Monday, October 19, 2020

Uganda jail break: More than 200 prisoners escape Moroto facility

More than 200 prisoners have escaped from a jail in north-east Uganda, officials say, bringing the local town to a standstill while security forces try to track them down.

The inmates reportedly killed a soldier after they broke out of the facility in Moroto before heading for the hills.The army and prison officials are pursuing the escapees, who reportedly made off with 15 guns and ammunition.

An army spokesperson said two inmates had been captured and two killed.The prison facility is built on the foothills of Mount Moroto, on the edge of the town.

According to an Associated Press report, the inmates took off their distinctive yellow prison uniforms and fled naked into the hills to avoid detection.

Local reports say the shoot-out has brought business in Moroto to a standstill.Moroto is the biggest town in Karamoja, a restive region with a history of cattle rustling and gun violence, the BBC’s Patience Atuhaire reports from Kampala.

A government disarmament programme in the early 2000s took most of the guns out of the hands of civilians, but sporadic clashes between different communities have continued to happen, our correspondent notes.

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Ethiopia violence fuelled by fighters trained in Sudan: PM Abiy

Regions of Ethiopia Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said Monday that fighters involved in recent attacks on civilians in the west of the country were receiving training and shelter in neighbouring Sudan and that Khartoum’s assistance was needed to stabilise the area. Abiy’s government had previously said little about what was driving the violence in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, which opposition politicians have described as ethnically motivated. At least 12 people were killed in an attack in the region’s Metekel zone last week, while at least 15 died in a similar attack in late September. “In Blue Nile state, hundreds of people are receiving training and are being armed with modern weapons,” Abiy told lawmakers Monday, referring to the restive state in Sudan. “While successive measures have calmed the situation, (the assailants) cross to Blue Nile state, and when it’s peaceful and people are complacent they come back.” Restoring peace “not only requires much effort from us, but also from the government on the other side of the border”, Abiy said. Opposition politicians — notably from the Amhara ethnic group, Ethiopia’s second-largest — have for weeks been sounding the alarm about what they say is a targeted campaign by ethnic Gumuz militias against ethnic Amhara and Agew living in Metekel. They say more than 150 civilians have been killed in the attacks, figures that could not be independently verified. Abiy did not provide a detailed explanation for the violence, who exactly the fighters were, or give a death toll. He did say hundreds had been arrested in clean-up operations involving the military. He also said, without providing details or evidence, that at least some of the fighters want “to cut the road leading to” the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, a massive hydropower project on the Blue Nile River that has been a long-running source of tension with downstream neighbours Sudan and Egypt. Abiy warned of future violence in the area. “There has been a comprehensive operation to clean the area, but this isn’t enough,” he said. “If the source isn’t dried up, it’s inevitable sooner or later there will be attacks on citizens.” Source: AFP

Presidential election weighs heavily on Minnesota immigrants, ‘dreamers’ and refugees

