Somali Agenda https://somaliagenda.com Reliable. Fast. Exclusive Thu, 21 Jun 2018 06:28:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 President Farmajo between “Qaybo” and Reform https://somaliagenda.com/president-farmajo-qaybo-reform/ https://somaliagenda.com/president-farmajo-qaybo-reform/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 03:45:54 +0000 http://somaliagenda.com/?p=9604 “The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.” William Butler Yeats Historians talk about Marx and Marxism as if relegated to the ash heap of history and those who still hold Marxist views are treated as perverse. However, since the election of President Farmajo I can’t get rid of Marx […]

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By Daud Ed Osman

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.” William Butler Yeats

Historians talk about Marx and Marxism as if relegated to the ash heap of history and those who still hold Marxist views are treated as perverse. However, since the election of President Farmajo I can’t get rid of Marx in my thoughts. I find myself relying Marx advice about Farmajo’s presidency by reading “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte” specially his opening paragraph which fascinates me after observing how Presidents Farmajo began his presidency and the contradiction between his government reform rhetoric and the new cabinet dominated by the supporters of the previous regime.
In his opening paragraph, Marx is interpreting the Hegel’s famous remark on historical evolution in which he said, “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” For me, this paragraph grasps the nature of Farmajo’s leadership and his claim of reinventing government with the help of thieves of state.
Marx went on by saying “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.” When President Farmjo declares war against Al-Shabaab or wears military camouflage or brings back the supporters of the previous regime, it is a sign that he is not able to imagine beyond “qabyo.” Even though he is claiming that he is committed to go beyond “qabyo” by reinventing government and fighting corruption. However the public doesn’t expect much from the governments call for comprehensive reforms, instead they see all the things that Hassan Sheikh would do if he would win second term.

Marx believes that even those who claim to revolutionize their societies and say that they are creating something that didn’t exist before rely on their tradition. “The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language.”
During the election President Farmajo did his best to contrast himself with the previous regime and his fellow candidates. He accused President Hassan Sheikh’s government of corruption, nepotism and ineptitude. However, after winning the election and ensuing widespread public rally behind his stunning victory and the motto that captured the public mood “Farmajo ii geeya.”  President Farmajo comes to the conclusion that he was wrong about everything he said about the previous government and former President Hassan Sheikh and he can’t achieve his reform agenda without the support of Hassan Sheikh and his close associates.
To many observers, it seems that President Farmajo has secret deal with Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to fulfil his “qabyo” and with the support of his political allies. Strangely, when President Farmajo announced his Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre and the Prime Minister Khayre announced his cabinet, the public abandoned their motto and started to question the president’s real motive and why all of a sudden he changed his mind. So far, the president is implying that he can’t be better than Hassan Sheikh; therefore his main goal for the next four years is to accomplish the “qabyo” that President Hassan Sheikh left unfinished.
In conclusion, if the current trend continues, Marx will be my guide in the next four years of Farmajo’s presidency. It will be different case if Farmajo become more self-conscious to his contradictions by reading Karl Marx’s “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.” So he can spare me four years of interpreting his presidency and the impending political decay and instability and the deterioration of security, economy and other social indicators. Reading of “The Eighteenth Brumaire” President Farmajo will augment his imagination by becoming more cognizant of his political capital and the unlimited things he can achieve with his mandate. In other word, it will make him aware that in four years he can achieve more than “qabyo.” He will be able to glimpse more real reform opportunities that the “thieves of state” will not be able to achieve.

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Daud Ed Osman (@daudedosman)

daciid@gmail.com

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UN agency repatriates 64,761 Somalis refugees from Kenya https://somaliagenda.com/un-agency-repatriates-64761-somalis-refugees-kenya/ https://somaliagenda.com/un-agency-repatriates-64761-somalis-refugees-kenya/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 03:27:44 +0000 http://somaliagenda.com/?p=9601 The UN refugee agency said Monday it had repatriated some 64,761 Somali refugees from Kenya since the voluntary return exercise begun in December, 2014. The UNHCR said in its bi-weekly update released in Nairobi that some 63,535 refugees were supported to return to their home in Somalia from the Dadaab refugee camp in northeast Kenya. […]

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The UN refugee agency said Monday it had repatriated some 64,761 Somali refugees from Kenya since the voluntary return exercise begun in December, 2014.

The UNHCR said in its bi-weekly update released in Nairobi that some 63,535 refugees were supported to return to their home in Somalia from the Dadaab refugee camp in northeast Kenya.

“During the reporting period (May 1-15), a total of 1,478 Somali refugees were assisted to return voluntarily to Somalia by flight from Dadaab,” UNHCR said. Some 24,221 refugees returned in 2017 alone.

The UN refugee agency said road convoys to Somalia remained suspended due to the heavy rains in some parts of Somalia rendering roads impassable.

“UNHCR Somalia and its partners are closely monitoring the situation and will alert us once road movements can resume,” it said

The UN agency said flights to Mogadishu and Kismayo in southern Somalia currently facilitate the voluntary return of those willing to travel by air.

Regarding return trends, Kismayo continues to have the highest return rate (87.7 percent), followed by Mogadishu (6.7 percent) and Baidoa (4.7 percent).

“There has been reduction in the number of persons repatriated for the last four weeks under review. This reduction could be attributed to the ongoing drought, the cholera outbreak and the recent heavy rains in Somalia,” UNHCR said.

More than 2 million Somalis have been displaced in one of the world’s most protracted humanitarian crises that has now entered its third decade.

An estimated 1.1 million people are internally displaced within Somalia and nearly 900,000 are refugees in the region.

