Ocean off Somalia are ending up in Kenya and other parts of the world through a complex money laundering scheme, investigations have revealed.
Since the beginning of the year, at least 40 ships have been hijacked by Somali pirates who have received an estimated $30 million (Sh2.4 billion) in ransom payments. Most of these attacks occur in the Gulf of Aden, but the pirates have been widening their range of operations to include waters off Kenya.
International security agencies are now citing Kenya as a hub for piracy-related money laundering activities.
A report by the US State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs says Kenya’s financial system may be laundering more than $100 million (Sh7.8 billion) each year due to the government’s failure to develop an effective anti-money laundering (AML) regime.
- “Kenya lacks the institutional capacity, investigative skill and equipment to conduct complex investigations independently.
- There have been no arrests or prosecutions for money laundering or terrorist financing,” the report says.
- It adds that even for the existing regulations, there is little enforcement. It cites the cross-border currency controls that require any amount of cash above $5,000 (Sh393,000) to be disclosed at the point of entry or exit for record-keeping purposes, but says this provision is rarely enforced, and authorities keep no record of cash smuggling attempts.
Recent investigations in which a local bank was linked to laundering of tax evasion proceeds illustrate Kenya’s vulnerability to money laundering, the report adds. “This case illustrates that criminals have been taking advantage of Kenya’s inadequate AML regime for years by evading oversight and/or by reportedly paying off enforcement officials, other government officials and politicians.”
It also says that Kenya has not criminalised the financing of terrorism as required by the United Nations, adding that with the exception of intercepted drugs and narcotics, seizures of assets are rare.
Investigators also raised the alarm about hawala, an informal money transfer system known by its Arabic name, that is facilitating money laundering.
- Players in the maritime industry say this elaborate money transfer system is not only thriving in major urban areas in Kenya, but in numerous African countries, the Arab region, Europe, America and Canada as well where millions of dollars are exchanged without any documentation.
Investigations by the Sunday Nation have unearthed a money laundering network being run in backstreet dens in:
- Mombasa’s Old Town
- Nairobi’s Eastleigh neighbourhood
- other major towns in the region.
"Many people have opted for the hawala money transfer system as it is cheap and cost-effective, unlike going to the bank to process letters of credit or telegraphic transfers,” a trader conversant with the system told the Sunday Nation.
He said all one had to do was go to a hawala broker, deposit the money for a small fee, then the recipient is alerted by phone or e-mail where to collect the money.
- Charges vary from Sh1,000 to transfer Sh100,000 within East Africa to Sh2,000 to transfer Sh260,000 to Dubai. Recognised financial institutions charge as much as Sh10,000 to transfer the same amounts.
- Investigators say this system of money transfer not only abets piracy but also hampers investigations by countries tracking proceeds from drug-trafficking, arms-smuggling and terrorism activities.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Kenya’s national security is threatened by raiders from Somalia who are by no means your ordinary bandit or cattle rustler.
These raiders are well-organised, well-equipped and well-trained, and they appear to have an agenda in their sporadic intrusions into Kenya.
And the country’s response? We have been talking to elders to seek the return of stolen vehicles and weaponry, and even kidnapped people.
This has not worked because it amounts to mollycoddling people who should be taught a lasting lesson — people who invade a sovereign state ought to be repelled by military means, otherwise they will never stop.
It is on record that since mid last year, raiders from Somalia have infiltrated our porous border on four separate occasions,
- abducted police officers and executed them
- attacked a police camp and rescued two people suspected of terrorism,
- Stolen a police vehicle and weapons, and driven merrily back to Somalia.
- Two months ago, they raided another Administration Police camp, killed two officers and Three civilians, and stole an assortment of rifles.
- Now they have abducted two nuns and spirited them to Somalia.
Again, nothing of a deterrent nature was done, emboldening the raiders even more.
It is speculated that the raiders may be an al-Qaeda offshoot, the al-Shabaab, who have always been active on the Somali coast, but are now making their presence felt more openly.
