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Friday, August 1, 2014

Kenyan leader orders seizure of coastal zone - Africa - Al Jazeera English

Kenyan leader orders seizure of coastal zone - Africa - Al Jazeera English

Kenya's president has ordered the repossession of land, stretching over 2,000 square kilometres, which he said was taken "under dubious and corrupt circumstances" by 22 companies between 2011 and 2012.

Uhuru Kenyatta made the announcement on Thursday following evidence released in a report by the land ministry about the area in northeastern Lamu County.
Kenyatta said the vast coastal zone, nearly the size of Luxembourg and located around a proposed multi-billion dollar port area, had been stolen, fuelling a wave of massacres.
Last month, more than 100 people were killed in a wave of attacks, largely claimed by Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab fighters, although Kenyatta has previously said those killings were the work of "local political networks."
"This criminal conspiracy has dispossessed individuals and families living in this region of their land and opportunities for improving their well being," Kenyatta said.
"It has also helped fuel the current insecurity being experienced in the region, and frustrated our efforts in building cohesion in the country."
The area, near Kenya's restive border with war-torn Somalia, surrounds a planned $24bn port project zone intended to serve nations across east Africa, including oil pipelines to South Sudan, the AFP news agency reported.
"This criminality will neither derail nor delay one of the most transformational regional trade and investment projects of our time," Kenyatta said, after meetings earlier on Thursday with the leaders of Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda.
The land also surrounds the UNESCO-listed tourist island of Lamu, once popular with high paying visitors, including Hollywood celebrities, but now off limits according to most travel warnings issued by Western nations.
Kenyatta said he ordered the land ministry "to revoke and repossess these land parcels with immediate effect".
Despite the president's insistence that local groups carried out the recent attacks, al-Shabab said the killings were further retaliation for Kenya's military presence in Somalia.
Source: Aljazeera

Thursday, July 31, 2014

What’s Drawing Somali-American Teens To Foreign Militant Groups?

What’s Drawing Somali-American Teens To Foreign Militant Groups?

