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ETHIOPIA: HOLDING THE ENTIRE OGADEN COLLECTIVELY GUILTY

 By  Ismail Mohamed Ismai'l  I Introduction The illegal occupation of the Ogaden by Ethiopia is now in its most critical phase. The occupation has been marred by a litany of human rights violations and in recent times – war crimes. While these infractions are well-known to Somalis, a complete media blockade on all foreign and independent media outlets has concealed their plight from international observers. ...

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FROM BANDITS TO “TERRORISTS”, THE FATE OF KENYAN-SOMALIS

After a spate of grenade attacks in Nairobi, the coastal region and the Somali-inhabited North Eastern province, the Kenyan government has launched a massive crackdown on ethnic Somalis. More than 4,000 people, mostly Somali refugees, have been arrested since Kenya launched Operation Usalama Watch on April 2, ostensibly in response to the deteriorating domestic security situation. The security sweep in Nair ...

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Losing Hearts and Minds in Kenya

The round-up and mass detention of Somalis in Nairobi, which began in earnest on 31 March, deliberately conflated immigration issues with counter-terrorism and has widened dangerous communal divides. Al-Shabaab and its extremist allies in Kenya will be very satisfied. What the attack on Nairobi’s Westgate mall last September failed to do – sow division among Kenyans – might well be achieved by these detenti ...

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Kenyan Somalis are Guilty Until Proven Innoncent

Hundreds of ethnic Somalis living in Nairobi's Eastliegh neighborhood have been arrested following Monday attacks that killed six people in the Somali populated neighborhood. The explosion targeted a food kiosk and a bus stop during rush hour as people made their way home in the evening. In response to the bombings, Kenya security forces launched a robust crack down knocking through the doors of the residen ...

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Good meals, fancy phones, clean uniforms…The new face of UPDF serving under AMISOM

It is seven years since Uganda sent 7,000 troops to Somalia under the African Union Peacekeeping mission (AMISOM). And for many soldiers, their lives will never be the same again. Meals After two days in Somalia, my worry for our soldiers was not about the possibility that they would lose their lives to the Al Shabaab terrorists. Rather, the possibility that our soldiers would return home too obese. Our sol ...

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It’s unfair to blame Kenyan Somalis collectively for every act of terrorism

Collective responsibility of a whole community for the actions of a few is a fallacy. Normally, some are criminals, a few are outstanding heroes or patriots, while the rest are just like the bewildered herd with no idea about anything. Somalis are no different. The bulk are poor, illiterate and basically concerned about the daily rut they find themselves in. They have suffered from the same ineptitude of th ...

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Wide gulf between Somalia’s leader and UNSOM’s Head

The post transitional Somali leaders elected in 2012 were entrusted with the special duty to lead a full-fledged state of Somalia with its sovereignty, unity, economic recovery, security, and institutional capacity restored and to conduct a free and fair national political election in 2016.  Despite the ongoing armed conflict and social and political fragmentation in the country, many Somalis wanted to beli ...

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Gaddafi, Al Shabaab and Beautiful Kampala

I took a couple of hours out today to visit what used to be called the 'Gadaffi Mosque' in 'Old Kampala'. This, according to the testimony of my tour guide, is the oldest part of the city, and the hill on which the mosque sits was where the British first set up camp. The story goes that this was a place where many Impala were then found, so the settlement was naturally named 'Camp Impala', which over the ye ...

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Al-Shabab and the party balloon effect

From the outset, let me make one thing clear: Al-Shabab and its extremist world view is neither constructive nor sustainable. This extremist neo-Islamist group represents one of two nihilistic worldviews that dominated the 21st century political discourse - global (dysfunctional) jihadism and global war on terrorism. Both, due to their applied mantra - with hammer, all problems are solvable - are destined t ...

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Amisom must Leave Somalia Before ‘Mission Creep’ Sets In

A recent trip to the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, has in fact opened my eyes to what a typical peacekeeper expects to gain from his tour of duty in Somalia. There, I met a Burundian peacekeeper who had returned from Mogadishu, the Somali capital. The officer, whose name I will keep it to myself, told me that, unlike the general belief that the African Union Mission in Somalia is there to finish off Al Shab ...

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