Tag Archives: Somalia

IMF to help Somalia print first new banknotes for 25 years

Shabelle Media Network

IMF to Help Somalia Print First Banknotes in 25 years

The International Monetary Fund is backing Somalia’s plans to replace tattered currency notes that were printed before the Horn of Africa nation plunged into civil war almost three decades ago.

The new Somali shilling notes may come into circulation this year, alongside the dollar that’s been the main means of payment, and will replace fake or old currency in circulation, said Samba Thiam, the IMF’s country head.

“About 98 percent of the currency circulating in the country is fake,” Thiam said in an interview Friday in Nairobi, the capital of neighboring Kenya. “The remaining 2 percent is currency printed during 1990-91, still circulating, but in very bad shape.”

Somalia’s descent into anarchy began with the ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. A subsequent Islamist insurgency has hastened the destruction of its political and economic institutions, slashing annual per capita income to $435 and making Somalia the world’s fifth-poorest country, according to the World Bank.

Printing of the new notes, which will initially be in small denominations, is aimed at restoring the Central Bank of Somalia’s powers to set monetary policy, he said. While the institution doesn’t have the money to finance the plan, donors will back the reforms and financing will be agreed on once the government decides whether it wants a floating- or fixed-rate currency regime.

Debt Cancellation

While Somalia qualifies for debt cancellation, it would have to clear arrears that are part of $5.3 billion owed to international creditors such as the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank to secure fresh funding, Thiam said. Writing off Somalia’s loans depends on progress toward curbing corruption, introducing a new currency and an effective monetary policy in the $6 billion economy.

“There are hurdles,” Thiam said. “But there is a general willingness from creditors to write off Somalia’s debt when the time comes, it’s a good prospect. They will not be asked to repay the debt tomorrow, so they have time to work on consolidating their economic base. The debt is an issue that will be resolved some time.”

Economic growth may slow to 2.5 percent in 2017 from 3.7 percent last year, the IMF estimates. Agriculture accounts for 40 percent of national output in the country whose main export is camels to Gulf Arab countries.

The IMF is also assisting the central bank with regulation and supervision of the financial sector to open it to new investors, Thiam said. KCB Group Ltd and Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd, neighboring Kenya’s first and sixth-largest banks by assets, are among lenders that have applied to set up shop. Somalia has six banks and 12 money-transfer businesses.

Better Governance

Somalis living abroad have buoyed the economy with remittances of as much as $2.3 billion a year, Thiam said. “We pretty much think the amount that could be going unnoticed, undeclared must be much bigger.”

President Mohamed Abdullahi, elected into office this month, must make good on his word to fight graft, Thiam said. Somalia is the world’s most corrupt nation, according to Berlin-based Transparency International.

Improving governance may enable the nation to exploit potentially “quite large” oil and gas reserves, Thiam said. The government has said production could begin as early as 2020 after exploration by companies such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp. and BP Plc showed probable offshore hydrocarbon deposits. The state has held talks with those companies about reactivating dormant contracts.

Somalia – car bomb in Mogadishu market kills 39

Reuters

A Somali government soldier walks past the scene of a suicide bomb explosion at the Wadajir market in Madina district of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu February 19, 2017. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
By Feisal Omar | MOGADISHU

MOGADISHU A car bomb ripped through a market in Mogadishu on Sunday, killing 39 people and injuring around 50, a local official said, days after Somalia elected a new president.

The car was driven by a suicide bomber, said Ahmed Abdulle Afrax, the mayor of Wadajir district where the bombing happened.

“We carried 39 dead bodies and there were many others injured,” Dr Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of the Aamin Ambulance Service, told Reuters.

Madina hospital took in 47 injured people, Dr Mohamed Yusuf, the manager, said.

Witness Abdulle Omar said the market was destroyed.

“I was staying in my shop when a car came in into the market and exploded. I saw more than 20 people lying on the ground. Most of them were dead,” he said.

Al Shabaab, the Islamist insurgent group that is fighting the U.N.-backed Somali government, did not immediately claim responsibility.

Al Shabaab has been able to carry out increasingly deadly bombings despite losing most of its territory to African Union peacekeepers supporting the Somali government.

This month Somalia elected a new president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, a dual U.S.-Somali citizen and former prime minister.

Civil war has riven Somalia since 1991. Aid agencies warn that a severe drought has placed large swathes of the country at risk of famine.

(Writing by Katharine Houreld; editing by Jane Merriman/Ruth Pitchford)

Somalia – Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo chosen as president as military struggle continues

BBC

Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo follows the proceedings as lawmakers cast their ballot during the presidential vote at the airport in Somalia"s capital Mogadishu, February 8, 2017.REUTERS The new president is known as Farmajo, cheese in Italian

Somalia’s MPs have elected a Somali-US national as the country’s new president in a vote held in an aircraft hangar.

Ex-Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” Mohamed beat President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in two rounds of voting.

The vote was held at the heavily guarded airport complex in the capital, Mogadishu, as the rest of the country is not safe.