Trump’s immigration policies contrast sharply with those of the Biden campaign.  By Maya Rao  LEILA NAVIDI – STAR TRIBUNEMinnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison spoke during a press conference in Cedar-Riverside. ] LEILA NAVIDI • [email protected] BACKGROUND INFORMATION: A coalition of faith groups hosted a press conference in the Cedar- The fates of thousands of immigrants and refugees hinge on the presidential election, as President Donald Trump looks to continue his rollback of programs that admit or legally protect foreigners in America. Joe Biden, in contrast, pledges to dramatically increase refugee resettlement and unwind Trump’s efforts to end policies for immigrants to live and work lawfully in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and to end a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The Democratic nominee says he would end Trump’s policies “to drastically restrict access to asylum in the U.S.” and overturn the president’s travel ban affecting Somalia and other Muslim-majority countries. Khalid Omar lamented that his brother cannot immigrate from Kenya because he has a Somali passport. “These are the kinds of issues that are very important to our community this year,” said Omar, a senior organizer with Muslim Coalition of Faith in Minnesota. “We can change the outcomes if we all go out and claim our voices.” He spoke moments after he helped hang a sign that said, “We Make Minnesota Better off Together” by the Cedar Cultural Center, where faith and community leaders held an event this month to encourage voting. In his appeals to Minnesotans, Trump has focused most prominently on refugees. The president said during a September rally in Bemidji that Biden planned “to flood your state with an influx of refugees from Somalia, from other places all over the planet. … Your state will be overrun and destroyed.” Weeks later, Trump announced that he was limiting refugee arrivals over the next year to 15,000, the fewest in the program’s 40-year history. He has steadily dropped the number since taking office, following a yearly average of 95,000 established by presidents of both parties. Trump’s campaign also began running an ad in Minnesota and elsewhere bashing Biden’s plans amid a pandemic for “increasing refugees by 700% from the most unstable, vulnerable, dangerous parts of the world.” Biden has pledged to raise the refugee admissions ceiling to 125,000 — 15,000 more than President Barack Obama had authorized before leaving office. The president’s approach has some support in Minnesota, where Beltrami County commissioners voted in January against allowing refugee resettlement. And in recent years, amid tensions between whites and Somali newcomers in St. Cloud, several political candidates called for a pause on refugee resettlement. “My position consistently has been that the refugee resettlement program is broken and until it is fixed, we should not be bringing hundreds of thousands of refugees which the country is not prepared to assimilate,” said John Palmer, who lost his bid for the St. Cloud City Council in 2018 with 43% of the vote. Trump’s election, he said, “gave us a breathing space.” For nearly 20 years, he added, “no one of any political persuasion is taking time to put that program in order so that the refugees that need to be resettled in the U.S. will come to a setting in which we can do what we need to for them.” Advocates say the entire refugee program depends on the election. “The contrast couldn’t be starker and the stakes couldn’t be higher,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a refugee resettlement agency. “Four more years of a Trump administration would presumably be the death knell for the refugee program.” With Biden’s plan to raise the ceiling, Vignarajah said, “we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of lives the U.S. could be saving.” If Biden prevails in the election, resettlement agencies would need time to restore their capacities after several years of cutbacks and closures under Trump. The bulk of the Somali diaspora settled in Minnesota in the 1990s and early 2000s, and Trump has repeatedly singled out people from Somalia in his criticism of refugees. During Trump’s first three years in office, Minnesota took in just 541 Somali refugees. That compares to 3,499 during the previous three years under Obama. The state’s largest refugee groups now are Congolese and Karen migrants from Myanmar. “Every election year, there is a playbook used by some politicians,” said Imam Hassan Jama, executive director of the Islamic Association of North America, during a recent gathering of faith leaders in Cedar-Riverside. “The playbook is to use Muslims, Somalis refugees and immigrants, as scapegoats in order to divide people by what they look like or where they came from instead of offering solutions that could help all of our families.” Daisy Kabaka, a member of the Minnesota Immigration Rights Action Committee (MIRAC), pointed out that the Trump administration has made it harder for new arrivals to win asylum cases and wants to charge them fees for applying, though many claiming persecution in their homelands arrived here with nothing. Kabaka noted that the administration also requires participants in the DACA program, which grants temporary protections for unauthorized immigrants who arrived as children, to renew their status for a year instead of two, while it reviews a Supreme Court ruling that found flaws in how the administration tried to end the program. Kabaka questions whether immigrants will fare better under Biden, however. Kabaka said Obama enacted DACA in 2012 only after immigrants took initiative, including through hunger strikes, and that he was considered the “deporter in chief” because he sent more people back to their homelands than either the Trump or George W. Bush administrations. “Just because there’s a Democratic president in office, that doesn’t necessarily make immigrants feel any better,” Kabaka said. After the Supreme Court ruling in June, Trump said he would try again to end DACA, and the administration has stopped accepting new applications. Biden said he’ll make the program permanent on “day one” if elected. Carolina Ortiz is a DACA recipient working to get out the vote this year, though she cannot vote herself. She’s communications director of COPAL (Communities Organizing Latinx Power and Action), a Latino grassroots organization. “I feel like I’m sleeping and breathing and everything, ‘Vote, vote, vote,’ but I feel like it is because I can’t vote that I need to encourage people who can vote to be my voice and the voice of people like myself that have DACA,” said Ortiz, a Mexican immigrant. After months of phone banking in the Latino community, she said the organization has secured over 15,000 pledges to vote. Those with Temporary Protected Status face uncertainty after the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently sided with the Trump administration decision to rescind rules allowing citizens of some countries facing natural disasters or armed conflict to live and work here legally. If that holds, TPS holders from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan would lose their legal status next year. TPS designations have been renewed under Republican and Democratic administrations alike for many years, but the Trump administration argues that the program was always temporary. The Biden campaign has said he will protect TPS holders and offer them a path to citizenship through immigration reform measures. Source: StarTribune

