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12-18 June 2015

Domestic Media Monitoring Report for Somalia
Posted on July 3, 2015

Compiled by Zahra Habib

Report Content

  1. Ahlu Sunna Paramilitary Group Sets its own Terms for Peace
  2. Puntland and Somalia: Impending Civil War?

1. Ahlu Sunna Paramilitary Group Sets its own Terms for Peace

The Sufi paramilitary group Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamea, which overtook government bases in the Galmudug town of Dhusamareeb, refuse to comply with the authorities requests that they evacuate the town and reengage in diplomatic negotiations. The group took Dhusamareeb in a violent blow to the Somali authorities as a response to their frustration with the ongoing Adado state building conference. The Ahlu Sunna, though previous allies with the central government in the fight against Al Shabaab, have recently began to challenge much of the behaviours of the Somali government. Though they do not launch direct attacks on the government on a large scale, their recent attempts at overrunning government bases in several key towns reveal a feeling of neglect from official authorities. Somali government sees negotiations with the group as unavoidable in the fight against al Shabaab, though Ahlu Sunna still holds the sentiment of misrepresentation in the government. As a result of the Adado conference, the Sufi group has vacated the already few seats it holds in the conference, and does not seem to be privy to changing their mind unless their conditions for giving up the town are met.

Independent, Private Media

“Somali Sufi Sect Want to be Recognized as Overall Guardian” Mareeg.com, 17 June 2015. English website.

  • The Sufi paramilitary group that recently overtook the Somali town of Dhusamareeb has set forth their own conditions for an end to the standoff between their forces and those of the Somali government
  • The group demands recognition from the federal government and inclusion of their leader as the Mufti (Muslim legal and religious expert) of Somalia in the ongoing state-building process

“Delegates Endorse Central State Charter” Mareeg.com, 17 June 2015

  • Members of the Adado statebuilding conference approved a constitution for the proposed Galmudug state
  • The conference is hosted by the Somali central state, and hosts a number of delegates from the administrative regions
  • The constitution will implement the borders of the new Galmudug state, which is to be an autonomous administrative region under the governance of the federal Somali state
  • Dhusamareeb will be named the capital of the proposed state, which is currently under control of the Ahlu Sunna paramilitary group; Ahlu Sunna has rejected the government and its proposals

2. Puntland and Somalia: Impending Civil War?

Somali delegates of the Adado state building conference passed a constitution for a new federation of Somalia, which the neighboring states view as controversial. Long standing tensions between Puntland and the central state were exacerbated with the recent approval of a new constitution that placed territories like the Northern Mudug region – major parts of which are controlled by Puntland – under the administration of the central state. The president of Puntland warned that if the conference were to continue in this way, implying the unilateral and expansive decisions undertaken by the Somali government, violence between Puntland and Somalia is likely to ensue.

Independent, Private Media

“Galkacyo Under Fear of Clashes as Galmudug Deploys Forces” Raxanreeb, 13 June 2015. English website.

  • Heavy military presence has been deployed in the Galkacyo town in the Mudug region, an area that will come under administration of the Somali central state but is claimed by the autonomous Puntland as theirs
  • Puntland authorities find the move as a provocation and encroachment by the Somali government on its own land
  • Galkacyo residents report continuing heavy gunfire exchanges and fear of escalation

“Puntland Warns of ‘Civil War’ Over Claims of its Territory by Central Region State Formation Delegates” Horseed Media, 18 June 2015. English website.

  • Puntland authorities view the constitution for a new Somali state, which passed recently at the state building Adado conference, as controversial and threatening to Puntlands land autonomy
  • The constitution delineates the boundaries of the new state as encroaching on Puntland
  • Puntland’s president issued a press statement, expressing Puntland’s people as capable of defending itself and territories and that if such behaviour does not cease, a civil war could ensue

 


3. US Secretary of State visits Somalia

John Kerry’s decision to meet with Somali officials unannounced was seen by many as an unprecedented move to strengthen ties between the US and Somalia. Others see Kerry’s unannounced visit, coupled with the 2013 American recognition of the Mohamud administration and the increase in US diplomatic presence in Somalia, as indirectly legitimizing the questionable behaviour of the Somali government.

According to state-owned media sources, Kerry gave substantial praise to the Somali President and his administration for supposedly making a lot of progress in the country. But with the rampant gender and sexual violence perpetrated by government authorities, Somalia’s ranking as the world’s most dangerous place for journalists, the constant crackdown on free press and expression, and the long and abusive reign of armed groups, such progress is difficult to ascertain.

In his meeting, Kerry failed to call upon the need for government accountability, respect for the rule of law, the prevention of and response to the mistreatment and suffering of vulnerable communities, overcoming poverty and malnutrition, and encouraging free speech and media from the central and regional authorities. Had he done so in the wake of renewed diplomatic ties he could have taken the first step to change the plight of many Somalis, whose rights will continue to be unprotected under the maintenance of the status quo. Unfortunately, Kerry’s visit and his words of support only maintain such violations and injustice, and do not in fact pave a positive way forward for any of the parties involved.

Independent, Private Media

Kerry’s Lost Opportunity in Mogadishu 
Goobjoog News, 7 May 2015. Originally published by Human Rights Watch. English.

  • MOGADISHU: Kerry’s meeting with Somali government officials was a lost opportunity when considering what critical discussion points should have been made but were not
  • The real benefit to Somalians would have been if Kerry had taken the opportunity to publicly press the government to undertake desperately needed reforms
  • Kerry should have called on the government to do more to prevent and respond to abuses against some of the country’s most vulnerable – including the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced, as well as the victims of widespread sexual and gender-based violence and exploitation
  • Kerry also should have highlighted to importance of accountability and respect for rule of law, and freedom of the press and expression for the sake of a successful free and strong Somalian civil society
State-run Media

“President, Prime Minister of Somalia meet US Secretary of State, John Kerry in Mogadishu”
Radio Muqdisho, 6 May 2015. English.

  • MOGADISHU: Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, joined by Somali Prime Minister and Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Planning and Telecommunications, met with Secretary Kerry to discuss “issues critical to the cooperation of both governments and the future of Somalia”
  • President Mohamud presented areas where further improvement is necessary, and requested support from the US government for current and future nation-building initiatives
  • Secretary Kerry reiterated the US’s support for the Somali government’s efforts to strengthen domestic and national security, as well as political administrations
  • Kerry also made clear that the US was well on its way to establishing a fully functioning US Embassy in Mogadishu in order to emphasize diplomatic commitment to Somalia
  • Kerry also met with leaders of regional administrations, and publicly praised the level of cooperation between the federal and regional governments, as well as the progress in the country made possible by the contributions of all the Somali leaders
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