Somalia: Terrorist bombs, gunfire kill at least 10

By Mohammed Dhaysane

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AA) – At least 10 people, including soldiers, civilians, and a deputy minister, were killed when a car bomb followed by gunfire targeted government buildings in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday, officials said.

Mohamed Bulle, a police officer, told Anadolu Agency over the phone that the double car bomb blast targeted the Labor Ministry and Public Works and Housing Ministry buildings.

“After the blasts, gunmen stormed the building,” he added.

Five of the terrorist attackers were among the dead, and the wounded were rushed to hospital, he said.

Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre also confirmed the attack, saying: “I expressed my condolences to the families of the victims of today's cowardly terrorist attacks in Mogadishu, including Deputy Minister for Labour and Social Affairs Saqar Ibrahim Abdalla, who was killed in the attack”.

Somali-based al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.

Separately, a roadside blast outside Mogadishu killed four government soldiers on Saturday. Another two blasts wounded three civilians, according to police sources.

Turkish, Somali foreign ministers meet in Istanbul

              By Andac Hongur</p>    <p>ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkey and Somalia on Friday inked a protocol on land exchange for diplomatic representation. </p>    <p>Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with his Somali counterpart Ahmed Isse Awad, who visited Istanbul to attend an emergency meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation on the fight against hate and intolerance towards Muslims in New Zealand.</p>    <p>After the meeting, the two sides signed the protocol on land exchange for diplomatic representation.</p>    <p>Turkey has been the biggest supporter of Somalia for years and has its biggest embassy in Africa in Mogadishu.</p>    <p>*Writing by Gozde Bayar

Landmine blasts kill 5, injure more than 40 in Somalia

                                      By Mohammed Dhaysane</p>    <p>MOGADISHU, Somalia (AA) - At least five people were killed and more than 40 others wounded on Wednesday when landmines went off at a busy livestock market in the Somalia’s southwestern administrative region of Bay, an official said.</p>    <p>“Al-Shabaab terrorist group had targeted innocent civilians in Gof-gadud district’s livestock market with 4 landmine explosions on Wednesday and 5 people were killed, more than 40 others wounded”, said Nuradin Yusuf, spokesman for the Southwest State in Baidoa city, the capital of Bay region. </p>    <p>&quot;Our administration has sent ambulances to the scene and the wounded people were being transported to hospitals in Baidoa for treatment,&quot; Yusuf told Anadolu Agency.</p>    <p>Gof-gadud Burey is a small livestock business district, located some 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Baidoa city.</p>    <p>Somali-based insurgent group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack and said it had killed more than seven soldiers, a claim rejected by the spokesman for the Southwest State.

Somali army kills 8 al-Shabaab militants

            By Mohammed Dhaysane </p>  <p>MOGADISHU, Somalia (AA) - Somali special forces killed eight al-Shabaab militants overnight in the country’s Lower Shabelle region, state media said Tuesday.</p>  <p> “Somali security forces conducted an overnight operation in Daru Salam village in Lower Shabelle and killed eight members of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group,” the Somali National News Agency reported.</p>  <p>Adow Mohamed, a Somali National Army captain in Lower Shabelle, confirmed the operation to Anadolu Agency by phone.</p>  <p>“Our special forces alongside our international partners conducted an operation against al-Shabaab in Daru Salam in the Lower Shabelle region after we received intelligence and killed eight al-Shabaab fighters,” Mohamed said. </p>  <p>Meanwhile, al-Shabaab claimed it had killed one U.S. serviceman and wounded two others.</p>  <p>U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), which is targeting al-Shabaab in Somalia, have not commented on the incident so far.

Car bomb blast kills 5 in Somali capital

                               By Mohammed Dhaysane</p>  <p>MOGADISHU, Somalia (AA) - At least five people were killed and more than nine wounded when a car bomb went off near Somalia’s presidential palace in the capital Mogadishu, officials said Thursday.</p>  <p>“What we know so for about the attack is that a car bomb blast targeted the busy Dalsan restaurant, killing five people, including soldiers and civilians,” Adan Ahmed, a police officer, told Anadolu Agency over the phone. </p>  <p>More than nine other people, mostly civilians, were wounded and were rushed to hospitals for treatment, he added.</p>  <p>Somali insurgent group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack via the Internet and said it had targeted government officials.</p>  <p>This attack comes one week after the group claimed responsibility for a suicide blast attack and 24-hour gun battle with security forces in Mogadishu which killed more than 15 people and wounded over 60 others.</p>  <p>On Oct. 14, 2017, at least 300 people were killed in a truck bomb blast attack in Mogadishu blamed on al-Shabaab.

Kenya, Somalia agree to ease tensions over border row

             By Magdalene Mukami<br>

NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) – Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Somali counterpart Mohammed Abdullahin agreed Wednesday to amicably resolve a maritime territorial dispute, according to an official Ethiopian statement.

Tensions between the two countries rose after Kenya accused neighboring Somalia of auctioning oil, gas, and mineral blocks that fell within Kenyan borders in the Indian Ocean.

Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed mediated negotiations and issued a statement following the meeting saying: “Through the leadership of PM Abiy Ahmed, Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Mohammed Abdullahi met this morning to discuss extensively on the source of the two countries dispute.”

It added: “As an outcome, both agreed to work towards peace and to take measures in addressing particular issues that escalated the tensions.”

