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  1. #1
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    Default Somali Oppression

    You Been Lied To: 7 Things You May Not Know About Somali ‘Pirates’




    Somali ‘pirates’ are actually defending Somali waters from foreign invaders


    In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed. It’s nine million people who have been battling widespread starvation ever since. America and other European nations saw this as a great opportunity to rob the country of its food supply and dump their nuclear waste in Somalia’s now unprotected seas.According to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, approximately 12 miles into the ocean from the coast is sovereign territory of the state.





    European vessels are polluting Somali waters



    As soon as the Somali government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels of nuclear waste into the ocean. Much of that waste can be traced back to European hospitals and factories. Soon after the dumping began, the coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after a 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed ashore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.






    European ships are looting Somali waters for seafood


    While some European ships were dumping, other ships have been looting Somalia’s seas of their greatest resource: seafood. An estimated $300 million worth of tuna, shrimp, lobster and other sea life is being stolen every year by huge European ships illegally fishing in Somalia’s unprotected seas. As a result, the local fishermen have lost their livelihoods, and are forced into starvation.




    Somali ‘pirates’ are actually fishermen



    The fact is, Somali ‘pirates’ are ordinary Somalian fishermen who at first took speedboats to try to dissuade European vessels from illegally fishing and dumping into their waters. With the absence of the government’s navy, the fishermen joined together and formed the National Volunteer Coast Guard of Somalia.




    Somali ‘pirates’ have a code of conduct



    According to ‘Somali Pirate’ code, harming the crew of a ship is strictly prohibited. This is to ensure that governments are less likely to step in and employ do-not-negotiate tactics.




    Piracy has become Somalia’s biggest source of income


    Since the fishing economy have suffered due to European ships looting and dumping in Somali waters piracy is now Somalia’s biggest source of income. It has been estimated that between $339m and $413m has been made within the years of 2005 and 2012. Individual ‘pirates’ usually get $30,000-75,000 each, with a bonus of up to $10,000 for the first man to board a ship and for those bringing their own weapon or ladder.



    Columbia Pictures’ “Captain Phillips.”



    The media has brainwashed people into thinking Somali ‘pirates’ are savage thieves


    Somali ‘pirates’ have been branded in the media as maritime gangsters. The image of Somali pirates as senseless, savage thieves can be largely attributed to propaganda by the European and American governments. In April 2009, the Obama administration employed a long-term strategy to restore maritime security off the coast of Somalia. This strategy conveniently places American Navy Gunships in Somali waters.


    Also, Hollywood recently made a movie celebrating the ‘true’ story of “Captian Phillips,” who was kidnapped by Somali ‘pirates.’ Though the film was blasted for its many lies and inconsistencies, it made an estimated $107 million domestically, with audiences giving the film a 93% rating.


    http://atlantablackstar.com/2014/04/...omali-pirates/

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    US military admits secret presence in Somalia

    July 3, 2014

    Washington (AFP) - The US military has secretly maintained forces in Somalia since 2007, despite earlier public statements claiming it had no presence in the country until last October, defense officials said Thursday.

    The United States has deployed up to 120 troops in the African nation and hopes to bolster its security ties to Somalia's government as it battles Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab militants [yea, so called "al-qaeda"!], a defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

    The US troops operating in Somalia have been mainly Green Beret special forces, who specialize in training and advising local armies, the official said.

    In October last year, the Pentagon had portrayed the arrival of a handful of military advisers in Somalia as the first deployment of American forces to the country since 1993. [Actually they never left, they never do!]

    Officials acknowledged that deploying troops to Somalia has long been a sensitive question since a disastrous intervention in 1993, when two US helicopters were shot down and 18 troops were killed in an operation depicted in the movie "Black Hawk Down."

    The revelation of the years-long US troop presence comes as President Barack Obama prepares to name the first American ambassador to Somalia since civil war erupted more than 20 years ago.

    The United States recognized Somalia's new [puppet] government in January 2013.


    http://news.yahoo.com/us-military-ad...215548480.html


    Comments:

    No-One:
    Get real, we've secretly maintained forces in hundreds of locations since the early 60's and it's not a secret!

    You're next President: So we're in Somalia, eh? Does this really surprise anybody? On a related note, the reason we're hot on the trail of Joseph Kony is so we can attach ourselves to as many African military establishments as possible. You know, "attach" like leeches. A few years ago, Obama was able to get overwhelming bipartisan support for his money request to go after Kony. In this day and age, be very suspicious of laws that have broad bipartisan support. Our real goal is to recolonize Africa before the Chinese manage to do so.



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    UN-funded African troops raped vulnerable Somalis: HRW


    9/9/14

    Nairobi (AFP) - Internationally-funded African Union troops in war-torn and impoverished Somalia have raped women and girls as young as 12 and traded food aid for sex, Human Rights Watch said in a damning report.

    "Some of the women who were raped said that the soldiers gave them food or money afterwards in an apparent attempt to frame the assault as transactional sex," the HRW report said Monday.

    There was no immediate reaction from the AU force AMISOM, whose 22,000 soldiers drawn from six nations have been fighting alongside government troops against the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents since 2007.

    The vulnerable women largely came from camps in the capital Mogadishu, having fled rural Somalia during a devastating famine in 2011.

    AMISOM donors include the United Nations, European Union, Britain and the United States.

    The AU soldiers, "relying on Somali intermediaries, have used a range of tactics, including humanitarian aid, to coerce vulnerable women and girls into sexual activity," the report read, based on testimonies of 21 women and girls.

    "They have also raped or otherwise sexually assaulted women who were seeking medical assistance or water at AMISOM bases."

    The youngest interviewed was aged just 12, who said she was raped by a Ugandan soldier.

    Several of the women described how they had gone to the AU camp seeking medicine for their sick babies.

    "The findings raise serious concerns about abuses by AMISOM soldiers against Somali women and girls that suggest a much larger problem," HRW added.

    - 'Desperate for food and medicine' -

    Only in two cases had the women who spoke to HRW filed police complaints, because they "feared stigma, reprisals from family, police, and the Islamist insurgent group Al-Shebab."

    The cases investigated by HRW involved troops from Burundi and Uganda.

    AMISOM troops last month launched a major offensive aimed at seizing key ports and cutting off an important source of revenue for the Islamist rebels.

    HRW said the force needed to end the abuses carried by its troops.

    "The AU military and political leadership needs to do more to prevent, identify, and punish sexual abuse by their troops," said HRW Africa head Daniel Bekele.

    "As another food crisis looms in Mogadishu's displacement camps, women and girls are once again desperate for food and medicine. They should not have to sell their bodies for their families to survive."

    Conditions in Somalia remain dire, with the United Nations and aid workers warning that large areas are struggling with extreme hunger and drought, three years after famine killed more than a quarter of a million people.

    The UN last week said over a million people were classified in either "crisis" or "emergency" situations, just one step short of famine on its hunger scale.

    The mother of one girl who was raped told HRW she was deeply traumatised by the attack.

    "People laugh at her whenever she comes out. They say, 'An infidel raped her'," the mother said.

    "How can you feel if your daughter asks you... 'Mother, I better die to hide my shameful face from the people'?" she added.

    Women reported contracted sexually transmitted infections, mainly gonorrhoea, after the assaults.

    "Several women said that the soldiers refused to wear condoms and that they had caught sexually transmitted infections as a result," HRW added.

    "Several also described being slapped and beaten by the soldiers with whom they had sex."


    http://news.yahoo.com/un-funded-afri...081934165.html

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    Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo declared Somalia president

    Incumbent President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud concedes defeat (forced down) after two rounds of voting and congratulates new leader.

