Saturday, June 17, 2017

260 Somali and Ethiopian Migrants and Refugees Abused, Held Against Their Will by Gangs in Libya - Libya | ReliefWeb

Facebook Video Circulates Showing 260 Somali and Ethiopian Migrants and Refugees Abused, Held Against Their Will by Gangs in Libya

REPORT
from International Organization for Migration
Published on 15 Jun 2017 View Original
Switzerland - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) is deeply concerned by the situation of approximately 260 Somali and Ethiopian migrants and refugees, including many children, held captive by smugglers and/or criminal gangs in Libya. In a video posted on Facebook on 9 June, hundreds of emaciated and abused Somalis and Ethiopians are seen huddled fearfully in a concrete room. Other nationalities may also be present.
Speaking on video to a Somali journalist based in Turkey (who recorded the call he received from the criminal gang), the migrants and refugees, who are sitting on the floor in a crowded space, say they have been beaten and tortured. Some report that their teeth have been removed, their arms broken and that none of them have been given any food. They explain that women have been put in different cells, where they are afraid that they are being further abused both sexually and physically. Parents and other relatives of the captive migrants and refugees are also receiving short video clips via social media, where they are being asked to pay between USD 8,000–10,000 or their child or relative will be killed. Some of the individuals in the videos have been missing for up to six years according to their families in Somalia. The exact location where they are being held is not yet known.
“I have being here one year. I am beaten every day. I swear I do not eat food. My body is bruised from beating,” said one of the captives in the video. “If you have seen the life here you wouldn’t stay this world any more. I didn't eat the last four days but the biggest problem is beating here. They don’t want to release me.”
Throughout the video there are exchanges between the journalist and the person moderating on site in Libya. In one instance, he introduces the journalist to a young visibly starving man with a large concrete block weighing down on his back, as punishment for his family not paying his ransom.
“I was asked for 8000 US Dollars,” said the young man, when asked by journalist why the criminal gang were punishing him. “They broke my teeth. They broke my hand. I have being here 11 months… This stone has been put on me for the last three days. It’s really painful.”
“I was here one year,” said one captive on the video from Ethiopia pleading with the journalist for help. “We want help. My brother, my brother, we are dead! We are beaten 24 hours a day, brother I am begging you! Brother I beg you, do whatever you can do. I can’t sleep, my chest hurts so much because they beat me with big pieces of steel every hour. They put us out in the sun. They do not give us food for days. Brother, we want you can take us back to our country!”
“Seeing a Facebook video of innocent migrants and refugees who have been abused and tortured is deeply concerning. IOM condemns the way that criminal gangs use social media in their shocking abuse of people held against their will and to extort money from their families back home,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies, when learning of the situation. “This is a global problem where a smuggler or a criminal gang can easily use digital platforms to advertise their services, entice vulnerable people on the move and then exploit them and their families. It is high time that social media and tech companies recognize the extreme harm that is occurring because of their failure to monitor and react to situations of grave human rights abuses – leading ultimately to murder – that are being shared through their channels.”
“The cruelty of the human traffickers preying on vulnerable refugees and migrants in Libya does not seem to have a limit,” said Amin Awad, UNHCR Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “UNHCR is concerned about the plight of these asylum seekers and calls for their immediate release in collaboration with the Libyan authorities. We abhor the graphic images circulated widely and the heinous abuses perpetrated by these groups.”
Migrants and refugees travelling to Libya from the Horn Africa are frequently abducted in the Raybana area on the country’s southern border after crossing from Sudan. The area is very insecure with smuggling gangs from across the region preying on vulnerable people.
The relevant authorities are aware of this inhumane situation and are working to locate and assist the individuals in the video. IOM and partners will work with the government authorities to urgently secure the release of these migrants and refugees and provide critical support, including medical and psychosocial, as well as transport if they want to return home.
*Please note that IOM has not shared the Facebook video to protect the migrants and refugees from retaliation by their captors
For further information, please contact Leonard Doyle, IOM, Tel: +41 79 285 7123, Email: ldoyle@iom.int
International Organization for Migration:
Copyright © IOM. All rights reserved.

