December 1999 - January 2000
Famine Alert in Bakol Region
The Food Security Assessment Unit has issued a ‘famine alert’ on 24 January in light of worsening humanitarian conditions in three districts of Bakol region. An estimated 65-70,000 persons are estimated to be highly to extremely food insecure. Similar conditions are reported in Ethiopia the other side of the border in Gode district of Somali Region 5, where an estimated 300,000 persons are drought affected and in need of assistance. Food agencies, namely WFP and CARE, are mounting distributions in Bakol to meet current food needs, but are hampered by infringements on their operating environment. In particular, WFP has not yet had any compensation or guarantees from the local authority in Hudur where 370 Mts of food were looted last November.
International Agencies Respond to Cholera Outbreaks
The seasonal outbreak of cholera has commenced in Somalia, particularly in Gulkayo and Mogadishu. A number of agencies including MSF Holland, MSF Spain, ACF, ICRC and Somali Red Crescent, supported by WHO and UNICEF have mounted various interventions to treat patients.
The Somali Peace and Human Rights Network (PHRN) Conference
Over 36 Somali civil society organisations from all over the country met in Bossaso. This was the first conference of its kind in a number of years attracting civil society members and intellectuals from all over Somalia in an effort to break down lineage ties and to engage with the new Djibouti peace initiative. The conference was attended and supported by the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights and the UN Coordination Unit.
Relations between UN and ‘de facto’ Authorities
In December, the Puntland authorities ordered three expatriate staff from the UN and two from an international NGO to leave the area due to misunderstandings. Upon an exchange of correspondence between the authority and the UN Resident Coordinator, and a mission by the UNICEF Representative on behalf of the UN Agencies, the issue was brought to a positive conclusion. The head of the authority, Adbulahi Yusuf Ahmed, withdrew the expulsions and restated the administrations’ commitment to mutual cooperation with the UN system.
In an effort to improve relations between operational agencies and de facto authorities in Somalia, the UN in conjunction with its partners has embarked upon a process to ensure that there are more comprehensive working arrangements and guidelines. Particular attention is focused on the need for more extensive ‘ground rules’ to ensure that local authorities undertake greater responsibility in facilitating intervention and protecting aid workers.
On 15-16 January, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator traveled to Gedo and Bay regions and had extensive discussions with the local authorities in the area. In Gedo, the local authorities were requested to present a case against the alleged perpetrator of the killing of Dr Bhogal (shot dead in January 1999) and if they could not apprehend the person, due to his absconding, to publicly name him and the case against him. In Bay region, the Rhanweyn Resistance Army retracted a statement expelling all non-Rhanweyn aid-worker staff and accepted the fundamental UN principle of impartiality. Further, the authorities agreed with the UN Humanitarian Coordinator to establishing and comprehensive framework of guidelines and humanitarian principles, building upon the SACB Code of Conduct.
On 27 January, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator together with the representative of the Secretary-General met with the head of the Puntland administration, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed. The mission’s primary purpose was to review the ways to improve working relations’ between the Puntland authorities and the international community.
Trade & commerce
Libyan investment company officers explored the possibility of bilateral economic cooperation with Somaliland. Possible investments may include Togwajale Project in Gebiley district. Italian fishermen and an Ethiopian company are to start commercial fishing activities in Berdera sea. At least six commercial ships and four boats from the Gulf States and Kenya docked into Kismayo seaport with food and non-food items during December 1999. The ships were loaded with charcoal destined for Arab countries.
Global IDP database
The Norwegian Refugee Council has launched its Global Database on Internally Displaced Persons on the web at www.idpproject.org. With profiles of 14 countries, including Somalia, the database will be accessible to anyone interested in information on IDPs. The website will also have training materials on IDPs, thematic information and other useful IDP-related links and information.
UN Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator tour through donor countries
A UN team led by the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator visited several countries immediately after the 23 November launching of the Consolidated Appeal in Geneva. The discussions highlighted the different faces of Somalia today, encouraging the international community to pursue more openness toward the emergent areas of peace and stability in Somalia. The World Bank and the IMF expressed interest in strengthening their understanding of current developments, with a view to innovative collaboration as called for in the Secretary General's August report to the Security Council on the situation in Somalia.
ICRC Report on People on War in Somalia
ICRC published a report after extensive research on the effect of the conflict in Somalia. The study revealed some extraordinary findings: 65 percent of those surveyed reported that a member of their immediate family had been killed in the conflict (double the number in any other country surveyed); and 39 percent of the same group said that somebody they knew well had been raped by combatants (five times the level reported in any other country). On the positive side, some 70 percent of those interviewed said conflict was ‘wrong’ when it put civilians at risk.
