From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Wed Nov 26 2008 - 08:18:19 EST
Ethiopian foreign minister downplays NATO plans against piracy in Somalia
Addis Ababa, 26 November, 2008: The major problem in Somalia is not so much a security problem as it is a lack of harmony and common vision between and among authorities of the Transitional Federal Government [of Somalia] and members of parliament, says Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin in an interview with Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency over the weekend.
"Loosing sight of the woods for the forest" is how he described a recent NATO plan to control the problem in Somalia by clamping down on piracy.
"The pirates are not fish who just sprang up out of the sea. They came out of Somalia," said Seyoum.
"It is far-fetched to try to clamp down on piracy without first having to put the situations in mainland Somalia under control."
Speaking of the conduct of the Somali authorities, he said they show very little, or at times no readiness to shoulder responsibility on a wider scope as the situation in Somalia demands. This, Seyoum said, has been corroborated by IGAD [Inter-Governmental Authority on Development]. He said the intrigues among the authorities were a sham and based mostly on cronyism which often goes down to the sub-sub-clan.
The MPs [members of parliament], he said, are based mostly in Nairobi, coming to Baydhabo [seat of parliament in southwestern Somalia] only to collect their salary.
"They keep themselves too far apart from the people they proclaim to represent."
He said the terrorist Al-Shabab was left much field to roam on not because of its strength, but because of the failure of the Somali authorities and MPs to reach out their people elsewhere in the country.
"They restrict themselves in Mogadishu and Baydhabo."
He said the Ethiopian army would not stay for too long paying sacrifices in defence of the Mogadishu airport and palace, and the AMISOM [AU mission in Somalia], according to Seyoum, warned leaving Somalia if the Ethiopian army would do so. The international community thus should walk the talk of the need of scaling up the Somali peace process, Seyoum indicated.
Gunmen shoot dead security officer in southwestern Somalia
26 November, 2008
Gunmen have shot dead an intelligence officer Baidoa in southwestern Somalia. Reports say the gunmen escaped easily. Eyewitnesses say the officer was killed by three youth armed with pistols at Isha neighbourhood. Police immediately arrived at the scene.
The Bay regional police commander, Col Abdi Ma'alin, said that they were investigating the incident in order to bring the killers to justice. Meanwhile, some police officers were injured after a powerful explosion which targeted a Baidoa police station last night.
A police spokesman said that the attackers escaped after the incident. He added that they haven't arrested anybody in connection with the attack.
Despite President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad's request that members of parliament to return to Baidoa , the security situation there remains unstable.
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