Experts say continuing political and security stabilization progress in Somalia, along with growing pressures in hosting countries, makes this a critical moment to renew efforts to find durable solutions for Somali refugees.

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Somali pirates hijack Iranian fishing vessel – Somali official https://somaliagenda.com/somali-pirates-hijack-iranian-fishing-vessel-somali-official/ https://somaliagenda.com/somali-pirates-hijack-iranian-fishing-vessel-somali-official/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 03:21:21 +0000 http://somaliagenda.com/?p=9595   BOSASSO (Somalia): Somali pirates hijacked an Iranian fishing vessel on Tuesday to use as a base to attack bigger, more valuable ships, the mayor of a Somali town said. “A group of Somali pirates captured an Iranian fishing vessel and are using it as a mother ship in order to hijack (other) ships,” Ali […]

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BOSASSO (Somalia): Somali pirates hijacked an Iranian fishing vessel on Tuesday to use as a base to attack bigger, more valuable ships, the mayor of a Somali town said.

“A group of Somali pirates captured an Iranian fishing vessel and are using it as a mother ship in order to hijack (other) ships,” Ali Shire, the mayor of Haabo in the northern semi-autonomous region of Puntland, told the media.

The global report highlights persisting violence in piracy hotspots off Nigeria and around the Southern Philippines – where two crew members were killed in February. Indonesia also reported frequent incidents, mostly low-level thefts from anchored vessels.

In total, 33 vessels were boarded and four fired upon in the first three months of 2017. Armed pirates hijacked two vessels, both off the coast of Somalia, where no merchant ship had been hijacked since May 2012. Four attempted incidents were also received.

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THE GUNS OF OCTOBER: How The Invasion Of Somalia Changed Kenya https://somaliagenda.com/guns-october-invasion-somalia-changed-kenya/ https://somaliagenda.com/guns-october-invasion-somalia-changed-kenya/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 02:53:22 +0000 http://somaliagenda.com/?p=9589 By Patrick Gathara When Kenyan troops crossed the proverbial Rubicon and entered Somalia nearly six years ago, it caught almost everyone by surprise. It was Kenya’s first sustained and significant foray into its troubled neighbors territory and ran counter to the country’s historic pacifism -at least in international if not necessarily in domestic, affairs- as […]

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By Patrick Gathara

When Kenyan troops crossed the proverbial Rubicon and entered Somalia nearly six years ago, it caught almost everyone by surprise. It was Kenya’s first sustained and significant foray into its troubled neighbors territory and ran counter to the country’s historic pacifism -at least in international if not necessarily in domestic, affairs- as well as against the grain of the advice she had received from her much more experienced friends and patrons in the international community.

The immediate trigger of Kenya’s offensive was a spate of kidnappings of aid workers and tourists near the Somalia border, which had devastated the country’s lucrative tourism industry and which the government blamed on the al Shabaab terror group. Since 2007, the al Shabaab, had been fighting to oust the then transitional government in Mogadishu which was protected by AU forces under the AU Mission to Somalia (AMISOM). Allied to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda, the al Shabaab had carried out atrocities both inside and outside Somalia, including the July 2010 bombings in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, which targeted football fans watching the soccer World Cup final and killed 76 people.

The objectives given by the Kenyan government for the invasion were both confused and confusing. Spokesman Alfred Mutua initially claimed the KDF was pursuing the alleged kidnappers across the border but later admitted that the kidnappings had been an excuse to launch a plan that had “been in the pipeline for a while.” Despite the fact that the al Shabaab had strongly denied having anything to do with the kidnappings and the government produced no evidence to back up its allegations, it still dispatched a letter to the UN Security Council citing the “latest direct attacks on Kenyan territory and the accompanying loss of life and kidnappings of Kenyans and foreign nationals by the Al-Shabaab terrorists” as reason for “remedial and pre-emptive action” undertaken “to protect and preserve the integrity of Kenya and the efficacy of the national economy and to secure peace and security.”

The stated objectives for the incursion quickly escalated. They ran the gamut from rescuing the kidnapped foreigners to pushing al Shabaab away from the border and establishing a buffer zone, to the capture of the port city of Kismayo, the dismantling of al Shabaab and the stabilization of Somalia. “We are going to be there until the (Somali government) has effectively reduced the capacity of al-Shabaab to fire a single round … We want to ensure there is no al Shabaab,” declared military spokesman, Major Emmanuel Chirchir.

The first few weeks were greeted with euphoric displays of patriotism from a polarized populace desperate for something to rally around. Less than four years prior, the country had almost torn itself apart following the shambolic and disputed elections of 2007. For a country used to seeing itself, despite the testimony of history, as “an island of peace in a sea of chaos”, the episode was profoundly traumatizing and left in its wake deep and disturbing questions about what it meant to be Kenyan. The adoption of a new constitution in 2010, a seminal moment in any nation’s history, had done little to quieten the nagging doubts. A Government of National Unity formed in the aftermath of the violence was proving to be a testy affair. The power struggles and political realignments within it, as well as the continuing and blatant theft of public resources it presided over, undermined rather than reinforced the already shaky idea of Kenya.

But if there’s one thing that can be relied on to rally a people, it is war. And war was what the media branded the invasion. “Kenyan troops off to war” blared the Daily Nation headline. “We are in a war against terrorists in and outside our country,” President Uhuru Kenyatta would declare in December 2014. However, there has never been an official declaration of war, either against Somalia or against Al Shabaab, which according to the constitution requires the authorization of Parliament.

