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UN says Somalia varsity to expand youth opportunities 

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The UN children’s fund, UNICEF on Wednesday welcomed the handover of the Somali National University (SNU)’s main campus to the government as an important step forward in expanding opportunities for youth in Somalia.

Some 300 troops who occupied Somali National University premises were on Tuesday relocated to the African Union base in Jowhar, in an exercise that commenced in April 2016.

“It is important that education and health facilities remain free and disassociated from military use to allow people free access to essential services especially in the current prolonged drought,” UNICEF Somalia Representative Jeremy Hopkins said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

“We should also look to the future. Somali youth make up the majority of the population and a public university offers them a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he added.

The campus had been used by different militaries, and secured by the Burundi contingent of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) as a battalion headquarters for more than ten years.

The campus’ buildings and grounds were renovated before the handover. The SNU, which was the first university in Somalia when it was set up in 1954, reopened in 2014 after being closed for more than two decades during the conflict.

Since then students have used its other campuses to study education, law, medicine, and engineering among various subjects.

The re-opening of the SNU was aimed at ensuring the provision of an affordable and high quality education which would expand access to higher education to those who did not have the means to attend one of the many private universities that have proliferated across the country.



Top U.S. diplomat voices support for Somalia in fighting Al-Shabaab

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has expressed Washington’s support towards flushing out Al-Shabaab militants from Somalia.

A statement from the Somali presidency said Tillerson made the pledge as he held phone talks with Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

Tillerson has reaffirmed America’s commitment to support Somalia’s development goals, and cooperate on the efforts to eradicate the threats of terror.

“We are ready to support Somalia and cooperate on eradicating the threats of terror,” said the U.S. top diplomat.

According to the statement, Tillerson gave the assurance that Washington was fully in support of Somalia’s peace and stability efforts.

“We need to embark on the fight against Al-Shabaab with renewed urgency,” Tillerson was quoted as saying in the statement.

U.S. Special Forces and Somali security forces have been conducting joint operations for more than a year as part of American effort to help the Somali government combat insurgents who have increased attacks against on the Western-backed government.



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