    A former prime minister who holds dual Somali-US citizenship has been declared Somalia's new president.

    Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo was named the new leader after two rounds of voting on Wednesday and quickly took the oath of office.

    Incumbent President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud conceded defeat.

    "History was made, we have taken this path to democracy, and now I want to congratulate Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo," Mohamud said.

    The country is trying to put together its first fully functioning central government in a quarter-century.

    Protracted vote

    The protracted vote began on Wednesday after 14,000 elders and prominent regional figures chose 275 members of parliament and 54 senators, who in turn chose whether to back Mohamud for a second term or one of 21 rivals.

    Fears of attacks by al-Shabab, an armed group, limited the election to the country's legislators, who voted at a heavily-guarded former air force base in the capital, Mogadishu.

    Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow, reporting from the capital Mogadishu, said sources within the parliament had confirmed that huge sums of money were paid by some of the candidates and rival presidential candidates have accused each other of buying the loyalty of MPs, drawing furious denials.

    "One member of the parliament told me that he received thousands from one of the presidential candidates," he said.

    "There is lot at stake here. This election is supposed to bring leadership that heals the country but if corruption plays an important role, many doubt whether Somalia is going to be on the right road."






    In 2012, just 135 elders picked the MPs, who chose the president.

    "It tells us that we are in the midst of a long transition and in theory, based on the provisional constitution we should be having one-person-one-vote election this year, but that hasn't been possible because of security constraints but also because the government did not focus on preparing the ground," Matt Bryden, chairman of Sahan Research and Development Organisation, a political think tank covering the horn of Africa, told Al Jazeera.

    "This is an ad hoc political compromise agreed by Somalia political leaders, which is simply a way of continuing a transition and giving us four more years in which to consolidate architecture of the new Somalia state."

    The airport, where the vote was taking place, was guarded by the African Union peacekeeping force AMISOM and is surrounded by high concrete barriers to protect it from attack.

    UN agencies and foreign embassies were also located in the compound.

    Al-Shabab, which ruled Somalia for several years, has been slowly driven out of its major strongholds in a campaign by AMISOM and Somali troops.

    But its fighters continue to launch regular gun and bomb attacks in their bid to topple the government.


    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/0...164804232.html

    Comments:


    First the west funded Ethiopia to invade Somalia and rape the women there an down they place a dual American citizen as the president puppet so they can go rob that nation of its resources. They are still trying to pay them back for the black hawk down where the Somalis took an American chopper down and the bombed beat the pilot to death and hanged his body with torn clothes in the public for the world to see. And they make 'black hawk down' movies to make him look like a hero.

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    Hassan Ali Khaire: Hunger, disease kill 110 in two days


    Prime minister calls on citizens to help as hunger resulting from drought leads to rise in deaths in the Bay region.

    Somalia's prime minister has announced the deaths of at least 110 people due to hunger and diarrhoea in the country over the past 48 hours amid a drought in the Bay region.


    The announcement by Hassan Ali Khaire on Saturday followed the Somali government's warning last week that the drought amounts to a national disaster.


    "It is a difficult situation for the pastoralists and their livestock. Some people have been hit by [hunger] and diarrhoea at the same time. In the last 48 hours, 110 people died due to [hunger] and diarrhoea in Bay region," Khaire's office said in a statement.


    The Bay region is in the southwest part of the country.


    "The Somali government will do its best, and we urge all Somalis, wherever they are, to help and save the dying Somalis," said the statement, released after a meeting of a famine response committee.


    Mostly children and elderly people died in villages surrounding the town of Baido, Abdullahi Omar Roble, the government's regional humanitarian chief, told the DPA news agency.


    There was not enough medication to treat all of the patients, Roble said.


    The drought has led to the spread of acute watery diarrhoea, cholera and measles and nearly 5.5 million people are at risk of contracting waterborne diseases.


    The cholera outbreak has killed at least 69 since Friday, a local government official said.


    More than 70 others have been treated in hospital.
    Thousands flock to Mogadishu

    UN experts have sounded a warning on deaths related to cholera and other diseases that arise from a lack of clean water.


    The UN estimates that five million people nationwide need aid, amid warnings of a full-blown famine.


    Thousands have streamed into the capital, Mogadishu, in search of food aid, overwhelming local and international aid agencies.


    More than 7,000 internally displaced people checked into one feeding centre recently.


    About 363,000 acutely malnourished children in Somalia "need urgent treatment and nutrition support, including 71,000 who are severely malnourished", the US Agency for International Development's Famine Early Warning Systems Network has said.


    The Somali government has said the widespread hunger "makes people vulnerable to exploitation, human rights abuses and to criminal and terrorist networks".


    Somalia was one of four regions singled out by the UN secretary-general last month in a $4.4bn aid appeal to avert catastrophic hunger and famine, along with northeast Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen.

    In 2011, an estimated 260,000 people starved to death in Somalia.


    The UN humanitarian appeal for 2017 for Somalia is $864m, to provide assistance to 3.9 million people.


    But the UN World Food Programme recently requested an additional $26m plan to respond to the drought.


    The drought is the first crisis for Somalia's newly elected Somali American leader, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who is also known as Farmajo.


    Mohamed has appealed to the international community and Somalia's diaspora of two million people for help.


    Previous droughts and a quarter-century of conflict, including ongoing attacks by al-Shabab, have left the country fragile.

    IN PICTURES: Drought in Somalia - Time is Running Out

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/0...183606392.html

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    CAGE Africa opposes Trump’s battle plan for Somalia


    Posted by CAGE Africa on April 11, 2017



    Johannesburg – CAGE Africa opposes the decision by US President Trump to relax some of the rules for preventing civilian casualties in its counter terrorism strikes in Somalia.


    The existing USA battlefield rules already transgress international laws of war. The USA has arrogated to itself the right to kill any human being, anywhere and at any time. The killing is done for secret reasons, based on secret evidence in a secret non-transparent clandestine process, using secret criteria and carried out by secret persons.


    Trump’s directive will allow Africa Command to treat Somalia under even less restrictive and non-transparent battlefield rules.


    No interagency vetting is required on strikes, meaning commanders may strike people thought to be al-Shabaab militants using only that requirement, without them posing a specific threat to the US. Some civilian bystander deaths are permitted if deemed “necessary and proportionate”.


    Trump also, by Executive Order, extended the state of emergency in Somalia with respect to “the unusual and extraordinary threat” to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, facilitating increased military activity in the country.

    Karen Jayes, spokesperson for CAGE Africa, said:


    “The United States is already working hand in hand with Somalian forces and the Africa Union mission in Somalia (AFRISOM), whose have been accused of gang rape and other atrocities against civilians. This directive will add to the recruitment drive of al-Shabaab in the same ways as their continuous support of abusive troops does.”


    “Gung-ho militancy is not the way to find solutions. Rather, it threatens civilians and creates a climate of fear. On top of this, the directive comes at a time of draught and famine for Somalia, when groups of people roam the countryside in search of food and can be easily mistaken for militants.”


    “We call for a complete withdrawal of AFRISOM troops in Somalia, an end to extrajudicial killings by drone or otherwise, in favour of a dialogue based approach to the conflict, and full accountability for war crimes. The people of Somalia deserve nothing less.”

    https://cage.ngo/press-release/cage-...n-for-somalia/

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    CAGE Africa opposes Trump’s battle plan for Somalia

    Johannesburg – CAGE Africa opposes the decision by US President Trump to relax some of the rules for preventing civilian casualties in its counter terrorism strikes in Somalia.


    The existing USA battlefield rules already transgress international laws of war. The USA has arrogated to itself the right to kill any human being, anywhere and at any time. The killing is done for secret reasons, based on secret evidence in a secret non-transparent clandestine process, using secret criteria and carried out by secret persons.