Hot pursuit and deterrence are key here. If this country keeps negotiating for the return of hijack victims and vehicles, these people will never stop.
There is no way out but to beef up security on the border, which is no mean feat, considering its porosity and the fact that Kenya may have no capacity to patrol it.
But there is a way out of those handicaps, which is where assistance is required.
More patrols are definitely indicated with enough firepower to mount cross-border hot pursuit.
For that, our soldiers need high mobility. Isn’t it time someone considered purchasing and using helicopter gunships to teach these gangsters a lasting lesson?
Sunday, November 16, 2008
— The Somali government is close to collapse because disputes within its ranks have allowed armed Islamic insurgents to take control of much of the country, the president said.
President Abdullahi Yusuf's remarks to about 100 Somali lawmakers in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, late Saturday represent the first admission by any official that the government is losing control.
- Hours earlier, a radical Islamic group seized another Somali port town, consolidating its control over a southwestern region that borders the Somali capital."You know what the situation is. Because of the endless disputes in government, the opposition groups have taken most of the country, including Elasha, which is 18 kilometers (11 miles) from the capital," Yusuf said in comments that received wide coverage on radio stations in Somalia.
- Yusuf said his government only had control of the capital and the southwestern town of Baidoa, which is the seat of Parliament."Imagine how the country's future will be if al-Shabab takes (control of Somalia). It is really at risk," the president said, referring to one of the Islamic groups that has recently made significant territorial gains.
The Somali lawmakers came to Kenya two weeks ago to meet with regional leaders for a one-day meeting to discuss Somalia's future. They have stayed on, in part because many of their families live in the safety of Nairobi.Yusuf appealed to the lawmakers to return to Somalia and take steps aimed at "saving a government on the verge of total collapse."
He said that he had still failed to agree with his prime minister on a Cabinet. Last month, a regional grouping that mediated the formation of Somalia's government gave the Somali leaders until Thursday to form a new Cabinet.
The seven-nation grouping, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, did not say what would happen if the leaders failed to meet the deadline.
In its latest offensive, al-Shabab on Saturday seized without resistance the port town of Barawe, 110 miles (180 kilometers) southwest of Mogadishu.
The U.S. considers al-Shabab — meaning The Youth — a terrorist organization and accuses the group of harboring the al-Qaida-linked terrorists who allegedly blew up the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, killing more than 230 people.
Officials of a separate Islamic group on Saturday publicly whipped 32 traditional dancers in the southern town of Balad because they said it is "Un-Islamic" for men and women to dance together.
Islamic fighters have seized most of southern Somalia, but unlike in 2006 when they operated under one umbrella group, they are split and at times compete for control of the same key towns.The Rest @ Gargaar
Friday, November 14, 2008
BRITISH private security guards have repulsed a Somali pirate attack on an unidentified chemtanker, using equipment billed as the the sonic equivalent of a laser, according to the principle of a company that specialises in such services.
- Nick Davis, a former army pilot who launched Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Solutions earlier this year, claims to have three-man teams of ex-special forces personnel currently working on six vessels in the Gulf of Aden, with this engagement marking the first actual clash.
- He says he has been inundated with inquiries in recent weeks, and is looking to open offices in Aden and Salalah.
- The incident took place just 18 miles off the coast of Yemen, inside the Maritime Security Patrol Area established in August by a coalition of international navies, and over 300 miles north of the Somali coast.
“There was a direct approach at high speed towards our ship. We then activated our procedures. The ship started evasive manoeuvres, all the hoses were on full power. Then we used the magnetic acoustic device,” said Mr Davis. “They closed to within 500m and then turned away to a ship that was due south of ours by approximately five miles.
“Based on intelligence from our team leader on board, there was intent to attack the vessel and clearly, if no one had been on board, we do not know what the outcome would have been today.”
- Other recent victims include Cyprus-flagged but Russian-operated boxship Kapitan Maslov (16,575 gt, built 1998), which was attacked on Thursday afternoon while around 300 nautical miles from the Somali coastline.
