A Somali refugee’s horrible experiences in Libya

This video, by CBS in the USA about Tawergha in Libya, says about itself:

Oct 23, 2011

Black Africans in Libya are being discriminated by brown skin Libyans. Racial slurs are directed at them, or worse.

From Amnesty International in London:

Libya: ‘I Cannot Explain How Terrible the Situation Was’

23 May 2013

Press release

This is part of a special ‘People on the Move’ series, highlighting the human rights violations faced by migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in every part of the world. These profiles are being published around the launch of Amnesty International’s Annual Report 2013.

Abubaker Ali Osman, a Somali engineer until recently living in Libya, never imagined he would become a refugee. But when violence broke out in the North African country in early 2011, he was forced to flee. He rented a car with his wife and six children and drove to Tunisia, where they lived in a refugee camp for a year.

The Osman family now live in Germany, from where Abubaker spoke to Amnesty International about the challenges facing refugees.

I’m from Somalia but I moved to Libya in 1985. I was working as an engineer and teacher in a university in central Libya. I was living there with my wife and six children, who are all born in Libya.

I was working, doing a normal job, living a normal life. Everything was good until February 2011 when the uprising erupted. The situation became very dangerous. I was living in the university campus with my family but Libyans started accusing people from Somalia and other countries of being al-Gaddafi mercenaries. Many people were killed because of these false accusations even though many were like me, normal workers.

I was living in the campus of the faculty and it was safe there but the danger was around me. The threat was there. Also we were living very close to military installations that NATO was bombing. That was terrifying the children and all of us.

When the crisis escalated, we started hearing the noise of bullets nearby, plus the shortage of food and the mobs started getting closer. I got scared for my children and we decided to leave in August 2011.

My older children wanted to stay and started asking, “Where will we go?” I faced the reality that I come from Somalia, with a very different reality so there was nowhere to go.

So we decided to move. Reaching the border with Tunisia was not easy. We had heard many stories of people who faced problems on the road and that some people had been killed. But there was no alternative.

We rented a car, took some clothes and fortunately reached the Libya-Tunisia border safely.

When we arrived at the border, the UN agencies took us to the Choucha refugee camp. We lived there for nearly a year.

The situation there was very difficult.

Thousands of people had left Libya for Tunisia. More than 3,000 people were staying in Choucha refugee camp. They had nowhere else to go.

The UN gave us three tents to live in as we were a large family. We had food.

In the refugee camp sometimes there were problems between people. Organization was a problem and sometimes there were fights. There were also many problems when the sandstorms came. There were also clashes between the local Tunisians and the refugees.

For my children it was all very difficult. They had never seen anything like that. They wanted to go back but I explained to them it was too dangerous. After two months, they adjusted.

Two months after arriving, I started volunteering as a translator in the camp and so did one of my children.

I cannot express in words how difficult the situation was for everybody.

While we were at the refugee camp, the [UN Refugee Agency] UNHCR started to conduct some interviews. Many countries offered to accept refugees although unfortunately the UK and France, who were leading the NATO bombardment, took hardly anybody! My file was fortunately accepted by the German government.

It was a long process and some people are still there waiting but fortunately our file was processed fast. We were lucky.

It’s hard to explain how great it was to be in that terrible situation and be given that news.

On 2 September 2012 we were told that we were going to Germany the next day. We didn’t sleep that night.

When we arrived in Germany we landed in Hanover. We finally slept safely for the first time in one year.

We are now in Berlin. My children are going to school and my wife and I are learning German.

I sincerely hope that now, in Germany, this family will never meet German nazi terrorists or other xenophobes.

Less female genital mutilation in Somalia

This video says about itself:

March 7, 2013

UNICEF correspondent Susannah Price reports on a campaign to end female genital mutilation/cutting in Somalia.

