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Somaliland Counter-Terrorism Forces Arrest ISIS Leader in Somalia

HARGEISA (Somaliguardian) –Somaliland security forces have arrested a man believed to be ISIS unofficial leader in Somalia who was visiting Lasanod town near the border with Puntland.

Intelligence officials have confirmed to Somaliguardian that Abdirahman Fahiye also known as Ahmed Adan among the group, who is currently serving as the deputy leader of Daesh in Somalia was arrested following a raid on a home he was hiding in.

Senior member of Somaliland’s Intelligence apparatus speaking to Somaliguardian on the condition of anonymity said security forces had received information leading to the capture of Abdirahman Fahiye.

He added that the man recently crossed the border from Puntland and that his visit in Somaliland involved planning attacks to terrorize public in the break-away state which has enjoyed peace over two decades.

Somaliland security officials have stopped short in giving details of the arrest, however, the capture of Abdirahman Fahiye, ISIS’s principal leader in Somalia has come weeks after Lasanod Intelligence chief was killed in a bomb attack. No one has yet claimed responsibility, but authorities believe Fahiye’s men were behind the plot that had also killed the region’s court judge.

Intelligence officials have also confirmed that the man carried with him more than 3 passports including Yemeni and Russian as well as other faked documents.

Abdirahman Fahiye is believed to be ISIS’s unofficial leader in Somalia assigned with coordinating group’s activities and managing slipper cells hiding across the country, while Abdikadir Moumin only remains a poster boy for the group’s propaganda targeting local Somali speaking audience.

Fahiye and other suspected individuals are currently detained in a secret intelligence run prison near the capital, Hargeisa. Security officials have promised to share the story with public soon after investigation is completed.

ISIS has long been operating in Puntland regions, though relatively weak in carrying out Al-Shabaab style attacks, however, the group targets businesspeople and unprotected individuals among the public.

Somaliland suspects that ISIS Somalia franchise is a project sponsored by Puntland, aimed to disrupt security which its citizens have enjoyed over the decades following the ousting of Siad Barre regime.

Somaliland has long been a beacon of hope for the rest of Somalia, however, the arrest of ISIS leader in Somalia coincides with recent announcement by the UK government that it will stop support it used to provide to Somaliland’s anti-terrorism forces.

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Four Djiboutian Nationals From Somaliland Test Positive for Coronavirus

DJIBOUTI (Somaliguardian) –Four Djiboutian nationals who were on an Ethiopian Airlines flight that had earlier landed at Egal airport in Hargeisa have tested positive for coronavirus after crossing Somaliland border to Ethiopia, officials have confirmed.

The four individuals from coronavirus hit countries travelled with Ethiopian Airlines that regularly lands at Egal airport in Hargeisa even after Somali government suspended all international flights.

Djibouti had previously suspended all commercial flights that forced the four nationals to board a flight to Hargeisa, Somaliland with the intention of crossing the border into Djibouti. However, luckily they were intercepted by border guards who passed them to medical teams to diagnose with coronavirus.

Government says all of these individuals have tested positive for coronavirus and are currently quarantined in a destined place.

This has added to the fear of Somaliland people on possible spread of coronavirus inside the break-away state, which is currently unable to cope with such an infectious disease.

Somaliland has not yet confirmed any coronavirus case, but the public have fears that the virus may have already spread inside the quayside state without government’s knowledge.

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Somalia: Governor Killed in an Al-Shabaab Suicide Bomb Attack

GAROWE (Somaliguardian) – Puntland’s governor of Nugal region was killed and 2 other officials wounded when a suicide bomber set off explosive device.

Reports say the governor of Nugal region Abdisalan Hassan Hersi (Gu’jir) was rushed to the hospital while being in a critical condition, but have later succumbed to injuries.

Former Nugal Police chief and other unidentified person were among the wounded in the attack, claimed by Al-Shabaab – an Al-Qaeda affiliated movement that wages war against western backed government in Somalia and foreign troops in the country.

President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and his Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire sent condolences to the family of the slain governor in separate statements issued by their offices.

The President of Puntland Federal member state Saed Deni speaking early Monday said security forces had received information of the planned attack before it happened and promised to deal such security threats with firm hand.

Deni also sent condolences to the family of the Nugaal’s regional governor, saying the attack was intended to dismantle the work of citizens that made Puntland a beacon of hope for other Federal member states in Somalia.

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Coronavirus: Millions of Somalis Contemplate a New Way to Die

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somali people were not aware of the risk of coronavirus and to them, the virus was just a fairy tale before the first case was reported by authorities on March 16.

The illness that was sweeping the world far beyond Somalia’s borders, killing thousands seemed fanatical to the Somali public, however, they have now begun measures to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus disease.