FSAU launch sub-office in Puntland
The FSAU will start operations in Puntland to work with partner NGOs and the local authority in establishing a comprehensive food security monitoring system accounting for seasonal normalities and aberrations such as severe water shortages. This effort, supported by the UN Coordination Unit, is part of an inter-agency exercise launched by the SACB to assist local communities and authorities combat the effects of drought.
General Humanitarian Update
With the onset of the dry jilaal season and the annual outbreak of cholera, endemic in Somalia, humanitarian conditions are reaching a critical stage for vulnerable populations. Whilst the security situation has remained relatively stable, potential flashpoints may occur further impacting upon civilian populations.
Drought: whilst a degree of stability in southern Somalia and late deyr rains have benefited some rain fed and coastal areas in Somalia, lack of rain has resulted in a critical deterioration of conditions in Bakol region and parts of Gedo. Due to virtual failure of the deyr crop and severe water shortage populations are moving into towns and other areas such as Gedo and into Ethiopia. Anecdotal evidence suggests that up to 40 percent of rural populations have moved from their normal areas of residence. Reports also indicate an escalation in mortality rates due to food shortages. An estimated 65-70,000 persons are considered extremely to highly food insecure in three districts in Bakol. Due to the lack of and comprehensive health structure, vulnerable populations will be increasingly prone to disease outbreaks such as cholera and measles. WFP and CARE are conducting emergency food relief distributions (260 Mts into Wajid and250 Mts into Tieglo respectively).
Disease Outbreak: cholera is endemic in Somalia, and in particular seasonal outbreaks occur around the end and start of each year. From the e of November to 22 January, 328 cases and16 deaths were recorded in Gulakayo. A cholera treatment centre (CTC) was opened with the support of MSF Holland, which was closed on 25 January as the outbreak petered out. Since early January, there have been reports of cholera outbreaks in Mogadishu (which usually accounts for about 80 per cent of the country’s caseload). On 15 January, local press releases reported up to 300 cases and about 30 deaths - yet none of this information was verified. On the same day, the SACB issued a press release indicating the kind of services and surveillance support being provided by the international agencies. In particular, MSF Spain has opened a CTC in north Mogadishu and ACF in south Mogadishu. Both are supported by ICRC/ Somali Red Crescent which has opened four oral rehydration and referral centres. WHO is providing laboratory services, and UNICEF chlorination and supplies. By the first week of February the agencies will have sufficient information to have an accurate picture of the outbreak in the city.
Security: Reports suggest that arms shipments have arrived in Mogadishu to support the faction leader Musa Sudi Yalow, one of the few leaders who is opposed to another attempt to form a Benadir Administration for the city. Further, with the support of Osman Ato, he has opened a secondary port in the Gezira area, which may cause conflict as it would be in competition with the El Maan port, and the currently closed main port of Mogadishu. Other potential flash-points include the continuing stand-off between the Rhanweyn Resistance Army and opposing forces in Balidogle in Middle Shabelle and Qoriole in Lower Shabelle. If fighting does break out between the RRA and Habr Gedir factional forces this will have a serious impact upon local populations. Likewise, reports of a push southwards from Bay region by militia forces of Hersi Morgan to retake Kismayo would further de-stabilise the region of Lower and Middle Juba.
Light to heavy rains fell over much of southern Somalia during the first dekad of December. The heaviest rains fell over Lower and Middle Juba. Bakol region and eastern parts of Bay, including important rainfed agricultural areas, remained dry. Rains were considered near normal for this time of year in Middle Shabelle, Gedo and the cowpea regions. Good rains fell over Bari region. The rest of Somalia remained seasonally dry during the dekad. River levels were normal for this time of year. Good rains since mid-November have led to good vegetative conditions in most areas of southern Somalia, although conditions in northern Bay and most of Bakool are unseasonably dry. In parts of Somaliland, Galgadud and Mudug regions, vegetation is slightly below normal for this time of year. Toward the latter part of the month, vegetation remained medium to heavy in Lower Juba, Middle Juba, Lower Shabelle and in parts of Middle Shabelle, Bay, Gedo and Hiran regions during the third dekad of December. In contrast, vegetation was very light to light in many parts of Gedo, Bakol, Hiran, Galgadud and Togdheer (Somaliland) regions. The rest of Somalia showed little, if any, vegetation during this dekad.