    Trump’s directive will allow Africa Command to treat Somalia under even less restrictive and non-transparent battlefield rules.


    No interagency vetting is required on strikes, meaning commanders may strike people thought to be al-Shabaab militants using only that requirement, without them posing a specific threat to the US. Some civilian bystander deaths are permitted if deemed “necessary and proportionate”.


    Trump also, by Executive Order, extended the state of emergency in Somalia with respect to “the unusual and extraordinary threat” to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, facilitating increased military activity in the country.
    Karen Jayes, spokesperson for CAGE Africa, said:

    “The United States is already working hand in hand with Somalian forces and the Africa Union mission in Somalia (AFRISOM), whose have been accused of gang rape and other atrocities against civilians. This directive will add to the recruitment drive of al-Shabaab in the same ways as their continuous support of abusive troops does.”


    “Gung-ho militancy is not the way to find solutions. Rather, it threatens civilians and creates a climate of fear. On top of this, the directive comes at a time of draught and famine for Somalia, when groups of people roam the countryside in search of food and can be easily mistaken for militants.”


    “We call for a complete withdrawal of AFRISOM troops in Somalia, an end to extrajudicial killings by drone or otherwise, in favour of a dialogue based approach to the conflict, and full accountability for war crimes. The people of Somalia deserve nothing less.”

    https://cage.ngo/press-release/cage-...n-for-somalia/

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    3 ways the War on Terror contributes to starve millions in Somalia and 3 ways you can help them straight away

    Posted by CAGE on April 28, 2017

    Millions in the Horn of Africa are facing starvation due to the droughts. But droughts are nothing new in the region and have been managed successfully in the past. Though they are not man-made, the reasons droughts turn into famines are. In this case, the War on Terror has worsened the situation and contributed to a humanitarian disaster. These are some 3 reasons why and what you you can do about it.
    1) Influenced by its backers, Somalia’s spends most of its money on security and administrative costs

    In 2015, the Somali government’s total spending on administrative and security spending accounted for more than 85%, while only about 10% of total spending went towards economic and social services.


    Over the years infrastructures such as water-reservoirs, wells and food storage facilities previously used to cope with droughts have been left in ruins.


    Despite the UK having pledged over £100m to relief efforts in Somalia, the security-heavy political restrictions placed upon charities means that aid does not find its way to the most needy.


    This week, the British government announced £21m more aid to the stricken country. This aid, however, is to assist with efforts to “counter extremism” and bolster the National Security Architecture. This includes funding African Union forces and the Somali National Army, both of whom have been accused of atrocities against civilians.


    2) US restrictions prevent humanitarian aid in large parts of the country

    Al Shabaab continues to control vast swathes of rural territory.


    The designation of Al Shabaab as a terrorist organisation, first by the US then later by the UN security council, and subsequent terrorism financing laws have had a chilling effect on relief efforts. Fearing criminal prosecution, charities have been discouraged from operating in Al-Shabaab areas.


    Al Shabaab has banned UN agencies and other charities from operating in the areas they control, citing ‘misconduct’ and ‘espionage’. They also placed conditions and restricted access into its areas, except to those it considers ‘independent’ and ‘neutral’.


    For Michel Gabaudan, president of Refugees International, talking to the “other side” is a necessity during such crisis.


    “Concerns are outweighed by the extraordinary humanitarian imperative to get assistance to those people who will not survive without it”, he wrote in 2011.
    3) Humanitarian aid is used as a bargaining chip

    Somali journalist for Al Jazeera Hamza Mohamed hinted to this problem in a recent Facebook post:


    “Have you asked yourself how the West can airdrop bombs in areas under al-Shabaab control but has never airdropped a single sack of maize to the starving Somalis living in those areas?”, he wrote.


    “Aid in Somalia is all about politics. It is not about helping Somalis. Period. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.


    “By not giving aid to those living in areas under al-Shabaab the West is hoping they will move away from al-Shabaab areas into government-controlled towns and cities.


    This way, the West hopes, al-Shabaab will be left with empty towns and villages.


    “This policy by the West is why in 2011 Mogadishu went from being the capital city of the country into an overcrowded IDP camp”, he concluded


    TAKE THREE ACTIONS NOW!

    1) Make dua!

    Allah says in the quran: “And it is He who sends the winds as good tidings before His mercy, and We send down from the sky pure water. That We may bring to life thereby a dead land and give it as drink to those We created of numerous livestock and men”. Surah Al Furqan v 48-49


    People have gathered across Somalia to pray for rain, performing salaat al istisqaa (Prayer for rain).


    We should all supplicate in our prostration and qunoot for all those stricken by droughts and famine in the world.
    2) Donate to trusted, independent charities

    “Who is it that will offer up unto God a goodly loan, which He will amply repay? For, such (as do so) shall have a noble reward”. Surah Al – Hadid, 57:11
    The urgency requires that we donate immediately to alleviate the suffering of the people on the ground. There are several independent charities which work on the ground. Do your research and don’t delay!
    3) Campaign to end the violence that causes famine

    There is no doubt that there is an urgent need to get aid delivered to the country, but if we don’t address the man-made causes of the crisis, we will likely see the same disaster again in the coming years, just like we saw it in 2011 with 250 000 losing their life.


    There have been calls on social media for accountability for crimes committed by the UN backed AMISOM peace keeping forces in advance of the major London-Somalia international conference.


    You can join these calls and support CAGE’s efforts to call for accountability and an end to violence in the War on Terror. Get involved by subscribing and donating.

    https://cage.ngo/article/3-ways-the-...straight-away/

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    Why did the US target Somali civilians hiding under banana trees?

    September 8, 2017


    On 25 August, the United States alongside Somali forces conducted a counterterrorism raid on a village near Baiire, southern Somalia – lower Shabelle region, in search of Al-Shabaab fighters associated with Al-Qaeda. The raid resulted in the killing and maiming of ten civilians including three children and women. The Al-Shabaab fighters were not at the village as they had been cleared out by Somali troops early in the same year. Only a few weapons were kept in the village to defend threats from a neighbouring clan, due to tensions based on tribal politics. In total, the village owned eight guns which were in storage at the time of the raid and one in operation for a watch-keeper.


    It was not a military camp or a village that was under the control of Al-Shabaab.


    “It was after morning prayers when I heard gunshots. I jumped over a wall made of iron sheets and the boy went out through the small gate,” said Moalim Abdi, a 47-year-old survivor whose 13-year-old nephew was killed. “They told me [my nephew] was shot as he tried to take cover under the banana trees,” said Abdi, one of ten relatives of the victims that spoke to Reuters.


    Eye witnesses said about a dozen “white men” were alongside the Somali Special Forces as they requested assistance with translation whilst interrogating the villagers. The Somali forces eventually recognised residents and told the US forces to step down as the villagers were not linked to Al-Shabaab. The civilians ran to hide behind banana trees to save their lives but were shot dead in the ground raid. The Somali government initially claimed no civilians were killed, and then conflicting media reports emerged indicating otherwise.
    Clan dynamics steering counter-terrorism operations?

    On what intelligence did the US and Somali forces act upon? If it was local intelligence from a rival clan or tribe than that would explain the error in raiding the innocent village near Baiire. In comparison to conflicts in Syria or Iraq, it can be assumed that fewer funds are spent on Somalia, which begs the questions whether local clan politics is directing counterterrorism operations.


    Following the US-Somali raid, negative sentiments are most likely strife towards the US and Somali forces for killing innocent family members. Blowback and the potential for family members to be inspired to join armed groups to spearhead their anger at government forces is now at risk due to this disingenuous mistake. Last week, the United Nations announced that it is downgrading the number of troops operating in Somalia in conjunction with Resolution 2372.



