Source: Integrated Regional Information Networks
Date: 8 Sept 2000

Horn of Africa: IRIN Weekly Round-up 1 covering the period 4 - 8 Sep 2000
SOMALIA: Faction leaders condemn new interim authority

Faction leaders in Somalia opposed to the newly elected interim authority have called for new peace talks in which they should lead the process, the independent daily 'Xog Ogaal' reported on Monday. It said the faction leaders, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad, Husayn Aydid, Uthman Ato, Husayn Haji Bod, Adan Gabiyow and Mawlid Ma'ni Mahmud, had issued a four-point statement after meeting on Sunday in Garowe, capital of Puntland in northeastern Somalia.

In a separate statement carried by the independent Banaadir Radio, Husayn Aydid, reportedly called on the international community not to recognise the newly elected president. In a broadcast monitored by the BBC, he said such recognition could lead to renewed faction fighting in Somalia which has been without a central government during a decade of civil war and anarchy.

Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad, the leader of Puntland in northeast Somalia, and the Mogadishu faction leader Husayn Muhammad Aydid were reported subsequently to have reached an agreement during a meeting in Nairobi to oppose the new interim government, according to Wednesday's independent daily, 'Xog-Ogaal'.

SOMALIA: New premier to be named after UN summit

In his first official visit to a foreign country since his inauguration in Djibouti and a visit to Somalia, interim President Abdulqasim Salad Hasan of Somalia visited the Egyptian capital, Cairo, at the weekend, news reports said on Monday.

At a news conference on Sunday, he was quoted by the MENA Egyptian news agency as saying he would appoint a new prime minister once he had returned from the UN Millennium Summit, which opened in New York on Wednesday. Reacting to the stance of the faction leaders, he urged them "to join him during this crucial stage, assuring that the Somali people were the party ruling the country".

He also said that the Somali people needed Arab support in such difficult circumstances. The Egyptian agency, MENA, said Abdiqasim Salad had also called on Arab countries to deal with the new interim leadership elected in Djibouti "as this was a request of the Somali people. The Somali people want to live in peace," he said, adding that he would announce a detailed plan to reconstruct war-ravaged Somalia.

SOMALIA: UN summit marks end to diplomatic isolation

Ending nearly a decade of diplomatic isolation, Somalia's newly elected president, Abdiqasim Salad Hasan, gathered with world leaders in New York on Wednesday for the opening of the UN Millennium Summit. "I am so happy that we are back here after over 10 years of absence from the international scene," he told Reuters. "The message we bring is one of peace for Somalia, peace for the Horn of Africa and for Africa as a whole. Let bygones be bygones and let us start a new relationship between ourselves, with our neighbours and the international community."

The reports said the Somali flag was raised at the UN headquarters for the first time in 10 years as Abdiqasim Salad prepared for his speech before the summit on Friday.

Abdiqasim Salad, also apologised to the UN for the bloody clashes between UN peacekeepers and Somalis in the 1990s. "Mistakes were made on both sides but I would like to apologise to the United Nations and the world for the errors committed by Somalis," he said.

SOMALIA: Egypt pledges support for interim authority

Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Musa has pledged Egyptian support to help rebuild Somalia following the election of a new transitional government, the MUSA Egyptian news agency reported on Tuesday. It said the pledge was made on Monday when visiting Somali President Abdiqasim Salad Hasan was received by Amr Musa at the 114th ministerial session of the Arab League.

Amr Musa also said the Arab League would issue resolutions on Somalia that would promote Abdiqasim Salad and pave the way for Arab participation in the reconstruction of the capital, Mogadishu, much of which is in ruins following a decade of war and anarchy.

SOMALIA: Hopes for improved humanitarian access

Randolph Kent, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative and Designated Official for Somalia, has said he hoped that humanitarian access in Somalia would improve now that a new president and an interim parliament, the Transitional National Assembly (TNA) had been elected. In an interview published by IRIN on Monday, Kent cited at least three levels at which he saw hope for improvement.

SOMALIA: Somaliland detains newly elected MP

The authorities in the self-ruled northwestern territory of Somaliland have reportedly arrested a newly elected MP serving with Somalia's new Transitional National Assembly (TNA) and charged him with treason. According to a broadcast on Monday by Hargeysa Radio, monitored by the BBC, the TNA member, Garaad Abshir Salah, is a traditional leader, who travelled to the Somali peace talks in neighbouring Djibouti.He was said "to have undermined the sovereignty of the Republic of Somaliland. Mr Salah will be arraigned in court and charged with treason for the crime he committed against his country," the radio said, quoting a statement issued by the Somaliland Ministry of Interior.