With the advent of the jilaal dry season the regional forecast put out by FEWS in September for the deyr rains became evident. Overall late rains were above normal in coastal and some rainfed areas. However, rains in the hinterland areas of Gedo and Bakol were far lower than average.
FSAU and its partners estimate that approximately 13,400 Mts were required over the last quarter of 1999 as follows:
Bakool - 1,853; Bay - 5,425; Galgadud - 1,679; Gedo - 2,021; Hiran - 461; Lower Juba - 177; Lower Shabelle 285; Middle Juba - 508; Middle Shabelle - 981;
FSAU/FEWS estimate food aid needs from January - April 2000 to be some 12,600 MT, excluding Galgadud region. However, to date actual food aid deliveries in October and November have only covered some 25 percent of estimated requirements, due to logistical problems, insecurity, and impassable roads. WFP distributed 1,225 tons of food commodities to Somalia during the month of November. Of this, 46% was distributed to the south and central regions, 35% to the northeast and 19% to the northwest. Heavy rains at the e of November prevented a WFP convoy of some 120 trucks from reaching Bay and Bakool regions as some roads have become impassable. The trucks have been off-loaded in Merka. As of 19 January 2000, the convoy of 1,305 MT of food is enroute to Bay region. The proposed distributions for Bay and Bakol region are as follows: 260 Mts to Wajid; 330 Mts to Baidoa district; 85 Mts to Baidoa town; 380 Mts to Dinsor; and 250 Mts to Bardere. In addition CARE is distributing 350 Mts to Burhakaba a 250 Mts to Tieglo.
There are no reports of imminent food security problems in Puntland, although this area remains highly vulnerable to water shortages and must be carefully monitored.
During November, almost all the food economy wealth groups in the Northwest and Awdal regions reinforced their resource base. Amongst the important factors contributing to this were the boosted domestic economy, the improved access to income sources and the strengthened purchasing power. The even distribution of rains resulted in an improvement of pasture regeneration and growth over a wider range. Livestock condition and production have improved significantly. However, poor pastoralists in the Haud Plateau have lost most of their animals and many households are on the brink of destitution. Additionally, a relatively small number of agro-pastoralists in Togdheer Region are drought-affected and may require some assistance. The estimated gross cereal production in Northwest and Awdal regions for 1999 Gu and Karan cropping seasons will exceed over 20,000 tons.
South and Central
Within the total population of about four million persons living in central and southern Somalia, about one million - one in four - are 'at risk' of food insecurity. Within this group, nearly 600,000 persons are in need of food aid, and two-thirds of these people are located in the three contiguous regions of Bakool, Gedo and Bay.
Improving pasture and livestock conditions, and the Ramadan/Haj peak export period for livestock provide an optimistic outlook for pastoralists in southern Somalia.
The FSAU crop establishment assessment and detailed food security analysis for the regions Bay, Bakool, Gedo and Hiran took place in mid December.
The most vulnerable group in Bakool, Bay and Gedo is the agro-pastoral community. Successive crop failures, very poor market and livestock conditions and very high population movements indicate high levels of stress. However, crops are well established in irrigated and recessional agricultural areas.
Rainfed deyr establishment (i.e. sorghum) has been most successful in Lower and Middle Shabelle as well as Baidoa and Qansandheere districts of Bay region. Establishment has been least successful in Hiraan and Gedo regions as well as Burhakaba and Dinsoor districts of Bay regions. A virtual total crop failure is expected for Bakool region (only about 60 Mts).
In Gedo, crop establishment in most rainfed areas has failed, and the area under irrigated production is limited because of the very high prices of fuel. Despite recent rainfall, milk production and supplies are very low and milk prices very high.
Considering the rainfall in the first two dekads of January, the total expected production is projected at 130,000 MT (compared to approximately 30,000 MT produced in 1998 - and 80 percent higher than the post-war average). The majority of sorghum will come from Bay and Lower Shabelle regions. Irrigated Deyr establishment (i.e. maize) has been successful in all irrigated areas and total expected production is estimated at 80,000 MT (compared to 50,000 MT last year). The majority of maize production will come from Lower Shabelle region.
The food security outlook for poor and to a lesser degree middle income agro-pastoralists in southern Somalia will remain a concern at least through to the next gu harvest, beginning June 2000. Those in areas that can not be reached by humanitarian agencies because of conflict and/or washed out roads due to heavy rains are of particular concern.