From Sabahi:

Somalia: Northern Somalia Sees Drop in Female Genital Mutilation

17 April 2013

Incidents of female genital mutilation (FGM) appear to be declining in the Somaliland and Puntland regions of Somalia, according to a report released Tuesday (April 16th) by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Three-fourths of girls aged 10 to 14 in the Puntland and Somaliland regions have not been circumcised, whereas more than 98% of women aged 15 and above have, the survey found.

UNICEF and its regional partners surveyed more than 9,000 families in Puntland and Somaliland in the 2011 global Multiple-Indicator Cluster Survey. This is the first time the survey included questions on daughters’ ages and whether they were circumcised.

The survey did not include southern Somalia, where the federal government is fighting al-Shabaab. Both the Somali federal government and al-Shabaab have banned FGM.

UNICEF Chief of Child Protection in Somalia Sheema Sen Gupta called the findings a promising indicator for long term reductions in the practice, which the UN General Assembly banned in December.

“FGM is practiced just around puberty,” Gupta said. “It usually spikes in the [aged] 10 to 14 group and to see that it was at 25%, that was fantastic.”

With possibly around 170,000 women and girls affected, a greater urgency in dealing with female genital mutilation is required, writes HILARY BURRAGE: here.

Somali prisoners killed without trial

This video is called Ethiopian troops’ massacre of Somali civilians, April 21 2008.

From Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu, Somalia):

Somalia: Prisoners Killed in Belad Hawo, Gedo Region

By Maalik_som, 3 April 2013

There are reports coming from Baled Hawo region in Gedo that three prisoners in the custody of the Government were last night shot dead.

This happened after the Government troops took the prisoners out of the cells and started to persecute two of the prisoners who were suspected to be members of Alshabab. The third prisoner was said to be a student and a stray bullet caught him during the incident which resulted in his death.

Shabelle media contacted the local Gedo administration, their response was that it was a mistake that happened and cannot be explained how it happened and why it happened. They promised leaders of the region that they will sit down and find a solution for the problem.

The killing of prisoners in Baled Hawo town comes weeks after similar incidents that occurred at the prisons in Mogadishu. The federal government has not yet explained the reasons behind these ugly incidents.

Somali police rape woman, then jail her

Part of the propaganda of NATO country governments to sell their “humanitarian” wars to their subjects is to claim that the bloody wars are “for women’s rights”.

Supposedly George W. Bush invaded Iraq, with over a million dead people, millions of wounded people and four million refugees as results, “for Iraqi women’s rights”. In fact, the situation for women in Iraq now is very much worse than before the 2003 invasion.

Supposedly, first George W. Bush, later other NATO governments, invaded Afghanistan “for Afghan women’s rights”. In fact, the new pro NATO regime in Kabul proved to be as misogynistic as their Taliban predecessors, in some cases even worse. Contrary to ads paid by Dutch taxpayers telling Dutch TV viewers to join the air force “to help Afghan girls go to school”, in fact not one Afghan girl more went to school as a result of the bombing by Dutch airplanes. Never mind the Afghan girls killed or wounded by NATO bombs.

In Libya in 2011, ultra religious militias with al Qaeda links were the ground troops of the ‘free world’. After they won that bloody war with the help of NATO bombs and British SAS and Qatari soldiers, they killed the United States ambassador and made the women’s rights situation much worse.

Somalia is another country where NATO governments invaded and waged war. Sometimes the NATO armed forces themselves; sometimes using Ethiopian, Ugandan or Kenyan soldiers as proxy cannon fodder.

This video is called Somali women raped by Ethiopian troops.

In Somalia, the invaders tried to prop a regime in parts of the capital Mogadishu, consisting of brutal warlords who during the 1990s had dragged the dead bodies of US American soldiers through the streets.

How does this pro Pentagon pro NATO government act in women’s rights issues?

From the BBC:

30 January 2013 Last updated at 13:30 GMT

Somalia: Anger over woman charged after alleging rape

A human rights group has urged Somali authorities to drop charges against a woman who accused security forces of raping her.

The woman, who has not been named, could face between three and six years in prison for insulting a government body and making a false accusation.

Four others, including her husband and a journalist, have also been charged.