Traffic was banned and a no-fly zone imposed over the city to prevent attacks by militant Islamists.

Despite this, suspected militants fired mortar rounds close to the venue on Tuesday night.

Somalia has not had a one-person one-vote democratic election since 1969.

That vote was followed by a coup, dictatorship and conflict involving clan militias and Islamist extremists.

The aircraft hangar is crowded with MPs ready to voteAMISOM The aircraft hangar is crowded with MPs

Mr Mohamed’s election is part of a lengthy and complex process to help the East African state rebuild its democracy and achieve stability.

Thousands of Somalis quickly took to the streets to celebrate his victory and cheering soldiers from the Somali army fired into the air, the Associated Press news agency reports.

More than 20,000 African Union (AU) troops are stationed in Somalia to prevent militant Islamist group al-Shabab from overthrowing the weak government.

A total of 21 men ran for the presidency, but the number was reduced to two after two rounds of voting.

Mr Mohamed obtained 184 votes, compared with 97 for the outgoing president.

Mr Mohamud accepted defeat, avoiding a third and final vote.

“History was made, we have taken this path to democracy, and now I want to congratulate Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo,” Mr Mohamud said in his concession speech.

The new president is popularly known as “Farmajo”, Italian for cheese, because of his love for the dairy product.

Much of Somalia was a former Italian colony.

Somali election traffic ban

BBC

Traffic in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, on streets with election campaign poster - December 2016AFP Mogadishu’s streets are usually congested with vehicles

A traffic ban has been imposed and major roads sealed off in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, ahead of a presidential vote.

MPs will gather at the airport to elect a new head of state.

On Tuesday evening, suspected Al-Shabab militants launched a series of attacks, with two mortar rounds fired close to the venue where the vote will be held.

Residents in Arbacow village outside Mogadishu say jihadists attacked an African Union military base there.

More than 20 candidates are vying to become Somali president, with the top three proceeding to a second round of voting and the top two from that round going forward to a third and final vote.

Incumbent President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is standing for re-election and analysts say he is likely to be one of those who goes forward to the later rounds.

Results are expected later on Wednesday.

The airport is viewed as the most secure site in the Somali capital and voting was moved there from a police academy because of growing security concerns.

Wednesday’s security measures will include a ban on flights to and from Mogadishu airport.

Correspondents said most schools and offices remained open on Tuesday but people had had to walk to reach their destination.

Analysts say holding the election in the airport environment may also reduce the possibility of vote buying or other corruption in the election process.

Somalia has not had an effective central government since the fall of the Siad Barre regime in 1991. The Mogadishu-based government is backed by an African Union force, Amisom, made up of more than 22,000 troops and police, as well as civilian staff.

Al-Shabab has a presence in much of the southern third of the country and has carried out many attacks in Mogadishu.

Control map of Somalia

It has previously attacked the Somali parliament, presidential palace, courts, hotels and the fortified airport zone.

At least 19 politicians, as well as civilians and soldiers have been killed in its assaults.

Somalia – Al Shabaab beheads four men accused of spying

Star (Kenya)

Feb. 06, 2017, 9:00 am

Al Shabaab militants in Somalia publicly beheaded four men accused of spying for the country’s Western-backed government, the United States and neighbouring Kenya, residents in the south of the Horn of Africa country said.

The al Qaeda-linked group confirmed the executions, which took place on Sunday after the men were found guilty by an al Shabaab court in Jamame district of lower Jubba region, some 70 km (43 miles) north of Kismayu.

“The court ruled on their cases and four of the men were executed publicly in Jamame District according to the Sharia this (Sunday) afternoon,” Mohamed Abu Abdalla, al Shabaab’s governor for the Jubba region, told Reuters, without elaborating on the method of execution.

“The four men admitted they were spies.”

In areas under its control, al Shabaab has carried out executions, floggings and amputations after summary trials in cases ranging from espionage to theft.

Al Shabaab has been fighting for years to drive out African Union peacekeepers, topple the central government and impose its own harsh interpretation of Sharia (Islamic law) in country.

Somalia – Al Shabab claims dozens killed in attack on Kenyan army base

Reuters

By Abdi Sheikh and Feisal Omar | MOGADISHU

The Islamist group al Shabaab said its fighters killed dozens of Kenyan troops when they attacked a remote military base in Somalia on Friday, while Kenya’s army dismissed the report and said “scores” of militants were killed.

A spokesman for al Shabaab, which often launches attacks on troops of the African Union’s AMISOM force, said its fighters killed at least 66 Kenyans at the base in the southern town of Kulbiyow, near the Kenyan border.

Al Shabaab said it lost fighters but did not give numbers.

Kenyan military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Paul Njuguna denied the claim that al Shabaab had killed dozens of soldiers but did not give any casualty figures.

In a statement, he said al Shabaab attackers used a vehicle packed with explosives to try to blast their way into the camp of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF). “KDF soldiers repulsed the terrorists, killing scores,” he said.