Displacement & Repatriation
The number of displaced and migrants from southern Somalia and Ethiopia to Hargeisa have increased during the month of November. During the months of November a December 1999, 600-700 very weak families have been arriving in Huddur town (Bakool region) from surrounding rural areas. Reports from Huddur town suggest that agro-pastoral families have reached the e of their coping abilities. IDPs in Huddur district total about 1000 families. IDPs from this area have already been reported in Luuq (Gedo region). This group is in need of immediate assistance. Problems with IDPs in Gedo are growing (over 7,000 in Luuq alone), and large numbers of Ethiopians have crossed the border in search of food.
UNHCR facilitated the repatriation of 912 Somali refugees from Yemen to Mogadishu during the month of November.
Health & Education
UNICEF Annual Review
UNICEF held its annual review in Hargeisa (for the northwest) and Baidoa (for the south and central zone). Due to the problems relating to the UN staff, the planned session for the northeast did not take place. The annual review centred on achievements and constraints of the 1999 programme. Representatives of the four sectors (water & environmental sanitation; health & nutrition; education & YEDP programme and programme communication & social mobilisation) presented overviews of the past year (available upon request).
In 1999, UNICEF distributed 127 TEP kits, 63 education kits, 16,964 textbooks, 110 black boards and118 cartons of chalks to 165 primary schools with 42,880 beneficiaries in 10 regions.
On 16 January 2000, twenty-five secondary school teachers from all over Puntland were in Hargeisa for a training workshop organised by CfBT (Centre for British Teachers). Although this was not the first workshop attended by this group in Hargeisa, they were arrested, jailed and deported to Puntland. In reaction to this hostile gesture, the Puntland Director General of International Cooperation and National Reconciliation issued on 22 January 2000 a circular that professionals from Puntland State of Somalia would no longer participate in training programmes in Hargeisa. UNESCO, which has scheduled and Civic Education workshop from February 1 to 15 in Garowe, is closely monitoring these developments.
WHO\UNICEF\ICD in collaboration with the Ministry of Health conducted an HIV KAP and prevalence study in Somaliland in October/November 1999. The preliminary outcome of this study was presented in a collaborative workshop in Hargeisa on 7 December 1999, wherein skeletal plans for prevention and control were also developed through group work.
Reports received from WHO sub office Bossaso and MSF Holland, indicating a cholera outbreak in Galkayo in Puntland. A general increase in watery diarrhoea was noticed in Galkayo Hospital from October 1999. However, the first cases of cholera were confirmed in the first week of December. From 28 November to 22 January, 328 cases and 16 deaths were reported, giving and case fatality rate of 4.9%. Cases and deaths have declined in the last two weeks and the CTC which opened on 12 December closed on 25 January as the outbreak was considered under control. WHO and UNICEF provided supplies and support to chlorination and IEC activities.
On the 15 January a press release was issued by the SACB regarding the International Humanitarian Agencies response to the cholera situation in Mogadishu. A joint emergency preparedness plan is in place and cholera surveillance, prevention and control activities are being implemented by those agencies in Mogadishu. CTCs will be established at Forlanini Hospital (Mogadishu North) by MSF Spain, and at Al Hijra Centre (Mogadishu South) by ACF France. SRCS with the support of ICRC will establish ORS Dispensing Centres with NGOs in Hodan, Medina, Wardigle and Waberi districts of South Mogadishu. WHO and UNICEF will continue to provide technical support in surveillance, laboratories and chlorination.
The second round of NIDs in 10 regions of the South/Central Zone took place from 16 to 18 January, supported by UNICEF, WHO, communities, local and international NGOs.
WFP has suspended distribution in the Bakool region (excluding Wajid district) following the theft of part of the approximately 370 tons of food aid being delivered in Hudur in the first week of December. WFP has conducted a series of meetings with the RRA leadership in Baidoa and it appears that the RRA is making efforts to accommodate the UN demands for compensation.
Temporary suspension Trocaire programme
INGO Trocaire has temporarily suspended its rehabilitation programme in Bulla Xawa and Dolo districts. Trocaire stated it was forced to do so because of a letter written by the acting SNF chairman, in late November, stating that their two most senior staff members were involved in the murder of Ali Nur (SNF deputy), who was shot in Bulla Xawa in April 1999. After further discussions with the local authority in January, Trocaire staff will resume operations in the coming weeks.
Local UN worker abducted
A local Somali UN staff member, Iddris Osman, OIC of the WFP office in Mogadishu was kidnapped from his house by five gunmen, two of whom are reported as well known Abgaal militia. The motive of the abduction was not clear but extortion had not been ruled out.
