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My SMS relationship with Al-Shabaab

Al-Shabab, the militant Islamist group operating in Somalia and Kenya, likes to communicate with journalists by SMS. But receiving their text messages and talking to them on the phone can be an unnerving, and at times surreal, experience.   The other morning I woke up to a text message and missed call from al-Shabab. As always, the message was written in perfect English. It informed me about a film al- ...

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Globalisation has not reached Somalia, but ‘junglification’ has

Considering the violent political unrest in various parts of the world, many accept the claim that the 21stz century will go down in history as a period of global reorder, perpetual insecurity and bloodshed. If the grim headlines of the first decade could be taken as forecasts of the storms ahead, many nation states are likely to morph into something radically different than they currently are. While most a ...

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American-Somali relations: What’s in the words?

As a former detractor who has not been a fan of the Obama administration’s foreign policy toward Somalia, it is an overstatement to say that I watched Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman’s speech on June 3 with certain level of skepticism. Of course, nothing more than that healthy dose necessary in politics to clear the vision and fine-tune the mind. Nonetheless, I wasn’t expecting a ...

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Al-Shabab’s ‘halal’ football a different game

Barawe, Somalia - As thousands of football fans descend on Brazil for the World Cup and millions across the world get ready for a summer of football festivities, in Somalia’s rebel-ruled territories a slightly different kind of football is played. It is exactly 3.45pm local time in the picturesque port town of Barawe which acts as the al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabab’s headquarters, and dozens of young men a ...

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Jihadist Recruitment in West Difficult to Stop

Abdi Mohamud Nur seemed like a pretty average American kid. Part of Minneapolis’ sizable community of Somali-Americans, Nur was obedient and good-natured, his sister, Ifrah, said. He loved basketball. He graduated from a Minneapolis high school last year and enrolled at a local college. In March of this year, Ifrah said, things changed. Nur, 20, joined a local mosque in the Minnesotan city. He became “reser ...

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Ethiopia: Why do Somali People of Ogaden State Demand for Independence from Ethiopia?

“Injustice in the end produces independence.” whoever coined this phrase is right. As Ogaden state is bleeding because of demanding Independence from Ethiopian occupation.   Ethiopia does not provide a quality education, proper health care for all, and Ethiopia does not respect for human rights and the rule of law in the Ogaden state.Moreover, Somali people in Ogaden state are second-citizens in their ...

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Is Djibouti al-Qaeda’s new front?

The attack is the first of its kind. No one has claimed responsibility yet, but it appears to be the beginning of a campaign by al-Qaeda-linked groups to open a new front in the continent.   With a population of less than a million, mainly ethnic Somalis and Afar, the Red Sea country is the smallest in the horn of Africa, but it's strategically important. It is home to the largest and the "only" US mil ...

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Tears of Defiance, Resilience and Courage: Through It All, Somalia Will Rise

Last week, I could only watch on television news as soldiers herded scores of my countrymen on to trucks like livestock, to be driven to detention centers. Women carrying babies struggled to climb onto the cumbersome vehicles, built not for carrying humans but cargo and commodities. Soldiers "helped" some of the women along, grabbing their behinds and pushing them upward, stripping them of their last shreds ...

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Whose bidding is the KDF doing in Somalia now?

On Wednesday the US announced it was sending about 80 troops to Chad to help in the hunt for about 300 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. This adds to the surveillance assistance the Nigerian government has been getting from the US government. The US involvement, right on the heels of the Paris conference on Boko Haram last week, is yet another reminder of the international dimension of the security threats to ...

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Somalia: African solutions for African problems?

One of the most potent intoxicants in Africa today is the canned phrase "African solutions for African problems". While "ASAP" is an acronym that connotes a timely and efficient result, most if not all, operations that are veiled with the romantic motto, have proven that they are not indigenously conceived, funded or driven. Since this phrase entered the African lexicon in 2007, it has proved to be of no su ...

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