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Why Somalia is eliminating its best

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As stability returns after three decades of anarchy, Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, is becoming a magnet, attracting the country’s diaspora to invest and to help out those who stayed behind.

The country’s diaspora is coming back to make a difference and take advantage of what Mogadishu and the rest of the country have to offer, bringing in expertise and creativity, and innovative ideas.

They have come back to advance women’s rights agenda, start businesses to rebuild a shuttered economy, set-up civil society institutions to teach civilians on the dangers of joining radicalised and terrorism groups and the importance of public institutions and to put the government on check.

But not everyone likes them. They became targets of al Shabab and ‘unknown gunmen’ because they are disrupting the old ways of doing things. Al-Shabab, which is fighting to topple the Somali government, does not like them and its reaction is deadly.

The group accuses the diaspora returnees of importing Western culture to erode the Somali society. The group targets hotels in the capital where the returnees reside.

Most of Somalia’s businesses are managed unprofessionally by people with no or less knowledge, and some are owned by warlords or politicians. When the Somalis from the diaspora with university education and exposure returned, they disrupted everything; they brought in new innovations and new ideas. Some returned to help and advise the government in different fields, taking key positions in the federal and state governments.

This week, Almas Elman, a Somali-Canadian peace activist, was shot dead in Mogadishu, inside the heavily-fortified Halane Camp, near the international airport. She was driving to the airport after attending a meeting at the Elman Peace Centre.

Almas, a former diplomat, becomes the latest member of Somalia’s diaspora to be killed after returning home to help rebuild the country after decades of conflict.

Almas’ family founded a prominent peace centre in Somalia in the 1990s, and her sister Ilwad Elman was a nominee for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

The rest of Alma’s family had returned to Somalia in recent years to help run the peace centre working to end the violence. Their work includes a programme called ‘Drop the Gun, Pick Up the Pen’ that encourages child soldiers conscripted by militia gunmen to return to peace.

Hodan Nalayeh, another Somali-Canadian and a journalist returned to Somalia to tell positive stories—the she was killed. Hodan shaped a new Somali narrative.

At least 26 people have been killed and more others wounded when al-Shabab gunmen struck a hotel in southern Somali city of Kismayu on Friday, July 12.

The attack began with a suicide bomb ramming a car laden with explosives into the main entrance of Asasey Hotel followed by gunfire. Politicians, government officials and the diaspora Somalis visiting the city frequent the hotel.

Those killed include journalist Hodan Nalayeh and her husband Farid Jama. Nalayeh recently returned from Canada to tell positive and inspiring stories about Somalia.

Hodan was born in Las Anod in northern Somalia in 1976, but lived most of her life in Alberta and Toronto, after her family move to Canada in the 1980s.

In 2014, Nalayeh founded Integration TV, the first English language online TV, where she shared positive, uplifting and inspiring stories among the Somali people. She wanted to change the international media narrative on Somalia, which mainly focused on war, poverty and piracy.

Hodan travelled across Somalia as well as the world to promote the Somali culture and art and tell success stories in Somalia and its diaspora. She focused on ordinary Somalis doing extra ordinary things in the fields of business, technology, art and culture, among others.

“Our stories are not that are not about suffering are valid and should be told more often. We are more than our pain. We are living and thriving,” one of her tweets said.

A day before the horrific attack on the Asasey Hotel took her life; Nalayeh spent the day in the Island of Ilsi near Kismayu, meeting and documenting the lives of a local fishing community.

“The island of Ilsi is an hour away from Kismayu and only local fishermen live there. It is so clean and breathtaking. A perfect place for a day swim with the family. Somalia,” she tweeted.

Although minor security incidences have been recorded, Kismayu has been relatively peaceful since 2012 when Somali forces backed by Kenyan troops forced al-Shabab militants out of the city.

Hodan was among a large number of Somalis who returned to the country in the recent past after realisation of relative stability to set up businesses and innovation centres and to help rebuild their country devastated by a three-decade-long unrest, and disrupted everything with new ideas and innovations. Most of the diaspora community who returned to the country did so after al-Shabab was driven out of Mogadishu in August 2011.