- The vessel - associated with Fesco and en route from Colombo to Mombasa - was assaulted by pirates using a grenade launcher and automatic weapons from a high-speed launch, causing a fire in the cabin of the third assistant to the master. The crew were able to localise and extinguish the fire, while the vessel was able to manoeuvre and escape from the pirates. None of the 17 people on board were injured, according to a statement from Russia’s ministry of transport.
- China’s official Xinhua news agency also stated on Friday that a Chinese fishing vessel with a multinational crew of 24, named as Tianyu No 8, was seized by Somali pirates.
- Reuters added that militants from the Islamic al Shabaab captured a small town on the outskirts of capital Mogadishu, just one mile from an important base occupied by Ethiopian troops sent to reinforce the country’s struggling transitional government.
- Al Shabaab has rejected the UN-sponsored deal to establish a power-sharing administration between the government and some moderate opposition figures, and are ignoring a ceasefire request.
* NATO has beefed up its naval anti-terrorist effort in the Mediterranean, after Ukrainian warship URS Ternopil joined the Operation Active Endeavour taskforce at the end of last week.
The AU's Peace and Security Council asked the UN ``to take necessary steps to authorize the deployment of a UN peacekeeping operation in Somalia as a matter of urgency,'' according to an e-mailed statement.
- Somalia is in its 18th year of civil war that has left at least 1.3 million displaced and nearly 40 percent of the country in need of emergency humanitarian relief.
- This week the Islamic militia al-Shabaab captured the town of Merka in southern Somalia, a key port used by the World Food Programme to deliver relief supplies to 800,000 people in the region.
- Somalia's internationally backed Transitional Federal Government now controls only pockets of southern Somalia and is largely supported by troops from neighboring Ethiopia.
- The AU currently has about 3,400 peacekeepers in Somalia who have failed to halt the fighting.
On Nov. 5, the TFG signed a peace agreement with a moderate Islamist faction that called for the formation of a joint security force and the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops. Al- Shabaab has rejected that agreement and is fighting to establish an Islamic state in Somalia. The U.S. considers al-Shabaab a terrorist group.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
In this photo released by the U.S. Navy on Monday, Nov. 10, 2008, the hijacked merchant vessel MV Faina, right, is seen from the USS Vella Gulf, left, at sea off the coast of Somalia Sunday, Nov. 9, 2008. The commander of a multinational naval force off Somalia's coast says a shipping corridor patrolled by warships is helping protect merchant vessels from a surge in pirate attacks.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Pirates hijacked a Philippines chemical tanker with 23 crew near Somalia, bringing the total number of attacks in waters off the impoverished African nation this year to 83, a maritime official said Tuesday. --> -->
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Pirates hijacked a Philippines chemical tanker with 23 crew near Somalia, bringing the total number of attacks in waters off the impoverished African nation this year to 83, a maritime official said Tuesday.
The tanker was heading to Asia when it was seized Monday in the Gulf of Aden by pirates armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, said Noel Choong, who heads the
International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur.
In Manila, Foreign Ministry spokesman Claro Cristobal said the Philippine Embassy in Nairobi and the ship's operator identified the chemical tanker as the MT Stolt Strength.
All 23 seamen on board are Filipino and are "reportedly unharmed," he said, adding that Philippine authorities are coordinating with the ship's operator to secure the early safe release of the vessel and crew.
Choong said there was an attempted attack the same day on a refrigerated cargo ship in eastern Somalia, but the vessel managed to escape with evasive maneuvering. The ship flies a Saudi flag but is operated out of Britain.
Separately, the Indian navy said its marine commandos operating from a warship prevented pirates from hijacking an Indian merchant vessel in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday.
Choong said the bureau was still verifying the attack with the Indian ship owner. He said there were several other attempted attacks Tuesday, but details are still being ascertained.
