Somalia + 2 more

Horn of Africa: IRIN News Briefs, 6 January

SOMALIA: Aid worker killed
A CARE International employee, engineer Sueb Mohamed Hussein was shot dead on Sunday in Balad, several kilometres north of Mogadishu on his way to assess food-for-work projects in the middle Shabelle region, CARE spokesperson Wendy Driscoll told IRIN on Thursday. "We are very sad at the loss and think that it is just another tragic illustration of the risks relief workers face in providing assistance in Somalia," she said. She however said that CARE is sure this incident was "bad luck" and had nothing to do with it as an organisation. "It was not a direct attack at us," she clarified. "But it clearly shows how the area is a very dangerous place to work in," Driscoll added. CARE has asked the Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB) to investigate and respond to the incident.

SOMALIA: Puntland lifts ban on UN international workers

The Puntland administration has withdrawn the expulsion of three UN international staff from the area issued in early December. This followed negotiations between UN officials in the region and the administration, an official from UNDP-Somalia confirmed to IRIN on Thursday. The ban had been lifted on one of the workers only a week after it was imposed. Letters from Puntland's "interior minister" Hassan Abshir Farah had accused the three - Eddie Johns of UNDP/UNCTAD, Remmelt Hummeyn of UNDP and Said Al-Naimari of UNICEF - of "unsatisfactory services".

SOMALIA: Mogadishu faction leaders fail to agree on chairman of committee

Mogadishu faction leaders on Tuesday met in Mogadishu and resolved to set up an administrative coordination committee, but failed to agree on who would chair its meetings, the 'Ayaamaha' newspaper, monitored by the BBC, reported on Wednesday. It said some of the leaders proposed that it be chaired on a rotational basis. Names of the members of the committee were to be given on Thursday. The 26-member committee would be responsible for the administration of Mogadishu and its environs and the southern region.

SOMALIA: Severe food insecurity in parts of southern Somalia

The inter-agency Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU) has reported that the current Deyr season has been unusual in the late arrival of significant rains in most areas. Where rains arrived late and failed to continue much into December, low crop yields and production can be expected at the harvest in January/February 2000. The Deyr season accounts for only 25% of annual cereal production and in marginal areas is used to provide fodder for animal consumption more than for human consumption. The most vulnerable groups in southern Somalia are the agro-pastoralists of Bakool, Gedo, Bay and Hiraan - as opposed to the pastoral and riverine groups in those regions. With low livestock numbers and small marginal, rainfed plots, their asset base is easily reduced by sustained conflict and successive poor seasons, FSAU reports. Irrigated and recession planting appear to make the Shabelle and Juba regions "relatively better off".

SOMALIA: Faction leader appeals for aid to alleviate famine

Meanwhile, the leader of the Rahaweyn Resistance Army (RRA) Colonel Hasan Muhammad Nur, nicknamed "Shaar Gadud", on Monday appealed to the international community and aid agencies to come to the aid of the people of Bay and Bakool regions in south-central Somalia who were facing severe famine, drought and outbreaks of various diseases, the 'Qaran' newspaper reported.

SOMALIA: Fundamentalists, dissidents reportedly planning to topple Puntland

The leader of the Puntland administration Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad has claimed that religious groups and people expelled from the Puntland administration after being involved in "unforgivable" crimes, were now planning to topple his administration. "We will take a decisive action against the terrorist and mercenary groups who are growing in number in Puntland," the 'Xog-Ogaal' newspaper quoted him as saying on Tuesday. "We know what these groups are after," he said.

SOMALIA: Six killed in new year attack

Six people were killed and 10 others wounded on the new year's day (Saturday) when a group of armed men attacked passengers on a truck heading out of Mogadishu at a road block in Galgalato northeast of Mogadishu. The victims are believed to have been milk traders who were returning form Mogadishu, the 'Qaran' newspaper reported.

ETHIOPIA-SOMALIA: Ethiopia using Somaliland port of Berbera

Ethiopia's transport ministry has confirmed the port of Berbera in Somaliland has been successfully opened to Ethiopian traffic. A weekly Amharic newspaper 'Efoyta' quoted the country's vice-minister for transport and communications, Ayenew Bitewligne, as saying a total of 30,000 mt of relief food has so far been transported to Ethiopia via the port. Reuters reported that there Ethiopia also plans to use Port Sudan in future. Ayenew said Denmark was assisting efforts to renovate and upgrade the road from the Ethiopian border to Berbera.

ETHIOPIA-SOMALIA: Ethiopia accused of incursion into Somalia

Ethiopian troops have reportedly crossed into the Somali town of Goldogob, Reuters quoted eye witnesses as saying. The report said hundreds of soldiers with tanks, artillery and armoured personnel carriers crossed into this town in central Mugud region on Monday. Elders in the town said the troops were seeking out members of the Islamic fundamentalist group Al-Ittihad which Ethiopia accuses of attempting to destabilise the border between the two countries. The elders said there were no Al-Ittihad militia operating from the town and that on Tuesday the Ethiopian troops started to withdraw.

ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: "Technical Arrangements" still unacceptable to Ethiopia

Although the two neighbours Ethiopia and Eritrea maintain that they support the 11-point Framework Agreement endorsed by the Organisation of African Unity's (OAU) heads of state summit in Burkina Faso in June 1998 and also the modalities for its implementation endorsed in Algiers during the 35th Summit of the OAU, Ethiopia finds the Technical Arrangements deficient "on a number of counts". The Ethiopian consul in Nairobi, Mengistu Ayalew, told IRIN on Wednesday that the return to the "status quo ante" is not "fully guaranteed", hence it is "unacceptable to Ethiopia". Ayalew said the Technical Arrangements document is silent on the "specific areas" to be evacuated by Eritrea. It also calls for the setting up of a peace keeping mission under the UN. "This is contrary to the mandate that is clearly stipulated in the Framework Agreement and agreed to, which recommends the deployment of a group of military observers by the OAU with the support of the UN," he said. "Ethiopia, being fully aware that the presence of such a force would undermine its sovereignty, would certainly not accept a situation not envisaged and [not] fully in conformity with the Framework Agreement and the modalities," he added. Eritrea for its part, says it is in agreement with the Framework Agreement, modalities and the Technical Arrangements. "Pressure should be put on Ethiopia even if it means imposing sanctions on it," the embassy spokesman in Nairobi, Kidane Woldeyesus told IRIN on Thursday. "Ethiopia is deliberately holding the peace process hostage because all these documents are very clear on what should be done by each party in the conflict and when," he said.

ERITREA-SUDAN: Eritrea, Sudan restore diplomatic ties

Eritrea and Sudan on Monday signed a joint communique to restore diplomatic relations and reopen border crossing points between the two countries, the Eritrean News Agency (ERINA) reported. It said in accordance with the Doha Agreement of May 1999, the two countries agreed to proceed with the normalisation of relations and hold a meeting of a joint ministerial committee from both nations in Asmara later this month [January] to look into issues such as reopening of the border. "These meetings have given us an initial basis from which to proceed toward the full restoration of ties between our respective countries," ERINA quoted a senior Eritrean foreign ministry official Hamed Himid as saying. The Sudanese embassy in Asmara which was being occupied by the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was reportedly handed over to the Sudan government on Tuesday. Eritrea and Sudan severed diplomatic ties in 1994.


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