Regardless, following the invasion Kenyans were treated to breathless coverage of the exploits and capacities of their valiant and heroic troops. Tales came about captured towns that few had ever heard of and one front page article even proclaimed the “imminent fall of Kismayo”. Uncomfortable questions about the aims and wisdom of the invasion were quickly swept aside. Still, as John Adams, the second President of the United States said, “facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

The first hints of the morass Kenya had got herself mired in came quite early on. Within weeks of setting foot in Somalia, the troops were literally stuck in mud as the invasion had been conducted at the height of Somalia’s dehr short rain season. 60 days into what had been branded Operation Linda Nchi, Franklin would report that “KDF ground units are bogged down in the mud of South Central Somalia or marooned in the vicinity of Ras Kamboni on the Indian Ocean. Bad weather seems to have severely limited sorties by fixed wing ground attack aircraft as well as KDF attack helicopters”. It would take the KDF nearly 7 months to capture Afmadow, al Shabaab’s logistical base, and a year to get to Kismayo, Somalia’s second largest port, which was the real prize. By this time, Operation Linda Nchi had been wound down without achieving any of its objectives and 4600 Kenyan troops transferred to AMISOM.

Back in Kenya, the novelty of war had worn thin and the country was settling down to yet another divisive and scary election campaign. It was also coming to terms with the fact that the battle with the al Shabaab would not just be fought in Somalia. Almost immediately after the invasion, al Shabaab leaders had begun promising “huge blasts” in Nairobi. An initial campaign attacks using hand grenades and improvised explosives badly damaged the already fragile perception of security. But what completely shattered it was the attack on the Westgate Mall in September 2013 where 4 terrorists murdered at least 68 people and ruthlessly exposed the incompetence and corruption at the heart of the national security establishment.

In fact, it is arguable that the biggest casualties of the invasion of Somalia have been the national security agencies and especially the KDF. Prior to the invasion, the KDF was seen as a professional, disciplined, if spoilt and coddled, military force. It was widely thought to be immune to the foibles and prejudices and moral and material decay afflicting the rest of the public service. Westgate put paid to all that. Few will ever forget the grainy CCTV footage of soldiers, who were meant to be battling the terrorists, instead strolling out of the Nakumatt supermarket carrying plastic shopping bags. The four-day fiasco, the friendly fire incident in which the KDF shot and killed a commander of the General Service Unit’s Recce Squad, the looting of the mall, the confused public updates and the inability to take on 4 armed men at the heat of the city destroyed public confidence in the KDF and in the intelligence agencies.

The carefully cultivated reputation of the National Intelligence Service, honed during its time as the Directorate of Security Intelligence, better known as the “Special Branch”, and favorite tool of surveillance and repression by the brutal regime of Daniel Arap Moi, was also in tatters. It would be completely obliterated by a series of large attacks which came within the two years following Westgate. These include the massacres in Mpeketoni and at the Garissa University College, and the attacks on buses and workers in Mandera, all of which claimed tens and sometimes hundreds of lives, and which were all, somewhat unfairly, blamed on failures of intelligence.

For the KDF, the bad news would keep on coming. It was again at the centre of the failures in both Mpeketoni and Garissa University, and was accused in a November 2015 report of profiteering from the Somalia deployment. A report titled “Black and White” by Journalists for Justice, accused the KDF of colluding with al Shabaab, the very enemy they are supposed to be fighting, to illegally export charcoal out of Somalia ports and to smuggle sugar into Kenya. Similar allegations had been made by the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea and the KDF’s vehement denials and empty promises to investigate did little to salvage its reputation.

On January 15, 2016 the AMISOM base at the nondescript Somali town of El Adde, which was manned by troops from the Kenyan contingent, was overrun by the al Shabaab. Up to 200 soldiers were killed and a dozen kidnapped. A UN report by the accused KDF of failure to implement basic defensive measures and concluded that the al Shabaab faced “relatively little resistance from the Kenyan troops”.

Back home, the government and the KDF retreated into silence, obviously hoping the questions and calls for accountability would go away. They would be temporarily jolted out of their reverie a year later when another KDF-manned camp was overrun by al Shabaab, this time at Kulbiyow. Different accounts of what happened have been offered with The Standard claiming up to 68 soldiers were killed and the KDF putting the number at 9 with 15 injured.

None of this has done the KDF’s reputation much good. Today, its star is considerably diminished. It has turned out to be just as vacuous, corrupt, incompetent and unaccountable as nearly all the other public institutions in the political firmament.

Regardless of this, the government has not shied away from increasing the deployment of the KDF internally. In fact, especially since October 2011, the military has taken on a much more public profile. For a country which has never experienced the misfortune of military rule, Kenya has always had an uneasy relationship with its soldiers. Following two failed coup plots in the 70s and the 80s, the political elite has preferred to keep the troops happy, well fed and watered in their barracks. But, as Daniel Branch noted in Foreign Policy, by 2011, the KDF had “been trained and equipped to do much more than parade on national holidays.” Increased counter-terrorism funding from Washington had underwritten a stronger Kenyan military which in turn had “grown more confident and combative”.

In the aftermath of the invasion of Somalia, it has now become almost routine for the government to deploy this capability to deal with local trouble spots within the country without seeking authorization from the National Assembly as required by the constitution. Neither does it appear that the Inspector General of Police is made “responsible for the administration, command, control and overall superintendence of the operation” as required by the KDF Act.

