Diplomat Pushes Peace Talks in Somalia

By MOHAMED OLAD HASSAN

The Associated Press
Wednesday, December 20, 2006; 5:27 PM

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somali fighters clashed with artillery, rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft guns Wednesday, even as a European diplomat persuaded both the government and a rival Islamic movement to resume peace talks.

The heavy fighting outside the only town the government controls dragged on into the evening and underlined the difficulties of securing peace in this desperately poor country in the Horn of Africa.

Read full story go to –> Washington Post

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Belgian Cops Nabbed For ‘Human Trafficking’

Hargeisa – Authorities in Somalia’s breakaway northwestern republic of Somaliland arrested three Belgian police officers on Tuesday, accusing them of human trafficking and violating immigration laws.

The officers were held after arriving in Somaliland’s main city Hargeisa from Ethiopia with a Somali national who they said was being deported from Belgium, said officials in the enclave which is not recognised internationally.

Full Story: IOL

RELATED STORY: Belgian police cleared to leave Somaliland

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Three Belgian policemen detained in Somaliland after accompanying a deported man have been cleared to return home, Belgian police said on Wednesday.

A police spokesman said the three officers were given their passports and plane tickets back on Wednesday afternoon.

“The three members of the Belgian police were freed an hour ago,” the spokesman said, adding that they would fly to Addis Ababa on Thursday and then take a plane back to Belgium.

Conflicting reasons were given for the arrest of the three, who had their passports and plane tickets confiscated and were being held at a hotel.

A Somaliland minister said they lacked entry visas and were being held at Hargeisa’s upmarket Ambassador Hotel in what he called a “humanitarian gesture”.

Belgian police had said they were being held due to an administrative problem.

Somaliland, which is not recognised internationally, broke away from the rest of Somalia in 1991 after dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted by a clan militia.

Source:Reuters

Somaliland Nabs Belgian Officials

The authorities in the breakaway region of Somaliland say they have detained three Belgian immigration officials in the capital, Hargeisa.

The three arrived on a flight from Ethiopia with a man they had deported from Belgium, Somaliland’s Aviation Minister Ali Warran Ade told the BBC.

He said they did not have visas to enter Somaliland or the prior consent necessary to deliver a deportee there.

The minister said they were being held in a hotel pending investigations.

Mr Ade said the deportee had been sent back to Ethiopia on the flight on which he had arrived.

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia after the overthrow of dictator Siad Barre in 1991.

Somaliland’s self-declared government is not recognised by any other state, although it is credited with bringing peace and a degree of development to the territory, amid chaos in the rest of Somalia.

Source: BBC News/Africa

More on Somalia’s ICU

See Council on Foreign Relation’s article on Somalia’s High Stakes Power Struggle.

Hardline Islamist Militia Group Shabbab Emerges in Somalia

Recent information emerging from Somalia indicates that a hard-line faction within the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) may have evolved into a new organization called Shabbab (Arabic for “youth”), where youthful die-hard elements of the Islamists are being trained for specialized assignments. An official from Kenya’s Embassy to Somalia (which is currently based in Nairobi), who requested anonymity, confirmed that there was such a youth wing in the ICU, but said its scope was not clear at the moment. Analysts of the current crisis in Somalia claim that this group is a part of the young Islamic courts supporters who have come of age in the ruthless and vicious life of modern day Mogadishu. They are known to be less educated and more dogmatic than the older clerics. They have not held formal jobs, apart from earning a living as bodyguards protecting foreigners or doing “dirty work” in exchange for payment.

Written by Sunguta West. Read full article from Global Terrorism Analysis, Jamestown Foundation.

SOMALILAND LEADER: ETHIOPIAN INTERVENTION A �HUMANITARIAN CATASTROPHE�

Djibouti, (HAN) July 25, 2006 – The Islamic Courts had done a lot and brought a new change to the Somalia policy. �I believe there is no need for outside power in Somalia, Somalis must end their differences in peaceful means,� the leader of Somaliland Kulmiye P arty HE Siilanyo said. Djibouti also rejected the proposal of deploying foreign troops in Somalia and saw it might worsen the crisis in Southern Somalia.

The whole thing has to stop. It�s no natural disaster but a man-made crisis in Somalia. This is a senseless invention inside Somalia. It should never have started. It should never have been carried out like it is now in Somalia�, The Somaliland Kulmiye Party leader Siilanyo said. Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif accused Ethiopia of �committing massacres against Somali Islamist supporters in Bay & Bakool and working to destroy everything that allows Somalia to stay alive.
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ANALYSIS-Somalia slides towards war

By Andrew Cawthorne

NAIROBI, July 21 (Reuters) – Neglected by the world for years, Somalia appears on the verge of a war that could escalate into a major regional conflict and play into the hands of hardline Islamists.

Six weeks after taking Mogadishu and other southern towns, the Islamists are engaged in an increasingly bellicose standoff with a fragile, Ethiopian-backed interim government based in the provincial town of Baidoa.
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ANALYSIS-Somalia slides towards war

By Andrew Cawthorne

NAIROBI, July 21 (Reuters) – Neglected by the world for years, Somalia appears on the verge of a war that could escalate into a major regional conflict and play into the hands of hardline Islamists.

Six weeks after taking Mogadishu and other southern towns, the Islamists are engaged in an increasingly bellicose standoff with a fragile, Ethiopian-backed interim government based in the provincial town of Baidoa.
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US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs at University of South Africa (UNISA)

Newly appointed US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Dr Jendayi Frazer, addressed a select audience at UNISA on the Reshaping of US Foreign Policy towards Africa.

Many senior policy makers from the South African Department of Foreign Affairs, including Deputy Foreign Minister Sue van de Merwe, leaders of think-tanks, media and select scholars attended the breakfast round table.

By all accounts the event was hailed a brilliant inaugural of the College of Human Sciences new programme on African Intellectuals, which is coordinated by Professor Tandeka Nkiwane.

In his concluding remarks, Professor Barney Pityana called for more dialogues of this calibre for a more nuanced understanding and development of African foreign policy issues.

The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs called also on intellectuals to be more involved on the ground in shaping African foreign policy issues, and expressed her appreciation for the excellent questions posed to her and the involvement of UNISA academics as organic intellectuals in a number of African countries, such as Somaliland.

Somaliland: The desire for democracy

Peter Hurst

In 1991, the Somaliland region decided to unilaterally secede from its parent country Somalia after that country disintegrated into a stateless state ruled by competing warlords and their armies. Since then Somaliland, in the north-west, has held three elections, the latest being on September 29, when 800,000 of Somaliland’s estimated 3.5-million people went to the polls. The international community has refused Somaliland’s quest for recognition up until now. Election observer Peter Hurst asks if a clearly demonstrated desire for democracy will change the attitude of the international community.
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