An armed robbery took place at the Health Unlimited guesthouse in Hargeisa on December 2 1999. Money was stolen; the three people staying in the house were unharmed. The armed robber is known to Health Unlimited. He was an ex-guard of the guesthouse, and had resigned in September 1999 due to a grievance. In October, the same person had carried out an armed robbery at the Health Unlimited office in Hargeisa. As a result of these attacks by the same person, Health Unlimited temporarily suspended its operations in Hargeisa.
Two staffs of CARE partner-NGO shot
On December 4 1999, two Somali staff of Agro-Action, a local partner-NGO of CARE were shot by a former staff member in Qoryoley district. One of the two died on the spot while the other was seriously injured. The Islamic court in Qoryoley is investigating the incident.
SCPP investigated a mine incident in Burao on 10 December. According to SCPP, the area where the mine incident occurred was never allocated to UNDP/SCPP for mine clearance.
Bomb explosion at UNDP office Hargeisa
On December 21 1999, a handgrenade exploded at the UNDP office in Hargeisa. There were no casualties. The blast is part of a series of explosions that have occurred in Hargeisa since November 1999. Somaliland’s police commissioner suspects people who failed to get jobs with international organizations of carrying out these acts. In a BBC interview, Somaliland’s Minister of Interior accused the Djibouti government for being behind this explosion to portray Somaliland as an un-peaceful country. He gave no further details as to why Djibouti has been held responsible.
Bardere air strip occupied
The District Management Group in Bardere has reacted violently to being informed that they will no longer be responsible for WFP food distribution at the e of December 1999. Militia who supported the DMG has occupied the airstrip and did not allow any aircraft to land. All UNCAS flights have been cancelled until the situation is resolved. Elders have intervened and are concerned that this problem could lead to renewed conflict between the Marehan clans in Gedo.
CARE staff member killed
On January 2 a vehicle carrying three CARE staff, accompanied by five armed guards and a driver, was attacked while traveling from Mogadishu to Jowhar. Militia at a checkpoint in Balad district fired on the vehicle and attacked the vehicle with technicals. One CARE staff, engineer Shuayub Mohamed Hussein, was killed. The SACB condemned this murder in the strongest possible terms. The SACB is gravely concerned about the usefulness of the assurances provided by local authorities and communities on safety and security.
RRA orders aid agencies to employ its own people
Chairman of the Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA) Colonel Hassan Mohamed Nur Shatigudud ordered international aid agencies to employ local residents or risk being barred from operating in the area. According to the RRA, people from other Somali regions and clans might be a security threat to the stability in Bay a Bakool and locals should be given first priority when job opportunities arise. Aid agencies must seek permission from the RRA to employ people with special skills and who are not indigenous to Bay and Bakool. Shatigudud denied that he was interfering with the operations of aid agencies and violating a code of conduct laid down by donors in 1996 to ensure good relations between aid organizations and Somalis. This decree was retracted after intervention by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator.
Belet-Weyne Airport landing fee problem
During the first weeks of January, humanitarian flights scheduled to Belet-Weyne were relocated due to airport security problems related to the payment of landing fees. The Hiraan government has reassured airport users that from the 15 January the Belet-Weyne airport can be landed safely and unconditionally by any flight.
OLF leaders depart
The Somali National Alliance (SNA) faction of Hussein Aideed says it has now complied with all the provisions of an accord signed in Addis Ababa recently, namely the departure of rebel Ethiopian Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) leaders from Somalia. In a press statement, received by IRIN, the SNA recalled that the agreement signed in October between the Ethiopian government and Aideed contained four points for the Somali side to implement. All the issues - including disarming OLF forces a closing the OLF office in Somalia - had been complied with. The only outstanding issue had been the departure of OLF leaders, and this occurred on 14 December, witnessed by a third party, the statement said. It also named the seven OLF leaders who left "for a third country" via Balli-dogle. The 'Xog-Ogaal' newspaper said the OLF leaders had arrived in the Eritrean capital, Asmara.
RRA Civil Administration in Baidoa
The Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA) said it has established an autonomous civil administration in Baidoa (Bay region) for Bay and Bakool regions. Former RRA spokesman Mohamed Ali Aden Qalinleh was installed as governor and other RRA fighters were appointed to senior positions in the regional administration.
Joint authority for Mogadishu
Hussein Mohamed Aidid, Hussein Haji Bod, Osman Hassan Ali "Atto", Mohamed Qanyare Afrah a Ali Mahdi Mohamed agreed on 22 December, following three days of talks, to establish a joint authority to administer the Mogadishu region as a first step towards forming a national government for Somalia. "After fulfilling the first part of the agreement, the leaders will proceed to discuss the formation of a national government through reconciliation with other factions in Somalia," according to the agreement.