Kenyans, Ethiopians among the rescued as Al-Shabaab attacks Mogadishu restaurant | Africanews






Kenyans, Ethiopians among the rescued as Al-Shabaab attacks Mogadishu restaurant




SOMALIA



Somali insurgent group, Al-Shabaab, on Wednesday evening attacked a restaurant in the capital Mogadishu.
Deaths were recorded in the attack with witnesses quoting between 9 -10 dead persons outside the Pizza House restaurant, according to a Voice of America journalist.
Security forces who rushed to the scene however managed to rescue a number of people among which were nationals of neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia.


BREAKING: Police believe there are about 4 Al-Shabab militants inside the Pizza House; Gaashaan forces on site. 


The militants were also said to have detonated an explosive device outside the restaurant. The explosion is said to have impacted another facility, Posh Treats, located opposite the attacked restaurant.
A local journalist tweeted that police believed that there were about four militants in the facility and they were planning to storm the place. Al-Shabaab has carried out such attacks on restaurants in the past.
The group is the biggest security threat of the restive Horn of Africa nation. The al-Qaeda affiliate is also a transnational threat as their activities has extended to neighbouring Kenya where they continue to launch deadly attacks.
Somalia’s security set up is multi-pronged as part of efforts to combat the group. The Somali National Army (SNA) is complimented by African Union forces (AMISOM). Kenyan and Ethiopian troops are also involved in security operations in Somalia as is the United States.

Kenyans, Ethiopians among the rescued as Al-Shabaab attacks Mogadishu restaurant | Africanews






Kenyans, Ethiopians among the rescued as Al-Shabaab attacks Mogadishu restaurant




SOMALIA



Somali insurgent group, Al-Shabaab, on Wednesday evening attacked a restaurant in the capital Mogadishu.
Deaths were recorded in the attack with witnesses quoting between 9 -10 dead persons outside the Pizza House restaurant, according to a Voice of America journalist.
Security forces who rushed to the scene however managed to rescue a number of people among which were nationals of neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia.


BREAKING: Police believe there are about 4 Al-Shabab militants inside the Pizza House; Gaashaan forces on site. 


The militants were also said to have detonated an explosive device outside the restaurant. The explosion is said to have impacted another facility, Posh Treats, located opposite the attacked restaurant.
A local journalist tweeted that police believed that there were about four militants in the facility and they were planning to storm the place. Al-Shabaab has carried out such attacks on restaurants in the past.
The group is the biggest security threat of the restive Horn of Africa nation. The al-Qaeda affiliate is also a transnational threat as their activities has extended to neighbouring Kenya where they continue to launch deadly attacks.
Somalia’s security set up is multi-pronged as part of efforts to combat the group. The Somali National Army (SNA) is complimented by African Union forces (AMISOM). Kenyan and Ethiopian troops are also involved in security operations in Somalia as is the United States.

Friday, June 9, 2017

: So Many Trapped Al-Shabab Commanders Willing to Defect, Minister Says


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So many trapped Al-Shabab commanders willing to defect, Somalia minister says.
MOGADISHU (Somali Update Online) — Somalia's Information Minister, Abdirahman Omar Osman (Eng Yarisow) confirmed the defections of two Al-Shabaab commanders, one in Hiiraan and one in Kismayo, Somalia.

