Somalia

#GreaterLondoner: Hibo Wardere, 50

BBC London

Hibo Wardere
BBC

I was butchered.

I was six when I was mutilated in Somalia.

You are held down by the people that you love and trust.

There was no medication. There was no anaesthetic.

They pulled my legs apart and chopped my labias off.

Whatever skin you have left, they stitch it up.

The pain was overwhelming. I felt death was better.

Physically, you might heal, but emotionally it’s for life.

I moved to the UK when I was 18 and it crept back up on me.

I felt like the whole world was closing in on me. My pain, my despair.

After a lot of therapy I accepted what had happened.

Now I can look at myself and be at peace.

I realised I can use the pain as a tool to fight back.

I’ve accepted that I am not a freak of nature. I am not an incomplete human being.

My femininity wasn’t taken away.

This was part of my culture, my mum didn’t do it out of hatred.

She was doing it out of protection, which took me years to understand.

I’ve written a book and now I’m campaigning against female genital mutilation.

My daughters give me the motivation to fight on.

Hibo Wardere, 50, Waltham Forest

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Prayer rally for Mogadishu’s ‘hero mayor’

Farah Lamane

BBC Somali

Abdirahman Omar Osman in 2017
Reuters
The mayor, known as “Engineer Yarisow”, had lived for decades in London after fleeing Somalia's civil war

Hundreds of people in Somalia have attended a prayer rally for the mayor of Mogadishu, who died last week after sustaining injuries in a bomb blast in July.

At the memorial event held at the main stadium in the capital, Somalia’s president paid tribute to Abdirahman Omar Osman, known by his nickname “Engineer Yarisow”.

President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed said Mr Osman had given up a good life in the UK to come back home to serve his country:

Today we name this stadium after Abdirahman Omar Osman. He deserves more than this.

Every hero who contributes to this nation will be remembered like that.

He was a fearless hero who served his people. That was one his qualities which we need to learn from him.”

The president added that Engineer Yarisow was known for saying: “This is our country. If we don’t make a sacrifice for its good, who is going to do so?”

Ahead of the service, the country's security ministry released the preliminary results of an inquiry into the 24 July explosion at the mayor's office.

The report said that a blind female suicide bomber had carried out the attack with the help of a second woman - both were local government employees.

In the month prior to the bombing, the pair had made separate visits to an area of Somalia controlled by al-Shabab militants, it added.

The al-Qaeda-linked insurgents, who launch frequent attacks on the capital, still control much of rural Somalia and aim to remove the UN-backed government from power.

Kenya MPs push for Somali maritime border deal

Mildred Wanyonyi

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Kenyan MPs are pushing for the government to reach agreement with Somalia about their disputed maritime border before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) hears the case.

The territory stretches for more than 100,000 sq km (38,610 sq miles). Tests have shown potential reserves of gas in the area.

Somalia has taken the dispute to the ICJ, and the case comes before the court in The Hague on 9 September.

A motion sponsored by the Kenyan parliament’s majority leader, and backed by his minority counterpart, demands that the government protest to the UN about the case.

It says Somalia should have tried to resolve the dispute through the auspices of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea before going to the ICJ.

It says the East African nation must use all means necessary, including deploying the military as a last resort, to protect the Indian Ocean boundary.

First, efforts should be made to resolve the matter through diplomacy and using regional bodies.

It adds that any boundary change would have to be agreed to in a referendum by the Kenyan people.

The full motion has been tweeted by the majority leader:

View more on twitter

Is al-Shabab running a parallel state in Somalia?

The recent death of the mayor of Mogadishu in Somalia in a suicide attack has got people talking about the mafia-like influence of al-Shabab.

The Islamist militant group is known to have a sophisticated web of spies, which it pays for information. But how does it manage this?

“It has the ability to collect revenue from major businesses and institutions in the country,” a leading opposition politician, Abdirahman Warsame, has told the BBC's Newsday programme.

“People pay taxes to al-Shabab individually,” he added.

Listen to what else he had to say about how the al-Qaeda-linked group functions.

The militant group collects taxes from people and businesses, a local politician says

Is al-Shabab running a parallel state in Somalia?

The militant group collects taxes from people and businesses, a local politician says
The death of the mayor of Mogadishu in Somalia two weeks ago has got people talking about the mafia-like influence of al-Shabab.

The Islamist militant group is known to have a sophisticated web of spies, which it pays for information. But how does it manage this?

“It has the ability to collect revenue from major businesses and institutions in the country,” a leading opposition politician, Abdirahman Warsame, has told BBC Newsday.

“People pay taxes to al-Shabab individually,” he added.

Listen to what else he had to say about how the al-Qaeda-linked group functions.

Somalis want lie-detector tests to find terror moles

Ibrahim Aydid

BBC Monitoring

Some Somalis are proposing the use of polygraph tests to detect al-Shabab moles after a suicide attack that killed the mayor of Mogadishu and at least six others.

It is alleged that the female suicide bomber responsible for the attack was working for the local administration in the capital and social media users are outraged at the possibility of the existence of a network of al-Shabab spies.

Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed held a meeting a day after the attack on 24 July and for the first time admitted the existence of al-Shabab collaborators within the government.

A former spy boss in the country also tweeted that his agency handed over a list of al-Shabab moles to the president almost two years ago.

Early this year, Education Minister Abdullahi Godah Barre accused an MP of being an al-Shabab member.

He made the remarks in parliament during a session that was brought to an abrupt end after a heated argument about whether a security meeting by the legislators could be aired live.

The lie-detector test suggestion is being debated on Twitter, with this user saying it would be good for government security:

View more on twitter

Another tweeter thinks a high number of government officials would fail the test:

View more on twitter

But this tweet suggests the use of polygraphs would be futile if al-Shabab agents already in the security forces are the ones overseeing the tests:

View more on twitter

Al-Shabab is seeking to overthrow the UN-backed government and has been carrying out regular attacks in Mogadishu despite the heavy presence of African Union peacekeepers and US-trained Somali troops.

The group is affiliated with al-Qaeda and remains a powerful presence in rural Somalia.

Read: Somalia's frightening network of Islamist spies

Prominent Somali elder gunned down in Kismayo

Muawiya Muhamed

BBC Somali

A traditional elder has been shot dead in the southern Somali city of Kismayo, police have confirmed to the BBC.

Suldan Rashid Dhure Omar was killed on Wednesday night amid simmering political tensions in Jubaland State and its capital, Kismayo.

He was among elders selecting members for Jubaland’s assembly – these MPs are then due to elect the regional president later this month.

Police commander Ahmed Nasir Guled said it was not yet known who had killed Mr Omar.

Suspicion may fall on Islamist al-Shabab militants, who often target those they see as collaborators.

However, in mid-July the group issued a warning to all regional council elders to withdraw from the political process within 45 days – and this killing has taken place within al-Shabab’s “amnesty” period.

Tension is already high in Kismayo following last month’s al-Shabab bombing of the Asasey hotel in which at least 26 people died, including a prominent journalist and several foreigners.

It was the worst attack to hit Kismayo since the al-Qaeda-linked insurgents were forced out of the city in 2012 by African Union and Somali government troops.

Ruins of the Asasey hotel in Kismayo attack
AFP
Tension are already high in Kismayo after an attack on a hotel last month