Pentagon to Send Home Troops from Somalia and other African Countries to Direct More Focus on Asia

NAIROBI (Somaliguardian) – US Army will send soldiers from one of its new training brigades in African countries which includes Somalia in the weeks to come in a bid to expand the use of the new specialized units, Pentagon confirmed.

Pentagon now looks at possible troop cuts in the continent despite opposition from Congress members.

The US government has been contemplating for months about the plan to send a couple hundred soldiers from the 1st Security Forces Assistance Brigade and it’s the first next step in the Army’s broader plan to use the training teams to free other brigades who had been working as advisers to move on to other combat jobs.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper eyes potential troop cuts in Africa as part of a global review aimed at directing more focus on Asia. However, US lawmakers and allies have voiced opposition to any cuts in Africa where Al-Qaeda affiliated groups are building increasing strength.

Esper said that roughly 200 soldiers from the 1st SFAB will replace soldiers from the 101st Airborne who are returning home from Africa, “so that they can train for high-intensity conflict,” in line with the National Defense strategy.

The Secretary provided no estimate of the number of 101st infantry will come home from Africa, but said the net result would be roughly a wash, numerically, according to Associated Press.

Somalia is among the countries which this troop cut program will effect. The country hosts second largest American military base in Africa where more than a thousand combat troops and trainers are stationed.

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Somali Government Employs Foreign Companies for Smear Campaign against Journalists and Opposition

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – In recent months, there have been reports about overwhelming number of troll accounts created by Somali government to create discord and sway public opinion as Presidential election nears.

The offices of the President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and his PM Hassan Ali Khayre had earlier founded communications’ departments used to sway public opinion, create propaganda and smear individuals deemed against the government.

Channel4 correspondent Jamal Osman previously tweeted a payroll list possibly leaked from the office of the Somali PM. The list included prominent journalists based in Somalia and overseas countries, as well as social media figures who usually carry out smear campaigns against opposition. Average salaries of these individuals were between 300-600 USD while some of them received over 2,000 USD and the total salaries earmarked by office of the PM written on this payroll list reached 250,000USD per month.

However, now the budget has increased to more than $800, 000 paid every month from the donor money to individuals using troll accounts on social media to create fake news, discord, sway public opinion and smear Somali politicians willing to contest against the current leadership in forthcoming elections.

These paid social media accounts not only attack government critics and journalists but also insight violence and abuse tribes that could eventually lead the country to slide back to the 1991 civil war.

VOA Somali Chief Editor Harun Maruf says he obtained documents and information which indicate that foreign companies are involved in strategic communications in a bid to negatively label journalists

“Personally, I obtained documents, info which indicate that foreign companies involved in “strategic communications” negatively label Somali journalists. Using donor funds, they do play a role in creating social media accounts used as attack dogs against journos? Will identify soon” said Harun Maruf, VOA Somali Service’s Chief Editor.

Channel4 correspondent Jamal Osman released a leaked letter sent by the spokesman of the Somali President Abdinur Mohamed telling social media campaign groups funded by the government to swerve public opinion from explosions and fighting but to the recently constructed, towering monuments in Mogadishu.

Moreover, while the involvement of foreign companies in the strategic communications increased, focusing on negatively labeling journalists that want to disseminate information on trusted sources in a way for fake news and discord spread on the internet, fewer media channels still continue to strive reaching out to the public with impartial covering of news.

Trolling made by government paid accounts bountifully happens on the sites like Facebook and Twitter. On Facebook they target journalists that cover news of events according to journalistic standards and they also create hatred against communities of which opposition leaders hail from.

Amnesty International said in a recent report that it documented 16 Facebook accounts which had been permanently disabled, 13 of them belonging to journalists, between 2018 and 2019 by government paid groups designed to work on social media hounding program.

Somali government also pays bribery to editors and ]owners of media houses throughout Somalia to disseminate false information and hide events deemed tarnishing the government’s image, according to Amnesty report. These media houses also propagate fake news at times of wars and explosions as well as other major events, exercising troll campaign against media stations reporting events as it exactly happens while using words upsetting journalists and sometimes labeling them as terrorists.

What goes without saying, though, is that all these are happening to build government’s image and return its lost popularity as it failed to reconcile to its previous commitments from restoring stability –to driving Al-Shabaab out of the country. Meanwhile, election nears and the government employs this campaign to further suppress opposition ahead of contest to office.

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Jubaland’s President Madobe Readies Troops for Full-scale Operation

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Jubaland’s President Ahmed Madobe is readying his troops for a full-scale operation heading an unknown destination.

Reports from the border town of Dhobley say Madobe spoke to his top generals on embarking on an operation of which little is known about its target.

Regional experts fear the oncoming attack may target Somali government troops moving swiftly to drive Jubaland administration out of its strongholds.

The spokesman of Jubaland’s security minister Abdinur Ibrahim Hussein told Goobjoog radio based in Mogadishu that their troops are making movements to launch fresh assaults on Al-Shabaab controlled districts in the Juba Valley.

Jubaland troops have recently carried out attacks on Al-Shabaab controlled areas in the vicinity of Kismayo in which it claimed victory, while on the other hand Al-Shabaab said it killed the administration’s deputy Army chief and several of his troops.

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Al-Shabaab Releases Photos Showing Military Vehicles and Weapons It Seized in SNA Base Attack

Mogadishu (Somaliguardian) – The Somali Islamist group, Al-Shabaab has released photos of military vehicles it seized in a recent attack on a Somali Army base on the vicinity of Marka district in the Lower Shabelle region.

The group had previously claimed seizing two military vehicles, ammunitions, guns and other military equipment. However, Somali government denied some of the group’s claims as groundless.

These photos show two personnel carrier military vehicles, several AK47 guns, RPGs, anti-aircraft guns, machineguns and other vast military equipment.

