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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

AMISOM leaders confirm new policy is not to pull out of Somalia

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Countries contributing troops to fight terrorists in Somalia have agreed not to pull out of the war-ravaged Horn of Africa state as this would "lead to a reversal of the gains made by African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)".

In a communique released on Friday evening, leaders from the contributing countries under the AMISOM noted that the Somalia National Army was not yet strong enough to take care of security concerns there.

The meeting was attended by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed of the Federal Republic of Somalia, and Gaston Sindimwo, First Vice President of Burundi, as well as officials from Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia.

The communique said the leaders had noted that "despite the notable achievements, the situation remained fragile with Al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups remaining a threat to the country, region and international peace and security".

The leaders also "recalled the UN Security Council Resolution of August 2017, whose main thrust was the phased reduction and draw-down of AMISOM troops by 2020".

AMISOM was created by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council in 2007 with an initial six month mandate on a peacekeeping mission.

The aim of the peacekeeping mission was to support a national reconciliation congress.

Later, the mandate was extended as terrorists loyal to Al-Shabaab continued attacking different countries in the east African region, with strong bases in Somalia.

In November last year, AMISON announced that it would withdraw 1,000 of the 22,000 fighters from the Horn of Africa by the end of the year and that all foreign peacekeepers would have withdrawn by the end of 2020.

However, on Friday, the leaders also requested the UN and the European Union to continue supporting operations of AMISOM beyond 2018.

Countries which contribute peacekeepers to AMISON include Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti.

The leaders also revealed that the matter will be communicated with the UN Security Council.
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EARLIER REPORTS:

Somalia denounces break-away region of Somaliland and Ethiopia port deal

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somalia on Friday denounced the port deal which was announced on Monday by the break-away region of Somaliland and United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s DP World to grant Ethiopia 19 percent shareholding in Berbera Port, terming the agreement unconstitutional.

The Ministry of Ports and Marine Transport said in a statement that the government was not party to the agreement which it termed as defective.

"This so-called agreement is both defective and detrimental to the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Somalia and the unity of the country," the Ministry said.

The UAE-owned DP World and Somaliland alongside Ethiopia Thursday signed the shareholding agreement in Dubai that would see the neighboring Ethiopia which is landlocked get a stake in the management of the port.

"DP World will hold a 51 percent stake in the project, Somaliland 30 percent and Ethiopia the remaining 19 percent," DP World said in a statement on Thursday.

"The government of Ethiopia will also invest in infrastructure to develop the Berbera Corridor as a trade gateway for the inland country, which is one of the fastest growing countries in the world." it said.

But the Somali government said the terms of the procedure are in blatant breach of the Provisional Constitution Somalia.

"The Ministry therefore, considering the above factors declares this deal as non-existent, null and void."

Somaliland parliament approved the Berbera Port deal with DP World in late 2016 paving way for the Emirati ports operator to inject 442 million U.S. dollars to rebuild the port and manage it through a concession for 30 years.

A subsidiary of DP World, P&O Ports secured a 30-year concession to manage the port of Bosaso in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland last year.

The concession was billed at 339 million dollars.
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'al-Shabaab' captures town and overruns military base in Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Al-Shabaab militants on Friday detonated a suicide bomb in a Somali military base in the outskirts of Mogadishu while capturing a nearby town.

A Police officer in Afgoye town which is located 30 kilometers south of the capital of Mogadishu told Xinhua by phone that the militants rammed a vehicle loaded with explosives into the military base but there is no word so far regarding casualties.

"They drove a minivan loaded with explosives into the military base run by the Somali army this morning.

"I don’t have information about the casualties," the police officer who declined to be named said.

A resident told Xinhua that the blast was huge and the shockwaves could be felt from a distance.

"We heard a heavy blast from the side of the military base and gunfire.

"The whole place was shaking.

"We don’t know what is happening there now," Said Mohamed, a trader in Afgoye said.

'al-Shabaab' militants overran Balad town which is located about 30 kilometres north of Mogadishu in the mid-morning attack, taking control from government forces.

Witnesses said the militants captured the local police and district headquarters.

A resident who also declined to be named confirmed to Xinhua that the militants are now in charge of the town.

"They came in the morning and went to the police headquarters and the district headquarters where they are now in control.

"There is very little movement in the town," witnesses said.
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At least three soldiers injured in two Al-Shabaab attacks in Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- At least three Somali government soldiers were injured in two separate attacks by terror group Al-Shabaab near Somali capital of Mogadishu on Friday.

The police said the three were injured when the militants rammed a vehicle loaded with explosives into the military base in Afgoye town, about 30 kms south of Mogadishu but were repulsed by the soldiers who were alert.

Afgoye Police Commander, Abdirahman Ibrahim Shamow said the Somalia National Army (SNA) foiled the suicide bombing attack in which the bomber died.

"The suicide bomber died on the spot, and three soldiers from SNA were injured in the attack, the terrorist wanted to cause a lot of damage to the army, but it did not happen.

"The situation is now calm at the comment," he said.

However, independence sources said four Somali soldiers were killed and six others injured after a suicide bomber attacked on the military base, adding that the attack targeted new Somali soldiers trained by United Arab Emirates.

Security sources said the explosive-laden vehicle was loaded with goats to conceal its mission.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) spokesman confirmed the two attacks at Afgoye and Balad town but did not provide details on the number of casualties.

"There was a Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) attack on police checkpoint in Afgoye details of the casualties are not out yet.

Attack on convoy in Balad seems that they targeted the civilian lorry in the convoy that was being escorted," AMISOM spokesman Wilson Rono told Xinhua.

The Al-Shabaab militants also overran Balad town which is located about 30 kilometers north of Mogadishu in the mid-morning attack, taking control from government forces.

The insurgents later confirmed through its affiliated websites that they are in full control of the town which is less than 30 kms from the Somali capital Mogadishu.

Witnesses said the militants captured the local police and district headquarters.

A resident who also declined to be named confirmed to Xinhua the militants are now in charge of the town.

"They came in the morning and went to the police headquarters and the district headquarters where they are now in control.

"There is very little movement in the town," the resident said.
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FURTHER READING:

Somalia and Troop Contributing Countries call for a halt to AMISOM troop reduction

African Union Deputy Special Representative visits injured soldiers at AMISOM hospital

Gains made in Somalia risk being eroded, warn AMISOM Troop Contributing Countries’ ministers

Military chiefs from Troop Contributing Countries call for more support for AMISOM

             

 

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