    The Security Council mandated that the number of uniformed personnel will be reduced to 20,626 by October 2018. The Security Council may accelerate the rate of downgrading dependent upon the performance of Somali security forces. That may not be a great idea, bearing in mind that AMISOM’s strategic priority is to transfer the responsibility of security to local Somali forces, which may be a quagmire for the UN – in consideration of the result of the recent raid.


    It can be assumed that US Command may have undergone their own assessment of the intelligence on Baiire and triangulated on their own sources. As investigations continue, it would be interesting to ascertain whether the US solely relied on local intelligence to steer counterterrorism operations in Somalia and whether such a practice extends to targeted killings via drone strikes.


    US African Command, AFRICOM, has already acknowledged that a ground troop raid took place in support of Somali forces. Anthony Favlo of US Africa Command clarified to MEMO that the incident “remains under investigation”. AFRICOM, the Pentagon and the Department of Defence (DoD) did not answer further questions about the missions – in particular the amount of compensation for the victims or which legal authority the US was governed by domestically.


    Whilst the Somali government has admitted killing civilians in the raid, it has additionally provided “blood money” estimated at $70,000 per person killed. Compensation by the governments will only deal with temporary material gain, but whether it can heal broken hearts and minds still remains a vital question.
    US ‘temporary battlefield’ policy is expanding

    Since May to August 2015, there has been eight US airstrikes versus 13 airstrikesfor the full year of 2016. US counter-terrorism operations have expanded since President Donald Trump stepped in as commander-in-chief, making way for temporary battlefields to open up without congressional approval. The manifestation of these counterterrorism related expansion models have been seen in drone strikes, raids and special ops. For the past couple of months, Somalia has seen an increase in US-joint military actions with Somali Special Forces – and not just in Somalia, but Yemen too.


    The US government is using this neo-classification of “temporary battlefields” as a tool to declare non-war zones to be “areas of active hostilities” where looser targeting rules apply. This is a new departure for US interpretation of international law and battlefield protocols. The US is already engaged in a “global war” against Al-Qaeda and its affiliates, which has witnessed military engagements across the world under the pretext of the War on Terrorism.


    Barack Obama’s 2013 Presidential Policy Guidance mapped the procedure for authorising drone strikes beyond the theatre of war. A redacted version was released as a result of the American Civil Liberties Union’s litigation in 2015. These strikes beyond war zones increased drastically during Obama’s presidency, causing a surge in civilian casualties. The guidance put restrictions in place for strikes outside “areas of active hostilities” and allowed strikes only when there is “near certainty” that non-combatants will not be killed.


    Trump has given the CIA authority to conduct its own targeted drone strikes, effectively reinstalling a paramilitary role in assassinating people in complete secrecy, a notion that the Obama administration eventually restricted. This puts forth greater lack of accountability and transparency for post-strike investigations and paves the way for extrajudicial killings
    Counterterrorism raids, drone strikes and other special ops are taking a toll on Somali society – turning alliances and sentiments against those very same states that seek to dilute a perceived threat. Pace building and reconciliation after a disingenuous raid is not easy once innocent family members have been killed. As investigations continue to ascertain how ten civilians were killed in place of Al-Shabaab fighters, both governments should reconsider whether using raids is the ideal means to create a safer and secure society in Somalia amid wavering clan dynamics.

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20...-banana-trees/

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    Mogadishu truck bomb: 500 casualties in Somalia’s worst terrorist attack



    At least 276 people killed and hundreds seriously injured in attack blamed on militant group al-Shabaab

    At least 500 people are believed to have been killed or seriously injured in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, in one of the most lethal terrorist acts anywhere in the world for many years.

    The death toll from Saturday’s attack, which involved a truck packed with several hundred kilograms of military-grade and homemade explosives, stood at 276 on Sunday, according to Associated Press, but is expected to rise as more bodies are dug from the rubble spread over an area hundreds of metres wide in the centre of the city. At least 300 people were injured, according to local reports.

    Rescue workers on the ground said it would be difficult to establish a definitive death toll because the intense heat generated by the blast meant the remains of many people would never be found.

    The devastating bombing will focus attention on the decade-long battle against al-Shabaab, an Islamist group, in Somalia. It provoked a chorus of international condemnation. Michael Keating, the UN special envoy to Somalia, called it “revolting”.


    The US mission to Somalia said: “Such cowardly attacks reinvigorate the commitment of the United States to assist our Somali and African Union partners to combat the scourge of terrorism.”

    Al-Shabab earlier this year vowed to eascalate attacks after both the Trump administration and Somalia’s recently elected president announced new military efforts against the group.

    Doctors struggled to treat the huge numbers of seriously wounded victims on Sunday, while thousands of people queued to give blood in Mogadishu.

    Rescue workers were still digging out injured survivors late on Sunday night. Hundreds of people took the streets to protest against the attack.

    The city has been hit by multiple bombings in recent years. None have been as deadly as this attack, however.

    The bomb, which is thought to have targeted Somalia’s foreign ministry, was concealed in a truck and exploded near a hotel on a busy street, demolishing the building and several others.


    Sources close to the Somali government said the truck had been stopped at a checkpoint and was about to be searched when the driver suddenly accelerated. It crashed through a barrier, then exploded. This ignited a fuel tanker which was stationary nearby, creating a massive fireball.

    Ambulance sirens echoed across the city on Sunday afternoon as bewildered families wandered among the rubble and wrecked vehicles, looking for missing relatives. Bodies were carried from the scene in makeshift stretchers made of blankets, as people tried to dig through the debris with their bare hands.

    “In our 10 year experience as the first responder in #Mogadishu, we haven’t seen anything like this,” the Aamin ambulance service tweeted.

    “There’s nothing I can say. We have lost everything,” said Zainab Sharif, a mother of four who lost her husband in the attack. She sat outside a hospital where he was pronounced dead after hours of efforts by doctors to save him from an arterial injury.

    Muna Haj, 36, said his son had been killed. “Today, I lost my son who was dear to me. The oppressors have taken his life away from him. I hate them. May Allah give patience to all families who lost their loved ones in that tragic blast … And I pray that one day Allah will bring his justice to the perpetrators of that evil act,” he said.

    Alinur Abdi, a local businessman, said: “There is nothing resilient about this. How can you say ‘we are resilient’ when people are being killed in their hundreds? We need to get our act together and find a solution for this madness.”

    The Somali president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, declared three days of national mourning and joined thousands of people who responded to a plea by hospitals to donate blood for the wounded. “I am appealing to all Somali people to come forward and donate,” he said.

    Mohamed, who took power in February, had vowed to rid the country of al-Shabaab. He has faced huge challenges, with the insurgency proving resilient to a ramped-up offensive aided by the US, and a famine.

    Dr Mohamed Yusuf, the director of the Mogadishu’s Medina hospital, said his staff had been “overwhelmed by both dead and wounded”.

    He added: “This is really horrendous, unlike any other time in the past.”

    Al-Shabaab, which has been affiliated to al-Qaida since 2011, has not yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

    However the organisation has a history of launching bomb attacks against civilian targets in Mogadishu, and is known to avoid claiming responsibility for operations which it believes may significantly damage its public image among ordinary Somalis.

    Somalian officials said al-Shabaab did not “care about the lives of Somali people, mothers, fathers and children”.

    The prime minister, Hassan Ali Khaire, said: “They have targeted the most populated area in Mogadishu, killing only civilians.”