SOMALIA: Puntland officers refuse to detain returning delegates

Meanwhile, in the neighbouring northeast territory of Puntland, a local weekly, 'Yool', reported on Monday that 11 senior security officers had been dismissed following an incident in which security officers refused to arrest delegates returning from the Djibouti conference.

SOMALIA: Over 23 killed in clashes killed in clashes

Clashes between heavily armed rival militias on Monday near the town of Jowhar about 90 km north of the capital Mogadishu have resulted in at least 23 deaths and 18 wounded, news agencies reported. They said the fighting between gunmen of the Galje'l and Hawadle sub-clans of the major Hawiye clan and erupted after the Galje'l alleged attacked the Hawadle village of Dai'f.

SOMALIA: Grenade explodes in Mogadishu

At least two people were killed and others were wounded on Tuesday night when a grenade exploded at the Bakaaraha Market in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, sources told IRIN on Wednesday. The sources said they did not have details of incident or who was responsible for the detonation.

SOMALIA-ETHIOPIA: UNHCR says voluntary repatriation of Somalis continuing

UNHCR has said that the number of Somali refugees repatriated from Ethiopia this year has now reached 30,000, following the voluntary repatriation of 1,539 people from the Hartisheik camp on 18 August. In a statement on Friday, it said that it had helped a total of 111,877 refugees return to Somalia since 1997 when the repatriation programme started.

"As of today, there are some 136,000 Somalis left in eight camps in eastern Ethiopia," the UNHCR statement said. Citing the repatriation of Somali refugees from Kenya, which started this year, it said that so far some 800 people had returned home from the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps: "We are waiting for conditions to improve in southern Somalia before facilitating the return of another 140,000 Somalis still in Kenyan camps."

SOMALIA: Somaliland in trade and transport agreements with Ethiopia

The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia has signed an agreement on the transfer of business letters of credit with the Bank of Somaliland, according to a report on Wednesday by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

It said that the infrastructure needed to develop Somaliland's trade with Ethiopia had received a boost when the offices of the new Somaliland Roads Authority (SRA), a joint venture between the government and private sector, and supported by the European Union (EU), officially opened in Hargeysa on 23 May.

The SRA had already begun maintenance work on more than 150 km of road between Berber and Kalabeit along the road corridor to Ethiopia. It said a second US $4 million road rehabilitation project by the EU and Denmark had also been signed. The project would upgrade the road network between Dila-Hargeisa-Berbera and Burao.

SUDAN: Rebel leader Garang explains stalling of peace talks

John Garang, leaderof the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) has said some items on the agenda and a two-track peace initiative were the main reasons for the stalling of the peace efforts in Sudan. An SPLA spokesman in Nairobi also told IRIN on Monday that the Sudanese government had changed the timetable for peace talks three times.

SUDAN: Government to attend peace talks

The government of Sudan said on Monday it would attend scheduled peace talks on 21 September in Nairobi, Kenya, with the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), state news media reported. Ahmad Ibrahim al-Tahir, presidential adviser on peace issues, told Omdurman radio that talks would go ahead as planned. The talks are to be held under the auspices of the regional Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

SUDAN: Ummah to participate in opposition umbrella group meetings

The Ummah party has decided to participate in meetings of the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Asmara by virtue of its membership of the domestic NDA, a senior official of the party was on Monday quoted by a Khartoum newspaper as saying. News reports said Ummah Party Vice-Chairman Umar Nur al-Da'im had decided the party would be represented in a 21-member delegation of the domestic NDA which would proceed on Wednesday to seek to take part in the NDA general conference opening in the Eritrean capital on Friday.

SUDAN-ERITREA: Troops move to eastern Sudanese border

Eritrean troops and Eritrean-based Sudanese opposition forces have moved into positions along the border with eastern Sudan, according to news reports on Wednesday quoting the independent Sudanese daily, 'Al-Sahafi Al-Dawli'. The reports, which were not independently confirmed, said the Eritrean soldiers and opposition forces of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) had moved from the Eritrean interior to points just across the border from Shelalub, Awad and Haferet in Sudan's eastern Kassala state.

The newspaper, reporting from Kassala, said the Eritrean and SPLA forces had taken up the new positions to thwart Sudanese government army plans to retake Hameshkoreb town, which the SPLA occupied last year.

