NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Somalia has a chance to forge a new beginning
after peaceful election of the new President Mohamed Abdullahi
Mohamed (Farmajo) on Feb. 8, said the Special Representative of
the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) for
Somalia, Francisco Madeira.
Madeira said in a
commentary published by Kenya’s Daily Nation on Wednesday that
election of a new president will enable Somalia to shake off its
tragic past and chart a new beginning marked by peace, stability
conclusion of the presidential election heralds a new dawn for a
country that has been plagued by years of instability, internal
strife, cyclical drought and violent extremism,” said Madeira.
trounced the incumbent Hassan Sheikh Mohamud after a hotly
contested race to become the new president of Somalia.
His victory was
cheered by Somali citizens, regional blocs and the international
community who expressed confidence in his leadership skills that
were tested when he served as the country’s prime minister for
eight months from 2010 to 2011.
Farmajo holds a dual Somalia-U.S. citizenship and his reformist
credentials will be crucial to restore political and economic
institutions that crumbled during two and half decades of
turmoil in the horn of African state.
Madeira hailed the
peaceful transfer of power in Somalia against a backdrop of huge
uncertainties about its future due to sectarian wars and
“Let 2017 be the
year of firsts for Somalia. There is an opportunity for leaders
to work together to spearhead reconciliation and national
unity,” Madeira remarked, adding that dialogue on resource
sharing, job creation, security, women and youth empowerment
will be reactivated under the new president.
Madeira who is also
the head of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said that
an end to violent conflicts and terrorism in the country is
possible if grassroots leaders and ordinary citizens rally
behind the new president to annihilate the twin evils.
He stressed that
African Union in partnership with the international community
will continue to support counter-terrorism and peace building
initiatives in Somalia.
“With a new
government in place, one of our key priorities with the national
security forces is to intensify our offensive against
terrorists. We will not relent until the war against violent
extremism is won,” said Madeira.
diplomat said the establishment of vibrant security apparatus in
Somalia to deal with old and emerging threats is a key priority
of the AU and its multilateral partners.
He added that the
continental body will also support provision of critical
services like education and health to eliminate conditions that
would create a fertile ground for violent extremism to flourish
Progress expected in Somalia
after election: AU mission
MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua)
-- The African Union envoy in Somalia said Wednesday that
Somalia would make tremendous progress under the new leadership
formed following the drawn-out electoral process that ended last
Representative of the African Union Commission Chairperson (SRCC)
for Somalia Francisco Madeira said President Mohamed Abdullahi
Mohamed (Farmajo) has already spelt out issues his government
would prioritize including security, tackling corruption and
promoting peace and stability.
“He has made it his
priority the need to ensure Somalia has functioning national
security service, that is, the army, police and the
intelligence,” Madeira said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
“He has made it his
priority the need to ensure soldiers are paid timely, receive
uniforms and equipment needed to do their work properly,” he
said, noting that Somalia is destined for brighter future
following the successful electoral process.
Farmajo was declared
the winner on Feb. 8 after two rounds of voting by the Somali
Parliament in Mogadishu. The runner-up, incumbent President
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, chose to withdraw from a third and final
expressed commitment to bringing government closer to the people
and also to working with development partners to provide
essential services, among them, roads, schools, health centers,
markets and jobs for the youths.
The head of the
mission described the electoral process as historic, adding that
AMISOM was proud to be associated with the exercise.
electoral process was not without challenges, the main one being
the threat posed by Al-Shabaab terrorists to disrupt the process
and compromise its credibility, according to Madeira.
“We had an enemy
that was sneaky, invisible and opportunistic. We had to deal
with such an enemy and at the same time observe the most strict
humanitarian law, human rights principles and human rights due
diligence policy,” he said.
The AU supported the
process by brokering peace between warring clans, organizing
diplomatic engagements with the Somali leaders and securing the
elections by working closely with the Somali national security
acknowledged securing Somalia goes beyond having a national army
and police, adding that other critical institutions must
supplement the role of the security forces.
He said the AU
mission’s focus will now be on supporting the government, mainly
by helping build capacity for the Somali security institutions
in preparation for the drawdown of African Union troops from
Somalia, beginning October 2018.