The new administration will run Mogadishu's main port and the airport, the warlords said in a statement. Yalahow, an Abgal clan leader controlling southwestern Mogadishu a part of the northern section of the city, has once again refused to join the proposed administration. The port and airport are within the range of his militiamen's artillery, making him able to strike at the facilities to prevent their reopening.
Egal visit Togdheer
President Egal visited Sahil and Togdheer regions during the first week of December. It was his first visit since becoming President of Somaliland. Mr. Egal visited Burao and Odweyne districts on his way back to Hargeisa.
Hargeisa’s Deputy Mayor fired
Somaliland’s Minister of Interior fired Hargeisa’s First Deputy Mayor, Hassan Osman Aden, on 22 December 1999. Reason was the criticizing comments he had made concerning his boss, Mayor Abdurahman I. Hussein. Mr. Aden stated that he couldn’t discharge his duties a responsibilities because of the "Mayor’s intrusive practices". He also accused Mr. Hussein of authorizing illegal transactions involving the allocation of large plots to la prospectors.
The Mayor of Odweyne District, Heybe Hagi Abdullahi, has resigned from his post effective 26 December 1999, citing pressure from both the government a the public.
Somaliland and Djibouti
A Somaliland delegation led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs left for Djibouti on December 25th, 1999. The visit was supposed to clear misunderstandings. The Somaliland authority closed its border with Djibouti in early December 1999. Somaliland’s relationship with Djibouti has been deteriorating since the Djibouti-led peace talks of November 1999.
Egal admits writing offensive letter
President Egal admitted in December 1999 he had written a letter in which he urged his former vice-president Abdirahman Aw Ali Farah and other unidentified high-level government officials to take excessive measures against the Fidagale militia in 1994. An article in Somaliland’s government newspaper Mandeeq cited that this letter could have been responsible for deliberately stirring the civil war that broke out in Somaliland on November 15 1994.
Puntland fights opposition groups
According to Jamhuuriya newspaper, the President of Puntland issued strict administrative instructions meant to fight opposition groups in the areas under his control. Opposition groups have been said to military build up in Mudug region.
Somaliland authorities in Sool stated that militiamen of Puntland have joined their forces. In return, Somaliland has ‘nationalized’ 100 Puntland militiamen in Sool a paid one month of salary to each soldier.
41 Deputies a intellectuals of Sool region stated that President Egal’s crooked policy on Sool might create conflict in the area. They submitted a 12-page report covering the causes of conflict in their region.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Somaliland, Mohamud Salah Noor Fagadhe, visited Sool region on January 3rd. Although his government did not issue on statement about the visit, it is expected that Fagadhe will try to strengthen the role of the Somaliland government in Sool region.
A mission led by the vice-president of the Puntland administration, Mr. Mohamed Abdi Hashi, visited Las-Anod on December 23rd, 1999, just one day after the arrival of Puntland forces in Las-Anod. While the mission was on its way to the town, gunfire started at the West a East checkpoints of the town between the forces of Somaliland and Puntland, which later died down with no casualties on either side. An attempt by several garads a elders to restore peace a stability in the town failed after they disagreed over which forces will stay at which checkpoint.
Mogadishu sharia courts
The Sharia courts of Mogadishu, with support of local traders, have expanded their area of operation as far south as Brava District in Lower Shabelle. They have assumed control of the port of Merka a cleared the road between Mogadishu a Lower Shabelle of roadblocks a gunmen.
Two executed in Baidoa
The Baidoa authorities publicly executed two men after a court convicted them of murder, the 'Ayaamaha' newspaper reported. They were killed by firing squad on Thursday 16th December. The newspaper said the executions were expected to strengthen security in the Bay region after more than eight years without an established local government. It noted that security operations had been underway in the region. The Associated Press quoted witnesses as saying the executed men were both relatives of Hassan Mohamed Nur Shargudud, chairman of the RRA which set up the new local government on 9 December.
Six arrested in Awdal
Five demonstrators and a reporter of the government newspaper (Mandeeq) were detained in Borama by the Somaliland government a accused of being the organizers of a demonstration which was directed against President Egal. Following this demonstration, the Somaliland government stationed extra forces in Awdal region. The five demonstrators were tried a charged with destabilizing peace. They were sentenced to three months imprisonment.