Earlier, Somali people thought the disease is only contracted by non-Muslims, but they have now found truth after it arrived in their soil.

It’s not too late, but people have panicked after the third case of Covid19 was confirmed on Friday. The individual who contracted the virus was a foreign UN employee in Mogadishu.

Somalia witnessed decades of conflict, drought and devastating disease outbreaks as well as locust plagues that have taken heavy toll.

Already vulnerable, millions of Somalis now contemplate a new way to die.

Mogadishu hosts a number of refugee camps that house hundreds of thousands of people, cramped and full of life. Yet, these people have no access to health care and other basic services.

Refugee camps are most feared to become worst hit areas by the disease due to no social distancing rules viable and no emergency health coverage available for the refugees.

“This is a disease which has overwhelmed more sophisticated health care systems of countries than ours,” President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed warned in a public awareness campaign.

Although Somalia has put several measures in place from banning international flights, preparing quarantine zones and suspending local flights –to creating awareness, capacity to control such a deadly virus remains a matter of question.

First death to Coronavirus has been confirmed in Somalia on Saturday after a suspected individual in a quarantined zone has been found dead in Garowe town.

This shows the extent of the country’s preparedness; there are no testing machines for the virus and samples taken from suspected individuals are sent to overseas nations that might delay results for several days or even weeks.

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US Drone Strike Kills 2 Civilians in Bay Region, Somalia

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Two civilians have been killed in a US airstrike near Buulo-Fulaay town in Bay region, Somalia.

Earlier, Somali government and AFRICOM claimed responsibility for the strike, saying it killed two Al-Shabaab members.

“The Federal government of Somalia in coordination with its Federal member states and its US partners conducted an airstrike against Al-Shabaab near the town of Buullo Fullaay, Somalia. Two members of the terrorist group were killed in the strike” reads a statement issued by the Somali government hours after the strike occurred.

Although the government and AFRICOM denied any civilian casualties, residents in Buulo Fulaay are reporting a different story. They say the strike had targeted two local civilians on a motorbike on their way home in the vicinity of the town.

Family members have confirmed to local Somali media outlets that the individuals killed in the strike were local farmers who had no connection with Al-Shabaab or any other organization, and expressed anger over the intentional targeting of civilians by the Americans.

This is not the first time US airstrike kills civilians; on the contrary, dozens of similar strikes have been targeting civilians since the Trump administration announced boosting operations in Somalia.

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Italy coronavirus death toll surges past 10,000; lockdown extension likely

MILAN (Somaliguardian) – The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy barrelled past 10,000 on Saturday, a figure that made an extension of a national lockdown almost certain.

Officials said 889 more people died in the previous 24 hours, the second highest daily tally since the epidemic emerged on Feb. 21, and that total fatalities reached 10,023.

Confirmed cases rose by about 6,000 to 92,472, the second-highest number of cases in the world behind the United States.

Officials said the numbers would have been worse without a national lockdown.

“Without these measures, we would be seeing far worse numbers and our health service would be in a far more dramatic state. We would have been in an unsustainable situation,” said Angelo Borelli, the Civil Protection head who reads out the numbers daily to the media and an anxious Italy.

Italy, the first Western country to introduce severe restrictions on movement after uncovering the outbreak five weeks ago, has since increasingly tightened them, and hopes that they would be eased from next Friday were fading fast.

“There are elements that make us believe that all of the April 3 expirations of provision will have to be postponed,” Industry Minister Stefano Patuanelli told Italian broadcaster Rai.

The Lombardy region, which has borne the worst of the contagion, recorded 542 new deaths, bringing the total there to 5,944.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told a news conference after the figures were released that he had approved a new package of 4.7 billion euros ($5.24 billion) of measures to help those worst hit, including shopping vouchers and food packages.

Conte has urged the European Union to launch a “recovery bond” to help fund the response to the coronavirus outbreak, saying failure to tackle the emergency would be a “tragic mistake” for the bloc.

In an interview with Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore on Saturday, Conte said a common debt instrument was needed to spearhead a European recovery and reinvestment plan to support the economy of the whole area.

Education Minister Lucia Azzolina has already said the closure of schools and universities, which began on March 5, would have to be extended past April 3.

Italy’s minister for southern regions expressed concerns about potential social tensions and civil unrest in poorer areas if, as expected, the epidemic moves south.

“I am afraid that the worries that are affecting large sections of the population over health, income and the future, with the continuation of the crisis, will turn into anger and hatred,” Minister Giuseppe Provenzano told La Repubblica newspaper on Saturday.

Michele Emiliano, governor of the southern Puglia region, downplayed played fears of civil unrest in the south but said the lockdown may have to be extended until mid-May.

