Category: Somalia

U.S. suspends aid to Somalia’s battered military over graft

The United States is suspending food and fuel aid for most of Somalia’s armed forces over corruption concerns, a blow to the military as African peacekeepers start to withdraw this month. African Union (AU) troops landed in Mogadishu a decade ago to fight al Shabaab Islamist militants and Somali forces are supposed to eventually take over their duties. But the United States, which also funds the 22,000-strong peacekeeping force, has grown frustrated that successive governments have failed to build a viable national army. Diplomats worry that without strong Somali forces, al Shabaab could be reinvigorated, destabilize the region and offer a safe haven to other al Qaeda-linked militants or Islamic State fighters. The U.S. suspension of aid came after the Somali military repeatedly failed to account for food and fuel, according to private correspondence between the U.S. and Somali governments seen by Reuters. “During recent discussions between the United States and the Federal Government of Somalia, both sides agreed that the Somali National Army had failed to meet the standards for accountability for U.S. assistance,” a State Department official told Reuters last week, on condition of anonymity. “We are adjusting U.S. assistance to SNA units, with the exception of units receiving some form of mentorship, to ensure that U.S. assistance is being used effectively and for its intended purpose,” the official said. The U.S. suspension comes at a sensitive time....

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Plane carrying deportees to Somalia returns to the United States

A plane with deportees to Somalia, including at least four from Minnesota, returned to the United States Friday after a stop in Senegal that immigration authorities said did not go according to plan. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement that a flight with 92 deportees headed back after a refueling and pilot exchange stop in Dakar. As the plane landed in Dakar, ICE was notified relief crew members were not able to get enough rest because of issues with their hotel, and the plane remained parked at the airport to allow the relief crew time to rest. “Various logistical options were explored, and ultimately ICE decided to reschedule the mission to Somalia and return to the United States with all 92 detainees,” said the statement from the agency, which declined to provide further details. Local attorneys for several of the deportees on the flight said they were baffled by the turn of events — but hopeful the flight’s return might offer some of their clients a long-shot opening to block their deportations. The number of Somalia natives the United States deports to their homeland has increased markedly in recent years, and the Trump administration this year removed that country from a list of nations deemed uncooperative on deportations. The U.S. government has argued that conditions in the East African country have improved sufficiently to return people there. Advocates...

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OGADEN: Ethiopia’s Hidden Shame

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