US-based Human Rights Watch said the charges “made a mockery of the new Somali government’s priorities”.

‘Politically motivated’

Attorney General Abdulkadir Mohamed Muse brought charges against the five of insulting a government body and persuading someone to give false evidence or giving false evidence, among other accusations, in a court in the capital, Mogadishu, on Tuesday.

The charged journalist, Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, has been in detention since 10 January.

Two days earlier he had interviewed the woman about the rape allegations, but did not report the story.

The police allege he collected material for a news report by al-Jazeera about rape in camps for displaced people in Mogadishu. The Qatar-based news network has said Mr Ibrahim was not involved in its story.

According to Human Rights Watch, the woman retracted her allegations after two days of police interrogation without a lawyer present.

Afterwards she was released, but her husband was arrested in her place. A man and woman who helped introduce her to the journalist were also arrested.

Mr Muse told the BBC Somali service on Saturday that the accused had plotted to discredit the government and its security forces – and the woman and her accomplices had been paid by the journalist to lie.

An investigation had revealed that the police station where the woman had originally reported the alleged rape in Hodan, a district in Mogadishu where many displaced people live, had found no medical evidence to back up her rape allegation, he said.

The BBC’s Mohamed Mwalimu in Mogadishu says the woman, who is caring for a child, has to report to the police twice a day. The other four accused remain in jail.

Media organisations in the city have been outraged by the case and have held demonstrations in protest, he says.

“Bringing charges against a woman who alleges rape makes a mockery of the new Somali government’s priorities,” Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

“The police ‘investigation’ in this case was a politically motivated attempt to blame and silence those who report on the pervasive problem of sexual violence by Somali security forces.”

He said donor countries funding Somalia’s police force and criminal justice system needed to make it clear that “they won’t be party to injustices”.

When President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was asked about the case on a visit to the US earlier this month, he said it was a legal matter in which he could not interfere.

The trial will resume on Saturday in Banadir regional court in Mogadishu.

See also here.

US-backed Somalia Regime Admits Soldiers Raped Women: here.

U.S.-Backed Somalia Army Accused of Abusing Women: here.

United States wars, new film

This video from the USA says about itself:

Jan 22, 2013

DemocracyNow.org – Premiering this week at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, the new documentary, “Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield,” follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill to Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen as he chases down the hidden truths behind America’s expanding covert wars. We’re joined by Scahill and the film’s director, Rick Rowley, an independent journalist with Big Noise Films.

“We’re looking right now at a reality that President Obama has essentially extended the very policies that many of his supporters once opposed under President Bush,” says Scahill, author of the bestseller “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army,” and a forthcoming book named after his film.

“One of the things that humbles both of us is [when] you arrive at a village in Afghanistan and knock on someone’s door, you’re the first American they’ve seen since the Americans that kicked that door in and killed half their family,” Rowley says. “We promised them that we would do everything we could to make their stories be heard in the U.S. — finally, we’re able to keep those promises.”

Watch this interview uninterrupted: http://www.democracynow.org/2013/1/22/dirty_wars_jeremy_scahill_and_rick

Somali Pentagon allies’ anti-civilian violence

This video is called Civilians bear the brunt of Somalia fighting.

From Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu, Somalia):

Somalia: Large Anti-Government Rally in Somalia

15 October 2012

Shalanbod — Hundreds of people, including women and children have Monday taken to the main streets in Shalanbod town of Lower Shabelle Region, 110 Km south of Mogadishu, to protest against increasing robbery.

Reports said the protesters gathered at squares in the city as they have been carrying banners with written slogans against Somali forces controlling the town.

“The army began robbing, killing and beating the local civilians, after they were attacked yesterday by unknown assailants. We don’t know why they [forces] are committing such offence acts,” a resident [said] at the rally.

However, the residents called upon the Somali government to stop soon the army from continuing their hateful actions in the town and bring to justice [those] who committed robbery.

Kenyan Amisom soldier kills six Somali civilians: here.

Kenyan army kills Somali civilians

This video is called ‘Somali civilians’ killed in Kenyan air raids.

From Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu, Somalia):

Somalia: Kenya’s Massacre Against Somali Civilians Is Under Investigation

24 September 2012

Janay Abdala — At least nine innocent civilians were massacred by the Kenyan military, serving under the African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in southern Somali village on Sunday, and reports said.

The shooting happened in Janay Abdalla, a small village located just about 50km from the militant-held port city of Kismayo, when Al shabab fighters attacked the allied forces in the area.

On Monday, Somali and Kenyan forces are reportedly reached in Janay Abdalla, where the Kenyan forces shot and killed at least 9 pastoral men as they were buying sugar at shopping malls in the village.

Locals expressed shock and angry over the automatic mass killing by Kenyan forces and called for community protection during such military operations.

Saving Kenya’s rare antelopes


From The Star (Nairobi, Kenya):

Kenya: World’s Rarest Antelope Gets New Home

By Raabia Hawa, 3 September 2012

One of the world’s rarest antelope now has a new home in Marasabit. The Kenya Wildlife Service and the Northern Rangeland Trust have successfully introduced the rare species of the antelope – the hirola – to a sanctuary in Ishaqbini. The hirola is the world’s most endangered antelope having rapidly declined from roughly 14,000 in the 1970s to just about 430 today.

It is only found in small pockets of bushland in Kenya and Somalia. It is also said that it is likely to be the first mammal to become extinct in Africa in modern history if steps are not taken protect it. In collaboration with KWS, the Northern Rangeland Trust have completed, with the help of the Nature Conservancy, a 3,000 acre predator-proof sanctuary.

The aim of the sanctuary is to protect endangered animals by providing a secure environment for them to increase in population. It is seen by experts as possibly the last effort to save the hirola from extinction. The six-day operation saw the hirolas being tagged and individually airlifted by helicopter to the new sactuary from the Tana area and the Somali border.

Two oryx, eight topi, eight zebra and a few giraffes were also transported to the safe-haven. The capture and relocation was a success with no deaths recorded. The team also managed to remove six cheetahs and six hyenas and place them outside the fenced area. The future looks hopeful for the Hirola with the establishment of the new sanctuary in Kenya, and the animals will continue to be monitored.

United States bombs Somali civilian buildings

This video is called Civilians bear the brunt of Somalia fighting.

From Garowe Online (Garowe, Somalia):

Somalia: Air Strikes Hit Coastal Town in Bari Region

24 August 2012

Qandala — Air strikes reportedly from a US military aircraft or naval ship on the coastal town of Qandala caused damage to many buildings in the town, Garowe Online reports.

So, this time the bombs apparently hit “only” civilian buildings. Unlike one of those other times or another one of those other times, and unlike the time when United States helicopter bombs bombed a Somali wedding.

According to sources in Qandala the strikes hit Thursday afternoon after naval ships which had been patrolling the coast of Qandala for days. It is unclear as of yet if the strikes were from a naval ship or planes that had taken off from the naval ship as attempts to reach US naval bases stationed in Somali waters failed.

However residents in Qandala say that the strikes were from planes which had been doing surveillance on the coastal town for days. Sources close to Puntland government say that the areas which the US naval ships targeted were areas of specific interest. Last month Yemeni Al Qaeda operative and two other Al Shabaab agents smuggled in explosives but were caught by Puntland police. The two Al Shabaab agents escaped from the scene.

So, an excellent reason to bomb civilian buildings a month later. [Sarcasm off]

According to Puntland government the police are closing in on the two agents after uncovering new leads in the investigation. … Many Bossaso residents rushed to Qandala after hearing about the airstrikes bringing medicine and supplies to the remote coastal town.

It would be unfair to say that the United States armed forces are the only such problem in Somalia. So are some of their allies.

Human Rights Watch says:

Somalia: Protect Civilians in Kismayo – Three Dead, Two Wounded in Kenyan Naval Shelling

Witnesses Say Kenyan Navy in Reprisal Attacks On Somalia: here.