Daily Archives: September 16, 2017

At Least Six Killed as Rival Somali Troops Clash in Mogadishu

WASHINGTON � At least six people were killed and eight others wounded Saturday when rival Somali government forces clashed in the capital, Mogadishu, officials and witnesses said.

We have the dead bodies of at least six people and eight injured civilians have been so far admitted at our facility, said Dr. Mohamed Yusuf, the director-general of the city’s main Madina Hospital.

Clashes erupted when Mogadishu’s Stabilization Security Unit clashed with a military unit based in the city’s Industrial Road in Hodan neighborhood.

Sounds of gunfire awakened the residents of the Hanta-Dheer area.

It started with sporadic gun shots just before dawn prayer, and then it escalated into heavy gunfire. When I came out of the house as the day wore on, the gunfire died down. I saw the dead bodies of at least three soldiers, said Hashi Hirey, a resident of the neighborhood.

It is not clear if those three dead soldiers included the bodies that were taken to the hospital.

Another resident, Ali Hassan, said It was around 3 p.m. local time when we heard the first gunfire. I was shocked and ducked under my bed, hearing the loud gunshots being fired. We didn’t know it was rival government soldiers clashing. I got suspicious about some terror attack, so we were alert.”

Later in the morning more government soldiers were deployed into the area and security officials were sent to go between the rival troops. What triggered the clash between the troops is still unclear.

Somalia’s defense minister, Abdurashid Abdullahi Mohamed, contacted by the VOA Somali Service, declined to give details, saying he was in a meeting with his top security officials on the matter and that he would give details later.

The intensity of the gunfire used during the clash forced residents in the neighborhood to flee to other parts of the city, where children and women carrying their belongings were seen arriving.

Another resident, Mohamed Nur Barre, said, They were using anti-aircraft machine guns and other heavy weaponry. In recent years, we only witnessed explosions and suicide attacks by the al-Shabab militants, but such heavy gunfire in residential neighborhoods reminded us when the militants were fighting in Mogadishu in 2010, that forced us to flee.

Somalia has been without a functioning central authority since the 1991 ousting of strongman Mohamed Siad Barre. Subsequent governments have not been able to maintain control.

Meanwhile, as government soldiers were clashing in Mogadishu, al-Shabab militants were attacking a key town near the border with Kenya.

Speaking to VOA Somali service, the district commissioner of El-Wak town in the Gedo region, Ibrahim Guuleed Aden, said al-Shabab fighters entered the town and left after looting some properties.

They attacked the town at dawn and briefly held as the troops retreated to the outskirt. They looted a storage facility owned by a local aid organization before they withdraw, said Aden.

He said the attack caused no casualties.

El-Wak is on the border with Kenya, and it is a key transit point for Kenya military convoys carrying supplies to forces serving as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia known as AMISOM.

Source: Voice of America


CAPE TOWN, — Members of the South African Parliament’s Committee on Trade and Industry have called for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the local content in the locomotive procurement contract of Transnet, a State-owned rail, port and pipeline company.

The members are unhappy with responses from Transnet management on why there are no penalties for suppliers of the locomotives worth 50 billion Rand (about 3.8 billion US dollars).

Transnet chief executive officer Siyabonga Gama had told the committee Friday that while the company imposes penalties for localisation, it does not do so for local content.

MP Adrian Williams from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) said: We have been in the field and been to factories where they said to us that you are not ordering from them; that you are getting the wheels from somewhere else and you are telling us there is a communication problem.

“Is this a capacity issues because you can’t come here and tell us localisation is not happening because of a communication problem. I call for an independent committee investigation. I think they (Transnet) are stalling. This completely is a waste of time.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA), the country’s leading opposition party, said the inquiry was aimed getting answers to the locomotives contract issue after two failed attempts at extracting answers from GamaS who appeared earlier before the committee to answer for the many allegations which have dogged the purchase.

The allegations include the involvement of the Gupta family through associate Salem Essa’s Tequesta GroupS which purportedly received 5.3 billion Rand in kickbacks from China South RailS the contracted supplier of the locomotives, and the nature of the relationship between Gama and Essa in relation to the contracts.

“We know that State-owned enterprises such as Transnet have become ground-zero for the Guptas to rob and loot SA of its resourcesS” DA representative on trade and industry Dean MacPherson said in a statement.

He said Transnet could not be allowed to get away with protecting one family at the expense of good governance and fighting corruption. “That’s why only a committee inquiry can finally get to the bottom of this mess and finally bring accountability to this incredible theatrical act which is costing South Africans billions.”