Somalia: PM announces cabinet line-up

MOGADISHU (Halbeeg News) – Prime Minister Mohamed Roble has this evening announced a new cabinet line-up barely a month after he assumed office. The new cabinet...

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Ethiopia violence fuelled by fighters trained in Sudan: PM Abiy

Regions of Ethiopia Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said Monday that fighters involved in recent attacks on civilians in the west of the country were receiving training and shelter in neighbouring Sudan and that Khartoum’s assistance was needed to stabilise the area. Abiy’s government had previously said little about what was driving the violence in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, which opposition politicians have described as ethnically motivated. At least 12 people were killed in an attack in the region’s Metekel zone last week, while at least 15 died in a similar attack in late September. “In Blue Nile state, hundreds of people are receiving training and are being armed with modern weapons,” Abiy told lawmakers Monday, referring to the restive state in Sudan. “While successive measures have calmed the situation, (the assailants) cross to Blue Nile state, and when it’s peaceful and people are complacent they come back.” Restoring peace “not only requires much effort from us, but also from the government on the other side of the border”, Abiy said. Opposition politicians — notably from the Amhara ethnic group, Ethiopia’s second-largest — have for weeks been sounding the alarm about what they say is a targeted campaign by ethnic Gumuz militias against ethnic Amhara and Agew living in Metekel. They say more than 150 civilians have been killed in the attacks, figures that could not be independently verified. Abiy did not provide a detailed explanation for the violence, who exactly the fighters were, or give a death toll. He did say hundreds had been arrested in clean-up operations involving the military. He also said, without providing details or evidence, that at least some of the fighters want “to cut the road leading to” the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, a massive hydropower project on the Blue Nile River that has been a long-running source of tension with downstream neighbours Sudan and Egypt. Abiy warned of future violence in the area. “There has been a comprehensive operation to clean the area, but this isn’t enough,” he said. “If the source isn’t dried up, it’s inevitable sooner or later there will be attacks on citizens.” Source: AFP

Presidential election weighs heavily on Minnesota immigrants, ‘dreamers’ and refugees

