Tag Archives: security forces

Clinton seeks to bolster Somalia’s weak government

3U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses a news conference in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, August 5, 2009.

Clinton seeks to bolster Somalia’s weak government

NAIROBI (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets Somalia’s president on Thursday, showing U.S. support for a fragile government which is battling against militants including al Shabaab insurgents.

Australian police said this week they had uncovered a plot to attack an army base in Sydney by men with alleged links to al Shabaab which Washington accuses of being al Qaeda’s proxy in Somalia.

Clinton said she would discuss with President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed how the world could help stabilise the Horn of Africa country, which Western security agencies say is a haven for militants plotting attacks in the region and beyond.

“We know we’re facing a very difficult conflict, and we also know that the presence of al Shabaab and terrorist elements within Somalia poses a threat,” said Clinton, ahead of the meeting, on the sidelines of a U.S.-African trade conference.

“It poses a threat to Kenya, poses a threat to the stability of Africa and beyond. So this is an area where we’re going to work even more closely together,” she added.

The United States has offered military aid to Somalia’s government, including more than 40 tonnes of weapons and ammunition in recent months, as it battles al Shabaab.

At the meeting, in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, Clinton is expected to promise more financial aid, including additional shipments of weapons, although these had been scheduled a while ago, a senior U.S. official travelling with Clinton said.

Washington has also offered training for security forces and logistical help.

NO U.S. TROOPS

The Obama administration has ruled out sending U.S. forces to help fight against Islamist militants. The last U.S. involvement in Somalia — during Clinton’s husband Bill Clinton’s presidency — ended in shambles.

In a battle that inspired the film “Black Hawk Down”, 18 U.S. soldiers were killed in Mogadishu in October 1993, marking the beginning of the eventual withdrawal of a U.S.-U.N. peacekeeping force from Somalia.

There is still debate within the Obama administration over how to handle the crisis and whether putting full U.S. support behind Ahmed is wise.

Ahmed was elected in January under a U.N.-brokered process that was Somalia’s 15th attempt to set up a central government since 1991.

Africa expert Jennifer Cooke of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington thinktank, said while Ahmed’s government was seen as imperfect, he was also viewed by many as the only option available.

“I am not sure what she is going to get out of this meeting,” said Cooke of Clinton’s meeting, which is also expected to tackle a rise in piracy off Somalia’s coast.

The Horn of Africa’s coastal waters — vital shipping lanes linking Asia and Europe — have become a focus of pirates who have made off with countless millions of dollars in ransom from hijacking vessels, including U.S.-flagged ships.

Pirates are expected to step up attacks on ships off Somalia’s coast in the coming months as the end of the monsoon season brings better weather.

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Ahmadinejad sworn in as Iran president amid crisis

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Ahmadinejad sworn in as Iran president amid crisis

TEHRAN, Iran — Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in Wednesday for a second term as president nearly two months after a disputed election triggered massive street protests, split Iran’s clerical leadership and brought attacks from within his own conservative camp over mistreatment of detained opposition activists.

In streets near parliament, security forces using batons dispersed hundreds of protesters who chanted “Death to the Dictator,” witnesses said. Some wore black T-shirts in a sign of grief and others wore green — the color of the opposition movement. A middle-aged woman carried a banner warning Iran’s leaders if they do not listen to people’s demands, they will face the same fate as Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was toppled in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Key opposition leaders, moderate lawmakers and all three of Ahmadinejad’s election challengers boycotted the swearing in ceremony. State-run Press TV said more than 5,000 security forces deployed around the parliament building and police with sniffer dogs patrolled the area after the opposition called for demonstrations to coincide with the inauguration.

In his inaugural address, Ahmadinejad seemed to tone down his often-bellicose rhetoric and emphasized his plans to improve the faltering economy. He demanded that Iran be on an equal footing with other world powers and denounced foreign interference. The government has accused the U.S. and the West of backing street protests.

“We must play a key role in the management of the world,” Ahmadinejad said. “We will not remain silent. We will not tolerate disrespect, interference and insults,” he added. “I will spare no effort to safeguard the frontiers of Iran.”

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Taliban – News Africa Nigeria’s Boko Haram chief ‘killed’

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Taliban – News Africa Nigeria’s Boko Haram chief ‘killed’

Nigerian police have claimed the killing of Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of an Islamic group Boko Haram while in detention.

A police officer said Yusuf, blamed for violence that killed hundreds of people in northern Nigeria, was shot dead following his capture on Thursday.

“He has been killed. You can come and see his body at the state police command headquarters,” Isa Azare, spokesman for the police command in the northern city of Maiduguri, said.

The death announcement came after reports said that at least 180 people had been killed and thousands displaced following clashes between security forces and fighters from the group, which seeks to impose Islamic law across Africa’s most populous country.

Al Jazeera’s Yvonne Ndege, reporting from Borno state in northern Nigeria, said: “One cannot be a hundred per cent sure of what the police are saying about the capture and death of Mohammed Yusuf for two reason.

“One, the military and police are under sustained political pressure to root out Boko Haram. Two, on Wednesday we were told that Yusuf and at least 300 of his supporters fled Maiduguru as they were being pursued by Nigerian security forces.

“What we have asked the Nigerian police force for is evidence that they have actually captured Mohammed Yusuf but we have not got it.”

News of Yusuf’s death came after the group’s deputy leader was reported to be among dozens of people killed after troops shelled Boko Haram’s base in the city of Maiduguri.

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