Abdi Mohamed Nur, a 20-year-old Somali-American, reportedly left his family in Minnesota to travel to Syria to join and fight alongside the Islamic State (formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS) last month.
Earlier this month, the FBI’s office in Minneapolis said Nur and about 15 other people from Minnesota drove to New Jersey, where they boarded a flight to Turkey. From Turkey, Nur then allegedly made his way to Syria, and the others to Somalia.
Despite the size of the group and the FBI’s involvement, though, few organizations have acknowledged the situation. The leader of the Somali Citizens League, based in Minneapolis said the FBI has not discussed details of the case with the organization.
“About these kids that left [Minnesota], as a community and citizens, of course it concerns us. The security and protection of our country, the U.S., it is our obligation,” said Jibril Afyare, president of the Somali Citizens League, to MintPress News. “Therefore, these alleged 15 kids that left — we don’t know. We have not seen any evidence that, indeed, they have left. We have not seen any evidence that, indeed, they are there.”
 Joining distant wars
After Nur left home, his sister, Ifran Mohamed Nur, contacted the FBI to report her brother missing. Two days later, the FBI told her that Abdi Mohamed Nur was in Turkey and that he was suspected of joining jihadist groups in Syria.
The news has unsettled Minnesota’s Somali community, which is also grappling with rumors that teens are being recruited by sheiks in Somali-American mosques in the Twin Cities. Earlier this year, it was also reported, though not yet confirmed, that Somali-American youths were involved in the Kenyan shopping mall attack claimed by al-Shabab.
For years, the large Somali-American community has served as a recruitment ground for terrorist groups — a trend that is now a major challenge for both the FBI and the Somali-American community in Minnesota. Since 2008, more than 20 Somali-Americans have left the Twin Cities to join the Somalia-based al-Shabab militant group.
This is eroding the positive image of many Somali-Americans who are simply trying to settle down after fleeing the years of political instability and carnage that have plagued their homeland. Many born in the U.S. are caught between two cultures: one that is politically chaotic — Somalia — and another that is organized and has laws in place for redress — America.
“The Somali-Americans in the U.S., especially in Minnesota, have contributed a lot in terms of the economy and the political process,” said Afyare. “We just elected the first Somali councilman to the City of Minneapolis. … We are a better society, we have brought a lot into this state and into this country — the U.S.”
Many teenagers — unemployed and lacking money — are targeted by Islamist militant groups with religious and patriotic appeals. Many Somali-American teens still call Somalia home, and they are urged to return and help fight for their country and against its perceived enemies.
This is why Afyare says now is the time to unite Somalis in Minnesota to fight against militant recruiters such as al-Shabab.
“We need to come together as a country and work on what unites us instead of what divides us,” he said.
 A lost generation
Known to the community as a “lost generation,” many Somali-American teenagers want to be part of the changes in Somalia but still embrace American life. Most of them are the children of Somali refugees who fled the country’s long bloody war in the 1990s, and the new generation of Somali-Americans are having trouble assimilating in their adopted home.
Community leaders believe Somalia’s long civil war, clan politics, and resettlement program to the U.S. have all contributed to a disruption in the traditional Somali family structure. For example, many of the young Somali-Americans — like their peers still in Somalia — lost their fathers in the civil war.
“The family structure is broken down,” said Saad Samatar, chair of the Horn Development Center, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit. “Single mothers are running the families, thus they can’t control the boys. [T]he father-figure is missing in the equation of the Somali family.”
In recent years, there have been many changes — both socially and politically — in Somalia and in the U.S. It’s now a race for many young people to catch up with developments in both countries, fit into both systems, and simultaneously satisfy the needs of both countries.
“They are part of this country [the U.S.], but fighting in other countries,” Samatar said. “For many of these teenagers, they are being indoctrinated and brainwashed by some of the extremist groups.”
Ka Joog, a group that promotes the arts in Minnesota’s Somali-American community, told MintPress last year that al-Shabab and other militant groups manipulate disaffected teenagers. These militant groups have employed a mix of religious propaganda, nationalism, and, to some extent, deception to recruit the more than 20 Somali-Americans youths from the Twin Cities to fight against foreign troops in Somalia in the past.
Analysts in the U.S. and abroad have also observed that it will be difficult for Western authorities to stop recruitment, since al-Shabab and other groups constantly try to reach out to youths that feel unwelcome, insulted, and discriminated against in the West.
“They feel that people don’t respect their culture and their values and their beliefs,” Mubin Shaikh, a Canada-based Muslim scholar who infiltrated radical groups while working for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, told Voice of America. “So it’s very easy for them to push away, to not feel they are citizens here [although] they live here. So the lure is with this group that offers them some meaning, some identity, something to be proud of.”
Meanwhile, Samatar also added that the lack of understanding of what it means to be a U.S. citizen contributes tremendously to the identity crisis felt by younger members of Minnesota’s Somali community.
For Somali activists, the question now is: How are the community’s young people slipping away from the Twin Cities to participate in faraway wars? A week before the FBI turned its focus on Somalis in Minnesota, Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, of Florida, was reportedly the first American citizen to have carried out a suicide bombing in Syria’s three-year civil war.
In light of the recent string of disappearances, the FBI, through its website, has asked the public to provide information on anyone known to, or suspected of, traveling to a foreign country to participate in armed combat — for example, those traveling to Syria to participate in the fight against President Bashar Assad.
Division and chaos boost recruitment efforts
This has all weighed heavily on Somalia’s political problems, as the international community continues to pressure the Somali government to contain al-Shabab and al-Qaida affiliates. In the Twin Cities, however, the Somali-American community is more concerned about their children and the trend of young people leaving to go fight wars abroad. Some have different views and perspectives on how the young people of the Somali community are being recruited by local and foreign terrorist groups both formerly and currently affiliated to al-Qaida.
