(Xinhua) -- Somalia President Mohamed
Abdullahi Mohamed on Thursday declared all-out war against Al-Shabaab
militants, shaking up security and intelligence chiefs a day after
twin bombings killed six people and injured over 10 others.
The president named former ambassador to Britain, Mohamed Ali
Sanbaloolshe, the new intelligence chief while Jimale Irfid will be
the new chief of defense forces in a reshuffle that saw Sanbaloolshe
return to his position three years after he was sacked by former
president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
President Mohamed also brought back former police Chief Abdihakim
Dahir Said to head the police in a day while deputy ambassador to
the United States Thabit Mohamed Abdi was named as new Mogadishu
Mayor and Governor of Banadir, replacing Yusuf Hussein Jimale.
"The country is at war, this war is against Al-Shabaab.
"We give the fighters of this group 60 days to surrender to the
government, and we will give them a good life," Mohamed told
journalists in Mogadishu.
He said the new military and police leadership will steer the war
against the militants who have killed several people in their effort
to topple the Western-backed government.
"We have new military commanders, whether the army, police and
"We want to strengthen efforts to fight anyone who tries to
disrupt the security situation in the country," he said.
Senior Al-Shabaab member
surrenders to government
MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) --
A senior Al-Shabaab militant surrendered to
Somalia government on Thursday in Jowhar town, a government official
Head of National Security and Intelligence Agency (NISA) for
Jowhar town, Abdukadir Abdullahi Hayow told reporters that the Al-Shabaab
militant had before communicated to government forces of his
decision to abandon the group.
Jowhar town is in middle Shabelle region, about 90km north of
"Senior Al-Shabaab militant surrendered to NISA command here, he
had communications with us before and he finally came to us.
"He is Mohamed Ali Yusuf.
"We welcomed him and we will treat him well.
"We will try to improve his life," Abdullahi said.
The head of NISA in Jowhar town called on Al-Shabaab members to
accept amnesty and abandon violence.
Al-Shabaab militants don’t often comment on its senior members
surrendering to the Somali government. Jowhar town is the
administrative capital for Hirshabelle State in Somalia.
At least 20 killed as landmine
hit commuter minibus in Somalia
MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) --
At least 20 passengers were killed when their
commuter minibus they were traveling in was hit by a landmine in
Lower Shabelle region of southern Somalia on Thursday evening,
Deputy Governor of Lower Shabelle region for Security Affairs Ali
Nure Mohamed told reporters that Al-Shabaab militants planted the
landmine on the ground to blow up African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)
vehicles using the road.
"The deadly incident happened in Golweyne town this evening.
"Twenty civilians, mostly women on a minibus from Barawe town and
heading to Marka town in lower Shabelle were killed in a landmine
blast," said Mohamed.
He said that the militants intended to target AU vehicles that
often use the way joining Barawe town and Mogadishu.
Deadly incidents of civilians on board often take place routinely
in the region due to either landmine blasts or accidents involving
No group has claimed responsibility for the latest attack but Al-Shabaab
militants are believed to be behind the blast as the group has
previously carried out similar attacks on Somalia and AU troops in
the Horn of Africa nation.
At least four injured in
mortar shell attack in Mogadishu
MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) --
At least four people were injured after mortar shell
rounds landed at a residential area near Qatari embassy in Somalia
capital Mogadishu on Wednesday evening, the police said.
Police officer Mohamed Nur told Xinhua the mortar shells landed
near the embassy shortly after 8 pm local time, hours after a car
bomb claimed six lives and ten injuries in Mogadishu.
"A number of mortar shells hit an area near the Qatar
embassy...we are still following leads on the incident," Nur said.
The police said the blast, the second attack in the restive city
on the same day, happened at KM-4 intersection in the city.
Mogadishu city spokesman Abdifitah Halane blamed the incident on
the militant group Al-Shabaab.
The group has not claimed responsibility so far.
A resident, Abdullahi Shire, 29, told Xinhua the explosion was
huge and sounded like bomb explosions.