The bureau has issued an urgent warning to ships to take extra measures to deter pirates even while sailing in a corridor of the gulf patrolled by a multinational naval force.
- "The corridor is protected, but safe passage is not 100 percent guaranteed.
- The patrol boats cannot be everywhere at the same time. The ship master must maintain a strict radar watch for pirates," he said.
- Many ships have fended off pirate attacks after seeking help from the coalition forces, he added.
- Russia began escorting a Danish-operated cargo ship with Russian crew members on Tuesday following pirate attacks that claimed another ship operated by the same company last week, officials from both countries said.
- NATO has sent three ships to the Gulf of Aden — one of the world's busiest shipping lanes — to help the U.S. Navy in anti-piracy patrols and to escort cargo vessels.
- The European Union has said at least four warships backed by aircraft will begin policing the dangerous waters in December.
- The EU flotilla will eventually take over the NATO patrols.
Despite the increased security, attacks have continued unabated off Somalia, which is caught up in an Islamic insurgency and has had no functioning government since 1991.
As of Monday, there have been 83 attacks this year in Somali waters, with 33 ships hijacked. Twelve vessels remain in the hands of pirates along with more than 200 crew, Choong said, most notably a Ukrainian freighter loaded with tanks and weapons seized Sept. 25.
The Rest @ Times On Line
(Apprciation to Terror Free Somolia)
BELETWEIN, Somalia Nov 5 (Garowe Online) - Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the opposition leader in Somalia, has announced that he is stepping down as executive head of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU).
In a BBC Somali Service interview, Sheikh Sharif said the ICU is planning to hold a general congress and elect new leadership.
Nov. 4: Sheikh Sharif lands in Beletwein/GO"I am not ready to become a candidate because I have been holding [the post] for a long time and I must now give an opportunity to new people," Sheikh Sharif said.
He offered an ambiguous answer when asked whether or not he will join the Somali Transitional Federal Government a charge often voiced by ICU hardliners who have rejected the Djibouti Agreement.
- This week, Sheikh Sharif led a delegation to Somalia that includes other officers of the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS), an opposition coalition formed in Eritrea in 2007 but split into rival factions after the Djibouti Agreement was signed to end the two-year insurgency.
- The ARS delegation has been warmly received in Jowhar and Beletwein, two provincial capitals controlled by ICU forces.
- Ahmed Abdullahi, spokesman for Sheikh Sharif's delegation, told reporters Wednesday that the ARS delegation has met with ICU officials and traditional elders in Beletwein.
"Sheikh Sharif presented our [ARS] political agenda and urged all groups to support the peace process," the spokesman said.
- He welcomed a recent fatwa issued by a group of Islamic scholars that called for the ICU to hold a general conference this month inside Somalia intended to settle internal political differences.
- READ: Big welcome for Islamist chief in central Somalia
Thursday, November 06, 2008
The Department of Justice Just convicted a Hawaldar of deliberately funding money transfers from US government agents presenting themselves as arms and drug runners trying fund al Qaeda. Hawalas in Canada, England, Spain, Pakistan, Japan and Australia all participated in the Scheme.
This illustrates that either the system is so corruptable that that no checks and balances were put in place, or that many many Hawals are deliberately cooperate with terrorists.
Which is true?
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis sentenced Saifullah Anjum Ranjha, age 45, a Pakistani national residing in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, today to 110 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiring to launder money and for concealing terrorist financing, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Judge Garbis also signed a preliminary order forfeiting $2,208,000 of Ranjha's assets.
"The hawala system can be used by criminals to launder money without using financial institutions, by giving the money to a person in the United States and picking it up in a foreign country," said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. "Identifying hawala networks that violate the law often requires the cooperation of international authorities."
"As the U.S. financial industry strengthens its anti-money laundering programs, the use of the hawala system to move illicit funds becomes increasingly attractive to terrorist and other criminal organizations," stated Scot R. Rittenberg, Acting Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "We will continue to work jointly with our domestic and foreign law enforcement partners to investigate the movement of illicit funds via the hawala system."