“[A]s concerned citizens, we would like to cooperate with the authorities to help the parents. As a community, we would like to come together for the protection of our children, and our country — the U.S.,” Afyare, of the Somali Citizens League, said.
Within the community, there are signs of a division that is making it difficult for many to work on common ground to contain foreign extremist organizations recruiting Somali youths from Minnesota. Many in the community, including Afyare, believe that reconciliation for Somalis at home and abroad needs to take place.
The unstable situation in Somalia drives Somali youths in the U.S. and abroad to join warring factions in Syria and other countries in political turmoil, according to Afyare.
“Somalis need to come together. We need to work on our problems. We need to work on the security of our country. We need to make sure our youths are educated,” said Afyare. “To reach that, true reconciliation must take place. There are victims, there are people that have been hurt. Like South Africa, everybody has been through this.” 
FBI investigates
As the FBI continues to investigate whether young people from the Somali-American community are fighting in Syria, leaders in the community say the FBI met with some of of them at the Brian Coyle Community Center on June 12.
“We are reviewing the information… to identify persons who may have traveled, and persons who may have intention to travel [to Syria],” Kyle Loven, FBI chief division counsel in Minneapolis, told the media. “We plan to actively engage with the community to identify at-risk youths who may be considering travel to fight in Syria.”
The FBI stressed that most of the young Somali-Americans are reportedly recruited to join foreign terrorist organizations. Thus, according to Loven, the FBI is trying to ascertain if Minnesotans are involved.
On May 25, when Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha died in a suicide attack in Syria, the FBI stepped up its investigation of youths in the Somali community in Minneapolis. Many now believe the FBI is focusing heavily on their activities, including wiring money to relatives in Somalia and Kenya. Many Somali-Americans, such as those involved with the Somali Citizens League, say they have not been contacted by the FBI to discuss the missing young people — the group that allegedly included Abdi Mohamed Nur — who disappeared from the Twin Cities.
“They [the FBI] have not contacted me, but they have contacted a few in our community,” said Afyare. “My message to my community is to cooperate with the authorities because it is our interest to help them if there is such a case. … Our kids are missing, we’ve not seen it [the community's cooperation with the FBI] — none of it — yet.”
Loven, however, explained to MintPress that Nur’s case is part of an “active investigation,” and therefore, details of the case can not be discussed. He said the FBI is working with the Somali community in a “collaborative effort” to address the issue.
 Pressing questions, but so far, no answers
Federal law prohibits American citizens from taking up arms in foreign countries. The law also bars citizens from joining militant and terrorist groups in any part the world. As the list of young people leaving the Somali community in Minnesota to fight foreign wars continues to grow, many are still wondering what could compel their children who were born or who grew up in the U.S. to leave home to join militants and terrorist groups overseas.
AmeSomaliarican
Al-Shabaab fighters display weapons as they conduct military exercises in northern Mogadishu, Somalia. The new al-Shabab video, called “The Path to Paradise,” promises more in a series spotlighting recruits from Minnesota who abandoned the comforts of home in order to wage jihad against foreign troops in Somalia.
Talking to Somali-American organizations, many describe a cold feeling and uncomfortable relationship among many members of the community. They say the authorities now monitor their mosques and activists without addressing the reasons why their children are leaving: lack of resources; high unemployment rate; and a dearth of social and educational programs.
The community is concerned and wants to know who is recruiting the young Somalis to engage in foreign wars. Somali-Americans say they do not know who is luring the youths to join terrorist groups, but strongly believe that a lack of opportunities plays a major role.
“The high alarming rate of unemployment — the worst in more than ten years — and a lack of investment in the community is the problem,” said Abdirizak Bihi, director of the Minneapolis Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center.
He also noted that the young Somali-American population is growing, but there are limited resources for engaging them.
“Somebody is mentoring them in the wrong direction,” said Bihi, whose organization has tried to provide such engagement for six years, requesting funds for after-school projects, but hasn’t received any assistance. “We can’t do anything, we have used all our resources.”
Shaikh, the Canada-based Muslim scholar, said that those who join the extremist groups do so because they have relatives or friends who have also joined. It’s in those networks where he believes recruitment occurs.
Meanwhile, although there is suspicion that most of the youths are influenced by mosque preachings, Bihi disagrees and says this can not be confirmed.
Though the FBI is working with the Somali community and seeking information, it is still difficult to determine the links in the “terror pipelines.” The pressing questions about who is recruiting the Somali youths from Minnesota to join al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabab in East Africa and the Islamic State in Syria have not yet been answered.
Abdimalik Askar, a candidate for state representative, told MintPress that most of the young people who left years ago surprised their parents, who, like many other Somalis, just want their children to learn about their muslim faith and be religious. When parents and family members learned that the young people had travelled abroad to fight, he said, they were puzzled and couldn’t find help.
“We want to know what they [teenagers] were learning in the mosques. They [parents] never saw that,” said Askar. “Who is behind this [recruiting young Somali-Americans] is the million-dollar-question? We never find the answer.”
Askar, also a doctoral student in leadership and education, added that the young Somali-Americans were sent to study the Quran in a few mosques in Minneapolis. The community was devastated to learn that some had abandoned the community to fight with al-Shabab.
“They are to be very careful and we’ll open our eyes. We want the children we bring to the United States to be able to learn. They need to be engineers, doctors, etc., and not go back. Though it is difficult to raise children in the U.S., we don’t want to lose anyone for nothing.”

