Somalia

  1. Court to rule on Kenya-Somalia border row 'in October'

    The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has set 12 October as the date for its ruling in the long-running maritime dispute between Somalia and Kenya, Somali Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohammed Gulaid has said.

    The ruling will come despite the fact that Kenya has withdrawn from the case , alleging ICJ bias and calling for a Somali judge on the panel to recuse himself.

    The case concerns a 62,000 square miles (160,000 sq km) triangle in the Indian Ocean.

    The area is thought to be rich in oil and gas.

    The dispute is at the heart of a diplomatic row between the neighbours.

    It has been going on for the last six years, keeping investors away because of a lack of legal clarity over who owns potential off-shore oil and gas reserves.

    Somalia wants the maritime border to continue along the line of the land border to the south-east, while Kenya wants the sea border to go in a straight line to the east.

    A map showing the disputed area
  2. US calls on Somali president and PM to resolve row

    Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo addresses delegates in Mogadishu,  27 May 2021
    Image caption: President Mohamed Farmajo and Prime Minister Hussein Roble have not been in agreement over key appointments

    The United States has urged Somalia’s president and prime minister to resolve their differences for the sake of the stability of the country.

    It said the co-operation of Somalia's leaders, especially President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and PM Hussein Roble, were essential for the country to “quickly complete its ongoing electoral process".

    The dispute between the two leaders, sparked by the government’s handling of a missing spy’s case, has raised fears that Somalia’s electoral process could suffer further setbacks.

    The row escalated last week after the president suspended the executive powers of Mr Roble, a move swiftly rejected by the premier as "unlawful".

    “We call on the President and the Prime Minister to avoid further provocative statements or actions and to resolve their disagreement over personnel appointments and their respective authorities peacefully,” a statement by State Department’s spokesperson Ned Price said.

    The Horn of Africa nation is scheduled to hold indirect parliamentary elections between 1 October and 25 November.

    The US says that any further delay may increase the "potential for violence and plays into the hands of al-Shabab and other extremist groups seeking to destabilise the country".

  3. Somali scholar abducted in Kenya released

    A Somali scholar who was abducted in the Kenyan capital two weeks ago has been released.

    Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdiswamad's family had said four men kidnapped him as he was walking on the streets of Nairobi.

    Rights group Haki Africa had asked the police to produce him, saying it was their duty to resolve kidnappings.

    It was unclear who was behind the abduction.

    The rights organisation on Sunday night said Mr Abdiswamad had been reunited with his family and more information would be given;

    View more on twitter

    The scholar and cleric might have rattled some people in his usual analysis about the Horn of Africa, his friends had told local media.

  4. Djibouti denies detaining Somali president's adviser

    Abdi Dahir & Juneydi Farah

    BBC

    Fahad Yasin
    Image caption: Fahad Yasin was last week suspended as intelligence chief over his handling of a missing spy

    Djibouti has denied that it detained the Somali president's national security adviser and ex-spy chief, describing the allegation as "fake news".

    Earlier the Somali president's director of communications, Abdirashid Hashi, shared a statement on Twitter which said Fahad Yasin had been unlawfully held:

    Quote Message: Federal Republic of Somalia condemns unlawful detention of national security adviser to H.E @M_Farmaajo by Djiboutian authority at Djibouti airport. Such acts will not help strengthen our bilateral relations."

    Mr Yasin was suspended from his post as director of the National Intelligence Service Agency (Nisa) by Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble last week, after failing to provide a satisfactory report on the mysterious disappearance of intelligence agent Ikran Farah.

    President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed then stepped in and appointed someone other than Mr Roble's choice to head Nisa, and gave Fahad Yasin a job as his security adviser.

    The row between the president and prime minister further escalated on Thursday night after the president suspended the executive powers of Prime Minister Roble, a move swiftly rejected by the premier as "unlawful".

    Read more: Somalia political rift intensifies amid row over missing spy

  5. Regional leaders decry political rift over missing spy

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed
    Image caption: Somalia's president has cut some of the prime minister's powers

    Regional leaders in Somalia have called for the president and prime minister to end a feud that risks plunging the country into further instability.

    They said much-delayed indirect elections must be held as soon as possible.

    On Thursday, President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed suspended the executive powers of Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, a move rejected by the prime minister.

    The rift between the two men escalated following the disappearance of a female intelligence agent.

    Tensions are increasing between different factions of Somalia's security services and there are fears of a possible eruption of political violence.

  6. Somali president cuts PM's power as rift widens

    BBC World Service

    President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed
    Image caption: President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed's mandate expired in February but no new elections have been held

    Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known by his nickname Farmajo, says he has suspended the prime minister's power to hire and fire officials, escalating a growing rift sparked by the disappearance of a security agent.

    The move comes a week after Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble suspended the country's intelligence chief, accusing him of failing to investigate what happened to the agent, Ikran Tahlil Farah.

    Correspondents say the divisions between Somalia's top leaders threaten to derail plans for forthcoming indirect elections.