    The information minister, Abdirahman Omar Osman, said the blast was the largest the city had seen. “It’s a sad day. This is how merciless and brutal they are, and we have to unite against them,” he said.

    One western expert working with the Somali government said the bomb was aimed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that it was likely al-Shabaab had not anticipated the destruction it would cause.

    “That it exploded next to a fuel tanker was just very, very bad luck,” the expert said.

    Investigators will seek to establish the source of the military-grade explosives used in the bomb. One source suggested they had been stolen from Amisom, the much-criticised African Union peacekeeping mission, which has about 20,000 troops in the country.

    In recent months, Al-Shabaab has escalated its attacks as it tries to destabilise the new government of Mohamed.

    Though largely confined to the countryside since withdrawing from Mogadishu six years ago, al-Shabaab has repeatedly taken over small towns, as well as inflicting significant losses on Amisom and Somali troops.

    The US military has stepped up drone strikes and other efforts this year against al-Shabaab, and a US special forces operative was killed in a skirmish with the group earlier this year, the first American combat casualty in Africa since the Black Hawk Down episode in Mogadishu in 1993.

    There is a small faction of extremists linked to Islamic State in the semiautonomous state of Puntland, in northern Somalia but it is not thought to have the capability to launch this kind of attack.

    Saturday’s blast occurred two days after the head of the US Africa command was in Mogadishu to meet Somalia’s president, and two days after the country’s defence minister and army chief resigned for undisclosed reasons.

    The British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, said the UK “condemns in the strongest terms the cowardly attacks in Mogadishu, which have claimed so many innocent lives”.

    https://amp.theguardian.com/world/20...people-somalia

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    Somalia terrorist attack initially targeted Turkish military base, senior intel official says



    The initial target of the deadliest single attack in Somalia's history was a newly-opened Turkish military base, a senior Somali intelligence official said Wednesday.

    The official told Voice of America that reports prior to Saturday's attack and intelligence gathered afterward indicated the truck bomb targeted the Turkish military training base in Mogadishu.

    "This base is the most strategic target for them. It's going to produce an organized army and they have to preemptively destroy that," the official was quoted as saying by VOA Somali.

    The source added that before the attack, National Intelligence and Security Agency received information that al-Shabab terrorist group was plotting to strike the Turkish base.

    Turkey opened its biggest overseas military training base in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Sept. 30, cementing its ties with the volatile but strategic Muslim nation and establishing a presence in east Africa.

    More than 10,000 Somali soldiers are trained by about 200 Turkish officers at the $50-million base, which includes army dormitories, training grounds and prisons.

    A massive truck bomb in Mogadishu killed more than 300 people and left 300 injured in the deadliest ever attack to hit the conflict-torn nation.

    High-level Turkish officials condemned the attack and pledged continued support.

    "Turkey will continue to stand in solidarity with the government and people of Somalia against terrorism," President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in the aftermath of the bombing, adding that he had given instructions to provide air ambulance and medical supplies and to bring wounded Somalis to Turkey to receive medical treatment.

    35 injured Somalis, including three children, arrived for medical treatment in the Turkish capital Ankara late Monday.

    https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/...-official-says

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    Strong Evidence that U.S. Special Operations Forces Massacred Civilians in Somalia

    An investigation by The Daily Beast on the ground in Somalia appears to confirm that American soldiers were involved directly in the deaths of 10 innocent civilians.

    MOGADISHU, Somalia—It was around five in the morning when Abdullahi Elmi heard the gunfire. Sitting in his small home in Bariire, in southern Somalia, the farm administrator had been recording the names of the laborers who had worked the day before. Stacks of accounting books sprawled on the floor around him. Across the room, his wife sat with their 3-year-old son who dozed as his mother rocked him back and forth in her arms.

    When the sound of gunshots began, Abdullahi thought they were too far away to be heading toward his farm. But within seconds they seemed to grow louder, and closer, sending Abdullahi and his wife, carrying their young son, sprinting through the nearby forest of banana trees in search of safety.

    Sheltering beneath the long leaves, Abdullahi came across his neighbor, Goomey Hassan, who had also sprinted into the banana grove with his wife when he heard the barrage of gunfire. The two families waited for 20 minutes before they decided it was safe to return, and began walking cautiously back to their homes, both Abdullahi and Goomey careful to walk in front of their wives in case the gunfire returned.

    As the women entered their houses, the two men stood outside to see what had happened, eventually spotting Somali National Army soldiers walking in the distance. At first Abdullahi was relieved, the national army must have come to stop their rival clan from attacking their farm, he thought. But as the soldiers saw the men, they raised their weapons, ordering Hassan and Elmi to get down on the ground.

    “I put my hands up and they told us you are under arrest, then I heard the noise from their big cars and I knew this was more than just a clan fight,” Elmi said. “They told my wife to go back in our home and then they went inside to search. I was pleading with them not to take anything.”

    When the soldiers finished their search, they ordered the men to move with them toward the scene of the shooting. There Abdullahi and Goomey saw their fellow farmers’ bodies sprawled across the ground. The small pot that one of them had been using to make tea still stood upright near the corpses. And they also saw what they later estimated to be around 20 American soldiers standing around the bodies. A Somali National Army soldier who was at the scene estimated 10 to 12 Americans were there. Abdullahi felt his chest tighten as he heard his friend, Ali-waay, calling for help, blood from a gunshot wound pouring into the earth around him.

    One of the Somali soldiers ordered Abdullahi to put his head on the ground. The bottom of a boot belonging to an American soldier kept it there.


    THE U.S.-LED OPERATION on Aug. 25 would result in the death of 10 civilians, including at least one child, and become the largest stain on U.S. ground operations in the country since the infamous Black Hawk Down incident in 1993.

    In the operation’s aftermath, hundreds of people in the nearby town Afgoye flooded the city’s streets demanding justice for those killed, and survivors on the farm refused to bury their dead until the Somali government recanted its allegations that they were members Al Shabaab, and offered an apology.

    The Daily Beast conducted an investigation into the Bariire operation and its aftermath, interviewing three of the operation’s survivors over the phone from Mogadishu and meeting in person with the Somali National Army Commander in charge of the Somali soldiers who assisted in the operation under the command of soldiers from U.S. Special Operations Forces.

    The Daily Beast also met in Mogadishu with over two dozen Somali intelligence officers, political analysts, local leaders, and former and current government officials familiar with the incident. Two of these individuals are also involved in an ongoing local, non-government-sponsored investigation into the incident.

    The Daily Beast also met in person with the commander of the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces whose purview under the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping force includes Bariire, and who was approached by the Americans about their plan to re-capture and hold Bariire.

    The vast majority of these sources preferred to speak anonymously, either because they were not authorized to discuss the incident or because they feared possible retribution from either the Somali Federal Government or the Americans for doing so.

    The details that emerged paint a damning picture of at least one U.S. ground operation in the African nation. This includes U.S. Special Operators firing upon unarmed civilians, using human intelligence from sources widely considered untrustworthy to Somalis in the region as well as government officials, and instructing their Somali counterparts to collect weapons that were being stored inside a home—not displaced on the field in the course of the firefight—and placing them beside the bodies of those killed prior to photographing them. In the aftermath of the incident, according to our sources, American diplomats also pressured the Somali government to bury the unfavorable findings of a Somali Federal Government-led investigation.

    Hours after the operation, AFRICOM released a statement noting that it was aware of allegations of civilian casualties in the operation and that AFRICOM was “conducting an assessment into the situation to determine the facts on the ground.” The AFRICOM press release also stated that “the Somali National Army was conducting an operation in the area with U.S. forces in a supporting role.”