In December 2013 President Kenyatta raised hackles when he announced the formation of the Nairobi Metropolitan Command of the KDF citing the need to combat “the current threats in the country emerging from terrorism, drug trafficking, proliferation of small arms, and crime, among others, that tend to flourish in highly urbanised areas like Nairobi.” And seven months later, a bill was proposed (and later dropped) which sought to strip Parliament of its power to approve the deployment of the KDF within Kenya. “We need to ensure that we remove the roadblocks on the way that may derail the process of deployment of the military locally so that we can respond faster and swiftly,” declared National Assembly Majority Leader, Aden Duale.

Further, in addition to the larger role played by retired officers in the civilian security and intelligence agencies, President Kenyatta earlier this year appointed the serving Chief of Defense Forces, Gen Samson Mwathethe to chair the Blue Economy implementation Committee which oversees the implementation of government programs.

A scared people are much more willing to bargain away their freedoms for a sense of safety, however ephemeral. And by the end of 2015, Kenyans were a pretty scared lot. The Somalia invasion had backfired spectacularly and not only failed to deliver the promised safety, but made matters much worse. According to a report by the Daily Nation’s Newsplex, which cited data from the Global Terrorism Database, the most comprehensive unclassified database on terrorist events conducted by non-state actors and the Nation Media Group’s own archives, in the 45 months after Operation Linda Nchi began, there were nine times as many attacks as in the 45 months before the mission. The attacks were also more ferocious, with deaths and injuries multiplying eight-fold in the same period.

The government has instrumentalized the fear this has generated to scapegoat particular communities in order to distract attention from its own actions and to try to roll back the freedoms guaranteed in the 2010 constitution.

According to Andrew Franklin, a security consultant and former US marine, “Declarations of war justify extraordinary – and temporary – restrictions on all manner of normal domestic activities and curbs on many constitutionally protected freedoms. This is why going to war is considered a big deal and not just a matter of semantics.”

Yet the government has invoked the idea of a country at war to justify the concentration of power in the Executive, especially in the Presidency, the removal of existing constitutional restraints on the exercise of that power and the clampdown on media freedoms and civil liberties. In December 2014, the government forced through Parliament legislation expanding the powers of the President and imposing limitations of civil liberties, including the right to protest and fair trial, as well as curtailing media freedom to publish terrorism-related stories. Just two days before, State House spokesman, Manoah Esipisu, penned a telling op-ed in the Daily Nation in which he justified these measures on the basis that it was a “time of war”.

The primary targets of the government’s fear-mongering and scapegoating have been the Muslim community and especially, though not exclusively, ethnic Somalis. Be they Kenyan citizens or refugees from Somalia, they have been collectively blamed for the atrocities committed by al Shabaab and this has led to repressive “anti-terror operations” and deportations. In April 2014, the government deployed, according tosays Human Rights Watch, about 5000 police officers and KDF troops in Nairobi’s Eastleigh neighborhood following a series of grenade and gun and in Mombasa. Operation Usalama Watch lasted several weeks during which “the forces raided homes, buildings, and shops, extorted massive sums, and harassed and detained an estimated 4,000 people – including journalists, registered refugees, Kenyan citizens, and international aid workers – without charge, and in appalling conditions for periods well beyond the 24-hour legal limit.” Further, in violation of its international obligations, the government is trying to close the Dadaab refugee camp, the world’s largest, and to force nearly half a million refugees back across the border.

In addition to this, extrajudicial assassination and disappearances have also become a preferred way to deal with those suspected of links to al Shabaab. Several radical Muslim clerics at the coast have been murdered and the Anti-Terror Police Unit has been accused of disappearing Somali and Muslim youth across the country and, more specifically, in the arid counties of the former North Eastern Province. This is not new. As the report of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission demonstrates, Somali and Muslim communities have historically suffered the bulk of atrocities committed by both the colonial and post-colonial governments. However, for much of that history, such oppression was carried out in the remote north and hidden from most of the public. During Usalama Watch, however, the state was blatantly carrying out large scale, systematic campaign of extortion and abuse right in the heart of the capital city and targeting a specific minority in broad daylight and with the tacit approval of a large segment of terrorized society.

Similarly, surveillance too has come out of the shadows. During the Moi dictatorship, the perception of widespread surveillance through networks of informers was key to keeping the population compliant and afraid. Citizens were afraid to criticize the state since one did not know who might be listening. However, today they welcome even more comprehensive and ubiquitous surveillance, via CCTV cameras and listening in on phone and online conversations, as reassurance that the state is looking out for -rather than watching- them.

In the weeks following the Westgate attack, the government introduced a programme labelled Nyumba Kumi which encouraged citizens to form neighbourhood teams that would spy on members and report “suspicious activities” to the government. It was borrowed from Tanzania where it was used by Julius Nyerere’s government as a means of political control, to strengthen one-party rule. The late Michael Okema in his 1996 book on the Political Culture of Tanzania wrote that the system was “designed to make the citizen more security conscious” and expected him or her “to be all ears on behalf of the state”. Nyumba Kumi has much more ancient roots in 4th Century BCE China where, as described by Rev. John MacGowan of the London Missionary Society in 1897, the Ten House System “was a small division of a ward in a city, and consisted of ten dwelling houses. Each of these was responsible to the government for the conduct of the rest.”

The invasion of Somalia and the brutal reaction it inspired have generated a climate of fear and fostered an unthinking and unquestioning patriotism which has paved way for the enforcement of an orthodoxy of “official truth”. Querying government misdeeds especially in the security sector and in the prosecution of its “war on terror” immediately attracts accusations of harboring terrorist sympathies. National security has become the carpet under which governmental ills are hidden. When, in November 2015, journalists reported on security procurement queries raised by the Auditor-General, three were immediately summoned to the Directorate of Criminal investigations and one was subsequently arrested, apparently on the orders of Internal Security Minister Joseph Ole Nkaissery. He demanded that they reveal their confidential sources claiming that their reports contained information “calculated to create a perception that there were malpractices relating to procuring security items within the Interior ministry” that could “expose our security forces to significant risk”. Ironically, they were accused of endangering public safety for reporting that the Auditor-General had specifically stated that the corrupt “purchase of second-hand arms and ammunition… had “seriously compromis[ed] the operations of the security agencies”.