  7. Al-Shabab claims Somalia tea shop attack

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    The Islamist militant group, al-Shabab, says it carried out Tuesday's bomb attack in the Somalia capital killing 11 soldiers.

    The blast in a tea shop near a military training camp also left 16 people injured.

    This comes at a time of growing political tension due to a power struggle between the country’s president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and the Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.

    They are at loggerheads over the handling of the case of a missing member of the country’s intelligence agency.

    As a result of the row, Somalia - which is supposed to have elections in a few weeks - now has two internal security ministers and two heads of the country's intelligence agency.

  8. Two African writers make prestigious Booker shortlist

    Nadifa Mohamed
    Image caption: Nadifa Mohamed was born in Somaliland and grew up in the UK

    Somali-British novelist Nadifa Mohamed and South African author Damon Galgut are among the six shortlisted authors for the 2021 Booker Prize - a top literary award.

    Mohamed's book, The Fortune Men, is set in the docks of the Welsh capital, Cardiff, in the aftermath of World War Two. It fictionalises the story of Mahmood Mattan, a real Somali sailor who was wrongly accused of murder.

    "This is a story about the past that has great significance for the present," said judging chair Maya Jasanoff.

    Damon Galgut
    Image caption: Damon Galgut has been nominated for a third time

    The Promise, by Galgut, follows a white family over the decades from pre- to post -Apartheid.

    "The ultimate question that the novel asks is, is justice - true justice - possible in this world?" Booker panellist Chigozie Obioma said.

    "If it is, then what might that look like?"

    This is the second year that two African authors made the shortlist.

    In 2020 works by Zimbabwean Tsitsi Dangarembga and Ethiopian-American Maaza Mengiste were nominated. But the prize was won by British writer Douglas Stuart.

    Read more:

  9. Somali spy's family rejects president's commission

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Ikran Tahlil
    Image caption: Ikran Tahlil went missing in June

    The family of a missing Somali intelligence officer, Ikran Tahlil, has rejected a commission of inquiry formed by President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed to probe her disappearance in June.

    President Farmajo posted on Twitter that the five-member panel’s findings would be handed over to the "responsible legal institutions for execution of justice".

    However, Ms Tahlil’s family has rejected the appointment of the commission of inquiry and said they only trust the military court to handle the case.

    "We are not confident and will not accept the commission of inquiry the president has appointed to investigate the case of Ikran. We are only confident in the military court, which is where we had filed a case," Qali Mohamud, Ms Tahlil’s mother, told Universal TV.

    Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, who has differed with Presideny Farmajo over the case, has not yet reacted to the formation of the commission.

    On 2 September, the National Intelligence and Security Agency (Nisa) said Ms Tahlil, who worked in its cyber-security department, was killed by al-Shabab after being abducted in Mogadishu.

    However, al-Shabab denied involvement in Ms Tahlil's disappearance and purported death.

  10. Somali PM says vote to go ahead despite row

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    UN deputy secretary general Amina J Mohammed meets Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo

    Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble has said that his dispute with President Mohamed Farmajo will not affect plans for long-delayed elections.

    “We are committed to holding the elections as planned and other existing matters will not have any effect on the elections," Mr Roble told a visiting UN delegation led by Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed.

    The dispute between Mr Roble and Mr Farmajo, sparked by the government’s handling of a missing spy’s case, has raised fears that Somalia’s electoral process could suffer further setbacks.

    The Horn of Africa nation is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections between 1 October and 25 November.

    On Sunday, the UN deputy chief met Mr Roble and Mr Farmajo and urged them to avoid any moves that “could lead to violence and further delay the elections or undermine its credibility”.

    The leaders of Somalia’s South West and Galmudug regional states have launched efforts to defuse the tensions between the president and premier.

  11. Museveni threatens to pull out troops from Somalia

    Patricia Oyella

    BBC News, Kampala

    Amisom troops deployed to Somalia
    Image caption: Uganda has just over 6,000 troops in the AU force in Somalia

    Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has threatened to withdraw the country’s troops from the African Union's peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

    He issued the warning following an escalating row between Somalia's president and prime minister.

    President Museveni made a similar threat in 2011 to push Somali leaders to resolve theor differences.

    Uganda joined the AU force in Somalia in 2007. It has just over 6,000 troops in the 22,000-strong force.

  12. Row as Somalia PM sacks security minister

    Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo"
    Image caption: President Farmajo and the prime minister have differed on policies

    The rift between Somalia's prime minister and president is intensifying with the latest sacking of security minister.

    Prime Minister Mohamed Roble sacked the minister late Wednesday but President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" rejected the move.

    Mr Roble replaced Security Minister Hassan Hundubey Jimale with Abdullahi Mohamed Nur.

    President Farmajo on Thursday said the move was unconstitutional.

    This is the second time the prime minister and president are differing on appointments.

    The prime minister last weekend sacked the spy chief and the president reinstated him then later appointed him on a new role.

