Tanzania: Inter-Cities Basketball Tourney Starts in Dar

The East and Central Africa Inter-cities basketball champions Nairobi and Cairo are looking forward to defend their titles in women and men categories respectively, in the 16th edition of the event which throws off at the National Indoor Stadium in Dar es Salaam today.0

Cairo, who are the men’s category defending champions, are expected to jet in Dar es Salaam today, ready to start their title defence campaign.

The event was initially expected to attract many cities in the region but unfortunately some of the cities despite showing interest of taking part in this year’s event have failed to affirm their participation.

 While Cairo is expected to jet in today for the event, their counterpart in ladies category Nairobi is already in the City ready to commence their title defense campaign. Nairobi team which won 12 of the last 16 events remains the favourites to carry the day once again.

They started training some weeks ago in readiness for their title defense in the five- day event, which is expected to be thrilling and competitive as the previous events.

 The Inter Cities president Simon Msoffe, said last week that they were expecting to have the biggest event ever as many cities across the region had shown interest of taking part in the event, but unfortunately the turnout has decreased unexpectedly.

Msoffe named the cities which have confirmed their participation as Arusha, Mbeya, Tanga and the hosts Dar es Salaam from Tanzania, Nairobi, (Kenya), Kampala (Uganda), Qardho (Somalia) and Cairo (Egypt) Meanwhile, it has been known that for the first time Fiba Africa Zone Five will support this year’s Inter -Cities tournament.

According to a top official of the East and Central Africa Basketball Federation (ECAIBC), Fiba Africa will give the tournament recognition and will from now onwards be categorized as a zonal event.

Zone Five president Hesham Elhariri is also expected to fly in Dar es Salaam to witness the event which will be preceded by 3 on 3 tournament, which the zone has made a priority in all its competitions starting this year.

 

Source: AA

The President: “I thank our African brothers for supporting us, and I hope that Somalia will soon be playing its full role in the continent”

Mogadishu: HE Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia attended the African Union Day celebrations in Mogadishu.

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The ceremony was attended by diplomats, commanders of the Somali National Army and the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and other dignitaries.

The President addressed several issues regarding the role of the African Union (AU) in Somalia and other efforts the AU was actively involved in across the continent.

“I draw attention to and congratulate all African countries on this occasion. Somalia will not forget the support of African countries. Today, with the help of our African brothers and sisters, the international community and the United Nations (UN), Somalia knows where it came from and where it is heading to. I am sure without that support we would not have made it this far. AU’s support will be part of Somalia’s history forever,” the President said.

The President also talked about the African vision of 2063, in which all African countries are required to promote and empower the full inclusion and participation of women in all walks of life. He said that the Federal Government was actively empowering women, including the appointment of women to high positions within the Council of Ministers. He added that efforts are underway to enhance women’s participation in politics, the economy, security and all other national activities.

The President also reiterated the commitment of his government to ensure the political transformation of Somalia through Vision 2016, so that all Somalis will have a peaceful and unified country to call home.

ENDS

Daud Aweis
Spokesperson
Office of the President

Somalia: UN official condemns killing of parliamentarian, reiterates support for political process

The top United Nations official in Somalia has condemned a deadly attack against two Somali Members of Parliament (MP) and reiterated the Organization’s support for the country’s democratic process.Key1

Yusuf Muhammad Dirir, a Member of the Federal Parliament, was shot and killed on 23 May along with his driver while another MP, Abdullahi Boss Ahmed, was wounded in the same attack, according to a press release issued by the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia earlier today.

“The assassination of Mr Yusuf Muhammad Dirir is an abhorrent act of terrorism,” declared Nicholas Kay, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and head of UNSOM. “I wish Abdullahi Boss Ahmed a speedy recovery and I commend all Somalia’s MPs for their courage and dedication in the face of continued attacks against them. The UN is committed to supporting the important work of the Federal Parliament.”

In a recent briefing of the Security Council, Mr. Kay told Council members that momentum had been regained on efforts to achieve political progress in the country, pointing to work by federal, regional and local leaders, and parliamentarians to build a State through dialogue and reconciliation, and top-level commitment to deliver Somalia’s Vision 2016 plan.

At the same time, however, he conceded that there was “still a long way to go,” adding that with so much at stake between now and 2016, “we can expect Al-Shabaab to do everything it can to derail the political process,” referring to the Islamist extremist group that has waged a long-standing terrorist campaign against Somalia’s Government.