"Terrorist networks need money to be effective. Fortunately, IRS-CI is effective at following the money to find the source of the crime," said Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge, C. Andre' Martin.
The Rest @ the Federal Bureau of Investigation (DOJ)
ALGIERS (AFP) — Armed Islamists have assassinated the mayor of a northern Algerian town after kidnapping him, the interior ministry said in a statement Thursday.
Security forces found the body of Timezrit mayor Fateh Bouchibane along with a charred vehicle belonging to the local government, the ministry said in a statement reported by the APS news service.
Bouchibane was kidnapped late Wednesday by an unspecified armed Islamist group at an intersection in Tifra, some 263 kilometres (163 miles) east of Algiers, it said.
In recent months, Algeria has witnessed a wave of attacks claimed by Al-Qaeda's north African offshoot, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
The Rest @ AFP
In fact, Robow has said they plan to expand their attacks until "all of Somalia is under Sharia", and their recent multi-city simultenouse sucicide bombings are a taste of more to come unless steps are taken by the international community.
Robow is in Charge in the South, and Islamic Courts Union no longer has a say in his plans. Make no mistake, his the emir of the Shabaab.
I believe Kenya should be added to Ethiopia, Eritria, Djibouti as countries into which Shabaab will conduct Jihad attacks.
Horn of Africa's challenges grow - 05 Nov 2008
SUBJECT: The political and economic outlook for the Horn of Africa in 2009.
SIGNIFICANCE: The region in 2009 will continue to see some of the world's worst humanitarian, political, and security crises, but major political changes are in the air that could yield new opportunities for stability.
ANALYSIS: After a turbulent 2008, the Horn of Africa will continue to face serious challenges into 2009, especially in Somalia.
- Food insecurity will be a major factor across the region, contributing to economic pressures from high prices and decreased remittances.
- Somalia's TFG and moderate opposition face a steep challenge in implementing the Djibouti Agreement, despite likely Ethiopian withdrawal.
- Ethiopia's border stalemate with Eritrea will continue, though the cost of war is probably too high for both sides.
- Somalia's Shabaab militants may take their insurgency against Ethiopia out of Mogadishu, and into Ethiopia itself or third countries.
Somalia Developments in Somalia will reverberate across the region:
1. Djibouti Agreement. The June 2008 Djibouti Agreement represents a hopeful breakthrough between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and moderate elements of the opposition, the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS).
- The accord commits both sides to a ceasefire, establishes a joint security committee for eventual integration of forces, envisions power-sharing talks, and calls for a UN mission to bolster African Union peacekeepers in order to permit the orderly withdraw of Ethiopian forces.
- However, the new moderate coalition formed under the agreement already faces serious resistance from hardliners in the TFG -- including President Abdullahi Yusuf and his supporters, who control all of the TFG security sector -- and the hardline Islamist Shabaab militia.
2. TFG future. The TFG enters the fifth and final year of its mandate completely dysfunctional and divided.
- There will probably be major leadership changes, and there is a real possibility that the TFG will be driven out of Mogadishu entirely by the insurgents once Ethiopian forces withdraw.
- The TFG's main preoccupation in 2009 will be to convince foreign governments and the UN to extend its mandate, despite its lack of progress.
- Donors do not want to see the TFG fail, and may consider other options even worse.
3. Ethiopian policies. Ethiopia has already redeployed much of its occupying force and appears intent on removing itself from Mogadishu later in November.
- The occupation has proven very costly to Ethiopia financially and diplomatically, and has had a corrosive effect on its military.
- However, Ethiopia has powerful security interests in shaping politics in post-intervention Somalia. It will thus keep some forces along border areas and will provide support to local allies to ensure, at a minimum, that hardline Islamists cannot consolidate control over Mogadishu.
4. Armed opposition. The insurgents in Somalia have essentially won -- they now control most of south and central Somalia and much of the capital.
