American military units provided defensive fire at least four times in May for U.S. and African peacekeeping forces fighting al-Shabab militants in Somalia, the U.S. Africa Command announced Friday.
The strikes were carried out in early May, with the latest strike occurring May 13, targeting nine al-Shabab militants. Three of them were allegedly killed. All four of the strikes occurred in remote areas under militant control, according to the news release.
It was not immediately clear whether U.S. troops were in imminent danger on the ground when the strikes occurred, or what types of aircraft were used in the strikes.
Friday’s announcement comes nine days after U.S. Africa Command said strikes killed two al-Shabab commanders in separate incidents. The command said it was confident near-term planning for the group would be eroded due to the loss of those strategic leaders, according to a news release.
U.S. special operations forces have been active in the region.
The last prominent attack on al-Shabab in Somalia took place in March, when a series of airstrikes killed more than 150 militants at a training camp to head off an “imminent threat” to U.S. troops and allies there, according to the Washington Post. Also in March, commandos conducted a helicopter raid with Somali troops against the militant network but acted in an advisory role, according to Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.
In 2013, Navy SEALs assaulted the coastal town of Barawe but were forced to leave following a fierce gun battle that produced no fatalities, according to the Washington Post.
Al-Shabab fighters have been pushed out of cities in recent years, including the capital, Mogadishu, which it retreated from in 2011. A territorial map of the region provided by BBC in September 2015 shows al-Shabab’s area of influence stretches in a crescent-like shape from the southern tip of the country bordering Kenya, up through its lower southern region, skirting Mogadishu.
In January, U.S. Africa Command provided details of its five-year plan to counter growing terror threats in its area of operations. Neutralizing al-Shabab’s influence and shifting more responsibility to the African Union Mission in Somalia was the first objective, according to a news release at that time.
Al-Shabab, which translates to “the youth,” was formed in the early 2000s with the intent to overthrow Somalia’s Western-backed government and implement strict Sharia, or Islamic law. It has since morphed into a jihadist organization, carrying out frequent attacks in Somalia, Kenya and Uganda. In 2012, the militant organization officially aligned with al-Qaida.
President Mohamud Asks Int´l Partners To Help Somalia Avert Looming Famine & Defeat Scourge Of Al-Shabaab.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud delivered his inaugural speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Thursday, September 22.
In his speech, the head of state said despite efforts to move past decades of drought and conflict, Somalia is facing some of the most complex crises in the world, urging international partners to help the nation avert a looming famine and defeat the scourge of terrorism.
“In Somalia, we are working tirelessly to transition from over two decades of devastating conflict, drought, famine and developmental stagnation to a new age of stability, progress and prosperity. However, despite our continuing efforts, Somalia and its resilient people are facing some of the most complex and interconnected crises in the world,” President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told the annual General Debate.
The crises, he added, included ongoing regional drought, which directly threaten the lives and livelihoods of Somali’s most vulnerable communities.
In a new report issued just yesterday, the UN warned that hundreds of thousands in Somalia are already facing starvation with staggering levels of malnutrition expected among children under five. This is the third time in 10 years that Somalia has been threatened with a devastating famine.
The President called on Somalia’s partners to do everything possible to help avert a looming famine, which also threatens the wider Horn of Africa region.
“We urge all our partners to heed our call and work with us to provide immediate support and relief to the most affected communities.
“In the long term, we must collectively work together to ensure that we mitigate the acceleration of the dangerous and costly climate crisis by meeting the commitment to invest in and adequately finance climate adaptation in the most affected and vulnerable regions of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa,” he added.
He cited key areas of investment, including sustainable water management, biodiversity protection, enhanced food security, climate-smart agriculture, resilient infrastructure and investment in renewable energy.;
Somalia has for the first time established a new ministry of environment and climate change to lead the process of urgently addressing the devastating impact of environmental degradation.
“We know that climate change is real, and we are living with the evidence of its painful and destructive reality today. We also know that Somalia, and the rest of the world, cannot develop sustainably without the global climate crisis being jointly addressed quickly and effectively.”
Towards eliminating terrorism
President Mohamud cited that Somali people organically raised up to support their government in the fight against Al-Shabaab.
At the same time, Somalia is tackling the “persistent and complex challenge” of terrorism, which he said both contributes to and exacerbates all other crises, including food insecurity, the displacement of people from their homes and climate change.
