By Ibrahim Hirsi
For the better part of the 2000s, Yasin Jama spent most of his free time with friends at Starbucks coffee shops in Minneapolis, contemplating what he could do for Somalia, especially the semi-autonomous northeastern state of Puntland from which he hails. Read more
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed veteran U.S. diplomat James Swan as the U.N.’s top envoy for Somalia, replacing Nicholas Haysom of South Africa, who was expelled in January.
U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq announced the appointment Thursday and said Swan spent most of his career “in African countries facing complex political transitions.”
He served as U.S. ambassador to Congo from 2013-2016, U.S. special representative for Somalia from 2011-2013, ambassador to Djibouti from 2008-2011 and deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs from 2006-2008.
Somali officials said Haysom meddled in their internal matters when he raised concerns about the basis for the arrest of Mukhtar Robow. The Security Council expressed regret that Somalia expelled a U.N. envoy who questioned the arrest of the extremist group defector-turned-political candidate.
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By Katie Lange
U.S. service members with the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa have spent the past few weeks helping victims of Cyclone Idai, a devastating storm that slammed into Mozambique and Zimbabwe in March.
Most Americans don’t know a whole lot about the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa — CJTF HOA, for short — or our relationship with the countries it involves, but the region in which it operates is vital to U.S. interests.
Not sure why? Here are some details that might help explain it. Read more
By Brian Brinker
President Donald Trump signed an executive order that will extend the national emergency declaration in Somalia for at least one more year. The Pentagon, however, is buckling down for an even longer mission, one that could extend for seven years or more. President Trump cited the Islamist insurgency in the country as an “unusual and extraordinary threat.”
Currently, the U.S. Special Operations Forces are working to establish and train an elite unit of Somali soldiers to combat al-Shabaab militants. The group has been linked to al-Qaeda. While President Trump has sought to diminish America’s large and expensive military presence across the world, some hotspots remain too dangerous to ignore. Read more
By Thomas Gibbons-Neff
WASHINGTON — After denying allegations last month that United States airstrikes had killed civilians in Somalia, the American military said on Friday that an April 2018 attack left two people dead.
The announcement comes after Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, the head of Africa Command, ordered a review of all airstrikes conducted in Somalia since 2017.
The internal assessment was prompted by pressure from lawmakers and an Amnesty International report released last month that found evidence of five strikes in Somalia that had killed more than a dozen civilians. Read more
The Somali native, who’d sought refuge from the Horn of Africa country’s armed conflict in South Africa and then in the United States, was among 12 people killed by a car bomb that exploded outside a restaurant on Mogadishu’s busy Maka Al-Mukarama road last Thursday.
Hassan, 29, with a wife and 6-year-old daughter, had failed in a bid for U.S. asylum. He had spent all of his nearly two years in the United States in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) before being returned to Somalia in January 2017.
Amnesty International is accusing the United States of covering up civilian casualties in its secretive air war in Somalia targeting the militant group al-Shabab. The U.S. has carried out over 100 strikes in Somalia since 2017.
For years the Pentagon has claimed no civilians were being killed in the airstrikes, but the new Amnesty report found that at least 14 civilians were killed, and eight more were injured, in just five airstrikes.