- However, deep existing divisions between groups will certainly become worse once Ethiopian forces withdraw from Mogadishu and the TFG is no longer viable.
- Sporadic clashes between Islamist and clan militias answering to the ARS and the Shabaab have already occurred, with much more deadly clashes very likely to erupt in 2009 -- fuelled in part by external influences.
5. Humanitarian crisis. Somalia is now the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with 3.2 million people in need of aid, and relief efforts undermined by attacks on aid workers.
- The longer the crisis continues, the greater the danger that displaced Somalis will face famine conditions.
- If security improves in the capital, a massive spontaneous relocation of up to 700,000 displaced persons could result, creating its own relief challenges.
6. Somaliland. October terrorist bombings in Somaliland's capital Hargeysa badly shook residents, and reinforced fears that spill-over from the south will engulf the would-be state.
- Nevertheless, the longer-term impact of the terrorist bombings, for which Shabaab has claimed responsibility, will instead be the discrediting of radical Islamism in Somaliland and a concerted public and government effort to clamp down on hardline Islamists in their community.
- Somaliland is still likely to hold closely contested but not destabilising general elections sometime after March 2009.
7. Puntland and piracy. Security and governance in the northeast state of Puntland deteriorated badly in 2008, a trend that will worsen in 2009.
- Unpaid security personnel are the source of a major crime wave and the region is now the epicentre of the worst concentration of piracy in the world.
- The piracy is likely to face an increasingly heavy-handed international response, including attacks on the mainland lairs of the pirates and on the financial holdings of the powerful patrons behind the piracy.
- Puntland will also face severe security crises in 2009 if the TFG collapses and the uncontrolled government militiamen recruited from Puntland return home.
The UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea dissolved in 2008, and the stand-off over the disputed border between Ethiopia and Eritrea shows no signs of peaceful resolution.
- Despite a heavy military build-up on the border, the threat of warfare between the two states has abated somewhat; risks are too high to both sides at this time.
- Eritrea's inexplicable border skirmish with neighbouring Djibouti is unlikely to be rekindled, as Djibouti enjoys the support of France and the United States, both of which have military bases there.
- Nevertheless, Ethiopia and Eritrea will continue to engage in proxy wars aimed at destabilising the other.
In 2009, Addis Ababa's biggest crisis will be economic, with the possibility of serious public unrest if food insecurity worsens:
Food shortages. A combination of factors -- inflation, high food and fuel costs, drought and security operations -- has resulted in 12 million Ethiopians being in need of emergency food aid.
- This emergency is concentrated in rural areas of eastern and southern Ethiopia, but affects most of the country. Forecasts suggest the crisis will worsen into 2009.
- Violence limits humanitarian access in eastern Ethiopia.
Economic pressures. Years of impressive economic growth are coming to an end, with the IMF's growth forecast for 2009 cut back to 6.4%.
- Remittances from the large diaspora are expected to drop. Pressures on urban households are growing and could spark unrest in major cities, where the government enjoys little support.
- Political clampdown. In April, the government consolidated control of district level political units in elections that were boycotted by the opposition. The government is passing controversial legislation that would severely curtail the activity of civil society groups to engage in any advocacy or human rights work.
- This closure of political space is expected to continue through 2009 despite external protests.
Insurgencies and terror threats.
- Government forces will continue to mount counter-insurgency operations in Somali Regional State against the
- That region will remain very volatile, and military operations will continue to target civilian populations suspected of supporting the ONLF
- The expansion of Shabaab suicide bombings into Somaliland and Puntland, which in one case destroyed an Ethiopian government building in Hargeysa, suggests that Shabaab insurgents intend to take its war with Ethiopia beyond southern Somalia.
- Terrorist attacks against Ethiopian targets inside Ethiopia or in third countries are thus a growing possibility in 2009.
- Eritrea will continue to face extreme economic duress, including very worrisome food shortages, but will continue to embrace a policy of isolation and autarky in 2009.