He noted that in addition to the efforts carried out by the Somali Federal Government, the Somali people have begun to rise up to defeat the evils of terror, helping to retake villages and towns in recent months.
“We are now confident that with enhanced public support our Government will eliminate terrorism from Somalia.”
He added that the Somali Government will continue to work with all its partners, including the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, in the fight against global terrorism.
“We are fully committed to doing the heavy lifting to secure our future.”
Somali Government signs UPEACE Charter, opening new opportunities for Somalis
The UN University for peace marked another historical achievement following the signing of the instrument of accession by Somali President Dr Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. The move means that the Somali Government has officially endorsed the UPEACE Charter and is expected to implement it.
Reacting to the news, the University’s country representative Dr Mohamed Osman said the decision by the president is a welcome news.
“This is highly welcome news, and it puts the university’s Somalia branch at the same level with the rest of the countries that have signed the charter,” said Dr Mohamed
“The students will also benefit from various scholarships offered by the institution”, added Dr Mohamed.
From Right: Upeace Somalia Country representative Dr Mohamed Osman, Somalia’s President H.E Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, UPEACE Regional Director Programme, Professor Samuel Kale Ewusi, , and Chief of Staff Office of The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia Dr. Hussein Sheikh
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (centre), having a light moment with Dr Juan Carlos, Global Dean of Upeace. With him is Chief of Staff Office of The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia Dr. Hussein Sheikh Mohamud
Somalia’s President Dr Hassan Sheikh Mohamed signed the instrument of accession while attending the 77th UN General Assembly, making Somalia the 42nd country to sign the charter, which was born out of UN General Assembly Resolution 35/55 of 5th December 1980 which established the University for Peace with Headquarters in Costa Rica and Regional Programmes in Africa (Ethiopia), Europe (Netherlands) Asia (China), South East Asia (Philippines), and in South America (Honduras).
A map showing Upeace Regional Offices
A few years ago, the University was welcomed in Somalia after it started offering its courses. Before that, Somali students used to travel to Costa Rica and to the neighbouring country, Ethiopia, where the University has its Africa Regional campus for the continent.
“The signing of the UPEACE Charter by the president is yet another huge step for the university and we hope it opens doors for expansion in Somalia and for many students to enroll into the courses offered by the university” said Dr. Mohamed Yusuf, UPEACE Somalia Country Director.
Dr Juan Carlos, Global Dean of Upeace (center) posing a picture with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Ambassador Narinder Kakar, Permanent Observer of the University for Peace to the United Nations at the 77th UN General Assembly.
The establishment of the university in Costa Rica, a country in Central America, played a pivotal role in establishing the first base for the University. In Africa, the University established its Africa Regional Programme in 2002 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which opened doors to thousands of African students keen on pursuing courses related to peace, security and development.
Many of the graduates are now using the knowledge gained to build peace and help support their communities. In August 2018, Upeace established its first campus in Mogadishu, Somalia University’s first batch of students for Master’s and PhD Programs.
UPEACE will be organizing its next graduation ceremony in Somalia at the end of October 2022 with more than a hundred Masters and at least 10 doctoral students expected to receive their Degrees.
Somaliland Head To Polls For Councillors And MPs On May 31, 2021 Last updated May 31, 2021
Voters in the self-proclaimed republic of Somaliland are heading to the polls on May, 31 to choose their member of parliament for the first time since 2005.
Somaliland broke off from mainland Somalia after the regime of Siad Barre in 1991.
The 5.2 Million citizens of Somaliland will be making yet another stab at global recognition as some 1.3 million voters head to the polls to choose 82 members of parliament and 247 local councils.
An election whose measure of democracy Somaliland hopes to use in its quest to certify its sovereignty.
Somaliland’s three political parties in the polls are opposition politicians Faisal Warabe’s UCID, Wadani led by another opposition leader Abdirahman Erye and President Muse Bihi Kulmiye party.
The elections is observed by over a hundred international observers including Uganda’s former opposition leader, Kizza Besigye and ex-president of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Korma.
”Our visit to the headquarters of the Somaliland National Electoral Commission left us with a good impression about the Commission’s preparedness to conduct peaceful and credible elections,” said in a Twitter post.
The elections are taking place in six regions of Somaliland, namely Awdal, Sahil, Marodi-Jeeh, Toghdeer, Sanaag and Sool.