The Somalia Peace a Human Rights Network (PHRN), a coalition of 21 Somalia-wide organizations, organized a workshop followed by a meeting in Bosses from 22-27 January 2000. Three other major coalitions a 15 Bosses-based Egos as observers also attended the workshop. The workshop discussed ways of strengthening PHRN's work a how attract new member organizations from all parts of Somalia. Thereafter the participants discussed the adoption of s joint position vis-a-vis the Djibouti peace initiative a agreed on a common position a platform. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Somalia was invited a its representative Adam Abdelmoula attended most of the sessions as an observer. The participants adopted a resolution in which they pledged to support a cooperate with OHCHR.
Security Update & Advisories
[ The Security Update covers the period 22 - 28 January, for the period 1 - 21 January, please refer to the UNCT weekly security updates]
Mr. Louis Malu-Malu of UNHCR has reported to duty. Mr. Malu Malu has been assigned to the Northeast Zone, with his in-country base being in Bossaso. UNHCR has based him in Addis Ababa. This will pose some problems, but we will attempt to overcome them. We expect Mr. Malu Malu on station after familiarization in the NWZ with Brian Drayner – arrival roughly 14 Feb.
Kismayo Special Zone
No local administration has been established in the city due to controversy over leadership. Unconfirmed reports continue to indicate that General Morgan intends to mount an offensive aimed at the city from his base in Baidoa. Tension remains high.
Ethiopian local commanders have assured UN security in the Northern 3 districts of the Gedo Region.
The RRA build-up at Buracaba continues, a there are indications that both the RRA a General Morgan’s forces in Baidoa have recently received a re-supply of arms, ammunition a cash. Unconfirmed reports state that simultaneous offensives against Bale Dogle Airfield a Qoreoley (RRA), a Kismayo (SPM) are planned in the very near future. On 27 January, the Aideed militia staged a probing attack against RRA forces forward of Buracaba at Leggo. They were reportedly repulsed with losses.
The Zone Security Officer (ZSO) Southern Zone advises that WFP completed a large food distribution exercise in the Bay Region without security incident. This is a refreshing change from previous distributions in the recent past, all of which have had problems.
Sharia militia continue to occupy Merka, Brava a Qoreoley, and impose law and order over the coast road in that area as well as in the cities themselves. They are currently undertaking an anti-drug trafficking campaign, a have burned hashish publicly in several locations.
The Zone Security Officer (ZSO), Central Zone, advises that the upcoming NIDS campaign cannot be carried out in the Afgoi area due to insecure conditions.
City residents in Belet Weyne have threatened the UNDP/UNOPS representative over the issue of late delivery on the bridge project in that city. On 29 January, he will be relocated to Nairobi for consultations.
The ZSO Central Zone advises that no international staff should deploy outside the city of Belet Weyne due to uncontrolled militia activity in that area.
Four truckloads of arms a ammunition have reportedly been delivered to local militia in Belet Weyne by a supplier located to the North of the city.
Mogadishu Special Zone
Random banditry continues to pose a major security problem in Mogadishu.
On 22 January there were numerous clashes between Suileman a Murusade militia in the Black Sea area of the city. The number of casualties is unknown.
On 25 January, there was a clash between Abgaal militia a sharia militia in the Hamarweyne area. One person was killed, a three were wounded.
On 25 January, warlord Musa Sudi received four to six truckloads of arms and ammunition from a supplier in the Belet Weyne area. This is allegedly will be used in military operations by his militia to support the upcoming RRA offensive mentioned above.
The Puntland imposed a currency rule, which provides for a minimum exchange by all foreigners of US $ $100 for local Somali shillings remains in effect.
On 24 January, Puntland announced that all expatriate staff working in Puntland would be expelled if they visited Somaliland.
The Designated Official with Mr. Abdullahi Yusuf in Garowe discussed the above two issues on 27 January. They will be directly addressed in the upcoming conference on Guidelines for Assistance.
Somaliland officials have allegedly jailed a then deported a group of Puntland teachers who were in Hargeisa to attend an EU/UNESCO sponsored conference. This has exacerbated the already tense situation between the two political entities.
The Somaliland police in Hargeisa have increased patrol activity around INGOs and UN facilities as a result of the numerous a mysterious grenade incidents previously reported in the city.
SWISSGROUP and CARITAS continue to report harassment by Islamic elements in the city of Hargeisa.
S E C U R I T Y/ T R A V E L A D V I S O R I E S
Specific Security Alerts:
1. The Las Anod situation could be serious. For the moment, there will be no security clearance for international staff travel to that city.