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

UN envoy hails agreement to form new administration in central Somalia | GlobalPost

UN envoy hails agreement to form new administration in central Somalia | GlobalPost

The UN secretary-general's special representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, on Wednesday welcomed an agreement in principle to form a regional administration in central Somalia, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here.
Under the leadership of the Somali Federal Government, representatives from the region signed a document earlier Wednesday, in which they stated that they would work together toward the establishment of a new administration in central Somalia.
The signing was witnessed by envoys and senior representatives of the African Union, the European Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the United Nations. The agreement contains 11 points that pave the way for the creation of new regional state in central Somalia, reports said.
"Kay called this move the first step in a process of state formation in central Somalia and a sign of the country's progress towards meeting the goals set out in Vision 2016 and the Provisional Federal Constitution," Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here.
"He added that the UN remains committed to supporting the Federal Government's peace-building and state-building efforts," the spokesman added.

Somali women 'untapped resource' in fight against al-Shabaab - Sabahionline.com

Somali women 'untapped resource' in fight against al-Shabaab - Sabahionline.com

For years women in Mogadishu have been on the side-lines in the fight against al-Shabaab, but more recently they have begun to play a more active role by providing critical information about suspicious activity and people to security agencies, officials told Sabahi.
Women are an untapped resource and could play a more decisive role in defeating al-Shabaab, but have been so far underused in security efforts, said Jawahir Barqab, the director of the Benadir Women's Association, a Mogadishu-based non-governmental organisation that works to advance women's issues such as equal representation in politics and job opportunities.
Barqab said her organisation has been trying to change that situation since last December by facilitating the collaboration of security agencies with civilian women, and training women on how to monitor and report suspicious activities in their neighbourhoods.
"[So far] we have trained about 500 women who are reporting if they witness suspicious activity that could jeopardise [public] safety. We have also established a women's group in each of the 17 districts of Benadir region to manage security and cleaning efforts in the districts," Barqab told Sabahi.
The women, selected with the help of district commissioners, underwent a three-week training on the basics of what to look for when monitoring for suspicious activity, and how to use mobile text messages to report information, she said.
Barqab said the programme has been a success so far with trainees aiding security forces with actionable information that helped foil attacks and apprehend suspects. However, she said, more women are needed to join the fight against al-Shabaab to ensure security.
As responsible members of their communities, women should report anyone who appears willing to endanger the public, even if that person is her own brother or son, she said, adding that mothers should pay particular attention to their teenage sons to make sure they are not falling prey to al-Shabaab.
"A mother should befriend her son and observe his activities and every step he takes especially when he is going to school or going out of town," Barqab said. "She has to guard him against being brainwashed, which would lead him to inflict harm on the public."
Al-Shabaab militants value their distorted ideology more than anything and will not show mercy to their own relatives, she said. "If you hide them today, they will just kill you tomorrow. Therefore, it is better if you hand them over to the police so that you can save yourself, save your family and save the public in general," she warned women.
Warta Nabada District Commissioner Hussein Nur Issa said district security officials are now actively using the women trained by the programme and that their reports have saved lives.
"I greatly welcome these [training] efforts, and we have really taken advantage of them. The women have given us information on people who were engaged in destabilising actions such as planning explosions or preparing to assassinate a person, and we captured those people," Issa told Sabahi. "We have arrested individuals who came from regions far away and who were sent by al-Shabaab to create chaos in the city during Ramadan. This came about as a result of the women's efforts as they provided a lot of intelligence."
He called on the general public to develop a working relationship with the security agencies, especially with the police so that their security can be ensured and they can live in peace. Progress in the security situation in Benadir region and the rest of Somalia cannot be achieved without collaboration from the public, he added.