    Yet a majority of bullet casings collected from the farm that was attacked, which were seen by The Daily Beast, were from American—not Somali National Army—weapons. This appears to confirm that the Special Operations team did not command SNA while remaining behind during the operation, as the AFRICOM statement would have the public believe, but rather were responsible themselves for firing upon and killing unarmed civilians.

    According to Maj. Audricia Harris, a spokesperson for the Department of Defense, “this incident remains under investigation” and the DOD cannot comment on any specifics of the employment of U.S. Special Operations forces. She noted that U.S. Special Operations “take all measures during the targeting process to avoid or minimize civilian casualties or collateral damage and to comply with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict.” (The complete list of queries and responses can be viewed here*.)

    The details surrounding the planning of this incident collected by The Daily Beast suggest, however, that the Special Operations Forces involved in this mission did not sufficiently vet the information they were presented with prior to carrying out this operation.

    LOWER SHABELLE has long been a hotspot in Somalia’s decades of conflict, with Bariire town at its heart. The area is one of the most fertile regions in the otherwise barren Somali landscape: here farmers cultivate green fields of bananas, mangos, and tomatoes running parallel to the Shabelle River while businessmen sell the produce in the nearby capital Mogadishu.

    But the same lushness that makes the region attractive to farmers has also made it desirable real estate for Al Shabaab: the plentiful crops are ripe for taxation, the vegetation is good for taking cover from drone surveillance, and the Shebelle River creates a natural barrier between Al Shabaab and enemy forces, while its bridges create opportunities for Al Shabaab’s hit and run attacks.

    The Islamic extremist group has held sporadic control throughout the region since January 2009, when the Ethiopian forces that had helped oust the Islamic Courts Union, a confederation of Sharia courts that rose to power in southern Somalia in 2006, withdrew from the region. Though in the years following the African Union Peacekeeping Mission in Somalia or AMISOM retook some large towns and established Forward Operating Bases throughout Lower Shabelle, the area remains one of the last large swaths of territory where Al Shabaab maintains pockets of control.

    For years the heart of Al Shabaab’s dominance in the area of Lower Shabelle near Mogadishu could be found in Bariire town, located just 45 kilometers from the capital. From this town the group ran courts they used to implement Sharia law in the region and organized attacks carried out in Mogadishu. According to Minister of Parliament Ahmed Moalim Fiqi, the town had acted as Al Shabaab’s “small capital” near Mogadishu. “[Bariire] had become a nightmare for the Somali government and created problems for Somalia’s security partners,” Fiqi says. “Every security report [Somali Parliament’s Security Committee] received, Bariire was included.”

    And the Somali Parliament wasn’t the only one taking note of Bariire. U.S. Special Operators recognized the town’s strategic significance as well, which is why in July this year they approached the Ugandan People’s Defense Force or UPDF Brig. Gen. Kayanja Muhanga, whose responsibilities under AMISOM include Lower Shabelle, about a plan they had developed to retake Bariire town and the surrounding region. Unlike U.S. operations in years past, this campaign wouldn’t consist of targeted airstrikes or raids, both of which have seen relative success in Somalia. Instead, the U.S. wanted to hold the land they would capture and provide intermittent on-the-ground support with the local force in charge of maintaining control of the territory.

    According to Brig. Gen. Muhanga, the Americans were requesting the Department of State sponsored equipment for building Forward Operating Bases or FOBs, such as caterpillars and graders, from a nearby AMISOM FOB, as well as UPDF troops to be retasked with the Somali National Army to hold the terrain in Bariire and beyond. The UPDF general was skeptical of this plan. His troops were already overstretched across the region; not only would they not be able to provide adequate security for the FOB building equipment, but he questioned whether he could lend enough troops to hold a new FOB with the Somali National Army, which he knew to be under-trained, under-equipped, and likely unable to hold any outposts themselves.

    And in addition to foolhardy planning of the hold-terrain operation, the Americans also appeared to be woefully unaware that in this vast and forest-rich region, Al Shabaab isn’t the only factor contributing to instability. Further complicating the security landscape is the ongoing conflict among Somali clans, primarily the Habar Gidr and Biyomal. The rivalry between them, like most clan conflict in the country, revolves around land and, with the emergence of a functioning Somali state, power.

    Though clan alliances and clan conflicts span centuries, the current flare up in Lower Shabelle dates back five years when Biyomal and Habar Gidr renewed their fight over the majority Habar- Gidr-controlled land. The Biyomal, a smaller clan which have traditionally lived in Lower Shabelle, claim the land is rightfully theirs given their historic presence in the region, while the Habar Gidr began to migrate south to the fertile Lower Shabelle in the 1990s when civil war broke out and their clan won authority in the region. They maintain that having lived on the land for decades they can legitimately call it their own.

    But unlike centuries past, clan conflicts in modern Somalia have been complicated first by Al Shabaab and later by the presence of AMISOM, American Special Operations, and other foreign militaries operating in the country.

    Since Al Shabaab formed in 2007, the group has thrived on local conflicts, offering support to the militias in their clan wars in exchange for their firepower when Al Shabaab confronts government forces. But farmers in the region, who aren’t part of these militias, though they are often armed to protect their land and livestock, aren’t as lucky. When their territory is taken over by Al Shabaab, they don’t have a choice: either agree to pay taxes to the group and to live under their authority or risk disarmament and death.

    This modus operandi creates a military landscape ripe for confusion, where distinguishing Al Shabaab militants from armed farmers in Al Shabaab controlled territories requires accurate, unbiased, on-the-ground intelligence.

    Yet because foreign militaries, including U.S. Special Operations, often rely either on clan militias, or the Somali security forces which have incorporated some of these militias into their ranks, for human intelligence, there is ample opportunity for clansmen to label their rivals falsely as “Al Shabaab,” and garner the support of foreign forces, and their much more sophisticated weaponry, in their own clan wars.

    When the UPDF commander, cognizant of the difficulties of terrain and this kind of operation, turned down the American’s request for UPDF support and advised against the mission, the Americans turned instead to the Somali National Army’s 20th Brigade, a poor semblance of a military at best.

    “I told the U.S. guys the SNA can’t hold ground, they don’t have the weapons to hold ground,” Gen. Muhanga said. “These American guys are our friends, but they came in rushing into operations without understanding the SNA capability because they wanted to achieve something themselves.”

    Unlike the SNA’s special forces unit, Danab, which has been trained by the Americans to operate alongside them in ground operations, the SNA brigade this U.S. team approached had not only never been trained by any U.S. Special Operators but also was led by a former Al Shabaab commander, Sheegow Ahmed Ali, who had worked closely with the Biyomal militia in the region, led by Abdullahi Ali Ahmed also known as “Wafo,” in the lead-up to this operation.

    The Americans seemingly worked with them ignorant of both the clan dynamics pitting Wafo’s militia against Habargidir clansmen like those on the farm and of a complaint, obtained by The Daily Beast, made by the Lower Shabelle Community Elders committee to the regional president, the minister of interior, the United Nations mission, the U.S. Embassy, the E.U. Delegation and the African Union representative last year about Wafo’s Biyomal militia attacking civilians and using AMISOM protection to do so. The letter stated that “AMISOM is sheltering and providing logistical support to Biyomal militia forces….while Biyomal Militia is burning farms, looting properties and killing innocent civilians without discrimination (elders, children, women and youth) under the AMISOM protection in their barracks.”

    The Daily Beast also learned from multiple Somali government and security officials, that the Americans were using a translator who had a history of suspected manipulation of U.S. Forces.