Kenyans commend peaceful
presidential polls in Somalia
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday commended Somalia for
successfully holding a peaceful presidential election, saying it
was proof that the Horn of Africa country was heading in the
Speaking in Nairobi when he received a special message from
the new Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, Kenyatta
said the conclusion of the electoral process and peaceful
transfer of power will help stabilize the Horn of Africa nation.
"The way the election was conducted and the subsequent
peaceful transfer of power has made us very proud," he said in a
statement issued after the meeting.
The new president, Abdullahi Farmajo, who holds dual Somali-U.S.
citizenship was declared the winner on Feb. 8 after two rounds
of voting by the Somali Parliament in Mogadishu in an electoral
process that took almost 18 months.
The runner-up, the incumbent, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, chose to
withdraw from a third and final round of voting and
congratulated the former PM on his victory.
President Kenyatta observed that the election held recently
gave renewed hope to the Somali people and international
community that Somalia was on the road to full recovery.
He said existing cooperation between Kenya and Somalia in a
wide range of areas including peace and security would strength
the bonds of friendship between the two countries.
President Mohamed’s special envoy, Abdisalam Omer, who is
also the new foreign minister of Somalia, expressed appreciation
for the efforts Kenya has continued to offer towards
stabilization of Somalia.
Despite successful election, President Farmajo faces a
formidable set of challenges in meeting the expectations of the
Somali people who will expect the new federal government to
respond to the country’s worsening drought crisis and avert
Three killed in mortar
attack near presidential palace in Somalia
MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) --
Three people were killed and
four others were injured on Thursday when mortar shells landed
at a residential area bordering the presidential villa in
"We can confirm that three people have been killed, among
them two children. Four others were injured when mortar shells
landed at Warta Nabadda near Villa Somalia," police officer
Abdullahi Ahmed told Xinhua.
Witnesses told Xinhua there were huge blasts in the village
which also destroyed some housing structures.
"There were at least five mortar shells which landed at our
village. I heard three people were killed," Muktar Nor said.
The latest attack comes as Villa Somalia was hosting a
handover ceremony for the new president to assume the new
residence, paving way for the inauguration of the new president
on Feb 22.
Already, the government has announced it will suspend
temporarily all domestic and international flights to Mogadishu
airport because of the inauguration on Feb 22.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the latest attack
which comes after the new president pledged during his campaigns
to eradicate criminal networks and terror groups in Somalia.
UNHCR repatriates 4,753 Somali
refugees in 2 weeks
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The UN refugee agency said on Tuesday that it has
repatriated some 4,753 Somali refugees in Kenya by road between
Jan. 16-31 before a court suspended the closure of the world’s
largest refugee camp in northeast Kenya.
The UN High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in its bi-weekly Update
that in total as of Jan. 31, 44, 365 Somali refugees had
returned home since December 8, 2014 when the UN agency started
supporting voluntary return of refugees in Kenya.
reporting period, 4,753 refugees were supported to voluntarily
return to Somalia by road. Road convoys are organized from
Dadaab to Dhobley on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and
Thursdays,” it said.
According to UNHCR,
flight transporting returnees to Mogadishu remained temporarily
suspended during the month of January owing to the security
situation in Mogadishu during the current presidential election
process in Somalia.
During the period
under review, the UNHCR said it the Voluntary Repatriation Cross
Border Meeting was held on Jan. 31 to deliberate on security
situation in the 12 areas of return, the impact of drought on
repatriation and reintegration process, cross-border peace
building projects and enhancing provision of country of origin
information as well as monitoring and management of cases of
returnees with specific needs.
The UN refugee
agency also said ten flights were organized during the period
under review, transporting 1,030 non-Somali refugees to
Kalobeyei at the Kakuma camp in northwest Kenya.
The latest report
comes after Kenyan High Court blocked the government’s decision
to shut down Dadaab refugee camp which mainly hosts Somalis,
terming the move as unconstitutional.
High Court Justice
John Mativo in his ruling termed the directive by Interior
Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and his Principal Secretary
Karanja Kibicho as arbitrary, null and void.
Justice Mativo said
the government’s orders to repatriate Somali refugees living in
the world’s largest refugee camp were discriminatory and
amounted to collective. He also described the orders as
excessive, arbitrary and disproportionate.
The UNHCR has since
called on Kenya to be flexible in terms of a return time frame
in order to meet the different elements of the plan that was
devised in 2016, citing a concern that rigid time frames would
be difficult to meet.