Kenya said the disputed 62,000-square-mile (100,000-square kilometer) oil and mineral-rich area in the Indian Ocean had been sold at auction Feb. 7 in

London and immediately recalled its ambassador and returned his Somali counterpart.

Abiy’s office said Kenya and Somalia agreed to strengthen bilateral relationships, including the shared commitment to fighting terrorism in the Horn of Africa and ensuring there is lasting peace in war-torn Somalia.

Turkish Red Crescent distributes clothing in Somalia

             By Nour Gelle Gedi and Hamdi Yildiz</p>  <p>MOGADISHU, Somalia (AA) - Turkey's state aid agency provided clothing to families in a refugee camp located in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.</p>  <p>The Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) distributed 20,000 pieces of clothing to 5,000 families in the camp.</p>  <p>Turkish Ambassador to Mogadishu Mehmet Yilmaz, Somalian Deputy Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Abdirashid Mohamud and Kizilay officials attended the aid distribution.</p>  <p>Yilmaz said Kizilay has been assisting Somalia since 2011 by providing humanitarian aid.</p>  <p>And Mohamud hailed the aid provided by Kizilay.</p>  <p>Somali refugees who left their country due to the security concerns live under harsh condition in the refugee camp.</p>  <p>Turkey is among the world's top aid donors and also to Somalia.</p>  <p>The Turkish Red Crescent is the largest humanitarian organization in Turkey, with an international network to help other nations in need. 

Somalia, Ethiopia discuss regional security

            By Addis Getachew</p>  <p> </p>  <p>ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) - The Ethiopian premier met with Somalia’s president on Tuesday to discuss regional security in the country’s capital of Addis Ababa.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>&quot;The two sides have dwelt at length on bettering relations between Somalia and Kenya,&quot; a local broadcaster FANA reported on the meeting between Abiy Ahmed and Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>A recent dispute between Somalia and Kenya on an offshore oil-rich area in the Indian Ocean was likely to have been a major talking point during the meeting.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta had last week paid a two-day visit to Ethiopia.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>Addis Ababa had underlined that its diplomatic efforts were conducted under efforts spearheaded by the Ethiopian prime minister to achieve economic integration on the continent.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>In 2014, Somalia and Kenya took the issue to the UN International Court of Justice, and have since been awaiting a ruling on.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>Last month, Kenya accused Somalia of offering to sell four offshore oil blocks located in the disputed area, which Somalia has denied.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>Meanwhile, FANA said President Abdullahi Mohammed and Abiy Ahmed also discussed ways of strengthening relations between Somalia and the self-styled Somaliland which has lacked international recognition since it broke away in 1991.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>Following independence in 1960, former British protectorate Somaliland had been part of Italian Somalia in the South in 1961.

US airstrike in Somalia kills 26 al-Shabaab fighters

            By Umar Farooq</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - The U.S. said Friday it had killed 26 al-Shabaab fighters in an airstrike conducted in Somalia, adding to a mounting death toll since the U.S. began ramping up airstrikes in the region. </p>  <p>The airstrike was the 24th conducted by U.S. forces this year. </p>  <p>U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said in a statement that the strike was conducted Thursday in Somalia's central Hiran region, the same area it conducted two other strikes earlier in the week, killing a total of 45 fighters.</p>  <p>“This action is demonstrative of the Federal Government of Somalia’s commitment to dismantling al-Shabaab’s network with U.S. assistance,” said AFRICOM's deputy director of intelligence Gen. Gregory Hadfield. </p>  <p>“Precision airstrikes such as this one maintain pressure on al-Shabaab and disrupt its planning cycle and degrade its ability to mass forces and coordinate attacks against the Somali people.”</p>  <p>The announcement comes a day after three deadly car bombings took the lives of at least 20 people in the capital Mogadishu in attacks the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab took responsibility for.</p>  <p>Although the U.S. has been stepping up airstrikes in Somalia to push al-Shabaab forces out of major urban areas, the group still carries out deadly attacks.</p>  <p>In 2018, the U.S. conducted 33 air and drone strikes in Somalia, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Disaster looms as more Somalis flee conflict: Report

By Magdalene Mukami

NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) – A non-governmental organization has warned of an impending catastrophe as last year the number of civilians fleeing conflict in Somalia shot up to 320,000, the highest in four years.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) report released on Wednesday said this number is up from 202,000 people displaced in 2017.

Evelyn Aero, the group's regional adviser, said in a statement: "We’re alarmed at the sharp increase in the number of civilians forced to flee their homes in Somalia. The conflict is getting worse for civilians, making thousands more homeless. If this worrying trend continues, it could lead to catastrophe.”

Most of the people fleeing from conflict are from the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia.

He warned that the displaced are living in crowded camps where healthcare is poor, countries such as Kenya that provide refuge for Somalis are no longer registering new refugees.

“These families take refuge in crowded camps for displaced people in Somalia, living in flimsy shelters. They’re vulnerable to malaria, evictions, insecurity and gender-based violence. Young children are especially vulnerable to malnutrition and disease. They urgently need more aid to survive,” he said.

Many are also displaced due to drought, evictions, and flooding, among other causes. The United Nations humanitarian appeal for Somalia seeks in 2019 $1.08 billion, so far only $67 million has been funded.