Bishar Farah Mumin defected in Hiiraan last Wednesday and had been a commander in al-Shabaab’s military wing (known as Jabha) in Hiraan, Galgaduud and Mudug regions.
Sheikh Abdullahi Sheikh Abdi defected in Kismayo on Saturday and had been Al-Shabab’s shadow District Commissioner of Jamame in Lower Jubba.
The recent defection of the two mid-rank militant commanders came as government forces and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) preparing to launch fresh military offensive against the Al-Shabab controlled areas in the Shabelle regions.
"Disaffected leaders from different places and who had different roles within Al-Shabaab are defecting from the terrorist group in this Holy Month of Ramadan. So are many, many foot-soldiers.”
The minister of information adds that the Somali Government continue to offer its amnesty to the members of the militant group willing to defect and refrain from its violent behavior.
"The Federal Government of Somalia offers amnesty to anyone trapped inside Al-Shabaab as long as they reject the group’s alien ideology, renounce violence and agree to cooperate in the reconstruction of Somalia.” He said.
As drought affects many parts of the country, Al-Shabab militia in the push have been facing short of food, according to sources, in addition to the growing pressure from the local communities who continue to oppose the group’s restrictive orders against relief operation in the areas the militia controls.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Somaliland Deal with UAE "Corrupt, Illegal" - Voice of America



February 14, 2017 6:25 PM

FILE - President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo stands to salute troops during a street parade to celebrate independence day for the breakaway Somaliland nation from Somalia in the capital, Hargeysa, May 18, 2015.
FILE - President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo stands to salute troops during a street parade to celebrate independence day for the breakaway Somaliland nation from Somalia in the capital, Hargeysa, May 18, 2015.


Officials in Somalia and breakaway Somaliland took bribes in exchange for authorizing a United Arab Emirates military base in the port city of Berbera, according to Somalia's auditor general.
Auditor General Nur Jimale Farah is one of several observers questioning the propriety of the UAE base deal, which Somaliland's parliament overwhelmingly approved Sunday.
In an interview with VOA's Somali service, Jimale accused senior officials in Somaliland and the government of Somalia's former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of backing the deal for the sake of “illegitimate private gains.”
He also questioned Somaliland's right to reach an agreement with the UAE. Somaliland considers itself independent from Somalia, but is not recognized by any country.
“The deal has none of the legal provisions needed and did not go through Somalia's legitimate public procurement, financial institutions and the parliament. Therefore, it is corrupted and illegal,” Jimale said.
“We know that individuals within the leadership of Somalia and Somaliland were invited to Dubai and that they were corrupted with bags full of cash to sign the agreement,” he added.
Deal looked 'very secretive'
Jimale would not specify the individuals allegedly involved in the deal, and VOA could not independently verify the allegations.
Somaliland's representative to the UAE, Bashe Awil Omer, denied the bribery accusation. “It is baseless and we categorically deny it,” he told VOA. “If they have an evidence for such allegation, they should show to the public.”
Speaking to VOA on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on this issue, a senior official in Somalia's foreign ministry refused to deny or confirm the corruption allegations, but said neither the ministry nor the Somali cabinet was given a chance to discuss the UAE deal.
“We heard about the deal, which looked very secretive,” the official said. “It was not brought before the cabinet and the foreign ministry office. When we asked about it, we were told that the president and the prime minister's offices were dealing with it.”
Somali's former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is escorted as he leaves a meeting in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Jan. 30, 2017.

Somali's former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is escorted as he leaves a meeting in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Jan. 30, 2017.
Abdiwahab Abdisamad, an independent Nairobi-based Horn of Africa analyst, said he also heard the agreement got a secret green light from the outgoing Mohamud administration.
“As the reliable sources we are getting from the ground indicate, before Somaliland, authorities within the administration of the former head of state Hassan Sheikh Mohamud signed the agreement and Somaliland put it into vote at its parliament, only to send a message that it is a Somaliland project rather than a Somalia project,” Abdisamad said.
Somaliland's Wadani and OCID opposition parties have described the agreement as illegal and unconstitutional.
A ship is docked at the Berbera port in Somalia, May 17, 2015.