2. Travel to Mogadishu and the Benadir Region remains restricted on the basis of UN Phase 5 status. Travel to the above area requires approval of both the UN Designated Official a UNSECOORD.
3. UNSECOORD lifted the UN Phase 5 status of Bay a Bakool Regions, a changed status to Phase 4. Travel to these areas still requires a standard clearance from Chief Security Adviser.
4. The security phase in W. Galbeed region in the Northwest Zone is now Phase 3 status.
5. The security phase in Awdal region in the Northwest Zone is now Phase 3 status.
6. All international travel to Kismayo is suspended (Phase 4 NO - GO), a travel to other parts of Lower a Middle Juba Regions should be specially cleared through the Chief Security Officer. Travel to Southern Gedo will require security officer escort, while travel to the northern 3 districts of the Region will be permitted without security officer escort.
7. Selected national staff travel to Kismayo will be permitted on a case by case basis as determined by the CSA or DCSA.
8. Bardera and the immediate area is now cleared for travel. Overland travel between Baidoa a Bardera is cleared, but on the Qansedere road only. The Dinsoor area a road are off-limits to international staff.
9. Ground travel between Belet Weyne a Jowhar; a between Jowhar a Mogadishu is prohibited due to high incident rates in those areas.
10. In Lower Shabelle, clearance for staff travel to the Kurtunwarey a Bulo Warbo is suspended until further notice.
11. In the Mudug region, clearance for travel to Ri’ig Omane is suspended until further notice.
12. UN international staff road travel to Las Anod and Erigavo is not permitted; air travel is permitted.
13. Due to the presence of mines, road travel in the vicinity of Adale is not permitted without the express permission of ZSO Northwest Zone or his deputy.
14. Travel to coastal area around Eyl in the Northeast Zone is not permitted.
15. Belet Weyne has been conditionally reopened for UN air operations.
General Security Alerts:
1. All travel to Somalia by UN international staff requires prior security clearance from the Designated Official. This includes Phase 3 areas.
2. All UN international staff should report to the zone security officer or security warden upon arrival in Somalia.
3. Any agency renting vehicles must ensure the mechanical condition is good. The senior person in the vehicle is responsible in ensuring the driver of the vehicle drives at a safe speed a manner. Also, safety belts should be worn.
4. All missions out of UN bases in Somalia must carry some form of long range communications, either HF radio, or satellite telephone.
5. The two-car vehicle rule is mandated for out-of-base travel unless the ZSO specifically approves single vehicle travel.
6. All vehicles must carry some form of medical kit, if vehicle is rented then someone on the mission should carry a medical kit.
7. Local security clearance from the ZSO must be obtained before the missions leave for in-zone travel.
8. No road movements out of built-up areas should be carried after dark in any zone.
9. The two-person rule is in effect for international staff at all bases in Somalia. That is, there will be no fewer than two international staff persons at each base. No international staff member should live alone in a residence - there should be at least 2 international staff in each residence.
10. Each new international staff must have a security briefing prior to deployment to Somalia.
11. Upon deployment to Somalia, each international staff member must have in his/her possession and working VHF ha held radio programmed for the area(s) they intend to visit.
12. All staff must process a request for a visa prior to travel to the Northwest or Northeast Zones.
13. Ethiopia is a nation at war. As demonstrated in the past, they will fire on suspicious aircraft. ALL UNCAS flights using Ethiopian airspace must file for clearance through ICAO channels, a fly the EXACT plan requested. In addition, ALL landings in Ethiopia will require prior clearance through ICAO channels.
14. ZSOs can mandate the wearing of ballistic protective vests and helmets in any security situation, which he/she thinks, warrants that measure. Consequently, all agencies should insure that this protective equipment is on ha at their UN bases in Somalia.
ATTENTION: THE POLITICAL AND SECURITY UPDATES ARE STRICTLY FOR INTERNAL CIRCULATION A NOT FOR THE PRESS OR PUBLIC RELEASE UNLESS OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED BY THE UNITED NATIONS POLITICAL OFFICE FOR SOMALIA (UNPOS) A UN DESIGNATED OFFICIAL (DO) RESPECTIVELY.
Prepared by the United Nations Coordination Unit (UNCU), in collaboration with the Chief Security Advisor.
The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) Somalia Monitor is issued out of various reports received from the field. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the United Nations. Queries a submissions should be forwarded to the UNCU, Facsimile No: (254-2) 448439 a Telephone No: (254-2) 448433/4, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org