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January 19-25, 2015

Domestic Media Monitoring Report for Somalia
Posted on January 26, 2015

Compiled by Laura Metcalfe

1) Clan Clashes Continue in Central Somalia

20 Confirmed Dead in Clan Clashes Over Farmland
Garowe Online, January 21

  • At least 20 people have been confirmed dead after two clan militias clashed in a deadly battle in Deefow, Hiraan.
  • Medics and local elders said the clashes left 20 dead and many more wounded.
  • Local reports disclosed that the fighting was over the ownership of farmland in various areas.
  • Government forces have not been deployed to the region and tensions remain high.

At Least 10 Die After Two Militias Fight in Hiran Region
Raxanreeb, January 20

  • At least 10 people are confirmed to have died in clashes in Hiran.
  • Two militias fought near the regional capital of Balatweyne. The motive for the violence is believed to be land and grazing disputes.
  • Local traditional elders have been dispatched to the scene of the fighting to broker a cease-fire between the two sides.

2) Government Media Blackout Revealed in Puntland

Puntland Government Blacklists Garowe Online Amid Media Censorship
January 20th , Garowe Online

  • A leaked Puntland Government blacklist has revealed a blocking order that would have taken Garowe Online off air amid concerns over freedom of information and media in the Northeastern state.
  • A letter dated September 20th, 2014 asks the largest telecom operated in Puntland to block Garowe Online, Galgalnews, Xaysimo, Puntland Today, Puntland Now, and Jidblaale from inside Puntland.
  • The six sites were accused of defaming high-ranking government officials, public incitement, and turning local tribes against each other.
  • The Media Association of Puntland has condemned the censorship, urging the government to lift the ban on the five other websites, which have been blocked since October.
  • Garowe Online board members have stated that the ban does not comply with the constitution, and runs counter to the right to freedom of expression.
  • No judicial writ was attached to the decree. Garowe Online has raised the concern that this constitutes a unilateral move by the administration.

3) Al Shabaab Blockade Worsens Food Shortage

Al Shabaab Blockade Spurs Acute Food Shortages in Wajid
Garowe Online, January 19th

  • A blockade on Waajid, a town in the SW region of Bakool by Al Shabaab militants has spurred acute food shortages and severe malnutrition.
  • Speaking on VOA Somalia, the mayor warned of a looming humanitarian disaster as a result of the 10-month blockade.
  • The worst affected are the elderly and children under the age of 10.
  • In March 2014, the FGS airlifted food commodities to the community on AMISOM aircraft.
  • AS has blockaded several towns in central and southern Somalia, leaving hundreds of households destitute.

4) Political Instability in Somalia Poses Challenge to Vision 2016

Democratic Elections in Somalia Can Wait, Cohesive Politics Can’t
Dalsan Radio, January 20th 

  • At his swearing in, Somalia’s new PM promised to increase progress towards the country’s “Vision 2016” goals: a national, democratic election at the end of the current government’s mandate.
  • The PM acknowledged there are challenges to be met, yet he didn’t specify how he intends to meet them.
  • The prospect of a democratic election in 2016 seems remote, as things like political parties, an electoral commission, and electoral infrastructure still have not been established.
  • A lot of resources have been spent on the Vision 2016 projects, but none have been successfully completed.
  • Political infighting has stalled progress and weakened government institution.
  • AS has remerged as a political force, increasing urban guerrilla attacks.
  • The most important aspect of holding elections is political cohesion, and the country is more politically divided then ever.

What Does Cabinet Dissolution Mean to President Hassan?
Garowe Online, January 20th

  • The objections voiced by a majority of MPs to the new PM’s cabinet due to the presence of longtime presidential allies has dealt a blow to the strategies devised by the president ahead of the 2016 elections.
  • Though the four are likely to be removed from the new cabinet, the President seems set on replacing them with other henchmen who could back him in another round of infighting.
  • The President and his allies are posing a challenge to the country’s timetable for its first ever democratic election.
  • Meanwhile, international partners are becoming frustrated as Al Shabaab continues to operate in broad daylight.
  • Many Somalis are skeptical that the country will meet the Vision 2016 benchmarks.
  • The president will have to set his polarizing agendas aside and rise to his responsibilities.
  • Somalia cannot afford disunity.

Somali International Partners Express Concerns Over Political Delays in Somalia
Mareeg Media, January 22

  • The UN, IGAD, EU, AMISOM, the US, and the UK have expressed concerns over delays implementing Vision 2016 due to political crises.
  • They urged Somalia’s leadership to ensure the appointment of a Cabinet that receives Parliament’s consent without further delays.
  • They urged the President, PM, and Parliament to unite to work towards the 2016 election date.
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