Although the severity and regularity of terror attacks within the country have significantly reduced since their peak in 2015, Kenya remains a country on edge. Mass surveillance, ubiquitous security checks, xenophobia and state-sanctioned murder and disappearance of citizens have become normalized. Parliament, the media and civil society have shown little inclination to either demand accountability from the security sector or to encourage an honest public debate over the wisdom, strategy and objectives of continuing military operations in Somalia. Neither has there been anything resembling a deep introspection over the expanded domestic role of the KDF.

The October 2011 invasion may yet help provide Somalia with an opportunity to recover from its decades of turmoil but the experience has already severely degraded Kenya’s institutions and dented her ambitions of entrenching democratic and accountable governance at home. Its effects will be felt for generations to come.

 

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Mr. Patrick Gathara is a freelance researcher, investigator and cartoonist based in Nairobi. This article was published in The Elephant.

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Militants Attack 14 villages in Southern Somalia https://somaliagenda.com/militants-attack-14-villages-southern-somalia/ https://somaliagenda.com/militants-attack-14-villages-southern-somalia/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 02:43:40 +0000 http://somaliagenda.com/?p=9586   WASHINGTON — Al-Shabab militants have attacked some 14 villages in southern Somalia, in an apparent attempt to disrupt a planned government offensive. Most of the villages that came under attack Tuesday are located near the towns of K50 and Murri, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of the capital, Mogadishu. Witnesses said teams of 10 […]

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Al-Shabab militants have attacked some 14 villages in southern Somalia, in an apparent attempt to disrupt a planned government offensive.

Most of the villages that came under attack Tuesday are located near the towns of K50 and Murri, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of the capital, Mogadishu.

Witnesses said teams of 10 to 12 militants attacked the villages, setting fire to houses, abducting civilians and stealing villagers’ livestock.

“They took with them around 25 people mainly youngsters and torched many houses to terrorize the civilians and force them to leave their residences,” said Ibrahim Aden Najah, the governor of the Lower Shabelle region.

“I think they know about an ongoing military preparation for an offensive by Somali National Army and the African Union to liberate the entire region. They are trying to pre-empt this offensive,” he added.

Assistance requested

Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, the president of the South West Administration, sent a request to the federal government and the African Union mission in Somalia.

“These militants continue to victimize residents in this region, who are already suffering from the impact of the drought. We appeal to the Somali government, the African Union mission in Somalia and the international community to take measures to protect these civilians from the ruthless militants and send them urgent aid too,” he told reporters in Baidoa.

Suicide bomber strikes

Meanwhile, a suicide bomber has struck a police checkpoint in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region, killing himself, three others and wounding five people.

“The attack targeted police forces manning a security checkpoint in a busy junction in Bosasso just after the evening prayer,” said a regional police commander, Abdihakim Yusuf Hussein

A suicide bomber strapped with explosives rushed toward the police at the checkpoint before blowing himself up, a witness told VOA.

The attack on Tuesday is the latest attack in an escalating campaign by al-Shabab in the city.

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Suicide bomber kills five in Somalia’s northern Puntland region https://somaliagenda.com/suicide-bomber-kills-five-somalias-northern-puntland-region/ https://somaliagenda.com/suicide-bomber-kills-five-somalias-northern-puntland-region/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 02:41:40 +0000 http://somaliagenda.com/?p=9583   A suicide bomber killed five people, including a policeman, and injured 12 others on Tuesday at a police checkpoint in Somalia’s northern Puntland region, a local governor said, the first such attack in three years. Although suicide bombings are common in the capital of Mogadishu, they are relatively rare in the semi-autonomous region of […]

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A suicide bomber killed five people, including a policeman, and injured 12 others on Tuesday at a police checkpoint in Somalia’s northern Puntland region, a local governor said, the first such attack in three years.

Although suicide bombings are common in the capital of Mogadishu, they are relatively rare in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, where the security forces are relatively regularly paid and receive substantial U.S. assistance.

“The bomber seemed suspicious as he walked and when he was ordered to stop, he blew himself up,” said Yusuf Mohamed, governor of Bari region in Puntland.

The al Qaeda-linked Somali Islamist insurgency, al Shabaab, which claims responsibility for most attacks, told Reuters they were not behind the bombing.

Puntland, which is just across the Red Sea from Yemen, is also home to a splinter group of al Shabaab that has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State group. Security sources say there is a small contingent of foreigners there too.

The fighters loyal to Islamic State briefly seized the port town of Qandala in December but were driven back into the mountains by Puntland security services.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack.

Somalia has been ravaged by civil war since 1991, when clan-based warlords overthrew a dictator and then turned on each other.