Government should provide incentives to women

Colonel Sharif Hassan Robow, who served in the National Security Service, Somalia's intelligence agency during the Mohamed Siad Barre regime, said al-Shabaab's actions can be prevented and Somalia can attain lasting stability if the government invests in types of efforts spearheaded by civilian women.
"The efforts of the women are great, but the government has to encourage those people and pay them so that they can forward accurate information," Robow told Sabahi.
"If the people who share information about al-Shabaab receive a monetary incentive and receive proper training on collecting intelligence, it will result in al-Shabaab's defeat," he said. "However, if there is no incentive, no one will volunteer information."
For her part, Fadumo Osman, a 22-year-old from Mogadishu's Hodan district, said she welcomes the news that women are working with security agencies on safeguarding security. However, she said, more women would consider joining if the government would take responsibility for their safety and promise the prosecution of any al-Shabaab member arrested as a result of their reports.
"If that promise is given, I would take part in these efforts myself," she told Sabahi. "My only worry is [if] al-Shabaab members who the women report [to police] are released back to the streets. [This] could result in many women being killed [by al-Shabaab in retaliation] and losing their lives that way."
"We are always ready to work for the security of our country so that Somalia can once again stand on its own feet. That can only come about if al-Shabaab and all the people who support them are eliminated from the country," she added.

Hani Garabyare's Journey From Somalia to the Senate : Roll Call Hill Life

Hani Garabyare's Journey From Somalia to the Senate : Roll Call Hill Life

When Hani Garabyare was a little girl, she prayed that she would be an American.

The 27-year-old Somali native is now a U.S. citizen and finds herself walking up Capitol Hill each day to work in the Senate.
When Garabyare was 3 years old, Somalia descended into civil war. Both her parents were members of the warring clans, so the ensuing chaos forced her family to flee the country.
“Everything that I knew collapsed,” said Garabyare.
Her mother recalled Garabyare praying each night to become an American. Even at a young age, Garabyare believed she would have a better life in the United States.
“America is always put on this high pedestal,” said the young Senate staffer. “It’s a land of freedom with an opportunity to rise.”
Garabyare and her family lived in the Utanga refugee camp in Kenya for four years. Her older brother had previously been sent to New York for schooling, so he helped the family through the asylum process that brought them to the United States.
With the additional help of Christian missionaries, the Garabyare family emigrated. They traveled first to Arlington, Va., and eventually settled in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Garabyare credits the U.S. government with helping to bring her family to America, which is why she wanted to work on Capitol Hill.
“I wouldn’t be in this country had it not been for United States legislation and people putting in an effort for immigration, especially refugees,” she said.
After receiving a master’s degree in public policy at Queen Mary University of London, Garabyare came to D.C. to intern for Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, D-N.Y. In 2012, the Somali native jumped at the opportunity to work for her home state’s senior senator: Democrat Carl Levin.
As a legislative aide with a focus on foreign policy, Garabyare relishes the opportunity to work on policies she is passionate about. She described meeting with various human rights groups as a fulfilling part of her job. “I feel like I have a role in helping them,” she said.
Garabyare is also active in the Congressional African Staff Association and said she feels a unique responsibility in being the only Somali staffer on the Hill.
“People can say a lot about Somalis or Somalia,” she said, noting that people often talk about her native country in the context of piracy, terrorism and anarchy.
“I want to give them a different perspective of what it is to be a Somali,” Garabyare said. “We are resilient people; we’re hard working and we’re also, if given the opportunity, we can excel very well in this country.”
Garabyare hopes to continue excelling on the Hill, although her future remains a bit uncertain with Levin retiring at the end of the year.
“I do want to stay on the Hill,” she said. “I feel like there’s more I can do.”