In August of last year, gunmen shot and dead Mohamed Ali , the first person to open a flour shop and a drycleaner in Mogadishu.

Mohamed opened the first dry cleaning shop in Mogadishu in 2012 and set up the city’s first and only flower shop. He also started Start-up Grind, a Google-sponsored global independent start-up community that nurtures start-ups in more than 150 countries. The local media described him as “the face of young entrepreneurs.”

Most members of the Somali diaspora community began returning in 2012 – a year after al-Shabab was driven out of Mogadishu.

The returnees are not fully appreciated; they accused of stealing jobs from the ‘locals’ – those who remained behind after the civil war and never left the country. They are paid more than the locals for the same work done. Because of these and other factors, the diaspora Somalis continue to be targeted by those who do not want change.

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Politics

Puntland forces block delegation waiting to receive Planning Minister Jamal Hassan in Garowe

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Puntland security forces reportedly under instructions from State President Abdullahi Deni barred a delegation which was to received Federal Planning Minister Jamal Hassan at Garowe Airport Thursday morning.

The minister who was on his way to his constituency in Dhahar, Sanaag region arrived at the airport but without a receiving delegation after his team on the ground was blocked from accessing the airport, sources at the airport said.

After he left the airport, sources said, a confrontation arose between his security team from Dhahar and Puntland forces. The team from Dhahar had come to pick him.

The government forces had reportedly attempted to bar him from leaving for Dhahar but he finally managed to leave.

Jamal, a close ally of President Mohamed Farmaajo does not see eye to eye with Deni whom sources said has attempted to derail his re-election.

Jamal will be seeking to be re-elected by his sub-clan in Dhahar in the upcoming Lower House elections.

Source: Hiiraan and Agencies

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Farmajo names committee of inquiry to investigate disappearance of former spy Ikran Tahlil

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Somali president Mohamed Farmajo has appointing a five-member committee to investigate the disappearance of former spy agent Ikran Tahlil.

“I hereby appoint a five-Member Commission of inquiry Chaired by the Attorney-General and deputized by Head of Military Court to expedite investigations on the case of IKRAN TAHLIL and to hand over the findings and evidence to responsible legal institutions for the execution of Justice.”

In the presidential decree, Farmajo appointed the Attorney-General to lead the fact-finding mission. The Armed Forces Court Attorney General is also a member of the committee. The three committee members will be nominated later by the Somali Police Force Commander, the Commander of the Somali National Army and Col. Yasin Abdulahi Mohamud, his new appointee Director-General of the National Intelligence and Security Agency.

The statement added that Ikran’s case was a “sensitive one that needs a thorough investigation.”

Farmajo instructed the commission to submit its investigative reports to the relevant authorities, although there will undoubtedly be demands to make the findings of any report public. There will also likely be apprehension to Somalia’s intelligence agency being a part of the investigation. Many lawmakers have called on an independent inquiry into Ikran’s murder.

Farmajo declared that the decree came into effect immediately after he signed it.

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Politics

Qorqor and Laftagareen try to bring Farmajo and Roble together

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The presidents of Galmudug, Ahmed Abdi Karie Qoor Qoor his South West State counterpart and Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed Laftagareen have taken the role of mediators to find a solution the wrangle between President Mohamed Farmajo and his Prime Minister Mohamed Roble.

The two  met with Farmajo and Roble separately, and urged both parties to refrain from further action that would escalate the tense situation.

Reports indicate that the president and the prime minister have accepted the mediation, although each has developed conditions attached to the talks.

Prime Minister Roble insisted that Commander Bashir Goobe was the commander of NISA, and President Farmajo emphasized that the steps taken by the Prime Minister were invalid.

The meeting is expected to continue on Friday. The two presidents are hopeful that the two top officials will finally be reconciled so that their differences do not affect the election process.

The intervention comes amidst heightened political tensions between Farmajo and Roble which could threaten the fragile security of the Horn of Africa nation.

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