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Somalia Summons Its Ambassador to Sudan over Embassy Brawl

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian)Somali Federal Government has recalled its ambassador from Sudan amid unfolding reports of a fight inside embassy, Somali diplomats have confirmed.

A Somali diplomat has confirmed to Somaliguardian that the Minister of foreign affairs Ahmed Isse Awad ordered the country’s ambassador to Sudan Mohamed Isahak Ibrahim and his first advisor Osman Ahmed to return to Mogadishu immediately.

In a letter sent to Somalia’s ambassador of Sudan, Minister Awad described recent fighting inside embassy as an unfortunate and unnecessary incident.

Sudanese media have in the past few hours been reporting a scuffle between officials at the Somali embassy in Khartoum.

This is not the first time Somali diplomats fight inside country’s embassies abroad, but such misdemeanors often happen at a frequent pace.

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Al-Shabaab Releases Photo Evidence of Its Recent Capture of Somali Army Base near Mogadishu

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Al-Shabaab has released photos showing its recent capture of Somali Army base located on the vicinity of Marka district in the Lower Shabelle region.

Somali media outlets have published these photos which show dozens of bodies scattered around the base, several SNA military vehicles at the hand of the group, weapons seized and their fighters fully in control of El-Salini camp – a Somali army base that previously met with several Al-Shabaab attacks.

Photos also show government troops captured alive during fighting with Al-Shabaab in El-Salini base.

This comes against Somali government’s claims that it repulsed the attack, but the total number of SNA troops killed in El-Salini mounted to 42 with dozens wounded.

Here are some of the photos showing the base, vehicles seized by the group and its fighters inside the army base but we may not show you photos of bodies due to our policy on graphic content. If you want additional information and photos click link below.

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Al-Shabaab Torches Police Reservist House in a Night Raid on Kenya’s Garissa County

NAIROBI (Somaliguardian) – Al-Shabaab fighters attacked Sangailu village, Ijara Sub-County in Kenya’s Garissa, where they torched a police reservist’s house, authorities confirmed.

Reports say an unknown number of Al-Shabaab fighters stormed the small village on Thursday night according to Regional Commissioner Nick Ndalana.

This comes a day after Moyale Raha bus headed to Nairobi from Mandera was attacked by Al-Shabaab fighters killing 4 non-Muslim Kenyans.

The attackers reportedly abducted local businessman who is still missing.

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Somali President Sacks National Army’s Deputy Chief a Day after Deadly Al-Shabaab Attacks

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somali Army’s Deputy Chief Lieutenant General Mohamed Ali Bariise has been sacked in an official decree issued by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

Following Wednesday’s deadly Al-Shabaab attacks in several Lower Shabelle region districts in which the group claimed killing over 70 SNA soldiers, Villa Somalia has issued the decree emptying the position of the Army’s Deputy Chief.

The decree which took effect immediately on Thursday, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo announced dismissing Barise the deputy chief of the Somali National Army without giving further details.

The general speaking the relevance of the decree by the President Farmajo stated that he submitted his resignation papers two days ago to the President and was astounded as he saw the decree claiming that he was dismissed.

Mohamed Ali Barise has shared his resignation letter with local media and reiterated that he was by no means forced out of the position but left at his own choice.

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Somali Government Revokes “Diplomatic” Passports of 10 Jubaland Officials

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somali Federal government has revoked diplomatic passports of Jubaland administration officials, Immigration authorities confirmed.

Reports say the Somali Federal Government’s immigration department has stripped diplomatic passports from several Jubaland regional administration officials amid political standoff.

Immigration officials have confirmed to Somaliguardian that over 10 close associates of Ahmed Madobe including ministers and members of Jubalands passport have had their diplomatic passports revoked in a move aimed to lay siege on the administration based in Kismayo.

The move in which Jubaland officials’ diplomatic passports have been revoked took effect immediately as of Thursday, according to Immigration authorities.

Jubaland has not yet commented on the issue, but the administration has been in a heated dispute with the Federal government which paved the way for armed confrontations and escalating tensions in Gedo and other regions in Southern Somalia.

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Ethiopia and Somaliland Go Head-to-head as Abiy Pushes for Visit by Somalia’s President

HARGEISA (Somaliguardian) – The Ethiopian Minister of finance Ahmed Shide leading a high-profile delegation has arrived in Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital to hold talks with President Bihi over the anticipated visit of Somalia’s President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

Bihi addressing a joint session of Somaliland’s Parliament stressed that Farmajo would not visit Hargeisa unless his government recognizes Somaliland’s sovereignty and independence.

Earlier, the leader of UCID opposition party Faysal Ali Warabe speaking to BBC Somali disclosed that President Bihi agreed to Abiy Ahmed’s intention of joint state visit to Somaliland along with Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

Ethiopia and Somaliland went head-to-head following President Bihi’s recent statement which was against a commitment he had earlier made in Addis Ababa, agreeing to joint visit by Abiy Ahmed and Farmajo if the latter acknowledged human rights crimes committed against Somaliland citizens by Siad Barre’s regime.

Ahmed Shide, Ethiopia’s finance minister held meeting with President Bihi at the Presidential Palace in Hargeisa, submitting a message from Abiy Ahmed who expressed anger over the recent statements of Somaliland’s leader.

With no resolution in sight, Shide is pushing for official joint state visit by Abiy Ahmed and Farmajo to Hargeisa, however, politicians in Somaliland say there are possibilities open for such a visit in the quayside state.

Regional political experts and analysts believe Ethiopia might leverage its influence on Somaliland to finally ensure this visit has been accepted by Bihi’s government that may shape historic moment in Somalia’s history, if euphoric anticipations turn the tide in Abiy’s favor.

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