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Review Rejoinder: Response to Kapteijns’ Revenge on The Suicidal State in Somalia https://somaliagenda.com/review-rejoinder-response-kapteijns-revenge-suicidal-state-somalia/ https://somaliagenda.com/review-rejoinder-response-kapteijns-revenge-suicidal-state-somalia/#respond Sun, 16 Apr 2017 03:48:20 +0000 http://somaliagenda.com/?p=9572 It is my belief that readers of Lidwien Kapteijns’ review of my book, The Suicidal State in Somalia: The Rise and Fall of the Siad Barre Regime, 1969-1991 (2016), posted on Wardheernews website, deserve some factual corrections and explanations for proper contextualisation and comprehension. I welcome that Kapteijns decided to read and write a review […]

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By Mohamed Haji Ingiriis

It is my belief that readers of Lidwien Kapteijns’ review of my book, The Suicidal State in Somalia: The Rise and Fall of the Siad Barre Regime, 1969-1991 (2016), posted on Wardheernews website, deserve some factual corrections and explanations for proper contextualisation and comprehension. I welcome that Kapteijns decided to read and write a review of my book, but I would not let go unanswered inaccurate interpretations, false assertions, and insinuations that mar her reading of – and revenge on – my book. I pass up her snide remarks about my age, Somali origin and my proficiency of the English language, which she apparently felt pain to grasp. Ad hominem attacks do not, by nature, interest me.

Without belabouring the unworthy harangues, I will in the following paragraphs rebut the few (seemingly relevant) points she made in her assaults on my book. First and foremost, neither I nor Kapteijns are native speakers of English. No one can claim Englishness better than any other. It is thus strange that she points out grammatical slips. That was my publisher’s problem, not mine. But she made this odd point despite her own review of the book is laced with grammatical mistakes. Readers can check the errors in few paragraphs of her review, including the last sentence of the opening paragraph. Beyond that it does not behove me to indulge in a spat with her usual diatribe.

However, it is a pleasure that Kapteijns took note of my book; I only wish she had read it with patience, for that would have steered her away from rehashing recycled and disproved clannish narratives. However, her reading of my book misleads the reader into believing that what is before them is a comprehensive review of an author’s work. Her review deceptively reads my book on the basis of only two chapters out of 11 long and exhaustive chapters. Her irritations with the two chapters in question become palpable when readers peruse and reflect on the kind of evidence on offer: they bring to the fore new evidence from previously inaccessible rare archival sources, complemented by thoroughly vetted oral testimonies that refute the basic tenets in Kapteijins’ clan-sponsored narratives.

I can brag (proudly, dare I say) that it is normally an exceptional – even outstanding – for a PhD candidate like me to write a book before completing his or her doctoral work. The main objectives of writing my book were, among other reasons, (1) to uncover Kapteijins’ blind blemishes and, ironically, (2) to expose her utter disregard for ‘the referential dimension of history’, to appropriate her quotation from LaCapra. Kapteijns’ ad hominem attacks and her sly comments on parts of my book do perhaps prove that I achieved both objectives. This reminds me of a Somali saying, ‘raaciyadii iyo rucrucdii raamsadaa helay’.

Readers should know in advance that The Suicidal State in Somalia is among other works recently written to correct the historical blunders, biases and distortions propagated in the 2013 fictitious book of Kapteijns, Clan Cleansing in Somalia: The Ruinous Legacy of 1991, in which she attempted unsuccessfully to assist certain clan politicians’ ambitions to grab state power by catering to selective, highly partisan and deeply clanised ‘victimhood’ narratives. My book, The Suicidal State in Somalia, and my other scholarly works challenge the veracity of Kapteijins’ untenable arguments in Clan Cleansing. To advance a new and plausible argument, I interviewed members from all Somali clans living inside and outside of Somalia, while Kapteijns interviewed Diaspora people from a single clan, exclusively from the Mohamoud Saleebaan/Majeerteen, her in-laws. Historians are like judges in a court of law. How can a judge reach a verdict without hearing the defendant or talking to the all parts involved equally? This probably is the reason why she does not highlight the objectivity and neutrality of my objective book, because there is not even the slightest sliver of fairness in her book. It is not a coincidence that Kapteijns was recently commissioned by Abdiweli Ali Gaas, a clan ruler in northeast Somalia, to write an exaggerated autobiography and through this familial (in-law) relationship, she visited Somalia for the second time since her brief sojourn in 1989.

Kapteijns makes false claims over how I used newly-excavated primary sources, which, as she conceded, was one of the main strengths of my book. When I gave detailed references on the Mau Mau anti-colonial uprising, I explicitly suggested that the works I enumerated, written by notable scholars on the subject, explore brutalities that occurred during the Mau Mau era. Nowhere had I noted that those works carried a passage about Siad Barre or his regime. This fabrication on her part is one way of inventing an error in my book. As she could not find a factual error with which to quibble, she took the freedom to fabricate one. I knew Kapteijns will look for everything and every way she could to defend her clan cleansing hate-mongering campaign, but I felt amused of her type of defence. Unable to produce any tangible proof to challenge or refute my arguments, Kapteijins finally felt hard not to be impressed by my dedication to Somali scholarship. Indeed, since the publication of The Suicidal State in Somalia, I have received overwhelming messages from Somalis and non-Somalis praising the book, with one reader reassuring thus: ‘Sir, your book is one of the best scholarly books on Somalia I have ever read or seen; the details are staggering and I want to say thank you, please continue with this great work of re-appraising Somali history’.

By contrast, lacking any nuanced understanding of the Somali conflict, Clan Cleansing book neither carries original data nor provides empirical facts. It is all about regurgitating what has already been on the public domain to back up clan-held prepositions. Her aims appear to be underpinning her discredited point of the myth of ‘clan cleansing’. This is not some idle supposition on my part. The reader need only refer to Kapteijns’ previous feral response to Professor David Laitin’s sober and highly nuanced deconstruction of her ‘clan cleansing’ project. Of note is that Laitin did his PhD on Somali politics, history and literature in 1974, while she had done her PhD on Nigerian historiography in 1977. Moreover, Laitin is now a world class scholar.