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Somali Refugees Find an Unlikely Home … In Istanbul

Somali Refugees Find an Unlikely Home … In Istanbul

Among the labyrinth of winding narrow streets just outside a major shopping centre in the Kumkapi neighbourhood of Istanbul is a rundown road, congested with shops and apartments stacked atop one another.

Cars somehow manage to come barrelling down the street as people slowly move to the narrow pavement already full of food carts and clothes strewn out on blankets for sale. Trash lazily rolls past groups of men engaged in conversation while sitting on buckets or leaning against shop windows. The area feels oddly serene.
This street is host to a community of African refugees, with the majority comprising Somali natives, and aptly named “Somalia Street”. Through word of mouth and family ties, Somali refugees seek a temporary home in this nook of Istanbul, in order to find some respite from the political and natural disasters that have devastated Somalia for decades.
Istanbul has become a staging post for Somalis hoping to eventually travel on to Australia, Canada or the United States, migration trend watchers say.  Because of the constant population flux, it is difficult to estimate the number of refugees actually living on the street at any given moment, but street residents say that there are a few hundred Somalis living there.
Dalmar, 30, a Somali refugee, has only been in Istanbul for a month with his brother Amet, 20, and lives in a small apartment with 12 other refugees. This arrangement is very common here. Often, refugees will live in small apartments with 20 or 30 other people.
“Istanbul is very temporary,” said Dalmar. “The living conditions are poor. Istanbul is expensive, and it is very hard to find work here.”
Turkish labour laws require a passport and residence card for employment, neither of which refugees can easily obtain. This has led to much illegal work, usually consisting of manual labour and odd jobs.
A refugee who has lived in Turkey for many years, Liban, 31, said he worked in various manual labour jobs when he first arrived in Istanbul. He pointed out that that the language barrier between Arabic and Turkish makes it “difficult to get jobs in the first place.”
Yet inhabitants appear to have established a unique community along the littered, cobblestone street. Most Somalis interviewed said they enjoy life in Istanbul. The community takes care of them as they arrive in droves. Often, refugees will find work with Kurdish shop owners, who seem rather protective of them.
During one interview with a group of refugees, a Kurdish man popped his head of his shop out to make sure they were not being harassed.
The Katip Kasim mosque stands on Somali Street, its low brick wall recently painted white and orange. The mosque is rather unassuming compared to the grandiose and elegant mosques around Istanbul.
Muammer Aksoy has worked as Katip Kasim’s imam for 19 years, and has seen the community change significantly. This area of Istanbul has always been a refuge for minority groups in Istanbul, beginning with Kurdish migrants from Turkey’s east. Romanian refugees arrived in the 1980s and 1990s. There has since been an increase in African refugees to the area, the majority arriving within the last five years.
During the holy month of Ramadan, Somalia Street unites. Somalis are very devout Muslims. Once the sun begins to set, the Katip Kasim mosque courtyard fills with people waiting in line to receive their dinner to break the fast, oriftar.
Imam Aksoy began the community iftar dinners eight years ago, after seeing a Somali refugee attempt to break his fast with a small piece of bread, and by drinking soiled water from the fountains used to wash feet before entering the mosque.
“It is my responsibility as the imam to take care of my community,” said Aksoy. “I don’t discriminate between people here. Everyone is welcome.”
The imam has enlisted a different shop owner on the street each evening to provide the iftar dinner for 300 people.
A long-time resident and family friend of the imam, Arzu, has also seen the change in the community. “Refugees come because they heard people take care of them here,” she said proudly.
Turkey and Somalia have an unlikely partnership. According to a 2013 report by the Norwegian Peace Building Centre, Turkey has established networks in Africa, Somalia in particular, to enable peace-building efforts and humanitarian initiatives. In turn, says the report, this “strengthens Turkey’s international image as a global peace actor.”
“The relationship between Somalia and Turkey is very recent. It was just in 2011 that this relationship began,” said Dalmar. “Now there are scholarships and programmes for students.”
Somalia receives more aid from Turkey than any other African nation, with 93 million dollars in 2011, and 1,500 Somali students received scholarships to study at the public Istanbul University in 2013.
Abdifitah, 25, who has been living in the community for one year, was a scholarship recipient. To take advantage of the opportunity, Abdifitah and his family moved together from Somalia. His family cannot find work, but has moved with him in order to support him.
“Istanbul gave me a chance to learn,” said Abdifitah.
Recently, Somali refugees have been moving to Turkey’s capital, Ankara, because work is easier to find, and housing is cheaper than in overcrowded Istanbul.
Liban lives with his family in Ankara, but makes a living as a translator for the local African football league in Istanbul. When asked if he would like to go somewhere else, he shook his head.
“When I was younger, I really wanted to go to America. Now, if someone handed me an American passport, I wouldn’t take it,” said Liban. “I have everything I want here.”