Trump’s immigration policies contrast sharply with those of the Biden campaign.  By Maya Rao  LEILA NAVIDI – STAR TRIBUNEMinnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison spoke during a press conference in Cedar-Riverside. ] LEILA NAVIDI • [email protected] BACKGROUND INFORMATION: A coalition of faith groups hosted a press conference in the Cedar- The fates of thousands of immigrants and refugees hinge on the presidential election, as President Donald Trump looks to continue his rollback of programs that admit or legally protect foreigners in America. Joe Biden, in contrast, pledges to dramatically increase refugee resettlement and unwind Trump’s efforts to end policies for immigrants to live and work lawfully in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and to end a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The Democratic nominee says he would end Trump’s policies “to drastically restrict access to asylum in the U.S.” and overturn the president’s travel ban affecting Somalia and other Muslim-majority countries. Khalid Omar lamented that his brother cannot immigrate from Kenya because he has a Somali passport. “These are the kinds of issues that are very important to our community this year,” said Omar, a senior organizer with Muslim Coalition of Faith in Minnesota. “We can change the outcomes if we all go out and claim our voices.” He spoke moments after he helped hang a sign that said, “We Make Minnesota Better off Together” by the Cedar Cultural Center, where faith and community leaders held an event this month to encourage voting. In his appeals to Minnesotans, Trump has focused most prominently on refugees. The president said during a September rally in Bemidji that Biden planned “to flood your state with an influx of refugees from Somalia, from other places all over the planet. … Your state will be overrun and destroyed.” Weeks later, Trump announced that he was limiting refugee arrivals over the next year to 15,000, the fewest in the program’s 40-year history. He has steadily dropped the number since taking office, following a yearly average of 95,000 established by presidents of both parties. Trump’s campaign also began running an ad in Minnesota and elsewhere bashing Biden’s plans amid a pandemic for “increasing refugees by 700% from the most unstable, vulnerable, dangerous parts of the world.” Biden has pledged to raise the refugee admissions ceiling to 125,000 — 15,000 more than President Barack Obama had authorized before leaving office. The president’s approach has some support in Minnesota, where Beltrami County commissioners voted in January against allowing refugee resettlement. And in recent years, amid tensions between whites and Somali newcomers in St. Cloud, several political candidates called for a pause on refugee resettlement. “My position consistently has been that the refugee resettlement program is broken and until it is fixed, we should not be bringing hundreds of thousands of refugees which the country is not prepared to assimilate,” said John Palmer, who lost his bid for the St. Cloud City Council in 2018 with 43% of the vote. Trump’s election, he said, “gave us a breathing space.” For nearly 20 years, he added, “no one of any political persuasion is taking time to put that program in order so that the refugees that need to be resettled in the U.S. will come to a setting in which we can do what we need to for them.” Advocates say the entire refugee program depends on the election. “The contrast couldn’t be starker and the stakes couldn’t be higher,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a refugee resettlement agency. “Four more years of a Trump administration would presumably be the death knell for the refugee program.” With Biden’s plan to raise the ceiling, Vignarajah said, “we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of lives the U.S. could be saving.” If Biden prevails in the election, resettlement agencies would need time to restore their capacities after several years of cutbacks and closures under Trump. The bulk of the Somali diaspora settled in Minnesota in the 1990s and early 2000s, and Trump has repeatedly singled out people from Somalia in his criticism of refugees. During Trump’s first three years in office, Minnesota took in just 541 Somali refugees. That compares to 3,499 during the previous three years under Obama. The state’s largest refugee groups now are Congolese and Karen migrants from Myanmar. “Every election year, there is a playbook used by some politicians,” said Imam Hassan Jama, executive director of the Islamic Association of North America, during a recent gathering of faith leaders in Cedar-Riverside. “The playbook is to use Muslims, Somalis refugees and immigrants, as scapegoats in order to divide people by what they look like or where they came from instead of offering solutions that could help all of our families.” Daisy Kabaka, a member of the Minnesota Immigration Rights Action Committee (MIRAC), pointed out that the Trump administration has made it harder for new arrivals to win asylum cases and wants to charge them fees for applying, though many claiming persecution in their homelands arrived here with nothing. Kabaka noted that the administration also requires participants in the DACA program, which grants temporary protections for unauthorized immigrants who arrived as children, to renew their status for a year instead of two, while it reviews a Supreme Court ruling that found flaws in how the administration tried to end the program. Kabaka questions whether immigrants will fare better under Biden, however. Kabaka said Obama enacted DACA in 2012 only after immigrants took initiative, including through hunger strikes, and that he was considered the “deporter in chief” because he sent more people back to their homelands than either the Trump or George W. Bush administrations. “Just because there’s a Democratic president in office, that doesn’t necessarily make immigrants feel any better,” Kabaka said. After the Supreme Court ruling in June, Trump said he would try again to end DACA, and the administration has stopped accepting new applications. Biden said he’ll make the program permanent on “day one” if elected. Carolina Ortiz is a DACA recipient working to get out the vote this year, though she cannot vote herself. She’s communications director of COPAL (Communities Organizing Latinx Power and Action), a Latino grassroots organization. “I feel like I’m sleeping and breathing and everything, ‘Vote, vote, vote,’ but I feel like it is because I can’t vote that I need to encourage people who can vote to be my voice and the voice of people like myself that have DACA,” said Ortiz, a Mexican immigrant. After months of phone banking in the Latino community, she said the organization has secured over 15,000 pledges to vote. Those with Temporary Protected Status face uncertainty after the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently sided with the Trump administration decision to rescind rules allowing citizens of some countries facing natural disasters or armed conflict to live and work here legally. If that holds, TPS holders from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan would lose their legal status next year. TPS designations have been renewed under Republican and Democratic administrations alike for many years, but the Trump administration argues that the program was always temporary. The Biden campaign has said he will protect TPS holders and offer them a path to citizenship through immigration reform measures. Source: StarTribune