    This was after the spy chief defied the order to produce a comprehensive report on the disappearance of a spy agent in 48 hours.

    The two leaders have in the past differed publicly on policies.

    President Farmajo banned agreements with foreign entities until after elections but the prime minister went ahead to sign agreements in his Kenya visit last month.

  13. Somali president appoints new spy chief amid row

    Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed
    Image caption: Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" and Prime Minister Mohamed Roble have differed in public

    Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" has picked a new spy chief days after the prime minister appointed a different person for the job.

    The move further deepens the row between the president and the prime minister.

    Prime Minister Mohamed Roble sacked the intelligence head Fahad Yasin after defying his order to give a comprehensive report on a missing female spy agent within 48 hours.

    The president said the prime minister had no authority to sack the intelligence chief and reinstated him.

    President Farmajo has now appointed Yasin Abdullahi Mohamed as the acting spy chief.

    The former intelligence head has been named the president's security adviser.

    The is is not the first time the president and the prime minister have differed in public.

    In August, the prime minister travelled to Kenya and signed bilateral agreements despite the president's ban on agreements with foreign entities until after elections.

  14. Controversy in Somalia after female spy goes missing

    Bella Sheegow

    BBC Somali, Mogadishu

    There is a growing rift between Somalia’s president and prime minister over the disappearance of a female intelligence agent, Ikraan Tahliil, in the capital, Mogadishu.

    Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble publicly suspended the head of the intelligence agency over his handling of the case – only for President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known by his nickname Farmajo, to re-instate him.

    The agency last week said that Ikran Tahlil was kidnapped and killed by al-Shabab, a claim that was dismissed by the militant group.

    The case of Ms Tahliil is causing confusion – and controversy – across Somalia.

    The 25-year-old was last seen at the end of June, leaving home in a government vehicle. But that seems to be all that people can agree on.

    Fahad Yasmiin, who leads the intelligence agency, put out a statement saying that al-Shabab had kidnapped and murdered her.

    But, in a dramatic twist, the militant group denied any involvement.

    As a result, Mr Yasmiin was suspended by the prime minister – before being told to stay in office by the president.

    Meanwhile, some opposition groups are claiming that Ms Tahliil disappeared because she had sensitive information about Somali soldiers who were taken to Eritrea for training – or even to fight in neighbouring Ethiopia.

    All the while her mother is calling for the return of her daughter or justice for her killers.

  15. Somali al-Shabab militants recapture strategic town

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Al-Shabab militants - archive shot
    Image caption: Al-Shabab controls large parts of southern and central Somalia

    The Islamist group, al-Shabab, is reported to have seized a strategic town in central Somalia.

    Residents of Amara in the Galmudug region said the militants stormed an army base before over-running the town.

    The insurgents captured several armoured vehicles, burning some of them.

    Earlier this month the Somali military captured Amara from al-Shabab, which had held the town for a decade.

    The group controls large parts of southern and central Somalia, and regularly attacks government-held areas.

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  16. Somali militants hail Afghanistan's Taliban takeover

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Media outlets affiliated to Somalia-based Islamist militant group al-Shabab have cheered the collapse of Afghanistan’s internationally recognised government and the Taliban's seizure of the country.

    “God is great: the city of Kabul falls to the forces of the Islamic Emirate,” pro-Shabab websites Calamada and Somali Memo said in similar headlines.

    “Celebrations began across the country, with the flag of monotheism being hoisted in Kabul's main squares and images released by the Islamic Emirate showing the mujahideen patrolling the neighbourhoods of Kabul as life returned to normal,” Calamada reported.

    It said the Taliban defeated Afghanistan’s “puppet” leaders and “hundreds of thousands of foreign troops” after a 20-year jihad struggle.

    Al-Shabab is allied to al-Qaeda and has been battling African Union-backed Somali government forces since the mid-2000s.

  17. Foreign ministers meet to mend Kenya-Somalia ties

    Kenya's Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo and Somalia's Foreign Affairs Minister Mohamed Abdirizak Mohamud
    Image caption: Both nations' foreign ministers met in Mogadishu over the weekend

    Kenya and Somalia have agreed to co-operate to improve diplomatic, trade and other mutual ties between them following years of frosty relations.

    It follows a meeting of both countries’ foreign ministers in Mogadishu over the weekend.

    A joint statement released by the Somali foreign affairs ministry said they agreed to organise a meeting for a joint framework to discuss issues of mutual interest.

    The areas include diplomatic relations, trade, education, agriculture, defence and security, tourism among others.

    The ministers also welcomed the return of respective ambassadors to Mogadishu and Nairobi.

    Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed met the Kenyan foreign minister and welcomed the outcome of the talks and expressed his commitment to pursue peace and “good neighbourliness”.

    Kenya and Somalia's relations have been strained in recent years over Kenya’s alleged interference in Mogadishu’s domestic affairs as well over a maritime boundary dispute in the Indian Ocean among other issues.