I, myself, wrote several critical reviews of Clan Cleansing book and, I daresay, her review of The Suicidal State in Somalia is payback. Readers can consult my papers: (1) ‘Methodological Misjudgments: The Myth of Clan Cleansing’ (published by African Journal of History and Culture in 2016); (2) ‘Unmasking the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Towards a Critique of the Conflicting Historiographies in Somalia’ (published by Global Journal of Human Social Science in 2016), (3) ‘The Psychology and Philosophy of the African Conflicts: Towards Critique of the War Narratives in Somalia and Rwanda’ (published by Conflict Studies Quarterly in 2016); (4) ‘Many Somalia(s), Multiple Memories: Remembrance as Present Politics, Past Politics as Remembrance’ (published by African Identities in 2016); and (5) From Clan Cleansing to Galaal Cleansing: Lidwien Kapteijns’ False and Fabrications in Somali Studies (forthcoming with Méthod(e)s: Revue Africaine de Méthodologie des Sciences Sociales/African Review of Social Science Methodology in 2017). I also wrote two different book reviews appeared in Africa Today and Anglo-Somali Society Journal. Bearing these in mind, Kapteijns had now acted in retaliation for my series of articles and reviews exposing her fantasies and fictions. However, it is strange how can she dare to argue on Somali history with a Somali scholar, who was born and bred in Somalia.

In my book, I showed how the Siad Barre regime sowed the seeds of the Somali civil war and state collapse, although Kapteijns attributed it to a specific clan-group and what she called ‘politico-military’ leaders. By contrast, I emphasised the agency of institutions, not individuals, let alone clan or clans. Individual men like Siad Barre, I argued, used the clan system to advance their interests for holding onto power. The talk about the land expropriation during the Siad regime in Kapteijns’ review is a distraction from the ‘clan cleansing’ fabrication in 1991. I am accused of arguing (and here I am in good company with venerable scholars like Professor Laitin) that clan identities, clan sentiments and military dictatorship played central role in the eruption of the ‘civil’ war, which I conceptualised clanised war. The most bewildering point in her book – which I am sure proponents of the ‘clan cleansing’ project will not be in favour – is when Kapteijns charges Aden Abdulle Osman ‘Aden Adde’, the father and first president of The Somali Republic, of being ‘guilty’ of endorsing the ‘clan cleansing’. I, for one, do not demand an apology from her when she propagates that Aden Adde facilitated a clan cleansing campaign on Radio Mogadishu!

Kapteijns’ clan cleansing campaign, which ignited animosity and hatred among Somalis, received no welcome reception among eminent Somalia scholars. Apart from me, many notable scholars described the book flawed, biased and prejudiced to certain clan and clans. Other reputable scholars have no less better view of her. In one chilly morning in early April 2012, I visited the late Virginia Luling, a well-respected anthropologist in Somali Studies at her home in Euston, London. She was ailing, but still sharp in her analysis and insight into Somali Studies. Our discussions revolved around the old generation of the field. We both heaped praise on Professor Ioan M. Lewis and his unequalled corpus and contribution. When I jokingly sought Luling’s observation of Kapteijns’ work, her conclusion was blunt but apt: ‘The Arraweelo of Somali Studies’. Here was Luling, a formidable scholar, casting legitimate aspersions on what she perceived was behaviour and conduct unbecoming a historian. Here, I do not intend to attach further comments to Luling’s drift and tenor. Let the reader interpret her words however they want. The depiction of Arraweelo fits Kapteijns very well. Suffice it to say, knowledge thrives on and issues from dialogical imagination(s) can ironise the fountains from which they draw their sustenance. I would conclude this response with Sahal Mo’allim Iise’s self-explanatory Af-Maay poem: ‘Leennoofadaayoow / leennoofadaayoow / Ha noola lee fadaayoow’.

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Mohamed Haji Ingiriis

PhD Candidate

University of Oxford

ingiriis@yahoo.com

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Somalia: AMISOM Denies Al-Shabab Claim of Killing AU Soldiers https://somaliagenda.com/somalia-amisom-denies-al-shabab-claim-killing-au-soldiers/ https://somaliagenda.com/somalia-amisom-denies-al-shabab-claim-killing-au-soldiers/#respond Sun, 16 Apr 2017 03:27:24 +0000 http://somaliagenda.com/?p=9570 African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has denied claims that al-Shabaab militants killed soldiers following an attack on AU convoy near Afgoye town on Friday. AMISOM said in a statement posted on Twitter that the information being peddled by Al shabaab on its affiliated Online media is false and part of their propaganda. The AU […]

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African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has denied claims that al-Shabaab militants killed soldiers following an attack on AU convoy near Afgoye town on Friday.

AMISOM said in a statement posted on Twitter that the information being peddled by Al shabaab on its affiliated Online media is false and part of their propaganda.

The AU mission confirmed that Al Shabaab targeted AMISOM military convoy travelling about 9km from Afgoye on the road to Ceel Jaale in an Improvised Explosives Device (IED) attack.

“In the last two days, our EOD team has safely removed and destroyed two Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDS),” said AMISOM in a Twitter post.

AMISOM added that its forces, along with Somali National Army (SNA) will continue to ensure clearance of the main supply routes for easy access of humanitarian activities.