Somalia: PM announces cabinet line-up

MOGADISHU (Halbeeg News) – Prime Minister Mohamed Roble has this evening announced a new cabinet line-up barely a month after he assumed office. The new cabinet...

Ilwad Elman awarded German Africa Prize 2020

Somali-Canadian peace activist Ilwad Elman has been awarded the 2020 German Africa Prize. The German Africa Foundation has confirmed she will be honored later this month in Berlin by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Ilwad Elman is this year’s winner of the Germany Africa Prize Claus Stäcker She may only be 30, but Ilwad Elman is already considered one of Somalia’s leading voices as the country edges tentatively towards stability. Elman’s efforts have led the German Africa Foundation to hand its marquee prize to the internationally recognised expert on conflict resolution, chosen from a shortlist of 30 candidates. As Somalia descended into civil war at the beginning of the 1990s, her father Elman Ali Ahmed — an engineer by training, as well as an entrepreneur and social activist — had established rehabilitation and apprenticeship schemes for Somali child soldiers and orphans of war-torn Somalia. When Mogadishu became unsafe, Ilwad Elman had to flee to Canada with her mother as a two-year-old. Her father chose to stay in Somalia, but was assassinated in 1996. Despite the danger, Ilwad returned to Somalia in 2010 with her mother and sisters to continue her father’s work and legacy. Over the past ten years, Ilwad and her mother, Farttun Adan, have built up the Elman Peace Center, a tightly run non-profit organization with 172 employees and eight regional branches. Looming humatarian crisis “I’m very happy to receive this recognition from Germany,” Ilwad told DW after hearing of her award. “The prize is a huge compliment for our Team and is important because Germany is a valuable and reliable partner in many of our projects.”  When Ilwad returned from Canada in 2010, she found herself in the midst of an unstable, failed state with a looming humanitarian crisis. Large swathes of Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu, were patrolled by the fundamentalist Al-Shabaab militia. Ilwad Elman saw not just her father’s legacy under threat, but could also see other social scourges growing. Somalia has long been plagued by instability and violent flare ups “Violence against women and girls was commonplace, child marriages were socially accepted. The conservative Somali society tolerated this, and the political elite openly denied it.” Together with her mother, Ilwad Elman took on her father’s project to reintegrate child soldiers and civil war orphans into back Somali society. Her highly respected educational program “Drop the gun, pick up the pen” has helped thousands of young people adjust to civilian life. The successful program, with its modern therapy methods, free-of-charge apprenticeship programs and innovative financing model, is now also used in Mali and the Lake Chad area. Personal tragedy Through another program, “Sister Somalia”, Elman established the first point of contact for victims of gender-based violence in Somalia. The program sees up to 40 new cases of women reporting a rape daily, and Sister Somalia has just how critical gender-based violence is in Somalia. Ilwad Elman’s lobbying efforts have also earned plaudits. In 2018, Somalia’s government passed a law making sexual violence a criminal offence. However, the law is currently under parliamentary review, and activists fear it could law will be watered down.   Recently, Ilwad Elman had to overcome immense personal tragedy. In November 2019, her sister Almaas, an aid worker, was shot and killed in Mogadishu — allegedly by a stray bullet. Investigations yielded little, with the perpetrator is unlikely to be caught. Still, Elman and her family decided to stay in Somalia, she told DW. “We want to continue our humanitarian work for freedom, reconciliation and equal opportunities, and for us this is best way to honor Almaa’s legacy.” Ilwad is aware she’s become a role model in her country. “Somalia is a young country, 75% are under the age of 30. Most of my followers are girls and young women. They want a different future for Somalia.” Ilwad Elman has become a role model for young women and girls in Somalia Ilwad Elman’s expertise is in demand beyond the Horn of Africa, too, and her importance as an important voice is well recognized. She’s part of the Kofi Annan Foundation’s Extremely Together initiative, which tackles extremist, radical violence. For two years, she was the youngest consultant for the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund. In 2019, she was named one Africa’s 100 most influential voices. In 2020, Ilwad Elman was in the running for the Nobel Peace Prize. The German Africa Prize has been awarded since 1993 to exemplary figures from the African continent. Past winners have advocated for democracy, peace, human rights, arts and culture, and social issues. Although not endowed, the Africa Prize is the highest award of its kind in Germany. The selection is made an independent jury and aims to portray a diverse image of Africa. Recent winners include Kenyan IT-pioneer Juliana Rotich, Botswana’s ex-president Sir Ketumile Masire, former Somali model Waris Dirie, and Tunisian union-leader Houcine Abassi. The German Africa Foundation is funded by Germany’s Foreign Office. Source: DW

