Somalia Government: Audit Faults U.N. Corruption Claims

(MOGADISHU, Somalia) — Somalia’s government says investigators it hired have cleared it of allegations of massive corruption in a report by United Nations experts monitoring sanctions on Somalia and Eritrea Fowziya Yusuf Haji Adam, Somalia’s foreign minister, said forensic accountants from FTI Consulting, Inc. and a legal team from the United States firm Shulman, Rogers, Gandal, Pordy & Ecker, PA concluded that the allegations in sections of the U.N. report are factually incorrect. The U.N. report by experts monitoring the sanctions against Somalia and Eritrea said that 80 percent of withdrawals from Somalia’s Central Bank are made for private purposes, indicating it is operating as a patronage system for members of government. The U.N. report said progress in Somalia is held back by corruption, which is “embedded in all layers of society.”

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Twitter Shuts Down Somalia’s Extremists, Again

(NAIROBI, Kenya) — The flagship Twitter account of al-Shabab, Somalia’s al-Qaida-linked terror group, was closed Friday for the second time this year, less than 24 hours after a U.S.-based terrorism expert reported violations of Twitter’s terms of service. The closure comes only days after al-Shabab claimed a failed assassination attempt against Somalia’s president and tweeted that the next time the president wouldn’t be so lucky. Al-Shabab uses Twitter mainly to make claims of enemy kills and to spread its view of events in Somalia and East Africa. A United Nations report on Somalia released last month said U.N. experts believe the person running the English-language account is a British member of al-Shabab. Twitter in January suspended al-Shabab’s previous account two days after the group used the platform to announce a death threat against Kenyan hostages. Twitter’s terms of service says it does not allow specific threats of violence against others in its posts. The extremists’ use of Twitter has upsides and downsides, say terrorism analysts. Analysts and governments can use the rebels’ Twitter postings to gather intelligence, but militants can use the accounts to spread propaganda and recruit fighters. The closing of the account is likely to keep al-Shabab off Twitter only temporarily. Whoever ran the account can easily open another one. J.M. Berger, the U.S.-based terrorism analyst who made several posts on Thursday about al-Shabab’s violations on Twitter, said in a post early Friday that “I’m sure Al Shabab will be back on Twitter, but maybe next time they’ll know they have to behave like civilized people to stay.” Analysts debate whether society is better served by closing social media accounts and the messages they propagate or if it’s better to keep the accounts open so intelligence can be gathered. Berger argues that there is little intelligence of value to be mined from the accounts. Berger wrote earlier this year, following the first Twitter closure, that closing the accounts strengthens intelligence gathering because experts can track who quickly follows the new Twitter account, and that they are often people………

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Militants Storm UN Compound in Somalia; 20 Killed

(MOGADISHU, Somalia) — Seven al-Qaida-linked militants on a suicide mission attacked the U.N. compound Wednesday with a truck bomb and then poured inside, killing at least 13 people before dying in the assault. At least three foreigners were slain during the raid in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, where the United Nations expanded its presence this year, about 18 months after Islamic insurgents were pushed from the seaside city. The militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, calling the U.N. “a merchant of death.” African Union forces expelled al-Shabab from Mogadishu in August 2011, ending years of daily violence that had caused the rest of the world to shun the capital for two decades. After the ouster of al-Shabab, the international community had started trickling back into the capital, and the U.N. began moving in its personnel from Kenya, a process that accelerated in recent weeks. Wednesday’s attack, however, underscores the fragile security situation and will force the U.N. and embassies to review safety plans and decide if they have the resources to withstand a sustained assault from al-Shabab. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who expressed outrage over the attack, commended the U.N. security guards who defended the compound, said U.N. deputy spokesman Eduardo del Buey. The U.N. Security Council later Wednesday reiterated its willingness “to take action against those whose behavior threatens the peace, stability or security of Somalia.” Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., condemned the “brazen assault on civilians working for peace.” Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said he was appalled by “such barbaric violence.” An African Union official, Mahamet Saleh Annadif, condemned the “cowardly” attack and sent condolences to the families of the victims. The attack began about 11:30 a.m. when the seven al-Shabab militants from what the group called its martyrdom brigade blew up an explosives-laden truck at the gates of the U.N. compound and gunmen rushed in, said a U.N. official who insisted on anonymity because he was not an official spokesman. At least two other blasts followed, said Ben Parker…….

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Council adopts decision on the launch of EUTM Somalia

COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

Brussels, 31 March 2010, 8208/10 (Presse 80)

Council adopts decision on the launch of EUTM Somalia

The Council adopted today – by written procedure – a decision on the launch of a European Union military mission to contribute to the training of Somali security forces (EUTM Somalia). This Council decision, which follows the approval of the Mission Plan for EUTM Somalia, provides that the Mission will be launched on 7 April 2010.

The objective of EUTM Somalia is to contribute to strengthening the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia as a functioning government serving the Somali population, as well as to contribute to a comprehensive and sustainable perspective for the development of the Somali Security Sector by strengthening the Somali Security Forces through the provision of specific military training and support.

EUTM Somalia will take place mainly in Uganda, where Somali forces are already being trained. The EU military mission will operate in close cooperation and coordination with international partners in particular the United Nations, the African Union, AMISOM, and the United States.

Source: Council of the European Union