Njuguna said the attack was launched around dawn on Friday.

In January 2016, al Shabaab said it had killed more than 100 Kenyan soldiers in El Adde, a Somali camp near the border with Kenya. The military never gave details of casualties, but Kenya media reports suggested a toll of that magnitude.

Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman, had told Reuters al Shabaab fighters rammed two suicide car bombs into the base and seized it. “We are pursuing the Kenyan soldiers who ran away into the woods,” he said.

Al Shabaab, whose assessment of casualties often differs markedly from official versions, typically rams the entrance to a target site with a car or truck bomb so fighters can storm in.

The Islamist group, which once ruled much of Somalia, wants to topple the Western-backed government in Mogadishu and drive out the peacekeeping force made up of soldiers from Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Ethiopia and other African countries.

Al Shabaab has been fighting for years to impose its strict interpretation of Islam on Somalia.

African Union and Somali troops have driven its fighters from major urban strongholds and ports, including the capital Mogadishu in 2011, but they have often struggled to defend smaller, more remote areas from attacks.

(Additional reporting by George Obulutsa in Nairobi; Writing by Aaron Maasho and Edmund Blair; Editing by Catherine Evans)

Al Shabab attacks Kenyan military base in Somalia

BBC

Al Shabab fightersGETTY IMAGES It is not the first time that al-Shabab fighters have launched a fierce attack on Kenyan soldiers

Islamist militant al-Shabab fighters have launched an attack on a Kenyan military base in southern Somalia.

The al-Qaeda-linked group says it has killed 57 soldiers and seized military vehicles and weapons.

But a Kenyan military spokesman said the dawn attack was repelled, the base was not overrun and scores of insurgents were killed in the fighting.

A year ago al-Shabab carried out a similar attack on a Kenyan base in the town el-Ade .

In that raid the Islamist group said it had killed more than 100 soldiers, but the Kenyan government refused to give its own casualty figures.

Daily Nation

KDF camp in Kulbiyow comes under Al-Shabaab attack

FRIDAY JANUARY 27 2017

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A Kenyan military camp in Kulbiyow, Somalia, came under heavy fire on January 27, 2017 after suspected Al-Shabaab militants attacked the base. PHOTO | GOOGLE MAPS.

In Summary

  • Although the military spokesman didn’t offer finer details on the exchange, he said the Kenyan troops have been pinned down.

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Suspected Al-Shabaab militants have attacked a Kenyan military camp in Kulbiyow, Lower Jubba, Somalia, some 18 kilometres from the Kenyan border.

The KDF base was attacked at 5am on Friday and the number of casualties remains unconfirmed.

“We are under massive attack and there is massive exchange of fire,” military spokesman Lt-Col Paul Njuguna told Nation.co.ke

PINNED DOWN

Although the military spokesman did not offer finer details on the exchange, he said the Kenyan troops had been pinned down.

Al-Shabaab fighters, the Voice of America reports, drove a truck filled with explosives and detonated them inside the base, followed by heavy gunfire and an infantry attack.

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Al-Shabaab, Reuters reports, claimed it had killed 57 Kenyan soldiers, an allegation Lt-Col Njuguna denied.

“That is false,” he told Reuters, in reference to Al-Shabaab’s claim that 57 soldiers were killed although he did not give any casualty figures.

“The operation is ongoing. We are receiving updates,” the officer added.

KDF DENIES

He denied claims that KDF camp had been overran by Al-Shabaab.

“Our soldiers repulsed the terrorists who had tried to access the camp using a Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device,” Lt-Col Njuguna said in a statement.

The Kenya Air Force and the Kenya Army, he said, were undertaking an intensive pacification operation in the border town.

“Our soldiers remain vigilant and will continue to relentlessly pursue the terrorists to ensure secure Kenya and Somalia,” he said.

“It is important to note that the information peddled by the terrorists, our camp has not been overran,” he added.

PROPAGANDA

The militant group has an elaborate propaganda machinery, with a spokesmen to boot, that fights to advance its war against the western-backed Mogadishu administration and its allies, including Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda and Ethiopia.

Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, its military operation spokesman, had claimed they had also taken over the camp and seized weapons and military vehicles.

“We are pursuing the Kenyan soldiers who ran away into the woods,” he told Reuters.

“Two mujahideen (fighters) rammed suicide car bombs into the base in Kulbiyow town before storming it,” he said.

EL-ADDE ATTACK

Kenyan soldiers are fighting the rag-tag militia under the UN-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) that has lost hundreds of soldiers in camp attacks.

Besides Kenya, Al-Shabaab has attacked camps belonging to Uganda, Burundi and Ethiopia, with Uganda and Burundi suffering massive causalities.

The Kulbiyow attack comes a year after Kenya lost over 100 troops when Al-Shabaab overran a KDF camp in El-Adde on the dawn of January 15, 2016.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who wants Kenyan troops pulled out of Somalia, condemned the morning attack, calling it “unacceptable”.