‘Afduubkii’ la sheegay ee Hibo Maxamed oo noqday mid been ah iyo xog cusub oo shaaca laga qadaay

Gurceel (Caasimada Online) – Faahfaahino dheeraad ah ayaa ka soo baxaya xogta rasmiga ah ee gabar 16-sano jir ah oo shalay gelinkii hore la waayey, taas oo maanta lagu qabtay degmada Gurceel ee gobolka Galgaduud. Gabadha oo lagu magacaabo Hibo Maxamed Xasan ayey reerkeeda oo degan xaafadda 5-ta Geed ee degmada Howlwadaag waxa ay waayeen shalay subax. Ciidamada ammaanka degmada Gurceel ayaa maanta bar kontorol oo laga soo galo magaalada ku qabtay gaari ay saarneyd Hibo, waxaana la geeyey saldhigga, iyada iyo dhamaan dadkii rakaabka ahaa ee Muqdisho ay iska raaceen, halkaas ayaana lagu wareystay. Taliyaha booliiska degmada Gurceel Dhamme Cusmaan Cali Hudeey oo caawa warbaahinta la hadlay ayaa cadeeyey in Hibo Maxamed Xasan oo maanta ciidamada ammaanku ay ka reebeen gaari ay la socotay aan lasoo afduuban, balse iskeed ay u soo aaday xubno ehelkeeda ka tirsan oo Gurceel dagan. Hibo oo hadashay waxa ay sheegtay in iskeed ay u raacday gaariga, iyadoo aan ogeysiin reerkeeda, taas oo keentay shaki ku dhashay ehelladeeda oo ahaa in la afduubtay gabadha. “Gaariga waxaa saarnaa dad rakaab ah oo aan la socon Gabadha, balse gaarkooda u socday magaalada, damiin ayaa lagu soo galaa Guriceel, markii la weydiiyay waa diiday in ay sheegato damiin, dood dheer kadib, waan xirnay kadib ayey waalidkeed noo sheegtay markaa wacnay waalidku waxey noo sheegeen in ay tahay gabadhii la weysanaa ee shalay laga afduubtay Muqdisho,” ayuu yiri sarkaal ka tirsan booliska Guriceel oo Caasimada Online la hadlay. Sarkaalka nala hadlay ayaa intaas ku daray, “Maya, afduub ma aheyn markaa arkeynay, qof kaligiis is wada oo baxsad ah ayey aheyd qof ay u afduuban tahay oo ay la socotayna ma arkin.” Magaalada Muqdisho ayaa maalmihii la soo dhaafay waxaa aad looga cabanayey afduub iyo xatooyada loo geysanayo caruurta iyo dumarka, waxaana qoysaska degan la soo deristay cabsi xoog leh oo xatooyadaas ay ka qabaan.