In today’s press release, Mr. Kay reiterated that sentiment, warning that the murder of MPs “is an attempt to intimidate and undermine those working to build a better Somalia.” “Their killers will not achieve that objective,” he concluded.

 

Source: UN

NUSOJ Protests Arrest of Journalists in Puntland

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns the attack and arrest of radio journalists in Garowe, headquarters of Puntland Regional State of Somalia.download

Puntland security forces today stormed Garowe Branch of Radio Daljir and arrested Director of the station, Abdirahman Hussein Hassan, aka Gaardi, and Jamal Farah Adan, programme producer of the station who used to be editor-in-chief of the FM station.

The cause behind the arrest of the two journalists was not officially stated by Puntland authorities but Garowe journalists believe that the arrest was caused by a programme aired by the Radio Station yesterday in which some of the speakers in the programme “harshly criticised” Puntland government for “inefficiency” and “poor performance”.

“Puntland journalists should never be subject to retaliation and intimidation for coverage of sensitive topics about the performance of the administration,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. “We call on Puntland authorities to end intimidations and release the two journalists immediately.”

The Director-General of Radio Daljir’s Garowe Branch Ahmed Sheikh Tallman strongly criticized the Puntland authorities for this arbitrary action.

Coverage of current political movements within Puntland parliament is one of the most sensitive issues in Puntland, according to local journalists who fear that if they report on current unsavory issues that they will be arrested.

KING BURHAN: Somali tribal leader in S. Africa to discuss coexistence

A powerful Somali tribal leader is currently visiting South Africa to discuss with local traditional leaders the need for coexistence following the spate of anti-immigrant attacks that recently swept some parts of the country.boqor_burhaan_sweden-55

“King Burhan Muse arrived on the weekend. The Somali embassy is busy organizing meetings for him with some traditional leaders in the country,” Abdi Halane Hirsi, Somali cultural attaché in Pretoria, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

Somalia has four major tribes – Darood, Hawiye, Dir and Rahanweyn – each of which has its respective king who tribe members pay allegiance to.

Muse is the leader of the Darood tribe, the largest in Somalia.

Hirsi said Muse was expected to discuss a number of issues with fellow traditional leaders during his stay in the country, which will run until May 19.

South Africa has a sizeable number of Somali migrants residing in the country, most of whom are involved in the informal business sector.

Most of their businesses were looted in the recent spate of xenophobic attacks in the country.

Last month, a wave of anti-immigrant violence swept through South Africa’s coastal city of Durban and later spread to parts of Johannesburg, the country’s largest city.

Seven people were killed in the violence and hundreds displaced.

Immigrants were accused of stealing jobs from native South Africans, committing crimes, and putting a burden on the country’s social services.

Historic

On Monday night, the visiting Darood king held a public meeting with members of the Somali community in Johannesburg.

“It’s a historic moment for the Somalis in South Africa for the arrival of the fist Somali king to the country,” Amir Sheikh, chairman of the Somali Community Board (SCOB), told Anadolu Agency.

He said the king’s arrival came at the right time, when the country was facing anti-foreign sentiment.

“We will make sure the presence of the king will be beneficial to both the Somali community and their host communities,” said Sheikh.

Abdurrahman Ali, a 33-year-old Somali shopkeeper, was happy with the visit of the Darood king, though he himself is not a tribe member.

“I am happy that he is here to visit us and raise some of our issues with the authorities,” Ali told Anadolu Agency.

He believes it would be important if the visiting king met with the influential Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, who was widely accused of making statements that triggered the recent spate of anti-immigrant attacks.

King Zwelithini has since denied making the remarks, insisting he was misquoted by the media.

“I can’t wait to meet King Burhan,” Mohammed Hussein, a Somali businessman, told Anadolu Agency. “We were told he would be visiting Cape Town, too.”

13 May 2015

Source: AA

IGAD accuses S. Sudan gov’t of launching full scale war against rebels

 

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A press statement released by the IGAD chief mediator, Seyoum Mesfin, on Friday, blamed government forces for coordinated attacks against rebel positions ” in Rubkona, Mayom, Guit, Koch and Mayendit counties in Unity State since 27 April 2015.”

“It is also increasingly clear that the offensive is being expanded into Jonglei and Upper Nile States,” further said the statement pointing that these attacks represent a serious violation of the cessation of hostilities agreements (CoHA) signed on 23rd January 2014 and November 2014.