- Opposition to the government is too weak to pose any threat of regime change, but the threat of a coup is worth watching if the current leadership allows the country to slip much further into economic collapse.
Djibouti's incumbent party, the Union for the Presidential Majority, won all 65 seats of parliament in 2008 elections that were boycotted by the opposition.
- President Hassan Gouled will face no serious opposition in 2009, but the threat of terrorist attacks in Djibouti is greater in the wake of the expanded campaign by the Shabaab insurgency.
CONCLUSION: Armed conflict will worsen in Somalia in the short term but is likely to subside in an inconclusive stalemate, as a partial Ethiopian withdrawal removes some of the main drivers of the armed insurgency. Threats of terrorist attacks are greater across the region in 2009, especially against Ethiopian targets. Economic woes and food shortages will be the main preoccupation across the region.
The Rest @ Relief Web
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
- In 1981, Uhrlau became an assistant to the Head of the Department for Protection of the Constitution of Hamburg, Christian Lochte, and in 1991 he took Lochte’s place.
- From 1996-98, Ernst Uhrlau was the Chief of Hamburg police.
- In 1998, Uhrlau was appointed a Coordinator of the Intelligence Community in the office of the Chancellor.
- On December 1, 2005, he was appointed to the post of the head of the BND.
The most outstanding of Uhrlau’s achievements in the post of Intelligence Community Coordinator was organizing the exchange between Israel and the Lebanese Hezbollah of the bodies of captured Israeli soldiers for captured militants in January 2004.
In the BND documents this operation received the name "The Blue-White Sky Action" ("Die Aktion Himmel blau-weiß"). During its realization Uhrlau had numerous contacts with representatives of both parties and repeated visits to Beirut, and he proved himself, above all, an outstanding diplomat.
It is believed Uhrlau is the current mediator between Hezbollah and Israel for the release of the two abducted Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, whose kidnapping triggered the 2006 Lebanon war.
Monday, November 03, 2008
By Hamsa Omar
Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- A 13-year-old rape victim in Somalia was stoned to death last week after being accused of adultery in breach of Islamic law, Amnesty International said, citing her father and other unidentified people.
Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was killed by a group of 50 men in a stadium in the southern port of Kismayo on Oct. 27 in front of 1,000 spectators, the London-based human rights group said in an e-mailed statement on Oct. 31.
Yusuf Abdi Mohamed, who witnessed the execution, told Bloomberg News on Oct. 28 that Duhulow was a 23-year-old woman who had confessed to adultery.
"She had in fact been raped by three men and had attempted to report this rape to the al-Shabaab militia, which controls Kismayo,'' Amnesty said. ``It was this act that resulted in her being accused of adultery and detained.
None of the men she accused of rape was arrested.''
Somalia is in its 18th year of civil war and hasn't had a functioning central administration since the ouster of former dictator Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991. Violence has escalated since Ethiopian troops helped Somalia's United Nations-backed government oust the Islamic Courts Union militia from southern and central parts of the country in January 2007.
Last week's stoning was the first such execution in Kismayo since the Islamist al-Shabaab movement captured the city in August and established Shariah courts. Shariah law operates under a code of Islamic principles first established in the Arab world by the prophet Muhammad in the seventh century.
Amnesty said that some of the Somali journalists who earlier reported Duhulow was 23 had said this age was an estimate based on her physical appearance.
Sheikh Hayakalah, the Sharia court judge, said in remarks broadcast on Radio Shabelle, a Mogadishu-based broadcaster, that Duhulow had officially confirmed her guilt and was ``happy with the punishment under Islamic law.''
``In contradiction to this claim, a number of eyewitnesses have told Amnesty International she struggled with her captors and had to be forcibly carried into the stadium,'' Amnesty said.
The organization said al-Shabaab has created a climate of ``extreme fear'' within the areas the militia controls in Somalia.
To contact the reporter on this story: Hamsa Omar in Mogadishu via Johannesburg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rest @ Bloomberg