    The translator, known as Bashir, had been involved in a 2016 operation in Galkayo, northern Somalia, in which a U.S. drone strike targeted and killed 22 members of a local militia which had been working in collaboration with U.S. forces, according to the Bureau for Investigative Journalism. After the incident, many believed Bashir was complicit in providing inaccurate intelligence to the American forces because the local force was from a rival clan to his own. Given that his wife is from the Biyomal clan, many suspect Bashir had helped persuade the Americans that the Habar Gidr on the farm were Al Shabaab as well, though the reason the U.S. would use a translator suspected previously of manipulating them into killing non-Al Shabaab combatants is unclear.

    “We don’t believe the Americans have any agenda to kill us, they don’t have an agenda to support one clan against another,” says Ali Osman Diblawe, one of the farmers who was attacked in the operation. “But the Biyomal clan used misinformation and propaganda to wrongly kill us. They persuaded the Somali government and the Americans that we are Al Shabaab, which we are not.”

    DIBLAWE’S FARM is located on one of Lower Shabelle’s fault lines where government soldiers and Al Shabaab militants meet.

    Six days before the operation on his farm, the fighting had come so close to his village that he and other farmers fled, returning to their homes a day later when the smoke had settled and Al Shabaab militants vacated the area.

    The fighting he and other villagers heard was in Bariire town, where even without the UPDF support, the American Special Operations team had begun their campaign to retake and hold first Bariire and then the surrounding area, according to UPDF Gen. Muhanga. At first, the strategy appeared to be working: the U.S. and SNA team successfully retook Bariire and set up four outposts on each corner of the city in order to hold it against Al Shabaab as planned.

    With their farm just one kilometer away from Bariire town, now seemingly under government control, Diblawe decided to meet with the SNA in Bariire and explain the ongoing clan conflict in the nearly liberated area. Diblawe and some of his fellow villagers owned small arms, mostly old AK-47s, to protect their land against the Biyomal, which he feared the SNA might misinterpret as the farmers being fighters for Al Shabaab.

    Diblawe walked with a friend and fellow villager, Ali-waay, to Bariire town where he met with Gen. Sheegow. A rotund man who stands roughly five foot five inches tall, Sheegow didn’t give Diblawe the impression of a feared military commander.

    But a glimpse into the 56-year-old’s life before he joined the Somali National Army proves otherwise. Prior to 2012, Sheegow was an Al Shabaab commander who defected to government forces with between 50 and 100 of his fighters. But most suspect it was a defection born from the fear of being imminently captured by Somali government troops than a change of heart. The first battle his brigade fought with Al Shabaab under the SNA flag, they lost—along with a number of arms and military cars that fell into Al Shabaab’s hands. The incident raised questions about whether the general had lost on purpose in an effort to continue supporting the extremist group.

    The Daily Beast met Sheegow in Mogadishu, where three government officials say he was to be reprimanded for the emerging pattern of civilian casualties under his leadership in the part of Lower Shabelle, for which his brigade is responsible. Sheegow denied those claims.

    According to Diblawe, during his meeting with General Sheegow he explained that the Biyomal and the Habar Gidr had been fighting over land in the area Sheegow was now responsible for and suggested the general either disarm both groups or reconcile the two clans.

    “He told us he would reconcile us with the Biyomal and that there wasn’t anything to worry about,” Diblawe says. Upon returning to his village, he told the villagers about his agreement with Sheegow and instructed them to place all of their small arms in one of the village’s corrugated tin homes, per the instructions of Gen. Sheegow.

    In an interview with The Daily Beast, Sheegow denied having met with Diblawe prior to the operation, although immediately after the incident he told local media that he had “talked with the farmers in the area and instructed them to put their weapons in their homes to avoid confusion” about who was and wasn’t Al Shabaab.

    Waiting for the next steps in the reconciliation process, Diblawe and other villagers returned to their fields, hoping to hear word from Sheegow about when the reconciliation efforts would begin. But days later Diblawe and others in the village noticed something strange looming over their farms with a noise that pierced the sky around them. Staring at the sky from outside his home, Diblawe though it looked like a strange crow circling the village. But the loud hum that pierced the otherwise peaceful landscape suggested otherwise. Diblawe knew this wasn’t a bird. It was a drone.

    “It was coming in the morning, around five or six in the morning and again around five in the evening,” Diblawe said. “It was clear the Americans with Sheegow were interested in us, that’s why they were using their spy drone above us.”

    Diblawe returned to the general, begging Sheegow to let him speak directly with the Americans so he could clarify who the villagers were. Diblawe suggested the foreign force search their farm so they could see the small arms and Diblawe could explain why the villagers were in possession of them. Again, Sheegow told him to be patient and that the reconciliation process would begin soon. Diblawe returned to his village wary of the general, and feeling disheartened knowing that without the general’s support, he had no chance of trying to communicate with the Americans directly.

    The next day villagers spotted the drone hovering overhead again. Diblawe’s concerns grew. He returned to Sheegow for the third time, pleading to speak with the Americans. Again, Sheegow denied him.

    That would be Diblawe’s last plea for help. The next morning gunfire tore through his small village and Diblawe’s concerns that the farmers had been mistaken for Al Shabaab were proven true.

    AFTER GATHERING with roughly 20 other villagers to say the morning prayer on Friday, Diblawe had crawled back into his bed hoping to rest a bit more before starting his day. Less than 10 minutes later he heard the sound of gunfire and sprinted out of his bed to his doorstep, from which he saw his neighbor, Ali-waay, standing with his hands up and uniformed men in the distance. Diblawe immediately started running toward the forest behind his house.

    “I was barefoot and there were a lot of bullets hitting near me but I didn’t stop for one second, I ran and started heading in the direction of Bariire town, I thought the military there could stop the firing,” he said.

    Arriving in Bariire, Diblawe first saw an SNA lieutenant, Mohamed Mohamud Abor, and ran up to him, demanding to see Sheegow. The lieutenant brought the winded farmer to Sheegow’s outpost, where looking the general in the eye Diblawe was overcome by a sense of both despair and bewilderment. “I asked him why all of this is happening, we just left him here yesterday and told him our concerns, and now the people were being killed,” Diblawe said. “I told him let us rescue the people who are still alive, let us see if we can save these people.”

    Meanwhile on the other side of the farm from Diblawe’s house, Abdullahi and Goomey were being escorted to the center of the village by Somali National Army soldiers. Told to lie down on the ground, the two men could hardly believe the carnage around them. Ten of their friends were sprawled across the ground. Some like Ali-waay—the same man who gone to town with Diblawe the day before—were barely alive and calling weakly for help. The soldiers around them were not listening.

    Roughly thirty minutes earlier, Goomey had been praying with most of them, and saw the teapot they had begun to brew still sitting on the ground, the body of a pre-teen boy in a brown t-shirt and dark blue jeans stretched out beside it. He knew the others would have been waiting for the tea when the barrage of gunfire began. The Daily Beast has photographs of the villagers taken after the attack, although many are too graphic for publication. They show the teapot, a black water heater, and a large pot scattered around the boy’s body.

    Near the boy, Goomey saw his friend, Dangaweyne, who had traveled with him from the nearby town Afgoye to their small village the day before. A few meters away was another wounded man, Abdullahi Abdullahi, weakly shouting “save me, save me!” in the direction of Goomey and Abdullahi Elmi. Just beyond was Ali-waay, his chest bleeding, begging the men to help him and another man, asking if someone could move his leg which had been contorted after he fell to the ground from a gunshot wound.

    Abdullahi asked the Somali soldiers if he could help the men. The Somali soldier looked at Abdullahi for a moment and agreed. But as he started to stand up, an American soldier stopped him. “The American guy got angry and directed me to lie down, so I lay down with my chest on the ground and he put his boot on me to keep me there,” Abdullahi said. With his head tilted to his side, Abdullahi could see the Somali soldiers entering the house where the farmers had kept their old AK-47s.