The chief mediator further said alarmed by “credible reports” of violence against civilians ” grave human rights abuses and destruction of villages”. He added the attacks displaced over 100,000 people in the fighting areas, while aid groups and UN agencies were forced to evacuate their staff due to insecurity, depriving populations in desperate need of emergency food assistance.

The mediation further accused the government of blocking IGAD monitors from accessing areas of conflict, saying they were allowed to move beyond three kilometres from the state capital, Bentiu.

“The Mediators are also deeply disturbed by the denial of freedom of movement by government forces to the IGAD-MVT based in Bentiu following the start of the military offensive in Unity State. Since that date, any MVT movement beyond the Rubkona airfield (2.7 Km from the UNMISS camp) had been blocked,” it said.

The statement said verbal and written requests made in Juba through IGAD monitoring mechanisms to the director of operations of SPLA in Juba, and by the MVT in Bentiu to the commander of SPLA 4th army division and the deputy governor of Unity State to lift the restrictions remained unanswered.

It reminded the warring parties of their obligation to honour the COHA and Implementation Matrix that they signed on 23 January 2014 and November 2014, respectively.
The IGAD-Mediators, it said, “are disappointed” that such violations by government were happening in South Sudan at the time when leaders of the region were working together with partners and friends of South Sudan and the international community at large to close the existing gaps between the negotiating parties and to find lasting and sustainable solution to the crisis in the country.

The mediators strongly appealed to the IGAD heads of state and government, the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), partners and friends of South Sudan and to the broader international community to prevail on the warring parties to immediately cease hostilities, abandon the war option and commit to a “genuine” peace process.

The IGAD accusation of violations by the government is the latest in a series of blames directed to Juba by countries and international bodies including the United States, United Kingdom, African Union and the United Nations which in the last few days condemned the full scale offensive.

JUBA DENIES OFFENSIVE

However, South Sudanese government on Friday denied its forces were responsible for military offensive into opposition-held areas in violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement.

“The rebels continue to violate the cessation of hostilities agreement by launching attacks on government positions in unity state, destroying national infrastructures, including facilities, burning down villages, killing and abducting innocent civilians, and forcing displacement of many civilians in unity state and across the greater Upper Nile region,” partly reads a statement released by the government on Friday.

“In view of these callous acts by the rebels, the government of the republic of South Sudan, wishes to remind it was duly elected by the people of South Sudan to protect and safeguard their interests, and it has the constitutional mandate to preserve the sovereignty and territorial integrity of South Sudan, including a right to self-defense in the face of continued rebel’s provocation and aggression,” it said.

But the office of the chairman of the rebel SPLM faction held the government responsible for the renewed full scale fighting.

“It is president Salva Kiir’s government which has launched these coordinated attacks across states of Upper Nile region. Their aim is to try to recapture territories under our control before the rainy season, pending resumption of the peace talks in Addis Ababa,” said James Gatdet Dak, spokesperson for the rebel leader.

He said the violations were very clear as evidenced by many actors and said the opposition group had the right to self-defence. He added that government’s full scale offensive had however failed to achieve their goal as they were being repulsed in many frontlines.

Observers say Juba is at ease as it has successfully confined the war to greater Upper Nile region, the constituency of rebel leader Machar, in a country breathing in tribally polluted political environment, where others see the destruction as deservedly harming the Nuer ethnic group that constitutes the majority in the war-affected region.

IGAD has been developing a mechanism which would expand mediation beyond the continent in order to bring to an end the war through a negotiated settlement.

The last round of direct talks between president Kiir and opposition leader Machar collapsed on 6 March when they could not agree on almost every contentious issue.

(ST)

Somali group seizes boat with foreign nationals

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All on board the stricken boat – which came ashore near the town of El Dheer in Galgaduud region – were led away by masked fighters from the group to unknown location, a witness speaking on condition of anonymity because of fear of retaliation by the group said.

Several of those on board were thought to be Iranian nationals. The boat is said to have been carrying fuel.

The group have not commented on the incident. It is not the first time the group has seized a boat.

Early this year the group seized a boat ferrying khat – a mild leafy narcotic plant chewed in East Africa – near the Somali port town of Barawe in Lower Shabelle region.

The group is fighting the internationally recognised government in Mogadishu to impose a strict version of Islamic law in the horn of Africa country.

 

The President: ‘’An integrated national army is critical to building trust across Somalia”

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The President said the move is a critical element in both the further development of the Somali National Army (SNA) and the achievement of state-building goals, in particular the formation of a federal Somalia.