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Freed from Pirates, Hijacked Dhow Returns to Sea https://somaliagenda.com/freed-pirates-hijacked-dhow-returns-sea/ https://somaliagenda.com/freed-pirates-hijacked-dhow-returns-sea/#respond Sun, 16 Apr 2017 03:24:29 +0000 http://somaliagenda.com/?p=9562   On Thursday, the Indian Navy took custody of the Indian dhow Al Kausar, which was hijacked by Somali pirates off Socotra Island on April 1. Somali security forces recaptured the dhow and freed the hostages in a series of operations and arrested as many as a dozen pirates who were involved in the kidnapping. Two […]

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On Thursday, the Indian Navy took custody of the Indian dhow Al Kausar, which was hijacked by Somali pirates off Socotra Island on April 1. Somali security forces recaptured the dhow and freed the hostages in a series of operations and arrested as many as a dozen pirates who were involved in the kidnapping. Two of the crew were found aboard the dhow on Tuesday, and the remaining eight (or nine) were freed the following day. The Al Kausar has reportedly headed for her next destination, escorted by a vessel of the Indian Navy.

Hirsi Yusuf Barre, the mayor of Galkayo, Galmudug, told Reuters that troops surrounded 13 pirates holding nine crewmembers. He reported that 10 of the kidnappers surrendered immediately, and the final three gave up after their parents arrived and asked them to come out. In an interview with VOA Somalia, the mayor of the city of Hobyo, Abdullahi Ahmed Ali, confirmed the rescue but gave a much smaller number for the count of pirates captured.

Somali piracy is on a rebound after a five-year hiatus, with five boardings over the course of the past month. International naval patrols and shoreside security forces have enjoyed a relatively high degree of success in thwarting the recent attacks and recovering hostages quickly. No hostage fatalities have been reported.

Netherlands releases convicted pirates

According to the Repatriation and Departure Service of the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice, the Netherlands has recently deported 23 convicted Somali pirates who have completed their sentences. The men were arrested at sea by the Dutch Navy in 2012; they were taken to the Netherlands, tried and sentenced to prison time.

“Once the pirates were taken aboard the naval vessels, they were [on] Dutch ‘territory’. They were then brought here, tried and have served their sentences,” said Jannita Robberse, the service’s director, speaking to AD. “In the entire return process, much effort has been made with [our] partners.”

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VOA Exclusive: Dozens More US Troops Deployed to Somalia https://somaliagenda.com/voa-exclusive-dozens-us-troops-deployed-somalia/ https://somaliagenda.com/voa-exclusive-dozens-us-troops-deployed-somalia/#respond Sun, 16 Apr 2017 03:24:18 +0000 http://somaliagenda.com/?p=9559   PENTAGON — Dozens of American soldiers have deployed to Mogadishu to train and equip Somali and AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) forces fighting extremism in Somalia, U.S. military officials told VOA. The troops’ arrival marks the first presence of American military forces in Somalia, other than a small unit of counterterrorism advisers, since March […]

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Dozens of American soldiers have deployed to Mogadishu to train and equip Somali and AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) forces fighting extremism in Somalia, U.S. military officials told VOA.

The troops’ arrival marks the first presence of American military forces in Somalia, other than a small unit of counterterrorism advisers, since March 1994 when the U.S. pulled out of the U.N. intervention operation in the war-torn state, five months after 18 U.S. special forces personnel were killed in a battle with Somali militiamen that inspired the movie Black Hawk Down.

“United States Africa Command will conduct various security cooperation and/or security force assistance events in Somalia in order to assist our allies and partners,” U.S. Africa Command spokesman Pat Barnes told VOA on Thursday.

The move is another example of the acceleration of U.S. efforts to help combat violent extremism across the globe, a second military official said. The goal of the operation is to build partner capacity while helping to improve the logistics of local forces battling the military group al-Shabab.

A few dozen troops from the 101st Airborne Division in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, arrived in Mogadishu on April 2 at the request of the Somali government, a U.S. military official told VOA.

The team is carrying out a train-and-equip mission that is expected to last through the end of September, according to the official.

Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Rudy DeLeon, a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress, said the U.S. team will help instill the professionalism and discipline that the local force can use to create the terms for security.

“It gives them the tools to help themselves,” DeLeon said in an interview with VOA.

The U.S. usually has a small unit of between 3 and 50 American troops in Somalia supporting U.S.-Somali military-to-military relations, and advising and assisting Somali troops. The new arrivals from the 101st Airborne Division will not be added to the mission of those Americans currently on the ground in Somalia, a military official said, “but there will be some overlap.”

Last week, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed called on al-Shabab fighters to surrender within 60 days in return for education and jobs.

Days later, a car bomb targeted senior officials leaving a military base in Mogadishu, killing at least 15 people and destroying a minibus carrying civilians, the Somali military said. Al-Shabab militants claimed responsibility.

Battle of Mogadishu

The mission of the troops sent from 101st Airborne Division, who are training in logistics and not participating in combat or peacekeeping, is nothing like the United States’ peacekeeping role in the country more than two decades earlier.

In the early 1990s, the United Nations attempted to provide and secure humanitarian relief in Somalia while monitoring a U.N.-brokered cease-fire in the Somali Civil War.

The U.S. deployed thousands of American troops to carry out these peacekeeping missions. By late 1993, the mission had expanded to try to restore a government in Somalia.

An American special operations team was sent into Mogadishu on October 3 to capture two top lieutenants of the warlord Mohammed Aidid.

During the mission, two Black Hawk helicopters circling overheard were shot down. Men sent to remove soldiers from the crash sites became pinned down elsewhere, and a 15-hour battle raged that killed 18 Americans and hundreds of Somalis.

Days later, then-U.S. President Bill Clinton announced that he would remove all American combat forces from Somalia by March 31. The U.S. has not sent combat troops for peacekeeping missions in the country since.

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