    Carrying the weapons out of the home, the Somali soldiers then placed them beside the bodies of the other villagers. He and Goomey also saw three of the American men, who Goomey describes as one tall man with two shorter men next to him, taking pictures of the bodies with the weapons placed beside them. One of the men was taking a picture with with a small black camera that gave off a flash with each photo taken, while the other two were taking photos on their phones, Goomey says. A Somali National Army soldier who arrived later at the scene estimated there were between 10 and 13 U.S. Special Operators in the village who, he said, were Navy SEALS.

    As they were taking photos, Abdullahi saw the Americans point the Somali soldiers to a small house. They entered the makeshift shanty and emerged with a roughly 50-year-old man known as Hassan “Dooro,” whose second name means “chicken” in Somali, because he is a chicken farmer. Abdullahi later learned from Hassan, that the Somali soldiers found him lying under his bed where he had hidden once he heard the sound of gunfire.

    Back in Bariire, Sheegow had agreed to give Diblawe a vehicle of SNA soldiers to take him to the farm. Sheegow first said he was informing the Americans in Bariire so they could warn their counterparts at the farm, and after around 15 minutes Diblawe headed back in the direction of his village. When they arrived at the scene, Diblawe could hardly believe what he saw and looking at the American soldiers he was amazed by how well equipped they were. While the SNA soldiers were carrying AK-47s, the Americans had machine guns and three well equipped armoured vehicles. A Somali National Army soldier in Bariire later described the American’s weapons as looking like a more modern and smaller version of an M16 which were outfitted with scopes and were extendable at the back. Goomey also noticed the cars, which he describes as the “color of tea when you add milk to it.”

    Once Diblawe arrived, the Somali soldiers who came with him also looked with horror at the scene, some of them saying they knew these men and knew they were civilians. “The Somalis who came later were crying as they were looking at these people, one of them was asking why they killed these people and that he knew Ali-waay, why was he shot,” Abdullahi says. A few minutes later the soldier who had told Abdullahi and Goomey to get on the ground, said they were released and got back into their car. With that the Somali and American team packed into their vehicles and left the scene, the message that these were civilians having finally been relayed to them. With the help of the Somali soldiers who arrived with Diblawe and stayed at the scene, they began collecting the bodies of the dead, still in shock from what had just transpired.

    When Abdullahi finally went back to his small home, he saw that the money on his shelf was gone. The soldiers had taken everything.

    IN THE IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH of the attack, the Somali Ministry of Information first announced that Somali soldiers had killed eight Al Shabaab fighters in a raid on a farming village near Bariire town and that “no civilians were harmed or killed in this operation.” But as the details of the operation reached Mogadishu, and elders from the Habargidir community as well as local administrators began speaking with local media about the farmers who were attacked, Somali officials started offering conflicting accounts of who the farmers were. The Somali president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, even published a tweet offering condolences to the families of those killed in Bariire which was removed minutes later. And as that news spread, so too did the public anger at the Somali federal government and their American counterparts.

    Diblawe and the other farmers refused to bury their dead until the Somali government officially recanted their allegations that the farmers were Al Shabaab militants, bringing the bodies to Mogadishu to be kept in a refrigerated truck and shown to the Somali officials they believed green-lit the operation.

    By the time the bodies arrived in Mogadishu, which would have been an unprecedented act for Al Shabaab militants, dozens of family members and elders had spoken out in defense of the farmers and hardly anyone in the city still believed they were extremists. Within days, even the chief of Defense Forces and Minister of Information admitted that it had been civilians killed in the operation.

    With the outpouring of public anger, the Somalia federal government opened an investigation into the incident, in the course of which government officials approached Diblawe and others to collect information on who they were, why they had weapons, and what happened during the attack. But to much of the public’s surprise, the federal government never made the outcome of that investigation public nor did the Somali president ever officially admit that civilians had been wrongly targeted during the ground operation.

    According to one government official and one former security official, the outcome of that investigation not only confirmed that the farmers were civilians but was buried under pressure from the United States government. According to these sources the U.S. first tried to pressure Somali officials to deny the allegations that the farmers were civilians publicly but knowing the political cost of doing so, the president of Somalia refused. Instead to appease the families of the victims, the Somali government then paid them between $60,000 and $70,000 each, according to both of these sources, one of whom strongly believes was in fact paid for by the American government.

    With little public acknowledgment of wrongdoing from the national government, a former official then began an independent investigation into the operation, in the course of which he collected the shell casings from the area in the days after the attack.

    The Daily Beast saw photos of the shells taken at the scene as well as five individual shell casings in person in Mogadishu.

    According to multiple weapons experts consulted by The Daily Beast, the casings are a mix of both 7.62x39 mm rounds, mostly likely from AK-47s such as those used by the SNA, and 5.56x45 mm NATO rounds on M27 disintegrating belt links. The 5.56x45mm rounds are used by M249 Squad Automatic Weapons or their lighter versions, the Mark 46 or Mark 48 machine guns, which are known to be used by U.S. Special Operators. These links are also stamped “ALK,” which indicates manufacture at the Lake City Ammunition Plant, a U.S. government owned facility in Independence, Missouri which manufactures and tests small caliber ammunition for the U.S. military.

    The Somalia National Army is not in possession of any weapons that would fire such rounds. According to a former high-ranking intelligence official who is now a senior security advisor to the Somali Federal Government, the Somali National Army only carry AK-47s, PKMs, and some DSHk machine guns mounted on the back of pickup trucks due to the longstanding arms embargo the U.N. Security Council imposed in January 1992.

    Additionally Diblawe, Goomey, and Abdullahi, all eye witnesses of the attack’s aftermath, noted that the Somali National Army soldiers present were carrying AK-47s which do not incorporate the type of machine gun belt link which composed the majority of those casings collected on the farm, while the American soldiers were carrying what they described as machine guns.

    This evidence strongly suggests that the American team themselves fired upon the farmers and that soldiers serving under the U.S. Special Operations Command can be held directly responsible for the deaths of these unarmed civilians.

    ON SEPT. 29, roughly one month after this operation, the four outposts the Americans had established with the SNA around Bariire town were overrun by Al Shabaab forces. According to the UPDF commander, the Americans and Somalis had set up three outposts on each corner of the city, two on the north side of the town with Danab, which had been posted to Bariire after the farm incident, and SNA forces and one on the south side across the Shabelle River with Gen. Sheegow’s SNA forces, with a bridge crossing over the river connecting them. Early that morning, Al Shabaab detonated two vehicle born IEDs or VBIEDs in Bariire, the first of which destroyed the bridge connecting Sheegow’s outpost to the two others on the other side of the river.

    After the bridge was destroyed, another VBIED hit the Danab base and Al Shabaab fighters began to assault both the Danab and SNA northern outposts. By the end of the two hour long siege, at least 40 soldiers were dead, according to a member of the SNA, and at least 10 of their vehicles and much of their equipment had been seized by Al Shabaab.

    “The Americans came with that over-confidence that they could hold Bariire, but even if you have better weapons, you have to know the terrain,” says Gen. Muhanga, who also noted the Americans had visited the outposts the day before they were overrun, but left to return to Mogadishu. “I warned them those outposts would be overrun, I warned them that those boys would be killed.”

    The loss of Bariire town signaled the end of the failed U.S. military campaign to retake and hold the area from Al Shabaab. Today, the town is under the control of Al Shabaab—and Diblawe, Abdullahi and Goomey, who have lost ten of their friends, are once again subject to Al Shabaab’s extremist rule.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/strong...ans-in-somalia


 

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