A ship is docked at the Berbera port in Somalia, May 17, 2015.
Strategic importance of base
The agreement calls for the UAE to operate a base in Berbera for 25 years. Previously, Somaliland signed a deal with a UAE international port operator DP World. That deal would upgrade the port of Berbera, the largest in Somaliland.
Being part of a coalition that has been fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, the UAE already has a military facility at Eritrea's Assab port for use. The Berbera base, which is only 90 kilometers from the shores of Yemen, will help it tighten the coalition blockade on the rebels.
Somali analysts say the base will be less of a headache for the UAE than the one in Eritrea, which is under United Nations sanctions.
Speaking at the parliament session, Somaliland's President Ahmed Silanyo said that the military base would benefit Somaliland and help create jobs.
In an interview with VOA on Monday, Somaliland Aviation Minister Farhan Adan Haybe said the deal has gone through all the Somaliland legal channels and therefore would be valid.
“The base is on a lease. It can't be used by any other nation except the UAE, and can't be subleased.” Haybe told VOA.
However, Jimale called on the UAE to back out of the deal, saying it violated Somalia's national and territorial integrity.
“UAE has already violated our national sovereignty and airspace because of its plans to come to Somaliland without paying air space tax and without the permission of Somalia's legitimate government,” Jimale said. “We ask UAE to respect the international code of conduct.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

UAE to open second military base in east Africa | Middle East Eye

UAE to open second military base in east Africa

#Business
Somaliland would be the second military base after the UAE facility in Eritrea, which has been used against the Houthis in Yemen
Ships being loaded in the port of Berbera, Somaliland in December 2015 (AFP)
Shazar Shafqat's picture
Last update: 
Monday 13 February 2017 16:15 UTC
Topics: 
The United Arab Emirates is going to set up a second military base in the Horn of Africa, sparking concern among some governments in the region.
The Somaliland parliament approved the deal for the northern port of Berbera on Sunday, with 144 lawmakers voting for, two against and two abstentions.
Under the 30-year deal, the Emirati government will have exclusive rights to Somaliland’s largest port and manage and oversee operational activities.
DP World, the UAE’s ports operator company, will supervise the port, which will gain a naval base as well as an air base. The lease of the port is contingent on the $442 million deal with DP World.
In return, Somaliland will get investment as well as international recognition: no other country has yet recognised the breakaway territory – which separated itself from the rest of Somalia in 1993 - as an "independent state".
The Emirati port operator will manage the operational activities, but there's no official word on the time it will take for the military base to become fully operational.
UAE’s military is considered a formidable force in Africa, particularly after the establishment of its military base at Assab in Eritrea in 2015.
The Eritrean base has been used by the UAE in the Yemen war against the Houthis. It is not known whether the facility at Berbera will have a similar purpose.
Osman Abdillahi, minister of information and national guidance, told Somaliland Press, the country’s official news agency, that the “UAE military base will bring investment which will open the flood gates for countries to recognise Somaliland.”
Abu Dhabi is reaching out to countries in and around the Horn of Africa, as it looks to increase its non-oil revenue through other avenues including real estate, trade and financial services.
Abdillahi said: “The Berbera to Wajale highway will cost about $230-300 million, not forgetting the creations of thousands of jobs for our people, which will alleviate the endemic joblessness that has incapacitated our people.”
It is significant because the UAE will be engaging in trade across the port, and for this, it would require a sustainable road network across Berbera. Hence, as the minister said, it will create opportunities for the local people on infrastructure development.

Tension with Ethiopia

But the Somaliland deal has angered Ethiopia, one of the regional powers in the Horn of Africa, which itself has economic ties with the UAE.
As recently as last year, the UAE and Ethiopia signed several investment deals, under the terms of which the UAE is legally bound to protect the economic interests of Ethiopia.
Last January, Ethiopia's prime minister rebuked the UAE government for having established the base in Eritrea.
Hailemariam Desalegn said: “We have also stressed that they will bear the consequences of our response if their operation in the area supports the Eritrean regime’s destabilisation agenda against Ethiopia."
There is still tension between the two east African nations after they fought a war from May 1998 to June 2000.

About Me

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Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change &  Liberation  in Europe, Africa and Americas. He has obtained  Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva.   A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies.  He wrote on the  problematic of  the Horn of  Africa extensively. He Speaks Amharic, Tigergna, Hebrew, English, French. He has a good comprehension of Arabic, Spanish and Italian.