SUDAN: New US envoy appointed

A new US charge d'affaires, Raymond Brown, has been appointed to Sudan, official media reports said on Thursday. Brown will replace Donald Teitelbaum, who has been posted to Uganda. The reports said he would be based in Nairobi, Kenya, and travel regularly to Sudan.

Sudanese deputy Foreign Minister Gebriel Rorec, who met with the two envoys Wednesday, told them of Khartoum's readiness for "continued" negotiations with the US to "remove obstacles that hinder the normalisation of ties with Washington."


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said it had been able visit Ethiopian POWs held at various locations in Eritrea. In a statement on Friday, it said ICRC delegates between 29 August and 1 September had visited Ethiopian POWs held at Nakfa camp, as well as Ethiopian inmates at a prison and two other internment camps, where its staff had been registering civilian internees.

ETHIOPIA: Newspapers to shut down

Private newspapers in Ethiopia have said they will stop publishing for one week when the country celebrates its new year on 11 September in protest at the rising costs of printing, news reports said on Tuesday. The reports said the decision had been taken at an emergency meeting in Addis Ababa on Saturday attended by more than 40 representatives of the Amharic language press and distributors of independent newspapers.

ETHIOPIA: Donor humanitarian contributions sought

Following a UN appeal on 24 August for drought victims in Ethiopia, WFP said contributions were being sought from donors for US $30.5 million, for the period September to January. Some US $15.1 million was required for food needs and related costs and US $15.4 million for the agriculture, health, nutrition, water and sanitation, emergency education, humanitarian mine action, and HIV/AIDS sectors.

For details see: 87392c278525694d00655c1e?OpenDocument]

ERITREA: WFP assistance to war victims

WFP has said it has distributed 9,357 mt of food to 388,737 war victims in Debub, Gash Barka and Mekete camps in Northern Red Sea Region and 50,780 drought victims in Anseba in August.

In its latest monthly emergency report, it said a crop performance assessment and post-distribution monitoring project had been conducted in Afabet, Kamchewa, Felket and Northern Red Sea. It found that late rainfall had delayed cultivation and planting and that the majority of farmers had no seeds. It also found that 10 percent of arable land had not been cultivated.

[For details see: 87392c278525694d00655c1e?OpenDocument]

HORN OF AFRICA: New humanitarian reports

UNICEF, in its latest series of situation reports, said it had dispatched over nine relief flights into Horn of Africa countries since April. These included four to Eritrea, three to Ethiopia, and one each to Kenya and Djibouti. Each flight carried up to 40 mt of relief supplies, including therapeutic milk and biscuits for malnourished children, medical equipment, and water purification supplies. It said the bulk was being procured locally within each country, speeding delivery and supporting the local economy.

Manuel Aranda da Silva, the United Nations Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Horn of Africa, said: "Generous donor support is absolutely essential if we are to avert the current crisis from degenerating into widespread famine."


UNICEF said a decade of conflict had left villages, schools, and health facilities looted and destroyed. Crop production and livestock trade had suffered as families had been forced to abandon their home communites for security reasons. Nationwide, Somalia's infrastructure was in need of major repairs. The current state of the infrastructure, it said, made the distribution of humanitarian assistance even more difficult.


Sudan, it said, was one of the six countries most at risk in the Horn of Africa facing a potential famine. The UN estimated that 1.7 million people in Sudan would need food aid this year, with 75,000 at immediate risk. UNICEF, for its part, was concentrating its emergency efforts on supplementary and therapeutic feeding, providing essential drugs and vaccinations, and ensuring access to clean water supplies.


The UNICEF report said more than half of the Ethiopian population - over 10 million people - were at risk of starvation. It said 1.4 million of them were children under five. Aid workers reported that dozens of children in regions of southern Ethiopia were dying each day from malnutrition and diseases such as measles and tuberculosis. "While food is necessary, it is by no means alone," UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said after a recent five-nation tour of the Horn of Africa. "Malnourished children need supplemental feeding and special attention. Immunisations are required against disease. Sanitation and clean water prevent the spread of disease to begin with."

UNICEF said its response to the situation in Ethiopia was therefore multi-faceted, and included nutrition, health, water and environmental sanitation, shelter and agriculural needs, as well as education, landmine awareness, and women and children in need of special protection.


The report said that out of a population of 3.1 million, 1.5 million people were in urgent need of humanitarian assistance because of the border conflict with Ethiopia and severe drought conditions which had hit the country. Ninety percent of those in urgent need were women and children, the report said.

[For the full report, see: StartKey=Horn+of+Africa+Drought&Expandview]


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