‘’After 25 years, we are today witnessing a historic day. Launching of the integration commission is very crucial in the process of returning law and order, trust building among the society and moving forward by building a new bright future,’’ said the President.

He added that the issue of security and integration of the forces is related to the Vision 2016.

‘’Together, Vision 2016 and the Somali Compact articulate specific priorities towards ensuring the security, political and development progress of Somalia. At the Leadership Forum held in Garowe on 30-04-2015 to 01-05-2015, we agreed upon the importance of SNA integration, and as you can see- just two weeks on- the members of the new commission are sitting in front of us.”

‘’I say to the honorable members of this Commission that you have an opportunity to add your names to the Somali history books. You are serving a nation that has been affected by civil war for more than two decades, and you are the ones who have been given an important task in reuniting them. I kindly ask the people to forget about the dark days of our history and forgive each other. The heroes among us are not those who are busy with what happened in the past; the real heroes are the ones who are working to ensure that the old mistakes and mayhem do not re-occur in our country.’’

The President thanked the UK government for its support of the integration program, and also commended the good work and the support of AMISOM forces and other countries who are helping Somalia.

The Somali army integration commission was endorsed by the Council of Ministers. It will be led by the State Minister for Defence, Mohamed Ali Hagaa.
The ceremony was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister, HE Mohamed Omar Arte and other dignitaries.

ENDS

Daud Aweis
Spokesperson
Office of the President
Federal Republic of Somalia
Email: daweis@presidency.gov.so

President Mohamud opens military training centre in Mogadishu

HE Hassan Sheikh Mohamud this week opened a new training centre for the Somali National Army in Mogadishu.

The government of the United Arab Emirates generously provided the new centre. It will operated by the UAE and be used to train young Somalis from all over the country.unnamed

In a speech given at the ceremony, the President said the opening of the centre concretely demonstrates the assistance being provided to Somalia in the war against terrorism and the importance of efforts to rebuild the Somali National Army.

“This shows that our deep concerns with al-Shabaab are shared internationally, and other countries see the strategic importance of ensuring that the threat is eradicated. Countries in our region are willing to engage with us to rid Somalia of al-Shabaab. I am very pleased that in response to my request for reconstruction and security support, the government of the UAE has responded so quickly and generously,” the President said.

The President also mentioned further negotiations with UAE on various development projects to be implemented in all regions of Somalia.
The UAE Ambassador to Somalia, Mr Mohamed Ahmed Al Osman, said his government is happy to help and work with the Somali government in reconstruction programs, especially in the field of political support, humanitarian aid and infrastructure development.

The Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia, HE Mohamed Omar Arteh was among the dignitaries at the ceremony.

–ENDS—
Daud Aweis
Spokesperson
Office of the President
Federal Republic of Somalia
Email: daweis@presidency.gov.so

Burundi general declares coup against President Nkurunziza

A Burundi army general says President Pierre Nkurunziza has been “overthrown”, amid unrest over his bid to be re-elected for a third term.timthumb (1)

Major General Godefroid Niyombareh said a salvation committee had been set up, but his level of support is unclear.

Thousands protesting against the president in the capital, Bujumbura, are now reported to be celebrating.

President Nkurunziza is currently in Tanzania. The presidency’s Twitter site said the coup attempt had failed.

Mr Nkurunziza has been meeting other East African leaders to discuss the crisis. His aide dismissed the coup claims as “a joke”.

Latest Burundi and Africa updates

In a series of Twitter postings, the Burundi presidency at first said the situation was under control and that there was no coup, then that the attempted coup had failed.

‘Overthrown’

The BBC’s Maud Jullien in Bujumbura says there is gunfire as protesters escorted by the army head to the city centre.

Soldiers loyal to the president have been shooting to protect the offices of the state broadcaster. There are some reports that forces supporting the coup are now trying to enter the building and are meeting resistance.

Our correspondent says at least three people were killed in the capital’s Kabondo district but the circumstances of their deaths remain unclear.

One eyewitness in Bujumbura told BBC Southern Africa correspondent Karen Allen that thousands of people were moving towards the Place de la Independence, with police watching from the sidelines.
Some soldiers were giving the “thumbs up” sign to protesters, the eyewitness said.

In some outlying districts, protesters were being held up at checkpoints and prevented from moving into the city by security forces, but the mood was said to be largely celebratory.

 

BBC