Freelance writer Hannah Tayson was a foreign correspondent intern with the Institute for Education in International Media (ieiMedia) in Istanbul during the summer of 2014. She can be contacted at htayson@scu.edu

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ethiopia eyes regional integration through highways | Economy | Worldbulletin News

Ethiopia eyes regional integration through highways | Economy | Worldbulletin News

A total of $610.6 million has been allocated for the implementation of the Ethiopian part of the project, with the funds coming from the Ethiopian government, international financial institutions and donor organizations.

Ethiopia is pinning high hopes that the construction of a network of inter-state highways that connects it with its East Africa neighbors would help achieve the aspired economic integration in the region.
“The roads would link Ethiopia with Sudan, Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia and Djibouti,” Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) Communication Director Samson Wondimu told Anadolu Agency.
The inter-state highways, which would stretch through 2000 kilometers, are expected to "play a significant role in bringing about economic and social integration in the region,” Wondimu added.
According to the official, the network would also be instrumental in creating more access to maritime ports for Ethiopia, a country that became landlocked following the 1991 cessation of Eritrea.
A total of $610.6 million has been allocated for the implementation of the Ethiopian part of the project, with the funds coming from the Ethiopian government, international financial institutions and donor organizations.
One of the highways is Assosa-Kumruk road, which would help Ethiopia get access to Port Sudan, Samson said. Another is the 324-kiolomter Shire-Adigosh-Humera-Lugdi, which also provides a shortcut to Port Sudan from the northern part of Ethiopia.
The roads would help Ethiopia export agricultural products to Sudan and import petroleum and other goods on the other way around, he said.
“Ethiopia has also constructed 122-kilometer Gambella-Etang-Jikawo asphalt road linking it to South Sudan,” Samson said. “This road is believed to attract investment to the nascent country and also enhance socio-economic development [in South Sudan].”
He said a 260- kilometer Mizanteferi-Boma concrete asphalt is yet another inter-state highway linking Ethiopia and South Sudan.
Meanwhile, well under construction in the southern region is also the Mombasa–Nairobi–Addis Ababa road corridor.
“It is an important part of the Trans-African Highway Corridor project stretching from Cairo in Egypt to Cape Town in South Africa,” Wondimu said