"We heard heavy explosions near the Qatari embassy and we thought
they were bombs.
"We learn they were mortar shells," said Shire.
Britain seeks to help Kenya
counter explosive devices
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Britain has donated six new remotely operated
vehicles and associated equipment to help train Kenyan soldiers
counter explosive devices during their peacekeeping mission in
Visiting British Minister for Armed Forces Mike Penning who
handed over the equipment to the joint UK/Kenya Counter Improvised
Explosive Device (CIED) wing of the Humanitarian Peace Support
School said the training will help save soldiers’ lives in Somalia
and contribute to the defeat of Al-Shabaab.
Speaking during the visit at the school late Wednesday, Penning
said the vehicles allow improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to be
destroyed or disarmed remotely at a safe distance, preventing
specialized CIED operators from having to put their lives at risk.
"The equipment and expertise we give to this country is not
one-off, we will keep on coming back with instructors," he said in
The Wing combines UK CIED support with Kenyan facilities and
The joint CIED Wing was established in 2015 and provides vital
CIED training for KDF soldiers.
Nic Hailey, British High Commissioner to Kenya said the training
and equipment being provided at this counter IED centre will help
them deal with one of the biggest threats they face in that fight.
"It will bring together UK and Kenyan expertise and manpower to
provide training which saves soldiers’ and civilians’ lives," Hailey
said, noting that brave soldiers from Kenya and the region are daily
risking their lives in the fight against Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
The centre is part of a big international effort to build a more
stable, secure and prosperous Somalia and to support countries such
as Kenya which are giving so much to that effort.
The different CIED equipment to the Wing included six Remotely
Operated Vehicles to assist with ‘IED Defeat’ training.
In addition to equipment, the Britain also provides CIED training
through the joint Wing.
Over the past two years, 15 courses have trained a
cross-government audience drawn from the KDF, the police, the
airports authority, the National Intelligence Service (NIS), and
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) as well as other regional military
Penning who was in Kenya as part of a regional tour in advance of
the London Somalia Conference in May, said Britain intends to
increase the number of courses delivered here by a further 50
percent over the next two years.
Last month, the UK Foreign Secretary chaired the UN Security
Council on Somalia and next month, Prime Minister Theresa May will
host the London Somalia Conference to inject new momentum into the
international effort to support Somalia on its path towards
stability and prosperity.
UNHCR repatriation of Somali
refugees from Kenya nears 60,000
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The UN refugee agency said Thursday it has
repatriated some 59,829 Somali refugees in Kenya since the return
exercise began in December 2014.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in its
bi-weekly update released in Nairobi that some 3,786 refugees were
supported to return to their homes in Somalia in the past two weeks.
"Currently, 21,940 refugees are actively registered for voluntary
repatriation," UNHCR said.
The move comes after a regional summit of East African leaders
agreed on March 25 to facilitate the voluntary return of Somali
refugees but the UNHCR immediately announced it would not back the
returns to a country facing threats of severe famine.
The leaders of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)
resolved to support the Nairobi Comprehensive Plan of Action for
Durable Solutions for Somali Refugees and a separate plan for
regional response to the refugee crisis meant to assist Somalia to
survive the ongoing drought and looming famine.
The leaders, who met in Nairobi for the Special Summit of IGAD,
the first such meeting of its kind on the Somali refugee crisis,
agreed they would create an enabling environment for safe,
sustainable and voluntary return and reintegration of Somali
In its latest report, UNHCR said road convoys were organized from
Dadaab in northeast Kenya to Southern Somalia’s Dhobley respectively
on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
"Flights to Mogadishu have resumed on Feb. 27 after a long
suspension due to security restrictions in Mogadishu since December
2016," UNHCR said.
More than two million Somalis have been displaced in one of the
world’s most protracted humanitarian crises that have now entered
its third decade.
An estimated 1.1 million people are internally displaced (IDPs)
within Somalia and nearly 900,000 are refugees in the region.
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.