(REUTERS)

Somalia: Recently Renovated Barawe Airport Runway Swept Away by Floods

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) –Heavy rains lashed Barawe town in Somalia, sweeping away recently renovated EU funded airport runway, making it unusable after a few weeks it has been fully functioning.

The Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire has reopened Barawe airport on March 10th after it was renovated with $4.3 million as part of funds allocated by the EU, but scandals have been emerging as images taken from the airport reached the public.

People were astonished at the announcement of the Somali PM about the cost of the airport renovation. To many, it has been ridiculous that such a sandy airport with no runway and good looking terminals to cost $4.3 million.

Mild rains have on Friday swept away the airport’s sandy runway as floods carried away sand and unearthed big cracks while parts of Barawe airport have turned into water pools.

The government has not yet commented on this latest scandal, but has met a social media backlash.

The EU ambassador had earlier supported the announcement of the Somali government that Barawe airport was renovated with $4.3 million, spurning criticisms.

Somalia still remains world’s most corrupt country despite government claims that it is committed to stamping out the misdemeanor, but this latest scandal tarnishes the image of President Farmajo who has been in a media campaign to win a reelection.

Below are the images of Barawe airport after waters have swept away the sandy runway.

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New Measures to Stop Spread of Coronavirus in Somalia

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia is now in a race against time to control the spread of coronavirus in the country after it has confirmed third case on Friday.

Ministry of Aviation issued a statement Saturday to announce that all local flights will be suspended from Monday March 30th to boost efforts toward containing spread of the Novel Coronavirus.

The government had earlier banned international commercial flights for duration of 15 days despite breach reportedly made by Ethiopian Airlines and FlyDubai which have made several landings at Hargeisa airport after the order has come into effect.

Somalia’s Ministry of Health strives to take several stances to curb potential spread of the virus, but the capacity of the government to do so is still questioned.

Minister of Health Fowsia Abikar Nour speaking to VOA Somali said that government had ordered three machines that can conduct coronavirus tests, which will arrive in 2-3 weeks time.

Somali medical workers are not trained for coping with such a pandemic and will receive training on how to work with such sophisticated machines, the minister adds, also stressing that country now sends samples to a WHO-certified lab in Kenya.

Despite all these efforts, the government does not control the whole country, large swathes of territory is under the control of Al-Shabaab which wages a war against AMISOM and western backed Federal Government, while other parts of the country are in the hands of de facto authorities which include Somaliland and Puntland.

Al-Shabaab has recently commented on Coronavirus in a Fatwa issued by its scholars and called on the public to raise caution on the spread of the virus.

People in Mogadishu and other parts of the country raise fears about Khat drugs which are smuggled and sold expensively. When the commodity arrives in the city during evening times it leads to confrontations between government troops who fight against each other for acquiring the drug.

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Somalia Announces Sending Over 20 Doctors to Italy to Help Fight Coronavirus

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) –Somali government has announced sending over 20 doctors to Italy to help fight coronvirus in the country.

The Somali government spokesman, Ismael Mokhtar Oronjo speaking to Anadolu Agency said medical volunteers from the Somali National University in Mogadishu will soon be sent to Italy.

“Twenty volunteer doctors from National University in Mogadishu are registered at Italy’s Embassy and will go to Italy to help the country’s fight against coronavirus,” he said.

The spokesman told Anadolu that his government answering a call from Italy on urgent assistance toward fighting coronavirus is sending the medical team who are currently waiting for their charter flight to Italy.

On Thursday, Italy’s Civil Protection reported 712 new deaths, bringing the country’s death toll from the virus to date to 8,215.

Meanwhile, Somalia on Friday confirmed the third case of coronavirus in the Horn of Africa nation.

According to the UN assistance mission in Somalia, a UN commercial contractor tested positive for coronavirus on Friday.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China, in December, the virus, has spread to at least 176 countries and regions, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

The data shows more than 553,200 cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll over 25,000, and more than 127,500 recoveries.

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Suspected UAE Drone Hovers over Intelligence Headquarters in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) –Mysterious drone has reportedly hovered over the headquarters of the Somali Intelligence Agency in Mogadishu late Friday afternoon, security officials have confirmed.

Multiple sightings of the strange aircraft over NISA headquarters in Mogadishu have been reported which has left officials searching for answers.

Intelligence officials have confirmed to Somaliguardian that the aircraft was flying low over the compound before security guards opened fire.

Officials do not know who was operating the drone, but stressed that they suspect the UAE government which earlier severed ties with the Somali Federal Government.

Investigations are currently ongoing in regards to the aircraft flown over the headquarters of the Somali Intelligence Agency to find an answer to a perilous breach to the security of the Somali capital and government institutions.

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